A day prior to the official opening of the 57th Toronto International Boat Show, event organizer, Canadian Boat Shows (CBS), hosted its annual Special Preview Night at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Each year prior to the show's public opening day, the event serves to raise funds for marine related charities.
By way of special ticket sales, the event offers consumers the opportunity to get into the show early when there are no crowds as well as enjoy live music, food and beverages. CBS reports that this year's Special Preview Night experienced a 10.8 percent increase in attendance compared to last year. The boat show organizer says there were 1,484 consumer attendees with either Platinum ($100) or Gold ($50) tickets (1,340 in 2014 and 1,250 in 2013). To date, organizers say Special Preview Night event has raised more than $660,000 by way of live and silent auction.
The show's opening weekend was also thought to be good from a consumer traffic standpoint. Saturday morning opened with large lines at all three entrances, and a steady arrival of attendees throughout the day. Saturday's total attendance was 12,541, a six percent increase from the 2014 Saturday of 11,863, but less than the 14,466 attendees reported on the opening Saturday in 2013.
Sunday's total attendance was 9,607, a one percent increase from the 2014 Sunday of 9,504, and down from the 12,041 reported by CBS on the Sunday in 2013.
According to CBS, the total number of attendees who visited the show on Tuesday was 3,794, down 401 people from the show's 2014 Tuesday attendance of 4,195. In 2013 there were 4,999 on the same Tuesday.
Special Preview Night Charities
Proceeds generated at this year's event will benefits the show's charity partners, including:
Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund, which support 103 camps and allows as many as 25,000 underprivileged and special needs children enjoy a memorable camp experience. "We are truly grateful for the hard work and efforts put into this event to help give children a memory that will last a lifetime,' says Barb Mrozek, Director, Toronto Star Charities and Philanthropy.
Ontario Sailing: Able Sail, Access BOOM Program, which travels around the province with a trailer of specially designed Australian Access Dinghies. The mobile Access BOOM sailing program provides children and young adults dealing with disabilities the opportunity to sail. With a well-designed weighted dagger board, ensuring they will not capsize, the boats each accommodate one to two participants. "This generous support means we can start to replenish our aging fleet,' says Glenn Lethbridge, Executive Director of Ontario Sailing.
Each summer, CNIB Lake Joe Summer Camp enables hundreds of people who are blind or partially sighted to have an opportunity to participate in waterfront programs such as pontoon boat rides, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding and water tubing. "This tremendous support allows CNIB to provide additional waterfront programming for children and youth with vision loss, providing more children and youth with the skills, confidence and opportunities they need to fully participate in life, and have fun on the water,' says Ryan Chin, CNIB, Manager, Community Giving.
This year's big ticket auction item is a 2015 Sea Ray 19 SPX with a 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3L MPI that was donated by Ontario-based dealer, Pride Marine Group. The boat featured blue hull sides, grey sport graphics, a black canvas, Bimini top, bow and cockpit covers, and a Comfort Package that includes a battery on/off switch, depth finder, flip-up helm bolster seat and snap-in carpet. The package is estimated to be worth $47,631 before freight and PDI was auctioned off for $32,000.
Canadian Boat Shows is expected to announce the total funds raised by this year's event in the near future.