The 2019 Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show, promoted as “The Big One,” held up to its name, as the largest RV show in Canada posted record-setting attendance of almost 25,000 with over 500 RVs displayed by 36 dealers.
The Feb. 28-March 3 event was held in the expansive International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, near Toronto that boasted more than 400,000 square feet of RVs and related exhibitors in five halls. The “Big One” is the only consumer RV show produced by the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA).
With the final numbers tallied just after the show on Monday, CRVA Show Director Shannon O’Callaghan confirmed attendance was up significantly.
“We definitely know it was a record show,” O’Callaghan told RVBUSINESS.com. “We just confirmed our attendance was 24,619, a new record for us. We had a lot of firsts this year such as using our neighbors’ parking lots as overflow and running out of printed show programs. Before we went into the show we were also 35% up on our online ticket sales.
“Many of the dealers we spoke to reported their best show ever,” she added. “Even the small exhibitors, like a company called Quick Wick Fire Starters, brought 2,500 samples and quickly ran out. Alexis Vos, front line sales support for Campkin’s RV Centre in Whitby, Ontario, also said the show was a success.”
O’Callaghan noted that most dealers reported they were seeing traffic throughout the event. “It was very busy for sure,” she stated. “We had five booths with over 40 RVs and we think it was bigger than last year’s show. I would say the first two days of the show were the older crowd we normally have and then throughout the weekend it went to a younger crowd.”
Ron Beringer, with Can-Am RV Centre of London, Ontario, offered, “We sold quite a few units and had a nice flow of people coming through. People came in ready to buy—some of them on the spot.
“I would say the main demographic attending was the 35 to 55 set,” said Beringer. “Most were travel trailers in the 25-foot range lightweight class. We sold three of four teardrops and quite a few Airstreams.
Looking ahead, most felt the show sends a strong message concerning the health of the industry heading into 2019.
“I think it’s shaping up to look like a pretty good year, comparable to last year but maybe not quite as big,” said Beringer. “The Canadian market is still very strong.”
CRVA President Shane Devenish, added, “We are hopeful the 10% increase in attendance over 2018 and reported increased retail figures from our dealer exhibitors are indicative of good things ahead and will be a bellwether for the 2019 season.”