Behind the Scenes: Presenting an RV Show

Featured image for Behind the Scenes: Presenting an RV Show

Ah yes, it is so relaxing walking through the shiny rows of new Airstream, Lance, Imagine, and Alto trailers and having a pleasant little "look-see" in those darling motorhomes.  Just a perfect family outing to get your mind focused on the upcoming camping season.  And hey!, there are towing videos running on big screen tvs, and such an interesting selection of tow vehicles.  Who knew that Tesla was such an appropriate companion to my favourite travel trailer?  And the sales staff, so relaxed and friendly, lookin' like a million bucks, all dressed up and palming me a biz card to help me keep in touch.  Just easy.
All I can say is, " You should have been here a couple of days ago! "  
rv sales
For Can-Am RV Centre, putting up an RV show with our fifty plus years of experience, in a variety of cities and locatons is something like a cross between bringing the circus to town and a military invasion.  By that I mean, there is a precision usually reserved for building multi-story buildings and bridges, and yet it has the colour and energy and comradery of putting together a high-school musical.  The whole well oiled machine runs on adreniline and coffee.   It all starts out with an ever evolving list of trailers and motorhomes and 5th wheels that we want to highlight, and share with the public.  The list is shaped by availability from the manufacturers, available space and exisiting inventory.  We use computer generated mapping to come up with a floor plan that will allow us the maximum number of units, as well as a clear and pleasant space for pedestrian traffic.  We also create space "backstage", for a finance office, room for staff to change and eat and also to house the cases of snacks, bottled water and coffee that fuels the Can-Am team.
Getting there is half the challenge!  As you know, most of the RV Shows occur in the "off season".  To get up to 45 units to the RV Show site will require driving 45 round trips, often towing through some of the worst weather Ontario has to offer.  Nearly everybody on staff gets to drive some combination to Toronto or London or Ottawa or wherever to see the migration through.  But then there is the clean up. The spotless brand new trailers you see on display arrived to the show filthy dirty on the outside from the road trip there. You can be sure that our hardworking detailers work very, very long days to get our rigs perfect for our viewers. 

But before we can even bring our inventory inside, we need to lay down what seems like, 100 square miles of carpet tiles to make everything look great and to reduce the stress of walking and standing on concrete all weekend.  In a hard surfaced room, the carpet also goes a long way to make the acoustics a whole lot better.  To accomplish this, we have a giant cargo trailer filled with thousands of carpet tiles and a winch system to get the containers out to the show floor.  It is all hands on deck, as we lay the carpet squares.  This step alone can take the better part of a day.   Finally we can carefully start bringing in the trailers and motorhomes and arranging them to match our digital map of the space.  Andy Thomason can squeeze those precious shiny RVs in with nary an inch to spare.  It is really something to see!  When we have everything just so, we start placing the dozen or more large screen TVs on their stands in strategic positions.  Now viewers can enjoy the thrills of seeing the Can-Am team of professional drivers scooting around pylons on a closed circuit race track or airstrip as we dial in and demonstrate the best hitch systems in the country, (hey,maybe the continent!) 

As we start to see the end of the installation in sight, we still need to run electricity to all of our travel trailers, motorhomes and temporary offices.  This involves several miles of extension cords dropped from the ceiling area, and then run along tracks, pipes and ropes to the various locations.  Out come the ladders, the zip ties and duct tape and the employees that don't mind heights are in demand.  Meanwhile, other worker bees are opening boxes and boxes of articles needed to "stage" the interiors.  The flowers, glasses, coffee cups, fake fruit and other knick knacks all add a bit of personality to our interiors and give our travel trailers a lived in look.  This is to help our potential customers get an idea of just how wonderful the RV lifestyle is. Lighting is adjusted, brochures posted throughout, and the staff changes clothing from work duds to shirts and ties (and believe me they polish up real good! ) As our first visitors start wandering through the new Can-Am Villiage, they will think this display was here permanently.  But just like Barnum and Bailey, the Can-Am RV Show is a limited time engagement and if you miss it, you really will miss all the magic, the energy, and the excitement of the RV lifestyle, caught up, condensed and bottled like summer fireflies in a jar.  And just like the Circus, when it is all over, we take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves and take it all down, box it up, put it on trucks and take it to another city, and somehow that deep well of adreneline never seems to run dry, because after 54 years of doing's still a ton of fun!