MUSKOKA - Local marinas and marines are raving about the success of the Toronto International Boat show last week.
The show took place from Jan. 12 to 20 and exhibitors said the great response from shoppers is a sign that the upcoming season is going to be a good one.
“There’s a lot of optimism in the marketplace and a lot of people are buying boats,” said Paul Nickel of Pride Marine Group.”We feel that sales are a good indication of what is to come.”
He added that this was the first year in recent memory when shoppers had nothing but positive comments to share.
“The tell tale sign is that we’re going to have a very good summer,” said the Cove Marina co-owner and manager of sales David Shaw. “It was a great show.”
Shaw has been taking his products to the show since 1995 and said he noticed big ticket items were selling this year.
Rick Layzell, sales manager for Gordon Bay Marine echoed Shaw’s sentiments.
“We had a great show, the crowds were excellent. The reported attendance was up six per cent from last year,” said Layzell, adding that the quality and enthusiasm of buyers was positive.
“There was an appetite everything from a 13-foot Boston Whaler to a $100,000 Malibu and everything in between,” he said.
Layzell has been attending the show for 23 years, and said this was a banner year.
Chris Ivanov, operations manager for Mobile Marine said the show is a good indicator of what operators can expect in the coming season.
“There are definitely positives out there,” he said.
Ivanov noted a trend toward demand for high performance pontoon boats.
“We were selling pontoon boats with horsepower … people are consolidating their bowrider and their pontoon boats,” he said.
All in all, whether they be stockbrokers or bricklayers or professional athletes, people seem to be looking forward to a summer afloat. Aboard a boat is their place to process, to give their attention to the task at hand and let their unconscious solve the problems that have been vexing them.
The problem facing boaters, of course, is winter. Canadians who rely on boating as a way to manage stress or drive their creative process forward have to find another way to cope.
The Toronto boat show is one of those ways of coping. For a few hours each January, boaters and boat fanciers can lose themselves in dreams of boating, of chartering a bareboat in the Caribbean, guiding a floating cottage through the Trent-Severn, or kayaking up the south branch of the Muskoka River with a new carbon-fibre paddle.
It’s a time of shared dreaming, an afternoon to acknowledge that, whatever else we spend our winter doing, we’d really rather be boating.