Helping to break up the doldrums of February each year is Canada's largest auto show. The Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), better known as the Toronto Auto Show, is home to Canadian car debuts every year. But there's more to an auto show than just a handful of new-car reveals and award handouts. The CIAS is full of displays and events that should keep any automotive enthusiast entertained, and there's something for just about everyone who is interested in cars, interested in tech, or just wants to see some shiny, bright, and salt-free cars to push away the winter blues. So here's your guide to the best things to see and do, the top 10 things at the Toronto Auto Show, which runs from February 14 to 23, open to 10 p.m. all but the final night for your late-night car peeping needs.
Cobble Beach Classics is bringing an exhibit of 15 cars from the 20th century. Like Tesla introducing its EVs in the last decade, these are all vehicles that changed the automotive landscape when they were introduced. The 15 cars include a 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the model that introduced reliability to the car, a 1934 Bugatti Atalante, and a 1963 Shelby Cobra 289. “Each of these beautiful cars can be considered a disruptor in the automotive industry,” says Rob McLeese, Founder and Show Chair of Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. “They changed the game when they were introduced with new technologies or styles. They made a difference, and turned things in a new direction.” It's an uncommon chance to see some of these ultra-rare and highly influential classics.
See the Future
The Future Tech Hub, on the 800 level of the South Building, is a showcase of what the future is bringing to mobility. Taking things beyond a gas-powered car you drive from A to B, this exhibit showcases Drone Delivery Canada, a company looking to bring a commercial drone delivery service to market to fly in your parcels instead of driving them around. It is also the place to see the Project Arrow concept car, a look at what the companies that make the parts that automakers will use have in store.
Disney and Pixar are bringing some onscreen cars for the family to see. They'll have Guinevere the van from Onward, set to premiere in March, but there will also be a life-size Lightning McQueen from Cars and Duke Caboom from Toy Story 4. It's a chance to see the cars from onscreen and take a selfie with them. There's even more fun for the kids, like the Toys R Us Pop-Up shop selling ride-on cars and car seats, but also giving kids a chance to take test drives of their own on battery-powered models like a BMW M8 GTE and Ford F-150
EV Test Drives
With still just a few models on the roads and high demand, test driving an EV can be a challenge. So Plug'n Drive and Toronto's EV Discovery Centre, along with automakers, will offer 24 electric vehicles for showgoers to get in and drive on a city street test loop. It's hard to find a better opportunity to experience multiple EVs, with staff who are trained on (and likely passionate about) electric cars and crossovers.
Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame
Canada's top honour for racers and those who work in motorsports, the class of 2020 will have their induction ceremony during the Canadian International Auto Show. It's the first time the two events have combined, and tickets are available for the induction ceremony that includes access to the whole show. There are 17 new members being inducted this year, and this is a chance to see the ceremony and some of the biggest names in Canadian motorsports. To go with McLaren Racing's induction, there will be some of the company's classic race cars on display in a show exhibit.
A Canadian-designed and built supercar, the Felino cB7R, will be making its debut at the show. The automaker, based in Montreal and the brainchild of Canadian racer Antoine Bessette, has built a carbon-kevlar road car with impressive performance. A dry weight of just 1,135 kg and a 6.2L, 525 hp V8, or the optional 700 hp 7.0L engine, mean 0-100 km/h is possible in under three seconds with a top speed of 345 km/h. The track car has been on sale since 2017, but this roadgoing version makes it easier to bring home.
Bugatti La Voiture Noire
La Voiture Noire is a one-off supercar based on the Chiron, which is the automaker's tribute to one of its most iconic cars: The Type 57 SC Atlantic. It's a 1,500-hp, 16-cylinder car that was sold to its owner for $16.1 million. The car will be on display at the show thanks to Bugatti Toronto and high-end retailer Grand Touring Automobiles. This isn't a car that makes many appearances, so it's an amazing opportunity to see what one of the greatest automakers is able to build for its highest-profile customers.
If your idea of a cool car is something from the '80s and not the 1960s, then Oblivion is for you. It's a car show aimed at the Millennial generation, celebrating the coolest and oddest cars of the 1980s and 1990s, like the Integra Type R, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Subaru Brat, and other semi-modern icons. There will even be a Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine replica, and a copy of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. If you own a car from this generation, you can enter it for a chance to have it on display. The display will also have era-appropriate music and collectables and some classic arcade game cabinets.
Nearly 40 new vehicles will make their first Canadian appearances at the show, so this is the first time that buyers will get to see them. Be the first on your block to check out the Audi RSQ8 or Q4 e-tron electric, the 2020 mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, and more. You can wait for your dealer to get one, or you can check them all out on display here early.
Want to drive quickly virtually? The WorldGaming Network will host the Forza Motorsport 7 WGN Championship driven by Pfaff at the show again this year, crowing a North American Champion in an event on the 23rd. In the first eight days of the show, every show attendee will have a chance to set their own best time on the show floor. The top eight from the show will join the remaining qualifiers from around the continent for the live Grand Finals.