Organisers of the Vancouver International Boat Show (VIBS) have confirmed that western Canada’s premier consumer boat show will return to its traditional early February dates beginning in 2019, running from February 6-10 at BC Place and Granville Island.

The move comes in response to the British Columbia government’s plans to shift the dates of its Family Day holiday weekend from the second to the third week of February beginning next year, in order to align with similar holidays in other Canadian provinces.

Introduced five years ago, the Family Day holiday weekend overlapped with VIBS, a situation that quickly irritated exhibitors after other new, competing events over the same weekend were blamed for lowering show attendance.

The show’s organisers, Canadian Boat Shows Inc (CBSI), responded by shifting VIBS forward to the third week in January, which was the next time slot available at host venue BC Place.

With the BC Family Day holiday now moving to the third week of February, CBSI surveyed exhibitors last month and found overwhelming support for returning the show to its original early February time slot.

“The exhibitor support to move back to our historical February dates was exceptionally strong – more than 77% of survey respondents believe this move marks a great opportunity to further evolve the event,” says VIBS show manager Eric Nicholl. “There are a number of positives to come from this change, since the show now has some greater separation from the busy holiday season, and is closer to the beginning of the boating season on the west coast.”

Returning to the original February dates further eliminates some significant operational challenges for organisers and national exhibitors alike, since the current January show dates conflict with the larger Toronto International Boat Show also operated by CBSI.

“Returning to the original February dates eliminates the overlap with the Toronto show, which had created logistical challenges for many business to contend with,” says Nicholl. “Returning VIBS to its traditional February dates will make the whole process easier for those exhibitors who had to restructure displays, split staff, or simply choose between one show or the other.”