On February 19 – 21st, 2016 the twentieth annual Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto brought together three hundred travel agents, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and magazine publishers, photographers and writers at the International Convention Center beside the airport. The three-day event offered a wide array of exciting, educational and entertaining exhibits, many with cool interactive features. As a visitor I was constantly presented with life changing possibilities. That’s what makes a great trade show; meeting someone here and being open to change could really impact your life.
Its hard to say how many people attended the convention over the course of three days, but I can report the place was absolutely jammed when I was there on Saturday at noon. This wandering reporter found the venue crowded on arrival, and even parking outside the hall was challenging. Inside every corner of the cavernous room there were live performances, product demonstrations and video screens that drew huge crowds. The aisles were rammed with young families pushing baby carriages and herding kids collecting stamps on paper passports issued by the show. There were whole families lining up to go zip lining in one corner of the room, and others were climbing a 25 ft tall rock wall in the center of the complex
In between the four main booth blocks there was a huge swimming pool which they called the Demo Pool. Here a speaker dressed in black stood on a ledge beside the water and gave live kayaking lessons by instructing kayakers in the pool. Everyone gasped as they took cell phone videos as the subjects tried and succeeded, and in some cases tried and failed, to execute the complicated paddling maneuvers. It was unique entertainment for most spectators.
Xcitelife Used The Show To Get eXposure
The pedestrian crush occurred in the main aisle opposite the Xcitelife booth. Attendees could not get down the center aisle without being impacted by Xcitelife’s fun things to do. Everyone was aware of the Xcitelifers who wore black shirts with big red Xs as they were working the show with all their hearts. Their extremely friendly greeters stood under the company flags drumming up eXcitement for their experience marketplace
Xcitelife asks users to make a bucket list, then the software helps them accomplish their travel and adventure goals. What’s even more exciting is the website’s capacity for finding audiences for unique experiences – this could empower hard to find experts to share their passions with the public.
Rapid Media Unveils Kayak Buyers Guide, Free Online
Expert paddlers abounded at the show. Scott MacGregor from Rapid Media was there watching the Adventures in Paddling theatre. I spotted him in the crowd holding the latest copy of Canoeroots magazine but we didn’t get much of a chance to talk; he’s generally surrounded by fans of one or another of Rapid’s four magazine.
Rapid Media puts a comprehensive kayak buyers guide online for free and these are the kind of insider secrets that make the Outdoor Adventure Show so special.
The Adventures in Paddling Live Theatre was full to capacity at noon on Saturday as a flat water paddler took the stage and described a recent excursion down the Nahani. The sponsors of this live theatre were situated around the space exhibiting the latest model stand up paddle boards, canoes and kayaks to the crowd.
The other theatres were dedicated to scuba diving and hiking; and the land trekking theatre was sponsored by Outpost Magazine which is all about gearing up and making long distance journeys across vast scenic landscapes.
History Exhibits at the Outdoor Adventure Show
Below is the First Nations storyteller relating the Voyage of the Iroquois. The area attendants here were dressed in full native Canadian regalia. The walls of their attraction were filled with images taken by passengers inside the giant twelve person canoes that spend two or three weeks paddling the historic trade routes of the Voyageurs!
The history lesson continued with exhibits displaying stone axe heads, arrowheads and spear points. Experts were present at these installations to show crowds how the first Canadians could hunt and kill with such primitive weapons. One expert was able to actually assemble real arrows and spears in front of people,and he was able to illustrate how efficiently the First Nations hunted and acted as responsible nature conservationists of woodland plants and animals.
This was fantastic firsthand knowledge that I didn’t already know and have never seen performed so well by someone so passionate. I will remember it forevermore. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten the man’s name though…
D&D Meats were among the only food vendors at the show, and the only business selling meat. The family owned cured meats shop from Alliston, Ontario had a wide corner all to themselves, and were doing a brisk business selling beef jerky, pepperoni, sausages and kielbasa.
In summary, there were many special people at the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Show exhibiting their dreams, high tech toys and transcontinental travel packages to really remote and exotic destinations. But in truth I was more impressed by the homegrown options, The best life changing memories are made closer to home in my opinion, and Canadian experiences don’t require a currency conversion.
Guest Author Bio Rob Campbell
Rob Campbell is a freelance nature writer and author living in Toronto, Canada. Son of a beekeeper, Rob is keenly interested in using technology to improve conservation and the preservation of our natural world; he funds projects that use gadgets to study and improve the lives of insects (honeybees) and animals around us, especially those unfortunate creatures that are, like so many of us humans, stuck living in the city.
Rob is actively involved in Toronto’s business world and the city’s cultural art scenes.
Blog / Website: SmoJoe.com
Follow Rob Campbell on: Twitter