2024 Canadian International AutoShow Sees Record Attendance

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The Canadian International AutoShow returned to the Metro Convention Centre from February 15-20.
A major highlight was local luxury auto retailer Grand Touring Automobiles, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
A special press conference on Grand Touring Automobile's 50th anniversary included American Motor Racing Driver Townsend Bell; Rimac CEO and founder, Mate Rimac; Grand Touring CEO Paul Cummings and Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame, as well the Rimac Nevera hypercar.
John Stewart, President of the 2024 Canadian International AutoShow (left), with Todd Bourgon, Executive Director, Motor Vehicle Retailers of Ontario (MVRO).
A special President's Preview Gala took place prior to the show opening to the public on February 16.
Toyota Prius won the coveted Canadian Car of the Year Award, presented by the Automobile Journalists' Association of Canada.
A popular attraction was a life-size 1957 Chevy Corvette, based on the car seen the 2023 Barbie movie.
Camp Jeep in-door off-road experience proved hugely popular with attendees.
This 1972 VW Type 2 Westfalia camper was restored and converted to electric power by students at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont.
Kia EV9 symbolizes the current popularity of SUVs, wrapped up in an all-electric format.
Ultra exotic Pagani Huayra Roadster was part of a collection of vehicles at the unique Pfaff display in the North Hall.
Tesla's much touted Cybertruck was on display at CIAS this year and drew a lot of attention.
The Little Car Company produces scaled down versions of some of the most iconic cars ever built including the Bugatti Type 35 (left) and Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. These exquisite replicas are available through Grand Touring Automobiles.
The INEOS Grenadier has made it to North America for 2024. In Canada, distribution is handled exclusively through the Dilawri Group of Companies.
LEGO on-site store and displays proved hugely popular, including this mural recreation of the legendary Porsche 911.
Photos Huw Evans

Crowds flocked to Canada’s largest consumer event, signifying the vibrancy of the automotive industry in this country.

On February 15, the 2024 Canadian International AutoShow began, with a media preview day, followed that same evening by the VIP Gala and special President’s Preview reception.

The following morning, on February 16, the show was officially opened to the public. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario; Neil Lumsden, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Support, along with federal Member of Parliament Francesco Sobara, and federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois Champagne, partook in an official ribbon cutting ceremony, declaring the 650,000 square foot automotive expo open to the public.

With 44 different automotive brands represented, plus the return of popular attractions such as Camp Jeep, the EV Test Track, as well as Auto Exotica and the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance displays, Canada’s largest consumer show set a new attendance record on its opening day, with 22,628 people passing through the gates (eclipsing the previous record of 21,385 set back in 2018).

Family destination

Said Jason Campbell, General Manager, Canadian International AutoShow, “Whether shopping for a new vehicle or dreaming big among the exotics or taking part in any of the family-oriented activities we offer this year, the [AutoShow] is a family destination.”

Campbell added that “this year’s AutoShow is bigger and better—back to the same footprint we saw pre-pandemic, with perhaps the best collection of exotic cars we have ever presented.”

A key highlight at CIAS 2024, was the anniversary of local luxury retailer Grand Touring Automobiles celebrating its 50th anniversary. Among the vehicles displayed at the special GTA exhibit, was the Rimac Nevera, the world’s quickest hypercar. Mate Rimac, CEO Rimac Group, was on hand for a special press briefing, along with Grand Touring Automobiles CEO Paul Cummings and Richard Hammond of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame. Grand Touring Automobiles is the official retail partner for Rimac in Toronto. Other exotics on display as part of the 50th anniversary Grand Touring Automobiles Celebration included the all-electric Pininfarina Battista, classic-recreated Zagato bodied Porsche 356, vintage Land Rover inspired Himalaya Mariner, as well as some stunning offerings from other storied brands within the company’s retail portfolio, including Aston-Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, and Lamborghini.

A range of experiences

Besides having the opportunity to gaze at these and a variety of exotics throughout the show, including an ultra-rare 1932 Stutz Super Bearcat, Pagani Huayra Roadster, the last Bugatti Chirion ever made, a Ferrari 250 Long-wheelbase Tour de France competition coupe, plus an original, Lamborghini LP400S “Lowbody,” show attendees had the opportunity to shop for their next vehicle, experience a whole range of interactive experiences, as well as indulge in their favourite automotive related memorabilia from the likes of LEGO and Hot Wheels. In fact, a special limited-edition Hot Wheels Nissan Silvia, limited to 1,000 copies worldwide was available exclusively at CIAS.

A special “Super Tuesday” promotion, following the Ontario Family Day long weekend, saw the price of single adult ticket admission reduced to $15 (a 40% discount of the regular price) and representing the first time in 15 years the price has been at that level.

Other highlights included an announcement by the Government of Canada of an $8 million investment in two Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) live environment piloting sites. One will be located in Toronto, the other in the Windsor/Sarnia corridor. These Technology Pilot zones will serve as live testing sites for more than 40 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an effort to commercialize more than 40 new technologies designed to support clean air and low-emission vehicles.

Car and Utility of the Year

Additionally, CIAS saw the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) bestow its coveted Canadian Car and Utility of the Year awards. The Toyota Prius was named Canadian Car of the Year, while the Toyota Grand Highlander took home Utility of the Year honours.

The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame also saw 15 new inductees in 2024, including IndyCar legend Dario Franchetti who was inducted in the International Category. Other inductees included in the Competitor, Builder, and Race Support categories included fellow IndyCar legend James Hinchcliffe, Claude Aubin (Bois-des-Fillions, Que.), Jeremy Dale (Toronto, Ont.), Mark Dilley (Barrie, Ont.), Ernie Jakubowski (Oakville, Ont.), Norman Jennings (Toronto, Ont.), Brad Moran (Toronto, ON), Patrick Richard (Squamish, B.C.), Didier Schraenen (Mont-St-Hilaire, Que.), Frank & Dan Sprongl (Georgetown, Ont.), William (Bill) Vallis (Welland, Ont.), John Waldie (Stratford, Ont.) and Kuno Wittmer (Brossard, Que). The media category inducted John Massingberd (Burlington, Ont.) and J. Wally Nesbitt (Parry Sound, Ont.).

Record attendance

During the course of its 10-day run, the AutoShow proved yet again that Canada’s love affair with the automobile remains undiminished. By the time the doors closed on Sunday, February 20, the 2024 Canadian International AutoShow had set a record for attendance in the history of the event, with 371, 559 guests (beating the previous record of 358,842 set in 2018).

In summarizing this year’s CIAS, Jason Campbell stated that “with so many new brands adding to the roster of presenting manufacturers this year, an expanded indoor and outdoor test drive program and a diverse and well-presented series of features, our consumers came out in force.”

Campbell added that “positive word-of-mouth, media coverage and social media activity from early attendees helped propel us to a strong finish and a new attendance record.”


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