Come, feel the noise

Think the Canadian International Auto Show is only about cars on show stands and stuffy shirts?

Think the Canadian International Auto Show is only about cars on show stands and stuffy shirts? The Red Zone is the auto show’s way of moving beyond just the auto manufacturers and into the realm of car culture. And somehow, organizers have blended commerce, entertainment and art into a one-ring circus that spans the entire 100 level of the Rogers Centre.

David Ng, the manager in charge of entertainment for the Red Zone, is enthusiastic about the sheer number of DJs, displays, show vehicles and vendors they’ve managed to attract.

“With the break dancing and acrobatic displays, it has a little Cirque du Soleil feel,” he said.

It’s remarkable what’s available to see and do in the Red Zone. “The main feature is the Scion Centre Stage,” Ng said. “We actually have the Scion Fuse concept right in front where people can see it.”

Over 110 hours of entertainment will be featured during the auto show. With performers like host DJ Subliminal, Strawberry Love and Caliente, the beats won’t stop during the show’s regular hours.

There will also be high-flying acrobatics and martial-arts demonstrations as the World Wushu Championships performance team previews their own title event in October. And local radio personality DJ Danny D from Z103.5 will be doing his entire Drive@5 show live from the Red Zone this week.

Elsewhere, the Sport Compact Revolution section is the perfect place to see some of the area’s slickest customized cars, rare Japanese imports and in-car gadgets. Chances are, you may have seen some of these cars in one of the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo games, but these hot models on display right here.

“We have the top Japanese supercars in various forms,” Ng said. “Nissan Skylines, Honda NSX’s, Mitsubishi Evos, all straight from Japan.”

If you prefer megawatts to horsepower, then the ShoZone will be your getaway. Featuring demo vehicles from Clarion, Alpine Electronics, Sony and Pioneer, you’ll be stunned at how many speakers, screens and amplifiers that can be crammed into something more suited to getting groceries!

And if you’re the type of person who can’t leave an auto show empty handed but a Ford Mustang is just too darned expensive, chances are you’ll find it in miniature size in the Market Place. Everything from clothes, hats, keychains, models, toys, memorabilia, wheels, tires, body-kits, car covers, fuel treatments, car wash kits. They can all be found at one of the 125 vendors and exhibitors.

Auto show guide

• What: 2009 Canadian International Auto Show.

• When: Till Sunday, Feb. 22.

• Hours: Daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Final show from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre.

• TICKETS: $20 for adults, $7 for children aged 7-12, children 6 and under free. Multi-day pass $20. Family Pass $40 (2 adults, 2 children 12 and under).

• Closest Subway: Union Station, then Skywalk west toward Rogers Centre.

• Parking: Free Parking at Harbourfront Centre on Queen’s Quay and Lower Simcoe. Shuttle bus service runs entire length of show.

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