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Toronto dealers mark 100 years of service

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), and it's an honour to serve as president of our association on this auspicious occasion.

  • Choosing a car at dealership. Thoughtful grey hair man in formalwear leaning at the car and looking away

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), and it’s an honour to serve as president of our association on this auspicious occasion.

The TADA has come a long way since its formation in the horse and buggy era. Over the past century, our association has provided ongoing support for its members as the automotive industry has grown. Today, the TADA represents about 350 new-car dealers throughout the GTA.

In 1908, the association was conceived by a small group of Toronto automobile dealers calling themselves the Toronto Automobile Trade Association.

This feisty band of dealers had decided to challenge a decision by the Toronto city fathers, which required those early automobiles to be transported on horse-drawn wagons in the annual Orange Day Parade.

It seems the city fathers objected to the noise and fumes created by those early models. As it turned out, the dealers won the day, the cars drove in the Orange Day Parade, and as an association, we haven’t looked back.

Since that time, the TADA has provided information services to its members about government, manufacturer and consumer issues. It has also worked closely with various levels of government to establish fair business practices, standards of advertising and training.

The TADA has been heavily involved in the promotion of the automobile industry. In 1974, the association launched the Toronto auto show to showcase the newest cars, trucks and accessories of the automotive world.

Over the past 35 years, the auto show has evolved into a world-class event. It’s now the largest consumer show in size and attendance in Canada (more than 320,000 visitors per year), and it’s among the five auto shows in North America that are internationally accredited.

This annual event takes a full year to prepare. The end result is a 10-day, consumer-driven showcase that provides car lovers with a “total automotive experience.”

The TADA helped to form the Canadian Automotive Institute (CAI) at Georgian College in Barrie, in 1985. The CAI is an internationally recognized educational facility that prepares students for careers in all sectors of the automotive industry.

In 1997, the TADA worked with the Ontario government and consumer groups to form the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC). With the creation of OMVIC, Ontario’s car dealers became the first business sector to become self-managed, meaning that while government continues to make the rules, OMVIC administers them on a daily basis.

To mark its centennial anniversary, the TADA hosted a black tie gala last November, at which its past presidents presented a cheque for $1 million to the TAD Foundation. The foundation is a separate company formed to accept funds from the TADA and donate them to charitable organizations.

The funds will be donated to a local charity in early 2008.


This column represents the views

of TADA. Email president@tada.ca

or visit tada.ca.

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