It would appear Toronto Mayor David Miller has shot himself in the foot by giving the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show grief over its hunting content. In large part due to Miller’s policy forbidding anything to do with guns on city property, the 63-year-old outdoors exhibition has announced it’s moving digs from the city-owned Exhibition Place to the provincially owned Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
And with the move, effective as of next year’s running of the show, so goes a big chunk of change to the cash-strapped city’s coffers.The switch in venue comes after the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show was put on notice that it would not be able to allow the sale or handling of hunting firearms at next year’s show.
Certainly other considerations also fuelled the move—situated in downtown Toronto on Front Street, the Convention Centre is far better located than Exhibition Place in terms of surrounding amenities and access by public transportation. As well, the Convention Centre is a start-of-the-art facility, while the show’s old quarters at Exhibition Place’s Direct Energy Centre comprised a mish-mash of old and newer facilities. Parking had also become a headache for the show’s patrons.
And while the yesterday’s press release from the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show didn’t make mention of the gun issue playing into the move, the organization is earning praise for its decision. Also yesterday, the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association issued a press release lauding organizers for standing up for Canada’s heritage sports.
Quoted in the release is the chair of the CSIA’s government affairs committee, Phil Morlock:
“The economic importance of hunting and recreational shooting are vital to many of our fishing tackle retailers and our industry. The City of Toronto government has made it clear that our customers who hunt are no longer welcome in city-owned venues, and we congratulate CNSS for moving the show to a location where law abiding responsible citizens are indeed welcome.”
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, which sponsors the show’s Hunting Hall through its magazine, Ontario Out of Doors, was also pleased by the move. In yet another related press release yesterday, OFAH’s executive director, Mike Reader, said:
“We are proud to be a part of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, the largest outdoor event of its kind in Canada, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be moving with the show to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The new venue offers a central location, easy transit access, ample parking and the opportunity to expand. It’s a great move.”