General Manager, Canadian International AutoShow
The 2020 Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) was the world’s last big car show before COVID-19 locked the doors to public events.
Were it not for the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant, which prompted Ontario to reinstate health-and-safety restrictions in mid-December, CIAS was set to return Feb. 18-27.
Even before the pandemic, global auto shows were faltering as manufacturers questioned the value of mounting costly displays. Despite the departure of some major brands, attendance at the most recent Toronto events, attendance has slipped only marginally. That has largely been due to the efforts of Jason Campbell, who added technology exhibits and crowd-pleasing activities.
Since his appointment as general manager in 2014, Campbell, 50, has kept the show thriving. Its enduring appeal was reflected in a fall survey showing that more than 90 per cent of about 23,000 respondents said they would did definitely return or seriously consider returning next year.
The cancellation of the 2022 CIAS is no doubt a huge disappointment for Campbell, but he remains undaunted. “We’ll be back bigger than ever in 2023 for what will be our 50th year,” he said.