Montreal Boat Show makes waves for boat lovers

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Montreal’s annual Boat and Water Sports Show swamped Place Bonaventure February 4-7, hosting close to 300 exhibitors from across Quebec and Ontario and showing off over 450 different watercraft across 300,000 square feet of showroom.

Powerboats, inflatables, pontoons, personal watercraft and sailboats were all on display and the main showroom was an impressive scene for those in attendance, especially boat show first timers.

“It’s really impressive, all of these massive boats in one room,” said Gilles Moar, who was visiting from the Atikamekw community of Manawan. “The boats are beautiful but the place is so big that I lost two of my friends,” he laughed.

Tucked between the luxury yachts, large pleasure crafts and square pontoon boats were a number of quality fishing vessels more in line with marine activities up north. Some of the more popular brands included Smoker Craft, Crestliner, Alumacraft and Lund.

Patrick Therrien, a sales representative for Lund Canada, recommended two of Lund’s offerings for fishing purposes, pitching the Lund 1625 Fury XL and the 1650 Rebel XS.

“Both of these models are great boats designed for fishing,” he said. “If you have a bit more money to spend, the Rebel XS is built with a double-plated bow that makes it much more durable. So if you plan on using your boat a lot and can afford the extra cost it will definitely last you longer.”

The Fury XL starts at around $20,000, has a maximum 60-horsepower motor and seats five with a capacity of 1250 pounds while on the water. The Rebel XS baseline price starts around $25,000 with the option of a 60- or 90-horsepower motor, seating for six and a slightly higher weight capacity of 1350 pounds.

The Lund 1650 Rebel XS

The Lund 1650 Rebel XS

One interesting thing about the boat show is that the dealers, who are on hand to showcase their products, all offer special competitive prices for on-site purchases that can save buyers a couple thousand dollars. According to statistics provided by organizers, the Quebec Maritime Association, 52% of annual visitors between the ages of 26-50 planned on buying a pleasure craft at the event.

Aside from watercraft, exhibitors at the Boat Show offer a host of marine technology. These include cutting-edge navigation systems, fishing gear, life jackets, ropes, trailers and hitches for hauling vessels, lifts, docking systems and a huge range of boat accessories – from storage cabinets to decking to sticky pads that hold your valuables tight to the dashboard while you’re cruising the waves.

Adnane Jabri, who works for Raytech Électronique in Laval, told the Nation about the Garmin Echo map navigation series that offers both GPS software and a sonar fish finder at a cost between $400 and $700 depending on the size of the model. He noted that all of Garmin’s more recent GPS systems come with Waypoint technology, a system that automatically navigates you to locations of interest or “way points” that you’ve saved into your system. By linking your GPS to a trolling motor via the transducer that comes with most Garmin models, you can sit back and relax while your GPS transports you to prime fishing spots or other secret locations that you’ve previously pinpointed.

Another piece of technology that stood out at this year’s show was the Torqeedo motor line, developed on Lake Starnberg in Germany by Doctors Christoph Ballin and Friedrich Böbel. Their four different models of motors are entirely electric but deliver a range of power and torque that can support anything from dinghies to commercial craft. Running on rechargeable batteries that allow for different modes of travel and run time depending on the intensity of usage, each of their models can be charged by a standard wall outlet, a 12-volt connection or even a solar charger.

Torqeedo Travel 1003

Torqeedo Travel 1003

Torqeedo’s smallest motor, the Travel series, can be clamped to kayaks, canoes, punts or smaller craft and delivers the equivalent of a small 3-HP outboard motor in a lighter, cleaner, quieter and more convenient fashion. If you’re interested in purchasing their products, check out or

All in all, the Boat Show is quite the spectacle. While the main showroom dominates exhibits, there are a number of interesting and informative booths hosted by marinas, tourism companies, and clothing and accessory producers from across Quebec, some with tenuous links to marine activity. The show also offers courses on boat safety, classified ads for boat buyers and sellers, a boat navigation simulator and a number of professional seminars.

Some of this year’s topics included a presentation on environmental issues, “fishing par excellence” by renowned fisherman Patrick Campeau. Another featured the adventures of seasoned navigators like sailor Guy Lavoie, who completed the Northwest Passage on a sailboat, and firefighter Sébastien Lapierre, who attempted the same feat in a tandem kayak with his friend Olivier Giasson.

If you’re looking for a deal on a new boat next season or a reason to visit Montreal for a weekend, keep on eye out for next year’s dates at Be prepared for a good amount of walking, large crowds, new gadgets, gorgeous boats and a serious itch to get back out on the water.

Raymarine navigation systemsAlumacraft Escape 145 with a 60 HP Evinrude motor

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