Toronto Auto Show 2021 Is Still a Go, but Might Be Online Only

August 25, 2020 Updated: August 25, 2020

Toronto’s annual Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) will be offered virtually next year, but organizers are still deciding if a live event will also go ahead.

The event, held in Toronto since 1974, is Canada’s largest auto show and draws an average of 300,000 visitors.

The CIAS will decide by mid-October whether to go forward with a live event in mid-February at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Next year’s event, which will run from February 13 to 21, will feature displays from 126 exhibitors showcasing automotives, bicycles, electronics, sporting goods, toys and games, and more.

CIAS was one of the few car shows that didn’t get cancelled in 2020 amid the pandemic. Some car companies are still saying that they may not attend auto shows in 2021 citing safety concerns.

“We were very fortunate that we got our event in just under the wire before all kinds of other automotive events around the world were cancelled,” said David McClean, Director of Marketing for the CIAS in an interview with Canadianautodeal.ca.

For 2021, CIAS may not be able to give consumers the same experience they’ve known over the last 47 years, but it will offer a virtual platform for manufacturers to show off their brand and engage consumers in different ways.

“As the auto show, we’re in show business. We want to get people excited about the auto industry,” Maclean said. “We want to drive people to the event, in this case, drive them to the platform.”

CIAS will still provide prizes, auto exotica, and a classic car show, Maclean said. It’s up to the brands to show up on the new platform in any way that they can conceive of, to promote their products and brands.

A virtual auto show provides a platform for manufacturers to potentially use their designers or celebrities to showcase their products. For VIP events and gatherings where manufactures can talk with their dealers in a social environment, CIAS will likely not be able to do that next year, however, and will be limited to virtual meetings and small gatherings.