2008 Toronto International Boat Show Coverage


Staff member
Direct Energy Center - Toronto, Ontario - January 12, 2008

Well, it's a brisk January Saturday morning here in Toronto, and the crispness of the mid morning January air is a quick reminder that we're still months away from the opening of cottage season. Perhaps many months! Well at the very least, it's a while off, at least for us boaters up here in Ontario.

Given that, what would you expect to be on today's personal agenda?

Shovelling the driveway? Home improvements? R&R?


Boats! :D

Thankfully, today, marks the opening of the 50th annual Toronto International Boat Show. But really what today's show offers is a small reprieve from the reality of frozen lakes and snow banks, surely the nemesis of any summer cottager and boating addict. This years venue is Exhibition Place, same as the last bunch.​

As we pull into the show grounds, we quickly find ourselves met by thousands of other diehards attempting to find the "perfect"
parking spot. And given the crispness of the January air - crispness exaggerated that much more by the unseasonably mild temperatures of last week's warm spell- the perfect spot therefore equates to...close to the entrance door! At least for Yolanda! But any thoughts of getting a parking spot close to the entrance door on this day are quickly abandoned as many lots are already marked "full". So much for the declining economy on the brink of recession!​

Finally we find solace in an underground parking spot, but only after lightening my wallet by the tune of eleven bucks. As we
stroll through the enormous, and seemingly endless underground parking garage, attempting to make our way towards the show's
entrance, I take note of the number of "out of province" and U.S. license plates on many of the vehicles in the garage. It leaves
no doubt about the title of "international" for this show.​

As we catch a rest slowly riding up the escalator which takes us from the parking garage level to the show level, we are quickly met with the sights and sounds of the show.​

And we're still outside the entrance!​

After a bit of wandering back and forth looking for the show office and our "media passes", we're finally ready to go. Entering the show can only be described as walking into "boating nirvana". You can feel the "boating buzz"! Looks in any direction find a collage of people, hanging brand banners and signs as well as boats as far as the eye can see.​

Is the lake open yet?​

Wandering through the show can't be described as anything less than overwhelming. As Yolanda and myself slowly wander through the maze of exhibits and people, making our way from booth to booth, friendly sales people fill our hands - and bags - with glossy
brochures of everything under the sun. Some inquire about our "Endless Boating" tags as Yolanda snaps digital images of anything
that is found to be interesting and worthy of sharing.​

Boats range from Canoes right up to Yacht's for the mega rich!​

A trip into the Ricoh Coliseum wing of the show takes us to the indoor lake. Hundreds of people eagerly sit in the stands watching a boating demonstration being given. Notable, is the fact the indoor lake is actually visible this year in that you can actually see water! Apparently, a conscious decision was made to use the lake for boating demonstrations versus it being a floating boat parking lot as in years past. Which was probably a good decision based on the attentiveness of the on lookers watching the demonstration.​

As Yolanda and myself continue to wander through the show, we find ourselves drawn to some of the smaller and to us at least, more interesting exhibits.​

At one booth we find two brand new Humber Jewels on display. As I engage John Rowley the President of Humber boats in conversation Yolanda snaps pictures of these local legendary boats. As my eyes dance over the two new Humber models, John explains the history of the model and his plans for the future. A very neat story indeed! Hopefully I can expand on it in a future feature.​

Another highlight for Yolanda and myself we find to be the ACBS (The Antique and Classic Boat Society) display. For me at least,
the display of antique boats and motors from a variety of eras is a nice and grounding contrast, versus some of the pimped out bling on display elsewhere at the show. At the ACBS booth Yolanda and myself engage Ron Stevenson - an avid old outboard restorer and collector - in conversation about his fully restored "Fibreglassics" era Herter's runabout sporting an equally nice 60's, vintage, Merc 1000 tower of power. Nice!​

And even more encouraging - or worrisome I can't decide which - is the fact that Yolanda is starting to understand my infatuation with old Mercs as she elbowed me in the side and pointed out to me Ron's old Merc saying...​

"Hey! Look! A vintage "tower of power"!​

As we wandered around the rest of the ACBS display, my eyes danced over the various vintage boats, one of the members of the society who I was swapping stories with, summed up the vintage boats display quite nicely by saying "the older boats have more character". Yup I said. I'd have to agree there.​

Those old boats are extra special. And I certainly appreciated the efforts of the ACBS members to put on one of the most interesting and memorable displays.​

Truth be told, to me, at the end of the day, if it floats and gets me around the bay, then it's all good.​

So for me, the 2008 Toronto International Boat Show was all good.​

And a nice way to kick off the '08 boating season, even if the lake is still frozen over. :)

I hope you enjoy the pics! :thumb:


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Staff member

Heading up the escalator from the underground to the show level. Bring on the boats baaby! :thumb:

Here's a few views at the front of the building for those who haven't been to it. We actually entered via the basement and then went up the escalator from the underground parking lot.

