Dec 5, 2016
The 2016 Boating Ontario Conference held at Blue Mountain Resort, kicked off with a unique twist. Presented with an incentive-based Game Card at the Welcome Reception, all of the delegates were sent out on a Village Tour and Pub Crawl. A change to the traditional trade show, Blue Mountain Resort allowed for 25 exhibitors to be located in a number of village pubs.
This gave the delegates and exhibitors alike, a more social setting that allowed for excellent networking and continued interaction with Boating Ontario members. Coming off a great summer and for many members, record-breaking 2016 sales, the atmosphere was very positive. The event launched the Conference with energy and enthusiasm.
Thom Dammrich, President of the NMMA added to the body of valuable information that attendees gained at the 2016 Boating Ontario Conference.
Highlights of the conference were Keynote presentations starting off with Darrell Bricker, IPSOS Public Affairs CEO who presented a significant body of research data and interpretation that framed up the business environment very well.
Thom Dammrich, NMMA President continued the valuable information in his session and other presenters such as Darlene Upton, Executive Director Ontario Waterways, Parks Canada, delivered a wide range of valuable information to help attendees guide their businesses to even greater success in the coming year. One of the most important themes was around the changing demographic profile of our current and future buyers.
The many Concurrent sessions, held over the two days, attracted large audiences.
Finding ways to attract and engage the up and coming younger buyers, many of whom are from non-white Anglo Saxon backgrounds is an important challenge for the industry.
Closing keynote Tina Varughese, a Canadian professional speaker and trainer with an East Indian background wound up the Conference with many practical and useful recommendations on how to engage with potential buyers from differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds. To emphasize and drive home her points, she used audience involvement and humour to great effect.
Concurrent Sessions were held to enable attendees to tailor their experience to the needs they see in their own businesses, adding to the value of attending.
The reception ahead of the President’s Awards Dinner was another highlight and a great chance for networking with friends and colleagues.
At the President’s Awards Gala, Boating Ontario members were recognized for their contributions to Ontario’s boating industry. This year, Chris Perera, owner of Boatdealers.ca was the recipient of the Gord Blake Visionary Award for his outstanding contribution in the field of innovation. Boatdealers.ca is proving to be the highest quality website for new and used boats for sale in Canada. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Chris continues to develop and expand his business and will be launching OutboardDealers.ca in January of 2017.
Ryan Stovold, General Manager of Lefroy Harbour Resorts was the recipient of the Robert Eaton Environmental Award for his dedication to environmental responsibility and stewardship. Ryan has also continued to raise the bar at Lefroy Harbour with their continued participation in the Boating Ontario Clean Marine program, being the first marina in Ontario to reach the 5-anchor Platinum designation in 2015.
The W.J. Robertson Award recipient was Karen Harrington, Provincial Marine Program Coordinator for the OPP. Karen received this award for her dedication to reducing boating tragedies and promoting boating safety through her job, as well as for her appreciation for the Boating Ontario Association.
Linda Waddell, President & Show Director, Canadian Boat Shows was the recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for her outstanding contribution to long-term impact on the boating industry in Ontario. Linda has made years of significant contributions to the boating industry and has structured their boat shows to benefit the many diverse interests of all marine businesses. Under her direction, the Toronto and Vancouver International Boat Shows continue to thrive and grow.
We are currently working on a post event delegate survey and would greatly appreciate your feedback. We are also excited to share that we are in discussions to return to Blue Mountain Resort to expand upon the success of the 2016 conference.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2017 Boating Ontario Conference.