The Vancouver International Auto Show features sports cars and all the latest vehicles for about five days in March at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
AUTO SHOW AND COVID-19
2020 would have been the event’s 100th anniversary, which is a significant milestone! The 2020 event was cancelled, however, because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Organizers had hoped to have been able to host the event again in March of 2021. In November of 2020, however, they announced that would not be possible, neither in a live nor virtual format. Hopefully the show will be able to take place at some other time later in the year. Exact details, however, are to be determined.
For the most up-to-date information about the status of the event, see the Vancouver Auto Show website.
This article contains information about the following:
The International Auto Show
The Auto Show usually runs for just under a week and features cars of all kinds including exotic sports cars like the Aston Martin, Alpha Romeo, Lamborghini and Porsche, plus the full range of the latest models by Toyota, Ford, GM, Honda, BMW and all the other carmakers.
Using 290,000 square feet of exhibition space and two floors, the Vancouver International Auto Show is the largest trade show put on at the Vancouver Convention Centre all year. There are cars everywhere!
CAR SHOW AT VANDUSEN GARDEN
If you like car shows, especially ones showcasing both vintage and British vehicles, then another event you’ll want to check out is the All British Field Meet. It happens each year at VanDusen Botanical Garden on the Saturday May of the Victoria Day Long Weekend. It’s an amazing event and features hundreds of British cars of all makes and models.
For information about what bills itself as “The Greatest Show on British Wheels,” see our article about the All British Field Meet or check out the following promotional video from the event last year.
Where and When
The Vancouver International Auto Show takes place in the heart of downtown at the Vancouver Convention Centre West which is located at 1055 Canada Place by Thurlow Street and Jack Poole Plaza.
In 2020 the event was supposed to run from March 25th until the 29th, which conveniently was during the school Spring Break holidays. The 2020 auto show was cancelled, however, because of COVID-19, and the 2021 event has been postponed. New dates for the next try at running the event are to be determined.
Doors were scheduled to be open to the public at the following times in 2020 (and times for the future event will likely be similar):
- Wednesday, March 25th (2020) – from 10:00 am until 9:30 pm
- Thursday, March 26th (2020) – from 10:00 am until 9:30 pm
- Friday, March 27th (2020) – from 10:00 am until 9:30 pm
- Saturday, March 28th (2020)– from 10:00 am until 9:30 pm
- Sunday, March 29th (2020) – from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm
What to See at the Auto Show
At the Auto Show there are practical vehicle floor models, exotic cars, a Classic Alley with vintage automobiles and a selection of famous cars all to admire.
Floor Models to Help You Buy
The Auto Show has something for everyone. On the practical side, there is the full range of the latest in standard vehicles. Looking to buy a new vehicle, but don’t know what brand or model? Then the Vancouver Auto Show is the perfect place to browse and compare.
You can’t test drive the vehicles in the Convention Centre, except maybe for a few parked outside by Jack Poole Plaza, but you can get all the information you want and look and feel the vehicles, all without having to hit the auto malls in the rain. They have everything from the basics to hybrids, Minis, SUVs, Lincolns and a variety of Lamborghinis. Take your pick!
Exotic Cars to Help You Dream
Not in the market for a new car, but like shiny things that go fast? There are lots of those at the Vancouver International Auto Show. The Convention Centre floor is like a giant room full of life-sized Hot Wheels cars.
In addition to floor models that anyone with money can buy, special feature vehicles on display in 2019 included the McLaren Senna and 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The 2020 Toyota Supra was also going to make its Western Canadian debut at the show. It was the first new Supra in North America in over 20 years.
Also in 2019, there was the Felino cB7 which is by a Canadian-based supercar manufacturer that has produced only 10 of this particular vehicle. The impressive-looking machine accelerates from 0 to 100 km in less than 3 seconds! (Too bad it wasn’t available for a test drive!).
Electric Car Test Drive Opportunities
A wide range of electric cars are available for test driving. 2020 Times to check out the vehicles and go for a spin were going to be on the Wednesday between 12:00 and 7:00 pm, daily from March 26th until the 28th between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm, and on the Sunday between 10:00 and 5:00 pm.
