Boatbuilders seek boost from upcoming Toronto show

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Boatbuilders are looking forward to the 56th annual Toronto International Boat Show because they say the Canadian market was resilient during the recession and because it enjoys consistently strong sales.

“Canada’s been pretty strong,” Ferretti Group of America president James Henderson told Trade Only Today. “Canada really didn’t go into a recession the way everybody else did.”

The nine-day show, which starts Saturday, is one of the most anticipated of the winter shows for Rec Boat Holdings, company president Roch Lambert told Trade Only. “It’s a very important show for us in Toronto,” Lambert said.

The company will bring its new jet propulsion boats — the Scarab 215 and the Glastron GT207 — in the models’ first international unveiling.

Chaparral and Robalo president Jim Lane and vice president Ann Baldree agree that Canada’s largest show has seen strong sales in the past, adding that strong dealers in the region have helped facilitate that.

The show will hold wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboard yoga and other demonstrations on the world’s largest indoor lake. With more than a million gallons of water from Lake Ontario, the lake provides attendees a chance to learn how to wakeboard or take free boat rides.

Courses and seminars will be available, ranging from the Canadian Canoe Museum’s paddle-carving course to sessions on offshore cruising. The show is also offering presentations and tours in Mandarin Chinese.

The Toronto International Boat Show will run from Saturday through Jan. 19 at the Direct Energy Centre. A special preview night will be held Friday to benefit children’s charities.

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