The COVID Debate: The Toronto auto show is going digital for 2021, and could be online-only

Toronto, Ontario — Toronto’s annual Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) has announced that they will be offering a virtual experience for their  2021 show, but they are also still deciding if a live event will also be held.

According to Automotive News Canada, the CIAS’ director of marketing, David McClean, said technology exists “to build a virtual platform” for the public to experience auto brands “in a virtual environment,” and it could be connected to a physical event, either at the same time or later on.

The 2020 show is one of the few auto events in Canada and the U.S. that wasn’t cancelled due to COVID-19. The show generally draws around 360,000 spectators with many of the displays dedicated to antique cars, children’s activities, gamers and vendors. 

Show organizers are currently in the process of assessing their ability to hold an in-person show that’s safe for the public, while also weighing costs to automakers and the event.

The CIAS will decide by mid-October whether to hold a live event in February, but “the virtual show will go on regardless.”

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