While final numbers weren’t expected until later this week, organizers said attendance was up more than 30% over last year at the Toronto International RV Show, held Feb. 26-March 1 at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
One of the largest consumers shows in North America, the Toronto RV show was jointly sponsored by the Ontario Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (ORVDA) and the Canadian Recreation Vehicle Association (CRVA). It featured 34 RV dealers as well as campgrounds, seminars, entertainment, and a parts and accessories superstore hosted by Hughes RV in East Garafraxa, Ontario.
“We had a wide variety of attendees. We had some who were there purely for the entertainment value, and we had others who were serious buyers,” ORVDA’s Natalie Conway, the show’s co-manager, told RVBUSINESS.com. “We had perfect weather for the weekend, which is good for this time of year. It was cold, but not too cold, and we even had the sun for a bit.”
Toronto was the sixth consecutive weekend attending a consumer RV show for Steve MacDonald, regional sales manager for Kitchener, Ontario-based Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., after having previously staffed the Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, London and Abbotsford shows.
“This Toronto show was the best so far, in my opinion, in every aspect — attendance, quality of customers, actual buyers,” he said. “We were fortunate to have a display large enough to feature six new Roadtreks. These models ranged from $88,000 to $136,000. The three units sold at the show all were the $136,000 model. We should see three to five more deals directly from the show as well.”
Roland Goreski, owner and general manager of Campkin’s RV Centre, a large towables retailer in Myrtle Station, said the show was “excellent.”
“Traffic was definitely way up and sales were as well. We’re very, very pleased,” he said, adding that the larger travel trailers seemed to do best for them. “But we were selling everything from the tent trailers all the way up to a $100,000 fifth-wheel, so it covered every towable segment.”
He added, “The International Centre is made up of several connected exhibition halls, offering up to 500,000 square feet, and Campkins’ display was in the last of those halls. But show organizers did a good job of maintaining three entrances to the show, so foot traffic is steady for all dealers.”
Goreski noted that this year has been outstanding for Campkin’s. The dealership, founded by Laurie Campkins in 1973, is experiencing an overall 50% increase in sales. “People are just ready to buy,” he said. “Customers are looking for transparency and not being manipulated. Our pricing is transparent at the shows, on our lot and on the Internet.”
Chris McKee, wholesale manager for The Hitch House, a motorized dealer in Shanty Bay, said traffic seemed steady throughout the four-day show and many people were drawn to the retailer’s Class B motorhomes from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.
“We generally take five or six with us to a show, and we get a lot of interest in their products because of their big-time quality,” McKee said, adding the manufacturer’s five-year warranty is a big attraction. “A lot of people coming from a Class A always tend to shy away from the B’s because of the size difference. But the units from Pleasure-Way just seem to fit them.”
This was the second year exhibiting at the Toronto RV Show for Earlton RV Centre, a full-line dealership established in 1976. Owner/Manager Richard Taché said the show was better than last year.
“It wasn’t too bad. We sold a few and we’re still working on deals as we speak,” he said. “We were pleased to bring Lance travel trailers with us this year. It’d been many, many years since Lance had been to Toronto. Last year we brought their truck campers and this year we brought their travel trailers. A lot of people really liked the 1575 model. It’s a 15-foot trailer that only weighs 2,600 pounds (dry), so people can tow it with their minivans.”
Taché said it was his understanding that many dealers thought most people were there to look and not buy, but he was happy with their experience at the show.
Other Ontario dealers included: Bella Vista RV Centre Inc. in Oro-Medonte; Camp-Out RV Sales in Stratford; Camping in Style in Brooklyn; Can-Am Trailers Limited in London; Del Mastro Motors & RV in Peterborough; General Coach in Hensall; Gimme Shelter Ltd. in Shelburne; Globetrotter RV Inc. in Bolton; Great Blue Resorts in Niagara-on-the-Lake; Great Canadian RV in Peterborough; Heidi’s RV Superstore in Hawkstone; Layzee Acres Park & RV Sales in Sebright; McKenzie RV Trailers in Gormley; McPhail’s of Harriston in Harriston; Motorhome Travel Canada Inc. in Bolton; Niagara Trailers in St. Davids; Northlander Industries in Exeter; Outdoor Travel in Hamilton; Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities in Peterborough; Pike Lake Golf Centre Ltd. in Clifford; Quinte’s Isle Campark in Cherry Valley; Ruston RV Centre Ltd. in Burlington; Sauders Camping Ltd. in St. Jacobs; Sicard Holiday Camper Ltd. in Smithville; Stratford RV Centre in Mitchell; The RV Warehouse in Cookstown; Toronto Camping Centre in Concord; Tyssen Trailers in Sutton; Under the Sun Trailers Ltd. in Fraserville; and West Coast Leisure Sales in Bayfield.