Canadian Home Workshop Show



by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Frankly I am not very handy! I like watching the Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) shows on television and as a result I know all of the jargon and most of the tools. However, to “get up close and personal” is not for me! So, when I saw that there was a consumer show, the Canadian Home Workshop Show, about “Doing It Yourself”, I was hesitant about going. I asked Judi what she thought and if she would like to go with me. Her eyes glazed over and I knew immediately that she wasn’t interested! Her blank stare quickly turned to a smile and she yelled “YOU GO”. I was stunned! Go alone! So here I was, on a beautiful sunny, but crisp, February morning heading for Toronto. The show was being held at the International Centre in Mississauga. The Centre's parking lot was quite full when we arrived, but I managed to “squeeze” into an empty space. The show was being held in the Centre’s Hall 5. I followed the crowd into the Hall, purchased my ticket and joined the line-up for the show. And, boy, what a show it was!

The Products...

I walked through the show’s entrance and immediately entered another world! This was a world foreign to me! I couldn’t believe the volume of products available! As we explored the labyrinth of aisle, I discovered many of the tools I was familiar with, but more that I was not! It was the same with the Brand names. I was familiar with DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Rockwell and Minwax, but unfamiliar with King Canada, Busy Bee Tools, Global Tools, Dowelmax and my favourite “Nothing But Heavy-Tools”! I tried to take it all in. I followed and listened to Nelson faithfully, but in the end there was just too much information! Rather than try to force the issue, I just relaxed and took in as much as I could. I will say that I found everything most interesting! There was so much to see, that this is the first of two parts on “The Products”. Before I continue with the products, I want to talk about “The Demonstrations” That comes next.
The following is a list of some of the products and companies we saw along the way:
* Markham Industrial and Trade Suppliers
* Emerson Tool Company/All in One Clamps
* DeWalt Industrial Tools Co.
* Freud Canada
* Steel City Tool Company
* Makita Canada
* Bosch
* Hitachi Koki Canada
* Stockroom Supply
* King Canada

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The Demonstrations…

In amongst all the products were the Demonstrators! I am not talking about just a couple of Demonstrators. I’m talking about a “whole bunch”! In the first part of the show I recorded 9 demonstrations and I am sure there were many more that I could have videoed. The demonstrations included using of a band saw, a cutting tool, clamps, v-cutters, computerized routing, micro jigs, grinding and lathes. The areas surrounding these demonstration areas swarmed with interested onlookers! As a matter of fact, it was difficult to get close enough for a decent video shot! The dynamics between Demonstrators and onlookers was fascinating. The types of products being shown varied, but all were innovative and useful. Our search for more products and demonstrations at the Canadian Home Workshop Show continued.

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The Products (continued)…

As mentioned previously, the number and types of products being offered was overwhelming! It was a “Home Hobbyist” and “Do-It-Yourselfer’s” paradise! It would seem that home workshops rule the day. Even with the down economy that we are now experiencing, the home workshop business seems to be flourishing. I guess, in a way, this make a lot of sense. People still need to occupy their spare time. What could be more satisfying, and rewarding, then upgrading your home or creating something beautiful with your own hands! It’s the pride of workmanship!
More of the companies and products we saw along the way:
* Lee Valley Tools
* Century Mill Lumber
* Humber College
* John Louis Closets
* Exotic Woods
* Rockwell
* Minwax
* Micro Jig
* General Tools
* Rob Cosman

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The Demonstrations (continued)…

Our demonstration journey took us to the “Dream Workshop Seminar Stage”. The speaker on stage was Michael Kampen. A large crowd had gathered to listen to Michael talk and demonstrate advanced router techniques. After the seminar, we carried on our search for more demonstrations. We came to the Marquetry Society booth (wood inlays). The work on display was amazing. We watched while one of the Society’s members demonstrated his Marquetry techniques. As we moved along, we came to a demonstration on planning smaller pieces of wood. At the end of one of the aisle was a large space set up for the “Do It At the Show” Project Workshop. Several people were working on personal projects. Back up the aisles, we found master caver, Morley McArthur. Morley was working on a large bowl! We watched while he worked on the bowl and explained what he was doing. Around the corner from Morley was the Woodcarvers display. One of the carvers was painting a near finished piece. Located in the far corner of the hall was the “Kids Corner”. Children of various ages were being shown the proper use of tools. Just a short distance from the “Kids Corner” was the Main Stage. Speaking on stage was TV personality, Jim Caruk. Jim, a Pro Contractor and Home Improvement Expert, is best known for his HGTV program, “Real Renos”. Jim’s talk, like his TV program, was very interesting and informative! Jim stayed for a few moments after his talk for photographs. Unfortunately he couldn’t stay long as he had an airplane to catch.
Loaded with lots of ideas and tips from the Canadian Home Workshop Show, Nelson and I left the hall and headed back home!