Toronto’s International Boat Show 2012

As Toronto’s weather slowly enters the annual unbearable-cold phase, it’s hard to suppress hopeful thoughts about your cottage on the lake, perfect sunsets on the beach or sailing the open sea on a warm summer’s day. Amplify those visions, beginning this weekend, when Ricoh Coliseum is transformed from sport/concert venue to the world’s largest indoor lake for boaters, as part of the 54th Toronto International Boat Show. From January 14 – 22, the Direct Energy Centre will host Canada’s largest boat show, featuring the premiere showcase of 2012 boats and boating products. Extra bonus: the event is held completely indoors; leave the scarves and gloves at home.

The Boats
There is a whole lot to be excited about for boaters at this year’s show, with hundreds of new and never-before-seen boats and products. Drive a convertible? Get a boat to match: Check out the 2012 Regal 35 Sport Coupe (Booth 641), which features a retractable hardtop roof with all the amenities of a 45-foot yacht in a neat-and-tidy 35-foot package. Nostalgic types should head to Booth 734 for Canada’s first look at the “collector’s edition” Glastron GT 160, a retro-sleek powerboat sporting three-dimensional gauges and racing seats. Wake boarders will be wiping drool from their faces at Booth 735 where the Malibu MXZ will be on display in all its glory. One of the most buzzed about powerboats of 2012, it boasts a sleeker design and more space than previous models, as well as an ideal wakeboard and surf wake with easy entry into the water.

The Attractions
For the 10th year in a row, the Toronto show will feature the world’s largest indoor lake for boaters, containing over one million gallons of water from Lake Ontario. Beginners and boating experts alike will be able to take free boat rides in canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and inflatable rafts. The lake will also feature an area for pro wakeboard demonstrations. The show includes the Great Canadian Fish Tank, a 40-ft aquarium filled with 5,000 gallons of water, carrying native Ontario marine life. The tank is meant to provide passersby with a fish-eyed view of how marine life reacts to different lures, bait and techniques.

The People
Among numerous guest experts in attendance is Abby Sunderland, the youngest person ever to solo-sail around Cape Horn (often referred to as the “Everest of sailing”) and almost around the world before a tough encounter with a rogue wave that almost killed her. Also in attendance you will find Abby’s older brother Zack, the youngest person to sail around the world. If gold and diamonds are more your thing, have a chat with legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher. If you feel knotty, get some speed tips from Derek Hatfield, Canada’s most experienced and successful off-shore racer.

The Showstopper
If, somehow, the lake, the boats and attractions fail to capture your interest, then you have a fallback: Duma the Famous Water Skiing Dog. This six-year-old Jack Russell Terrier can be spotted all week on the indoor lake both waterskiing and driving boats. Lap it up, fuzzball.

Image courtesy of Docktime.

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