Exhibitors Weigh-In On Toronto Boat Show


Canada’s largest boat show wrapped up in Toronto in late January. Coming out of the Toronto International Boat Show, held at the Enercare Centre, both organizers and exhibitors seemed satisfied with the 10-day event’s outcome.

According the Canadian Boat Shows, the event producer, the show experienced a 10 percent increase in attendance from 70,643 in 2016 to 77,105 attendees in 2017.

Members of the Canadian marine industry closely monitor the outcome of the Toronto Boat Show, considering it a key indicator as to the type of season ahead. “The Toronto Boat Show is the barometer by which we measure the success of the upcoming year and all indicators are that it’s going to be great!” says Marc Duhamel, General Manager of Legend Boats.

“The show delivered its largest and most comprehensive advertising and marketing plan across the province,” says Cynthia Hare, Show Manager, “and exhibitors reaped the rewards with not only double-digit attendance growth over the first half of the show, but also with quality attendees who were eager to spend.”

Exhibitor Feedback

“This has been a record breaking show for us,” says Pete Moreau of Central Marine (a dealer for Stanley, Rinker, Worldcat and Godfrey/Hurricane). “There hasn’t been enough hours in the day to write up all the deals we have been closing!”

“There’s obvious pent up demand from last year and our sales have doubled,” says Bob Spencer, the Canadian Brand Representative for Bennington Marine. “We were very happy with the crowd.”

“The traffic flow, interest and quality of the customer made for an outstanding show,” says Bill Swift of Swift Canoe and Kayak. “Customers came ready to buy, resulting in very strong sales.”

Toronto Boat Show

“This has been our best year ever,” says Donna Rork of Cottage Toys. “We have been introduced to a lot of new clients.”

The show producer believes the growth in attendance and consumer spending could be contributed to later show dates this year, which gave patrons more time to recover from spending over the holidays, paired with mild winter temperatures that put seasoned and new boaters in the mood to get out on the waters. However, next year’s Toronto show moves up a week earlier, running from January 12 to 21 at the Enercare Centre.

Boating Business Employers of ChoiceBBEOC 2016

During the show, Boating Business magazine revealed its inaugural Employer of Choice (BBEOC) awards winners for 2016/2017. The program honours Canada’s top-scoring marine industry employers who participate in the voluntary program.

The initiative, launched in partnership with Corporate Culture + Employer of Choice Inc. (CCEOC), was announced in March of 2016. Unlike, programs influenced by advertising support or politics, the BBEOC awards are managed and determined by a third party (CCEOC) and scored based on participant’s best practices and employee feedback.

This cycle’s top Canadian recreational marine industry employers included:

Boat Dealers and/or Marinas

National Marine Manufacturers, Brands and Services

from left: Jeff Doran (CCEOC), Marc Duhamel (Legend), Andy Blenkarn (Desmasdons), Sarah Gregory (KingFisher), Sylvain Tisi (MD Marine Insurance) and Tony Lepera (Boating Business).
from left: Jeff Doran (CCEOC), Marc Duhamel (Legend), Andy Blenkarn (Desmasdons), Sarah Gregory (KingFisher), Sylvain Tisi (MD Marine Insurance) and Tony Lepera (Boating Business).

“I would like to congratulate all of our award winners,” says Boating Business’ Editor of Marine Publications, Jonathan Lee. “This award is testament to the efforts that these outstanding companies have made to engage their employees as well as create a healthy and productive work environment.”

“Whether a company wins this award or not, the data collected is certainly something every well-managed organization should want to see,” says Jeff Doran, President of CCEOC. “Even those that score highly should avoid becoming complacent, because employees will be watching to see how their companies respond to the feedback they provided the previous year.”

CCEOC provides all participants information regarding their scoring, offering insight into some of their strengths and weaknesses. The group also optionally offers advanced statistical reports providing even deeper insight into how a company stacks up to other industries.

The March/April issue of Boating Business magazine will highlight some of the best practices of the winners that contributed to them receiving the honour.

Participants in the BBEOC awards program are require to have at least 10 employees, been in business for one year and submit a minimum of 75 percent of their employee surveys to be considered.

The Toronto International Boat Show is owned and produced by Canadian Boat Shows. It is said that the event generates more than $354 million in economic impact to the region. During the last five years, the Show has annually attracted more than 550 exhibitors and over 70,000 attendees.