The 67th annual Toronto Sportsmen’s Show took over the Direct Energy Centre this past weekend. With hundreds of exhibitors and all the finest camping, hunting, and fishing gear around, this year’s convention was an outdoorsman’s delight. Here are some of the highlights from the show…
Husqvarna Chainsaw Carving by Bobbi Switzer
Bobbi Switzer, the renowned chainsaw sculptor from the Bruce Peninsula, was on hand to give live demonstrations of her carving skills. The deafening roar of Bobbi’s Husqvarna chainsaw belied the delicacy of her cutting strokes; transforming a raw log into a majestic bear with ease. The old saying goes, “measure twice, cut once,” but Bobbi had no time for any of that. With a true artist’s eye and craftsman’s hand, she went about her carving with speed and accuracy – which is especially impressive considering that in the world of chainsaw carving, the margin for error is zero.
Birds of Prey
The Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place is not where you’d expect to see a live eagle with a seven foot wingspan, but courtesy the Canadian Peregrine Foundation you could see just that. Along with the bald eagle, they had several different species of owl, hawks, and a few specimens of the fastest animal in the world: the Peregrine Falcon. Reaching up to 389 kilometres per hour in a dive, the Peregrine’s speed puts the Cheetah to shame. The Foundation’s message of conservation was really driven home when you could see the beauty of these birds up close and in person.
Archery Test Range
The archery test range, presented by the Ontario Association of Archers, was a highlight of the show allowing participants to unleash their inner Katniss Everdeen or Robin Hood. The experience of shooting a bow and arrow is incomparable: the tension of the draw; the unwavering focus on your target and the powerful release; watching the arrow strike home with devastating speed. It’s not surprising that archery is one of the fastest growing sports. At the OAA’s range, you could choose between recurve, compound, and crossbows – getting the full spectrum of what the fine sport of archery has to offer.
Planning My Next 1000 Trips
With all the different lodges, outfitters, and tour operators at the Sportsmen’s Show, it was hard not to get carried away planning the most elaborate wilderness adventures. Perhaps I’ll take a fishing trip this summer at Pine Portage Lodge near Wawa, Ontario. Or maybe I’ll trek up to the Yukon with Tombstone Outfitters for a moose hunt. Why not book an African Safari with Mafigeni Safari Co. while I’m at it? Even though you’re in the middle of Toronto in the dead of winter, you can almost taste the fresh air of the wilderness while talking to these exhibitors about their various expeditions.
Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse
Of course, with all of the fishing, hunting, and camping gear around, one thought inevitably crosses your mind: I really need to stock up on zombie survival gear. Literally everything you would ever need to withstand an onslaught of ravenous undead can be found at the Sportsmen’s Show. Shotguns, throwing knives, axes of all varieties… it’s all there. Crossbows, hunting rifles, even a good old fashioned slingshot. When the walking dead show up at your door, you’ll be prepared.
If you attended the 2014 Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.