From Beginning Till End
When you walk through the doors at the Toronto Sportsmen's Show at the International Centre and begin your tour following the red carpet from Halls 1 through 5, its hard to imagine how it all begins. I had the opportunity to spend seven days with Fish TV and see what it takes to put on a show like they do. Arriving at the International Center located in Mississauga ON, we dropped off four big enclosed trailers the booth is stored in. Monday morning the real work began. The four trailers were pulled inside and backed up to the empty 20,000 sq. ft. booth. I wondered to myself,
“Where do you begin?”
My question was soon answered. The Fish TV crew didn’t waste any time getting started. It was like a well-oiled machine. The trout pond was first to be unloaded. Numbered from A-1 through A-10, the wall sections were laid out in order and bolted together. Next was the liner, and before you knew it the water was slowly creeping up the sides and filling.
Carpet gets laid down throughout the whole 20,000 sq. ft. booth. Then Little Lunkers was next. Little Lunkers is four sections of log wall, each being 4’ wide and when complete is 16’ long. The huge TV wall was next. Its three 55” Samsung flat panels wide by three panels high. Each one gets an HDMI cable that plugs into a splitter, then a DVD player plugs into the splitter to make it all work as one image.
Toyota is a huge sponsor of the event and front and center is the Ontario Toyota stage. A huge portion is bolted together then fork lifts are hired to lift it up and legs are bolted on. Audio and power cables are fished under the carpets and lights and speakers are plugged in. When the stage is lit and the tunes are playing, everyone in the International Center knows its show time in the Fish TV Zone!
On day one the big fish tank was trucked in and filled with water. It wasn’t long before the seminar stage was set up and the tank was full of fish and ready to go. Fish TV’s very own Ron James and Jeff Chisholm gave presentations throughout the event along with Rapala Pro-Staff, Italo Labignan, Jeremie Brooks, Shawn Banks and Scott Walcott.
Rapala is another sponsor of Fish TV and they had a booth there as well. The scale of some of the booths at the Toronto Sportsmen's Show was incredible! All the work was coming to an end Tuesday night while everyone put the finishing touches on their booths. The red carpet was rolled out through the aisles. The garbage was swept up, the carpets were vacuumed and the curtains went up.
After two days of hard work, day one of the show being open finally arrives. Wednesday was one of the busiest days. The crowd flooded in through the doors. It was non stop action in the Fish TV Zone! There was a seminar in front of the big fish tank every hour on the hour and the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak performed on the Ontario Toyota stage every hour on the half hour while prizes were given out to all the Fish TV fans.
Saturday was the busiest day. While everyone was catching fish at the trout pond, watching seminars, and fighting fish on the fish simulators, the parking lot was still filling with vehicles full of people eager to join in on the fun. There were so many people, vehicles were having to be re-directed to other parking lots.
Sunday night rolled around and the show came to an end. The Fish TV crew didn’t take long to tear everything down and load it back into trailers. The huge TV wall was taken apart and each TV was put into it's own custom made box. The pond was drained, the liner was vacuumed dry then folded, and the walls were unbolted. If it wasn't for such a great team effort it wouldn’t be possible to have completed such a quick and organized tear down. The Fish TV crew is an absolute great group of people and it was such a privilege to work with each and every one of them.
Next time you walk through the doors at a show like the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, just think about all the hard work and man hours that goes into putting on a show like this. And all this was just one booth. Countless exhibitors put in a huge effort and put on a great show. But it all wouldn't be the same without the fans. Thanks to all who came out and supported the event! Looking forward to seeing you next year!
Photo Credit: Valens Chu & Peter Yeung
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