One of the three major regional boat shows scheduled for early 2021 has been canceled.

The Vancouver International Boat Show is a late-winter tradition, and a favorite for 48° North to attend and explore. We had a fabulous time checking out the show in 2020, which boasted a number of boats and products that weren’t featured at the Seattle or Portland shows. With indoor and outdoor locations and a unique indoor layout at BC Place that helps attendees see every accessory booth with a single lap around the concourse, it’s always a rich and enjoyable event. We’ll miss it this year.

Clearly, with the border between the U.S. and Canada still closed, attendance by American boaters was looking uncertain. For sailors, cruisers, and exhibiting businesses throughout BC and beyond, this decision is both understandable and disappointing, but not particularly surprising. Boaters will continue to look for new ways to discover new boats and products, and businesses will surely find other avenues to kickstart the Salish Sea boating season in 2021. 

Here is the press release from the folks that put on the Vancouver International Boat Show: 

Vancouver, B.C. – For the past 58 years the Vancouver International Boat Show has signaled the upcoming boating season in British Columbia, a region known as one of the premier boating locations in the world. In February of this year, the show hosted over 250 exhibitors and welcomed upwards of 30,000 guests to the five day event held simultaneously at two locations (BC Place Stadium and an in-water display at Granville Island).

Considered to be one of the premier boat events in North America, the Vancouver International Boat Show is a significant contributor to the $1.25 billion in annual economic impact the industry generates in British Columbia.  But today, the Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel the 59th annual show, originally scheduled for February 37, 2021 due to COVID-19 and the ongoing uncertainty related to large-scale events in BC.

Don Prittie, President of Boating BC, owners of the Vancouver International Boat Show, says the Board reached the difficult decision following extensive exploration and consultation with stakeholders, including health authorities. “Although we are incredibly disappointed, there is nothing more important to our organization than the health, safety and well-being of our hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of British Columbians who visit our show annually,” says Prittie. “As an Association we are always committed to safety and the decision to support our province’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak is an extension of that philosophy.”

Show Director Linda Waddell of Canadian Boat Shows, producers of the show, noted that planning for the popular annual event was well underway at the time of the decision, but now efforts will be refocused towards 2022. “We want to thank all of our partners, exhibitors and sponsors for their ongoing feedback throughout this process while we were working on safe re-opening plans to hold another outstanding show. Their support as we navigated these uncertain times is truly indicative of the spirit of our industry,” noted Waddell. “Our team is now focused on welcoming British Columbian’s back to the traditional Vancouver International Boat Show in 2022.”

Western Canada’s largest consumer boating event, the Vancouver International Boat Show is owned by the Boating BC Association and produced by Canadian Boat Shows. To learn more visit: