Show, Show, Show Your Boat

A boat show in January in Toronto, by definition, is all about fantasy.

Outside are slippery sidewalks and dirty snow and wind that isn’t the kind you want to billow your sails come summer.

But inside the Direct Energy Centre at the CNE grounds is a huge and welcoming marina with every size and shape of watercraft you can imagine.

The Toronto International Boat Show runs through Sunday and you can check out all the fun and fantasy online at and save on tickets, too.

This being fantasy time, the longest line-ups for a look inside the cruisers on opening day (and likely every other day) were next to the swim platforms of the million dollar plus craft.

You can literally smell the luxury; it’s that beguiling scent of brand new, prohibitively expensive and highly coveted.

The latest models of power yachts over 50-feet have expansive, light-filled living salons on the upper deck and sun room cockpits. Galleys are situated above deck, too, in these new, sophisticated layouts that have transferred space from the cabin below to what feels like patio living.

Staterooms with adjoining heads, some with frameless glass shower stalls, are tucked below deck. Some models have small lounge areas below as well, with built-in flat screen televisions on swivel mounts.

These luxury cruisers are not so much condos on the water as party spaces with comfortable sleeping quarters.

But even the upper salons have loungers and sleeper conversions — ideal for extra guests or sleeping under the stars. Or for passing out after the party.

However, a walk around at the 2014 edition of the Boat Show, though by no means an exhaustive one, suggested an emphasis on bowriders with some cuddies thrown in for good measure.
Maybe the downsizing trend has hit the waves, too. Or maybe they’re all that’s needed now by retiring boomers who populate marinas and, increasingly, waterfront lifestyle living.

And what’s a boat show without a boat to fall in love with?

My lust object is a 336 Cobalt that’s a clever combination of bowrider and cuddy — terrific for daytripping with friends, perfect for overnight anchoring out with a generous sofa that converts to a berth, a comfortably sized portable head and complete with air-conditioning and heat.

Of course, boats aren’t the only things at the boat show.There’s an ItBike ( that really is more bicycle than pedal boat. Put together enough of them at your marina and you can have a spinning class on the water.

There are also paddleboards, wakeboards, demonstrations, a canoe museum, 140 seminars, a mariner’s marketplace and activities for kids and the world’s largest indoor lake.

And you don’t even have to bring along sunscreen.