The Canadian International Auto Show opened Friday in Toronto, and while official attendance numbers have not been released, the positive vibe felt on Saturday morning should certainly please show organizers.

And it wasn’t your stereotypical car-show crowd either. While the groups of “gearheads” were gathered pointing at some of the hotter machinery, there were even more couples and families with kids and strollers present, crawling on and through vehicles of every stripe and price. They were folding seats, checking trunk sizes, pushing buttons, and obviously researching for their next big purchase.

Scott Ellas and Anne Chambers, of Oshawa, fit into both categories. They are regular attendees of the auto show, and Chambers is as much a car “junkie” as her companion. Ellas said that while they were doing some research this year, their next purchase would still be a couple years away. “We’re looking for a vehicle to fit kids when they come along,” he said, smiling.

The pair had only been there for an hour or so, but had already assembled a list of favourites they’d seen so far: The new Ford F-150 pickup, the Acura RL luxury sedan, and the compact Suzuki SX4 hatchback. And while Chambers was itching to see the new Cadillacs on display, Ellas was hoping that there would be examples of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro — built in their hometown — on the show floor. “I want to convince my old man to get a Camaro. I hope they have them open this year,” he said.

Perhaps more fitting the car-show mould, Richard Willard and Justin Hayden, friends from Walkerton, were excited to learn that the new Ford Raptor SVT — a showroom-ready off-road racer — was in the building.

“Oh, we’ve gotta see that!” Willard said. The pair were there to check out the new metal, but weren’t in a position to buy. “If I had money, I’d be shopping,” Willard explained. And while they were more interested in off-roading, they were both eager to see the new Audi R8 5.2 FSI supercar and declared the Kia Coupe concept the best thing they’d seen so far.

Organizers explained last week that having the show’s opening weekend overlap both Valentine’s Day and Ontario’s Family Day would help boost attendance numbers, but can anyone really call an auto show romantic?

Doug and Anne Vowles were interested in the Transport Canada display of current and future propulsion technology. “Hybrids, electrics, hydrogen fuel cells,” Doug said. “We’re always researching.” And while Doug wouldn’t miss the show for anything, this year is a special one: “Every second or third year my wife humours me and tags along.” Now that’s a Valentine’s Day present!