In the early 1980's a group of Marine Dealers in Manitoba and North Western Ontario joined forces to resolve an ongoing issue related to the Sportsman Show, a trade show that was hosted in Winnipeg, Manitoba on an annual basis. The cost to participate in the show was on the rise, increasing each year with the dealers having little to no input into how the show was marketed.
Over the next few years, this group of marine dealers became more organized and as a result were able to host their own joint marine and RV trade show, and by 1983/84 the show was dedicated to marine products only. The new Boat Show gained popularity resulting in dealers and manufacturers stepping forward to support the trade event and the efforts of the original group of dealers.
By 1985/86 the organization made application to incorporate as the Mid-Canada Marine Dealers Association (MMDA) and on December 10, 1986, the MMDA was officially incorporated and a new board of directors elected to office:
President: Ed Rondeau – Rond's Marine
Vice President: George Makichuk – Redekopp Marine & Power Sports
Treasure: Scott Wallace – Outboard Marine Sales
Directors: Bill Bueckert, Mr. B's
Maurice Dufort, Dufort Industries
David Dusome, OMC
Jim Flood, Bowline Yachts
Bill Marr, Jr., Marr's Leisure Products
Larry Wadge – AVO Marine
With the organization official incorporated, this group of dedicated individuals took the lead in setting the MMDA on the path to success.
As with all successful organizations, progression was inevitable and shortly after the Mid-Canada Boat Show was introduced, it became evident that there needed to be dedicated show managers in place. Jim Flood, MMDA Director and Brian Ans, MMDA Executive Director, stepped forward and assumed the show management duties, which they did together until Ans decided to step away from the organization to pursue other interests. Flood continued in the capacity of MMDA show manager for many years, only recently retiring from show management to spend more time on his first love, which is sailing and on his personal business, Bowline Yachts. With guidance from the Show Committee and the Board, a new Trade Show Management Company has been hired and we are pleased to welcome Dave Amey and Associates to our team.
Years went by and new people were introduced to the MMDA Board of Directors and with that, came further changes. New people bring new ideas and this led the organization to give consideration to who their members were and what their businesses looked like today. Many MMDA members had expanded their businesses over the years with the introduction of additional product lines such as personal watercraft, motorcycles, snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles. The MMDA membership was now not only representative of marine product sales and service, but also powersports product sales and service.
In 2009, Mike Gilmour of Winnipeg Sport & Leisure was elected to serve as a director on the MMDA Board. Anyone that knows Mike, knows that he is an "idea' man and likes nothing better than to make change and make a difference. Mike could see that the MMDA was changing and started a campaign to have the organization expand their membership to include powersports dealers. After many, many board discussions, as well as discussions with members of the Manitoba Snowmobile Industry Association, change took place yet again and in 2010, with member approval, the name of the MMDA was changed to the Mid-Canada Marine and Powersports Dealers Association (MMPDA), complete with a new logo.
This expansion in vision will probably go down in history as one of the most significant changes to take place within the Canadian marine industry. The new MMPDA embarked on a powersports member recruitment process and also formed the MMPDA Powersports Committee. Members of the Powersports Committee include representatives of powersports dealers, manufacturers and other non-profit organizations such as the All Terrain Vehicle Association and Snoman. The expansion also resulted in the introduction of the Mid-Canada Powersports Show, with the second annual tradeshow taking place from April 11 to 13, 2014.
The MMPDA continues to focus on marine related initiatives, is very active with Discover Boating and the National Marine Manufacturers Association and recently participated in the first annual Recreational Boating Day on Parliament Hill.
Over the years, the mission and vision of the MMPDA has evolved. The Association not only hosts one of the most successful marine trade shows in Canada but also strives to focus on all issues that impact the industry and our members. Back in 1998 the Association approached the Manitoba Trades Board requesting that the trade of Marine Technician be officially designated in the province of Manitoba. After countless volunteer hours and many years later, we were finally successful in having the Marine and Outdoor Power Equipment Technician (MOPET) designated as an official trade in Manitoba. The new apprenticeship program is a three-year block release program with education being offered by Red River College.
The MMPDA promotes all industry careers through attendance at conferences, career fairs and hosts an annual industry career presentation during the Mid-Canada Boat Show. In addition to promoting industry careers, we recently developed the MMPDA Award for Outstanding Achievement and at the 2013 Annual General Meeting presented awards to the highest achievers in each of the Winnipeg Technical College Motosport Program, the Red River College Outdoor Power Equipment Program and the Marine and Outdoor Power Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program.
The MMPDA will forever be grateful to the nine original founding members for their foresight. Without them our organization would not be where it is today. Thanks is also extended to all MMPDA members who have served on the board throughout the years and to those who support the organization through membership, sponsorship and participation in member focused initiatives such as the MMPDA Member Education Program, "Creating an Excellent Customer Experience'.