From the moment it opened on Saturday January 8th, 2011, the Toronto International Boat Show was off to a great start. Because of its location in the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto’s historic Exhibition Park and Ontario Place on the shores of Lake Ontario, a significant January snow storm is almost a show tradition. This year the venue looked like a child’s snow globe with a major downfall of fluffy big snow flakes that overwhelmed the Toronto snow removal forces for the morning.
Even that didn’t keep the crowds away and by noon, the aisles were buzzing and there were lineups to get onboard many of the larger yachts on display. The show is totally indoors accommodating boats from small dinghies to 50 foot plus yachts in a warm and well lit hall.
New this year was the Island Village, a special new area created by Canadian Yachting magazine and the Canadian Boat Shows show management to put more summer in the winter!
Show manager Cynthia Hare commented that 'The Island Village is a great, brand-new feature that is attracting more people to the Sail Fest area of the show where they have a place to sit, get some interesting food and an Island-style beverage too. It also offers a place to review brochures and talk to friends before booking a cruise vacation.
The very first couple we interviewed, only hours after the show opening, had already done exactly that.
Brock Elliott, general manager of Campion Boats commented that '…the snow on Saturday was a bit of a concern but consumers came out and we sold boats.'
Bryan Down of Bayliner Boats said, 'The people that have been to our booth are the ones we really want to see. We’ve already sold a 285 SB cruiser.
One of the dealers claimed it was their best opening weekend in 7 years. A number of other dealers echoed the positive sentiments and solid, early sales results.
Starcraft’s Peter Spiegel noticed that there appears to be a lot of pent up demand. 'We sold a lot of boats to people who have already been to dealerships. Saturday was probabl the best opening day we’ve had in years'.
At the NMMA Canada Annual General Meeting, Thom Dammrich, NMMA president delivered an opening address that detailed many positive dimensions to the current American economy and boating industry performance. In particular, he discussed the major inventory drawback that has taken place in the past 18 months, and that the industry needs to ramp up now. There are few new boats and literally no late-model used boats left on the market.
Things look good so far at the Toronto International Boat Show!