It’s official: The 2021 Canadian International AutoShow is moving entirely online. So is the Montreal International Auto Show.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and “continued safety measures to stem the spread of the virus,” led organizers to move the show online from the floor of the Toronto Convention Centre. 

“With restrictions to public gatherings in Ontario limited for the foreseeable future, our annual automotive showcase that attracts more than 330,000 visitors on average each year simply couldn’t be considered at this time,” CIAS General Manager Jason Campbell said in a statement. “We’re still committed to ensuring that the hundreds of thousands who would normally visit the show in person to learn, explore and be fascinated by the latest innovations on offer, will continue to be able to engage with this great event – just in a new, more widely accessible way.”

The host, Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, aims to revive the in-person show in February 2022.

Until then, it said in the statement that it will “focus on delivering an immersive world-class automotive showcase on a virtual platform instead.”

David McClean, director of marketing at CIAS, said organizers will “fully embrace a digital future that has become the norm.”

“We’re engaged with all manufacturers, sponsors and exhibitors to continue telling their story through our new virtual auto show,” McClean said. “It will be the world’s first virtual auto show and run as a true event — one that excites and drives the new car consumer market in the critical spring buying season. 

“As the automotive landscape changes, the Canadian International AutoShow changes with it, leading the way in terms of how the automotive world connects with consumers.”

More details on the virtual show will be available in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the smaller Montreal International Auto Show will also move its exhibition online.

Organizers on Monday said they are canceling the in-person show at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, originally scheduled from Jan. 15-24, 2021.

“This decision was highly influenced by recent pandemic outcomes, and the uncertainty about easing the public health measures surrounding indoor public event gatherings of more than 250 people in the coming months,” officials said in a statement.

A virtual edition will be held online from Jan. 20-24, 2021. It will be free of charge.

“It would have been easy to make the decision to just skip a year, but we wanted to keep this tradition going in January despite the absence of the in-person event,” MIAS President Francois Boisvert said in a statement. “Our goal, above all, is to stay true to our mission, and to continue offering Quebecers, a platform that allows them to discover a complete offer of the automotive market, and assist them in their mobility choices, all presented in one place.”

The virtual platform will showcase exhibitors on a 3D floor plan, allowing visitors to search exhibitors, new vehicle models, car manufacturers’ offers, special promotions, and live chat with representatives.

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