Jan 23, 2024
Every year the big question is, how strong will the market be as we begin the new year. There is probably no better indicator than what we get from the Toronto International Boat Show. If the crowds are light, if their attitude is flat or down, and if show goers are not sitting down with sales people, there is reason for concern.
On the other hand, it was uplifting in today’s environment of stock market whiplash, interest rate uncertainty, political and global tensions the likes of which I have never seen, to see people laughing, greeting friends and bringing their families including small children, to see the boats.
It looks pretty upbeat to me. First Look Friday drew a busy show floor and people were buying things from the marketplace and carrying them out by the armloads. Dealers I spoke to said things were shaping up to be positive and on Saturday, the second day of the show, the indoor parking was full by lunch hour, the aisles were busy and I’d say we are off to a solid start on boating 2024.
It was impressive to see Georgian College with a big display, located right opposite the Mercury booth. Rob Davidson had brought a big load of signage and Marine and Small Engine teaching aids and tools to use in the inaugural Georgian College Skills Competition – a qualifier for the Provincial Skills Ontario event in May.
A team of five Georgian students participated in six 1-hour competitions of wiring, tearing down an engine and other service tasks. Xander Powell was in attendance who became the first Midland campus student to win gold at the provincial competition last year and who then went on to win gold at the nationals as well. It was great to see him there supporting Georgian.
Rob Davidson was busy all day talking to show goers and answering questions about the marine trades and careers in the industry. It was great to see the avid interest from the public attendees as well as exhibitors and industry professionals.
Have a look at our video of Rob Davidson with his closing remarks on the day and announcing the two winners of the skills competition, Aiden Crandall and Josh Merritt. Congratulations to all students on a tremendous day!
Last, I hope you are able to join us at the NMMA Canada Industry Breakfast, Tuesday January 23. I’ll be there as host. Hope to see you in person!
Andy Adams – Editor