GravenHurst Boat Show

July 17, 2018

We had the pleasure of speaking to Mike Gridley, Show Chairman of the Gravenhurst Antique Boat Show, which took place this past weekend, on July 7th as part of the Toronto Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. 

Mike GridleyMike reports that Another Vintage Boat Show is in the books. By all accounts and the feedback and comments that we have received thus far it was a fantastic show. An absolute sell-out with 120 boats on display in the water and more on land, including fiberglass boats! ACBS President Tom Crawford was in attendance.



For the second year, the show was free. Mike shares that they want the show to be accessible to everyone. So how did they make the show run so well, with no entry fee? Well thanks to 16 great sponsors: Mercedes Benz – Barrie, Walkers Point Marina, Cedar Coast Timber Homes, Hagerty Classic Boat Insurance, Town of Gravenhurst, RBC Wealth Management – Dominion Securities, Ridley Windows and Doors, Audi of Mississauga and Audi Brampton, Part Time CFO Services, Platinum sponsor – Pfaff Auto, Grant Thornton, BDO, Muskoka Springs Water and the Marriot Residence Inn, a host of Partners and lower security costs the show was a booming success.

So how did they do attendance wise? Well, since they couldn’t count tickets they took several drone shots, and compared them to other years and the attendance was estimated to be over 5000 people, which is higher than its been for several years! Last year they hit about 4500.

The theme of the show this year was ‘Keeping the Passion Alive – a Salute to the Heritage Boat Shops’. Mike explains that back in the day there was about a dozen shops building wooden boats, now there are 18 shops involved in the maintenance restoration and building of reproduction wooden boats that help us keep going – this was the way to recognize these shops, as they keep the passion for Heritage Boats alive.

We wanted to ask Mike, how does the show get people involved in boats and boating, as that’s a topic we often explore. “To get the crowds enthusiastic about classic and vintage boats in general was a combination of things. First, was making the show free so that everyone could have access to it. The other was the addition of the classic fibreglass boats alongside wooden boats, people loved this addition as they may remember from them the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Additionally, what we’ve done for a few years now is ‘ride alongs’, where we have volunteers taking people on rides this year, the crowd loved it, we had 320 rides total and only stopped because we ran out of time.” Sounds like a complete success.

For more information please visit: https://www.acbs.ca/

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