There’s nothing like a long winter to motivate us even more to get outdoors and begin enjoying the many pristine lakes in Simcoe County. It’s time to sweep the cobwebs out of the cottage, and get that cover off the boat.

For nearly 30 years, the annual Spring, Boat, Cottage & Outdoor Show has been held at the Port of Orillia on Couchiching Lake. “We always have good diversity for cottagers and boaters,” says Doug Bunker, Event Coordinator for the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.

It’s free to attend and has grown to include a variety of vendors including boating and outdoor clothing, marine technology such as navigation and sound systems, boating equipment, inflatables for on the boat or at the cottage, accessories for the boat and cottage, and indoor and outdoor décor.

“We try to put everything in one place. It’s a kickstart to the summer, and a great way to get people up here and thinking about what they want,” says Bunker.

Orillia’s beautiful waterfront is the perfect place to view new and preowned boats. The docks are used to display boats from both the boating industry and private sellers. “I encourage people to look at the boats because we have great dealers, and used boats are a good price,” informs Bunker.

The Orillia Spring Boat, Cottage & Outdoor Show is a unique tradeshow because it offers private sellers a chance to show their boats to potential buyers. Bunker says some people are selling their boats because they’re getting out of boating, or they want to upgrade to a bigger boat.

“Pretty much the whole boardwalk along the waterfront is a ribbon of information. We have vendors who offer accessories, docks, services such as cottage builders, how to drain plumbing, how to wax the boat to bring the shine back, insurance, and boat tops,” says Bunker.

In the first year of the Orillia boat show, the whole port was filled with used boats, says Bunker. “The June show started as a used boat show in 1989 in an effort to sell the huge number of preowned boats in dealer inventories in a public selling venue. Even privately-owned boats were offered space in an effort to keep the product selection high and sales diversified. The time of year was geared to move this inventory at the start of the boating season. As the years progressed, so did the show’s focus. Accessories to the industry plus other recreational, sporting and lifestyle products evolved the show into a jump start event for the summer season.”

You can bring the kids and pack a picnic lunch, or enjoy something from one of the food vendors. There’s usually someone selling ice cream, and there’s lots of shade, grassy areas, benches, and picnic tables to sit and relax for awhile.

Get an early start on summer, and check out what’s new for the boating season and cottage. This year’s Spring Boat, Cottage & Outdoor Show is Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9.

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