Need a map? I know I'm lost already! How do I take it with me? :yell:



Staff member
Welcome inside!

All the outboard manufacturers were there. Mercury's display was huge! And they seemed to have smaller displays in different spots as well.



Staff member
Here's a few teasers of the "other guys" motah's. :D

How about a V-Max?

Suzuki 300 anyone?

How about an ETEC?



Staff member
Yamaha had a Four Stoke V8-350 HP motor on display. :devil:

It was abtly titled a F350.

I would suggest minimal setback for bow lift will be required if you're mounting it on a 2100 Pulsare. :eyecrazy:

Look at the block on this baaby! :thumb:

And the price tag!

Let's see, $30,201 over 84 months is $486 a month!

Where do I sign! :yell: :D

Just in case you thought I was joking. :D



Staff member
Not a "egg-beater fanatic" you say?

Well, then how about some I/O stuff?

Mercruiser had a nice display! Doug, start building that Convincor for me! :D

The business end! All outfitted with an XR drive. :devil:

Too wild? How about your basic fishing motah then. Mercruiser style! :)



Staff member
Need the Cat to house those motahs?

We've got ya covered. :thumb:

This boat was turned out it's side at the show. That must have been an achievement in itself. This thing was huge!

While you're talking to bullet, you better order two of those motahs, this Cat needs two.

But here's the one you could see. :devil:



Staff member
Alright, alright.

Let's get back to some kind of reality here shall we.

How about something more family friendly.

How about a Cobalt?

How about a Cutter?

This one sure held up well. :thumb:

Hey JW, how about another Glastron!?



Staff member
Chriscraft seems to have retro style glass boats everywhere.

I really like the styling and the rigging was beautiful. :)



Staff member
There were a few builders who seemed to specialize in building really neat small boats.

Maybe Checkmate will take notice and bring back the Playmate. ;) :)

Here ya go Coop. :)

This one was done up like the "General Lee". Neat, uncle Jessie. :)

This one is called a Waterspider and was built by Spidercraft boats.



Staff member
There was also lots of booths selling boating related products and "stuff".

How about a paddle?

Need the canoe to go with it?

The Ragz display. I've had one of these shammy pullovers for 20 plus years and love it. The best clothing for a boater EVER.

How about a dock for your new boat?

These were really neat in that they had a really neat roller system built into them. So you can literally roll up your PWC or boat right on to your dock. :thumb:



Staff member
A few shots of the indoor lake and the demo that was going on.

I think this was Yolanda's favourite boat at the show. She's loves the Bass Boats. Perhaps there's a Nitro in my future with an XS out back?

Kids can have fun at the boat show too!

This was at an indoor pool area of the show they had for kids. :)



Staff member
First stop and last stop at the show was with the ACBS people.

We had a good chat with the volunteers and agreed we would probably see them at next year's Gravenhurst show again. This year it will be July 5, 2008 at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst, Ontario. :thumb: :)

Here's a pic of Ron Stevenson's "retroglass" Herters.

There was also a classic Peterborough cedar strip on display. :)

Another classic! :)

So many boats, so little time. :yell: :)

Hey Gus! This one was powered by a Dodge and even had a Dodge flag on it!



Official EB Photographer!
Yolanda here, I hope you are all enjoying the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. The only thing I found during the whole show is just how much I really want Spring to come and the snow to melt away!!

I say "Let the cottage season begin so that the boating, fishing and water skiing can commence!"

Thanks to all those showing their boats and motors at the show and letting me take the pictures I had a ball.

Chris E

i took the whole family down yesterday, they really enjoyed the 47 sea ray, only 917,000 - i think they are giving it away!!!!

i didn't like the lake too much, seemed a little lame this year - paddleboats and kyaks blah blah. didn't get to see the whole show - 2 - 4 year olds and a 7 year old only have so much in them, but we did get a good 5 hours out of them. they loved the peddle power boats - they really liked smashing into each other.

Dana over at tuff marine was awesome and let my kids get in the tuff 28 with twin merc 250's which they just loved.

all in all it was a good day - just wish they had a checki down there. the show conitunes this week - and weekdays are the best day to be there - very quiet!


Staff member
Yeah we missed the Tuff display. :yell:

When we went the place was packed and it was hell trying to take a photo of anything. People would walk right in front of Yolanda every time she tried to shoot anything.

After five hours of being in the swarm, we decided to call it a day. Maybe we'll head back down this weekend. Who knows?

Chris, are you talking about those little hand paddle boats that they had for kids?

I have a bit of info on them. I don't know the price though. They were cool as hell. If I was a kid I'd have loved one of those. :)

Chris E

yeah, the hand paddle boats were cool - they have an adult version too.

sunday morning and weekdays are the best times to go. no people around