International AutoShow opens in T.O. this weekend



The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is one of the more than 1,000 cars that will be on display at the 2008 Canadian International AutoShow.


Cars and trucks — they’re not just for the fellas anymore. Wheels are in motion and engines are revving up for the automobile enthusiast’s dream come true: The 2008 Canadian International AutoShow. Autophiles from both sides of the border will descend on the Rogers Centre and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Feb. 15-24 to see more than 1,000 of the latest and best cars and trucks the automotive industry has to offer, such as the Mazda Furai concept car, the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S and the Mitsubishi Concept-cX. More than 30 cars are making their exclusive Canadian debut, including the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, the 2009 Kia Borrego, and the 2008 MX-5 Special Version.


Highlights of the show include the Lamborghini Theatre, the largest collection of cars under the prestigious brand outside of Italy, and GTA In Motion, a design studio addressing the problem of gridlock in and around Toronto and how the automobile is part of the solution to the dilemma.

With all the vehicular hoopla, the Rogers Centre and Metro Convention Centre should be chockablock with men, no doubt. But show director of marketing services David McClean expects a larger-than-usual turnout, with dads bringing along their significant others and kids due to this year’s new holiday weekend. To lure more families, the show will give away free programs to the first 5,000 families on Feb. 18, and is offering family pack pricing (two adults, two children for $40, $36 if purchased online).

“It’s traditionally a pretty male audience,” says McClean. “But with part of the show happening over Family Day, we’re expecting more people than we’ve had here before. The family audience is definitely growing at this event, which is why we’re including the family package.”

Visitors can count on the return of old favourites as well, such as the NASCAR pavilion where fans get to test their pit skill mettle as they race against a timed clock, and take a 4x4 test vehicle off-road in the Toyota 4x4 Test Track. Red Zone, a retail mall, will be selling “everything in, on, and behind your car,” McClean says, adding, “It fuses art, music, fashion, culture and cars. You’ll find pretty much everything to do with cars that you could buy.”

The show also has no shortage of prizes, offering patrons the chance to win a Chevrolet 2008 Malibu Hybrid, a 2008 Lexus RX 350 luxury SUV, a Kia Rondo, $50,000 in performance fuel, a trip for 4 to the Michigan Speedway on Canada Day, and 1,000 Mattel Hot Wheels miniature cars to be given away on Family Day.

getting there

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Feb. 15-23; 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Regular tickets: $20 at the door (10 per cent off online), $7 (kids 7-12), free for kids under 6.

Special tickets: $40 for a family pass (two adults, two children); $30 for a multi-day ticket (good for any two days of the show).

Where: The show is in three buildings: Rogers Centre, the North and South Buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Getting there by TTC: The nearest subway station to the show is Union Station. Follow the Skywalk west toward Rogers Centre.

Getting there by GO Transit: Take the GO Train or GO Bus to Union Station and then follow the Skywalk west to Rogers Centre.