Get cruising at the Toronto Boat Show


You won’t be able to buy this beauty at the Toronto Boat Show. It’s moored in La Paz, Mexico and belongs to billionaire Dennis R. Washington, but you should be able to find something that suits your tastes — and budget — during the largest exhibition of its kind in Canada. (Adrian Brijbassi/

Report by Rod Charles Deputy Editor


The Lake is an indoor attraction at the Toronto Boat Show that features free use of canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. (Rod Charles/

TORONTO, ONTARIO — This is one show that will float your boat.

Okay, horrible puns aside, the 55th annual Toronto International Boat Show – the largest of its kind in the country – is making a splash this week at Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.

The first thing that will hit you, especially if you’ve never been to an exhibition like this, is the sheer size of the show. If you’ve never seen a yacht up close before in your life, it’s worth the price of admission just for that sight.

Described on its website as “The best place to see boats and the best place to buy them,” the Toronto Boat Show draws thousands of people from across North America. And by everyone we also mean young people, because there are several family-friendly activities featured. has compiled a list of exhibits and items at the boat show that we think you and your family will enjoy, strictly from a travel/road trip/day-out-on-the-water-with-the-kids perspective:

The Indoor Lake

Without question, one of the coolest things at the show, for the sheer wow factor alone, is the rink in Ricoh Stadium, which has been turned into a mini-lake. Here you can take a free ride on the lake on a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat. “The Lake” has more than one million gallons of Lake Ontario water and took more than six days to complete.

Toys for Big and Little Kids

From $2,000 inflatable monkey bars to rubber boats to toys and trampolines, there are lots of things even the littlest visitors to the show will enjoy checking out.

Yachts and Smaller Craft

Kayaks, canoes, sea-doos, sailboats. Pleasure boats and working boats. Any and every type of watercraft you can imagine is at this show. One of the coolest things about this event is that vendors aren’t worried about little ones climbing on for a closer look.

Whatever you do, be sure to visit the Meridian Yachts. The lineup may be long depending on when you go, but it’s worth it to see these beautiful boats. And the good news — they cost less than a million dollars so they should fit most budgets.


You can always count on law enforcement to have fun gadgets, and this year the RCMP officers are at the show along with Joint Rescue Coordination. Scott Cornett of the Metro Toronto Police Marine Unit will be discussing water safety at 3 pm on Wednesday, January 16 at the Presentation Centre.


The police aren’t the only people putting on interesting seminars. On January 17, best-selling author Rob Macleod will talk about mastering sailing at 4:30 pm. On January 18, Duma the Wakeboarding Dog will be at The Lake for a 10 am show. For a full list of seminars at the Boat Show, click here.

Win Tickets to the Toronto International Boat Show has one pair of General Admission tickets to the 2013 Toronto International Boat Show to give away to one of our visitors. To enter to win, simply send an email to our Editors ( telling us about your favourite travel experience on a boat or send out a tweet from your Twitter account using the hashtag #VacayWin and directing your message @VacayCanada. We will select a winner by Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5 pm ET. To be eligible to win, you must be 18 years of age or older, live in a Canadian province or territory other than Quebec, and be in the Toronto area.

More About the 2013 Toronto International Boat Show

Hours: Show Ends January 20, 2013

  • Sunday, January 20: 10 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday, January 19: 10 am to 7 pm
  • Wednesday, January 16: 11 am to 8 pm
  • Thursday to Friday (January 17-18): 11 am to 9 pm

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place (see map below)

Onsite Admission (HST included): 

  • $18: General Admission (17 to 64 years)
  • $15: Seniors (65 years and better)
  • $20: Unlimited Weekday Evening Pass (Mon. to Wed., between 4 and 8 pm; and Thurs. and Fri., between 4 and 9 pm)
  • $25: Two-Day Adult Pass (17 to 64 yrs.)
  • $19: Two-Day Senior Pass (65 yrs. & better)
  • Kids 16 yrs. & under free when accompanied by an adult

Click here for Show Features
Click here for Seminars
Phone: 905-951-0009

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Rod has previously worked for and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

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