Orillia Spring boat show opens after pandemic hiatus


A 32-year-old festival returns to the Port of Orillia this weekend.

The Spring Boat, Cottage and Green Technology Show reopens Friday through Sunday after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

This year’s environmental theme includes a hybrid side-by-side ATV, a four-wheel drive buggy and a hybrid Hyundai.

“We also get electric boats from On Your Way Marine from Quebec,” said Doug Bunker, event planner with the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.

Considered one of Ontario’s largest on-water boat sales, buyers, sellers and visitors can view the boats, as well as visit dozens of vendors offering green initiatives, food trucks and chalet lifestyle and outdoor gazebos.

Reviewing the state of tourism in Orillia now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, Mike Ladouceur, acting director of business development, culture and tourism, said the city is experiencing a rebound. positive.

Ladouceur said that, overall, tourism is recovering at a steady pace from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using hotel occupancy rates as an indicator of tourism, Ladouceur noted that July and August 2021 rebounded to 67% and 76% respectively, when closings were lifted last year. He compared that to the fourth quarter of 2020 at 43% and December 2021, which saw a dismal occupancy of 39% during the pandemic shutdowns.

Ladouceur said Orillia expects similar summer numbers for this year and has already seen a 6-10% increase in bookings.

“We are happy and satisfied with our current state,” Ladouceur said.

Bunker said that outside of the boats, one of the most popular spring boat show attractions has always been the duck dock competition.

“We saw large dogs looking like Danes or Yorkshire terriers jumping off the dock to grab a stick. People love dogs and they are lining up to watch this event.”

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