The vast size of the area almost
guarantees that there is outstanding
fishing available. Enthusiast sports-men visit from all over the world.
When Jim first took the reins of the
boat show that is sponsored by the Mid-Canada Marine Dealers’ Association
(MMDA), it only occupied a single floor
in the Winnipeg Convention Centre. He
admits that growth was slow until
around the year 2000 when things just
seemed to take off. Recently, the show
has become a year-over-year sell-out
occupying all three floors with some 200
Exhibitors, 40 of which are dealers. “For
the exhibitors, the show provides an
excellent kick-off of the season with
impressive numbers of boats moved,”
A “Ladies Night” is held on the opening day of the show each year. Jim commented that “this year there were more
women in attendance than both men
and women last year – a healthy sign.”
Approximately 20,000 people frequent
the show over its annual four-day run.
The show committee is comprised of
approximately four dealers appointed by
MMDA President Garth Bromley and
chaired by Greg Alcock of Woodlake
Marine. The committee provides input
to, and general oversight of, show planning and operations-related activities.
Committee participants are rotated periodically to ensure variety and to keep
the show fresh and vibrant.
Apart from sponsorship of the show,
the MMDA has, since its inception
approximately 25 years ago, actively
promoted recreational boating interests
both to the public and within the government. Their membership body of
approximately 60, and Board of
Directors numbering 10, are sourced
primarily from Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. (While the invitation is
open for Alberta and Saskatchewan-based trade organizations to participate,
none are currently involved.)
Some of the many projects the
MMDA has advanced in its stewardship
of recreational boating in mid-Canada
• The Zebra-Mussel Prevention
• Marine Mechanic Training
Program at Red River Collegiate
• Urban Angling Partnership
• Miscellaneous Safe Boating
• On-Water PWC Training Program
In the coming weeks, the MMDA
will also launch their 2008 advertising
campaign to encourage boating in the
region. The program asks “What are
you doing this weekend?” and promotes boating as a great family recreational activity.
So it appears that there is keen interest in recreational boating amongst mid-Canadians, and abundant opportunity
to indulge those pleasures on bodies of
water, large and small. One might also
take from the trailerable nature of the
vast majority of boats at the show, that
these boaters enjoy touring the region to
experience all that each area has to offer.
From a market opportunity perspective, this region provides an attractive
alternative to vying for the boaters’ dollar in the more competitive regions
around the Great Lakes, Georgian Bay,
Haliburton and the Kawarthas.
(Statistics on signed sales contracts for
boats in excess of $15K at the 2008
show reached 157.) Manufacturers, distributors, dealers and advertisers who
have paid little attention to this neck of
the woods, might do well to stake their
claim in mid-Canada.
It’s as important in the recreational
boating world as anywhere else.
Location! Location! Location! ●