Photo by Dave Sandford

Canadian Boat Shows has cancelled the 2021 Toronto International Boat Show due to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19. The largest indoor boat show in North America, this year’s event was scheduled for January 15-24 at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place. It has never been cancelled in its 62-year history but, as cases continue to rise and the months inch closer to January, Canadian Boat Shows cited confidence in their decision.

“Despite our extensive efforts and multiple plans to provide a safe environment for attendees and exhibitors, we did not feel comfortable proceeding having the current information from public health
and case #’s heading into the fall,” said Linda Waddell, President/Show Director. “Our primary concern has always been safety. Every exhibitor who has worked with us in the past has experienced our culture of prioritizing a safe environment above everything else.”

Health and safety were certainly major priorities for the show. One plan included a COVID FREE Show in which each attendee, exhibitor, supplier, and venue staff member would have had a Rapid Test prior to entering every day. Exhibitors also applauded the idea of a “daily bubble”. Despite these ideas, though, the approval of tests by Health Canada and related planning standards would not be able to meet the show’s timeline even with a postponement.

“We are disappointed for the exhibitors and attendees who were hoping the show would be held; and will now need to wait until 2022. If there is one thing that COVID is teaching us all, it is the value of face to face,” said Waddell.

The Toronto Boat Show has been exploring online and virtual options in place of the in-person 2021 Show. There will be a focus on looking to the future, expanding digital, and unifying the in-person experience to
deliver even more value to the Toronto Boat Show community. Details will follow in the coming months on these initiatives.

The Toronto International Boat Show is highly regarded as the flagship economic indicator for the boating industry in Canada. More boats are sold in Toronto than at any other place or event in the country. Occupying 1 million square feet of space, the event showcases over 1,200 boats, 550 exhibitors, 300-plus seminars and workshops, and thousands of accessories and services in the marine marketplace. The Show also includes the World’s Largest Indoor Lake which it builds exclusively each year within the event. The lake holds ten days of programming that includes the Indoor Wakeboard Championships, Water Ski
Shows, free boat rides, wakeboarding lessons, Sea Flea races, canoe, kayak, and paddle board events, remote control boat races, and sailing regattas.

Stay with Power Boating Canada for news going forward.