Breaking: Toronto Boat Show


Aug 13, 2020

Letter from Show Director, Linda Waddell

 (Photo courtesy of Dave Sandford)

On behalf of the team at Canadian Boat Shows, I genuinely hope you and your family are healthy and continuing to remain safe during these unprecedented times of COVID-19.

I am writing to provide an update on the 2021 Toronto International Boat Show, based on progress made in the sector for trade & consumer shows, and what we know today.

We are very optimistic the Toronto Boat Show will proceed as scheduled, January 15 – 24, 2021.

The environment we are working through is fluid and continually changing. The daily monitoring of COVID-19 cases by the Provincial Government, combined with their 3 Stage Plan for Re-Opening, means we need approval from the Ontario government to operate.

The City of Toronto was just recently approved to enter Stage 3. Under the Province’s Stage 3 Order, many businesses and facilities have recently been able to open, subject to compliance with reopening conditions. Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted.

Exhibition Place, our venue, has submitted a formal request for an exemption to this gathering limit to the Province, in order for business events like ours to have the ability to restart.

All shows and events are navigating the extraordinary changes as a result of COVID-19. Here at Canadian Boat Shows, we have been working collectively with our industry association (CAEM, Canadian Association of Exposition Management) and the Enercare Centre (Exhibition Place), on Safe Re-Opening Plans for approval by the provincial government.

The city of Toronto is now in the most critical stage of monitoring cases, and this will be a factor in the coming weeks as they determine the next sectors approved to re-open within the latter part of Stage 3.

The province is committed to working closely and collaboratively with sectors not yet able to reopen due to Stage 3 restrictions. The province has established a process for businesses currently excluded to work with the government on reopening proposals that will enable them to safely resume.

The following proposed plans for Exhibitions (Trade & Consumer Shows), and Exhibition Place (Enercare Centre) are currently under review by the government:

Guide on Health & Safety for Exhibitions During COVID-19 (Revised following recent meetings with Ministry of Labour)

Exhibition Place/Enercare Centre Safe Re-Opening Protocol

CAEM Exhibition Industry Safe Re-Opening Guidelines

Please understand these proposed plans have not yet been approved. They are continually changing, as we work through the meeting and review process with the government and venue. These documents are relevant to what today’s protocols would look like, if we could hold larger gatherings today. These are changing weekly as a result of the review process. We are including them in our communication to you for those who may be interested in understanding the process and potential protocols for Shows.

Exhibition Place continues to work in conjunction with Toronto Public Health officials, the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government of Canada, as it relates to the resumption of Business Events/Shows at our venue.

We are very involved in the extensive process to gain approval for our industry and the Toronto Boat Show. I am on the National and Provincial Task Forces, working on the efforts to obtain approvals from the government to move forward. In addition, I am also participating in the roundtable meetings with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, as we work with the government on revising plans to gain approvals by the Ministry of Health.

TIBS 2021Now that the city of Toronto has entered Phase 3 and a process within the provincial government has been established for gatherings over 50 people indoors, we will provide updates on progress as they develop.

Once the Province of Ontario approves our industry and venue’s re-opening plans, then the Toronto Boat Show specific plan will align with the protocols and will be unique to our event, exhibitors and product.

In addition to the current focus on Toronto’s Stage 3 COVID #’s, the Ontario government has recently announced the safe reopening plans for Ontario schools for in-class instruction beginning in September. This is also the government’s priority over the next month, as they work towards returning over 2 million students to class.

The government is prioritizing the health and safety of Ontario. Decisions on approvals, processes and procedures are being guided by this objective. The government understands the lead time required for exhibitions/shows to plan and execute, however the requests by the industry, venues and shows will not be prioritized over the timeline for keeping the curve flattened in Ontario.

We feel very strongly that the Toronto Boat Show can operate safely for both attendees and workers. We are not a large public gathering like concerts or sporting events. We are a retail environment, consistent with shopping malls, large retailers, farmer’s markets and grocery stores. We will continue working towards securing an approval as soon as possible.

We recognize and understand that exhibitors would like to know a definitive decision on whether the show will proceed. As people who plan, organize and execute events – we understand the need to know, more than anyone. However, we recognize the process to keep Ontario safe and we will continue to work through the channels established for approvals in our sector.

We understand it is necessary for our Show to remain flexible, while continuing to work on multiple plans for the 2021 Toronto Boat Show. We encourage all exhibitors to manage this the same way. We hope you understand that we currently do not have a date for a decision.

On behalf of Cynthia Hare, Show Manager and myself – I want to say Thank You to the exhibitors who have reached out to us to stress the importance of the Toronto Show to your business. This has been so appreciated by us.

We are thrilled the industry is having such a strong selling season and that the interest is so high to continue the retail momentum during the Toronto Boat Show. We are so pleased for the industry that thousands of new boaters are now discovering what we already know about the boating lifestyle, and that recreational boating has become one of the activities of choice for consumers during the pandemic.

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