Ten things to know about the Canadian International Auto Show

The Canadian International Auto Show is the largest car event in Canada, taking place in the heart of the city at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

  • 2016-02-11-3818

The Canadian International Auto Show is the largest car event in Canada, taking place in the heart of the city at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Not sure what to expect and how to tackle the massive show? Here are 10 things to know about CIAS 2016, which runs from Friday, Feb. 12 to Sunday, Feb. 21.

Q: How do I get there? And what can I do with my winter jacket?

The North Building is on Front St. and the South Building is underground, next to the CN Tower. There’s covered parking, though it fills quickly and it’s not cheap.

Transit is the “Better Way,” even to a car show. You can walk from Union Station through the covered Skywalk to both halls.

Check your coat when you arrive for $3 so you don’t have to carry it around the show — it can get warm under the display lights.

Q: Do I have to go outside to get between the two halls?

There’s a wide inside corridor over the railway tracks that links the two halls, and either escalators or elevators to pass between levels.

Q: What are the best cars to see?

Pretty much every new car and light truck that’s sold in Canada will be on display, but there are plenty of others too, including concepts, hot rods, Indy race cars, autonomous cars, street tuners, and exotics.

At least 40 new production cars will be making their Canadian debuts at the show, models never before seen in this country.

Q: What concept cars are at the show?

At least 11, including the hydrogen-powered Audi H-Tron, Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover pickup truck, and the Buick Avenir fastback that was a hit at last month’s Detroit auto show. Even the Nissan Rogue Warrior, which took all the attention at January’s Montreal show, will be here with its tracked wheels for snow.

RELATED: Toyota U2 Urban Utility Concept debuts in Toronto

Q: What’s the most expensive car at the show?

It’s the 1996 McLaren F1 GTR, an irreplaceable race car that won Le Mans on its first time out. The last McLaren F1 that sold at auction fetched almost $14 million. That means this is probably the most expensive car to ever be at the Toronto show.

This car is being displayed by Pfaff Motors Inc. and is owned by BMW North America, which supplied its 6.1-litre V12 engine.

Q: Can I buy a car at the show?

Yes, but there’s no pressure to do so. Most will direct you to a local dealer.

Q: What other exotic cars are at the show?

Where to begin? Aside from the high-end BMWs, Benzes, Jaguars and Porsches on the main show floors, the collection of exotics in the AutoExotica hall is unsurpassed.

This year we’ll see a Ferrari California T, Bentley GT Continental Speed Convertible, Rolls-Royce Wraith, Aston Martin DB9 GT, Lamborghini Huracan coupe, Maserati GranTurismo GT, McLaren 570S and 650S, and a Pagani Huayra.

Q: Are there any collector and vintage cars at the show?

Lots. Five local auto fans won space at the show to display their prides-and-joy, and you can vote for the show favourite. In the Art and the Automobile exhibit, there are 17 cars set against the advertising that promoted them when they were new, from a 1904 Oldsmobile to a 1963 Studebaker Avanti.

One of the rarest cars is the American LeBaron-bodied Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS, one of only two made, which was awarded Best in Show at the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2013.

Q: Should I bring my kids?

Sure, though an adult must accompany them — you can’t drop them off for the day. Just tell them to ask you before touching anything. They don’t even have to be that interested in cars — there’s plenty to see and do.

Younger children aged 3 months to 8 years old, with ID, can visit the Volkswagen Children’s Playcare Centre. It provides a professional daycare service at no charge for up to three hours, with arts and crafts, dress-up, DVDs and more.

Older kids can visit the Xbox One Gaming Area in the South Building, where they can race cars.

Q: What is there to eat? Can I bring my own food?

There’s food for most tastes at the show, and it’s not overpriced. There are two separate food courts, as well as the Muskoka Brewery Restaurant for pulled-pork sandwiches and craft beer. You’re welcome to bring your own food, but you’re asked to eat in designated areas.

By the numbers:


650,000 sq. ft.

Models on display:



10 days


$45 for the Volkswagen Family Admission pass

Priciest car:

$14+ million for the McLaren F1 GTR

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