Vehicles available for test driving the year before and scheduled to be back again in 2020 included Chevy Bolts, the Hyundai IONIQ, Hyundai Konas, Nissan Leafs, the Jaguar I-PACE, the Volkswagen E-Golf and Mitsubishi Outlanders.
Other cars that people were supposed to be able to test drive in 2020 were the Chrysler Pacifica and All-Electric MINI Copper SE. Vehicles at the event the year before included the Chevy Volt, Honda Clarity, Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen and Kia Niro.
(Note: The above times and vehicles were subject to change. Also, drivers needed to have valid driver’s licenses and be at least 21 years of age.)
ELECTRAFEST CAR SHOW
If you like electric vehicles, another Vancouver event to check out is Electrafest. It has taken place in August at the Roundhouse Community Centre in the past couple of years (but not in 2020). It’s a free event and features a wide range of electric vehicles, from Teslas to electric bicycles.
Vancouver’s Best Places has been a proud sponsor of Electrafest for each of the past two years. See our article about the Vancouver ElectraFest Electric Vehicle Showcase to learn more.
For antique car buffs there is also usually a collection of fine classic cars. Presented by the Vintage Car Club of Canada’s Vancouver Chapter, the Classic Alley section includes a variety of classic vehicles.
(Note: There may or may not have been a Classic Alley at the event in 2019. We didn’t go, so aren’t 100% sure. Hopefully they’ll have one in 2021.)
Famous Cars for Hollywood Fans
In addition to practical cars and exotic roadsters, the Auto Show also usually showcases a few recognizable individual vehicles. In recent years there has been the Mystery Machine van from the Scooby Doo movie, a replica of James Bond 007’s Aston Martin DB5, and a black full-sized Batmobile tribute car.
It’s not a movie car, but in 2019 the 1400-horsepower Hoonicorn was on display. It’s an ultra-modified 1965 Ford Mustang that looked pretty impressive!
Auto Show Admission prices
Admission to the 2020 Auto Show on the Wednesday and Thursday was going to be $17 for adults, $13 for students and seniors, $5 for children ages 7 to 12, free for kids 6 and under, and $37 for a family of four with two adults and two children ages 12 and under. Members of the military were also just $13 and all these prices were the same as they have been the past couple of years.
Admission on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday was going to be slightly more, at $20 for adults, $14 for students, seniors and members of the military, $6 for children ages 7 to 12, and $42 for a family. These prices were also the same as they were in both 2018 and 2019.
Note: In 2019 admission after 6 o’clock on the Wednesday and Thursday cost just $10 per person. This may or may not been the plan again in 2021.
Auto Show Daily Drive-Up Events
The Vancouver International Auto Show features Daily Drive-up Events where a different type of car is showcased in Jack Poole Plaza each day. The displays in the Convention Centre don’t change, but some of the ones outside do.
On the first day of the Auto Show in 2019, so on Tuesday, the Daily Drive-up Event featured McLaren Vancouver. On the Wednesday it was the Porsche Club of America and on the Thursday it was Tuned Up Pick-Ups featuring 4×4 pick-up jeeps and a variety of modified off-road vehicles.
The Daily Drive-up Events on the Friday and Saturday last year showcased the PASMAG Tuner Battle Grounds event. And on the last day of the Auto Show (on the Sunday) there was the Mini60 event which was presented by the Vancouver Mini Club and Western Driver ABFM. At this event over 25 Minis of various vintages were on display outdoors at Jack Poole Plaza.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to the Auto Show.
TIP #1: If you can, try to go on the weekdays. Not only will you save a couple of bucks, but it’ll be way less crowded. From Friday evening on, expect there to be lots of people.
TIP #2: Last year the Thursday was RBC Day. On that day, if you showed your Royal Bank credit card or debit card, you could get 2-for-1 admission. In 2020 RBC Day was going to be on Thursday, March 26th.
TIP #4: There are a number of great restaurants in the area, including the Cactus Club and Tap and Barrel right outside by the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza. On the other side of the Convention Centre is Mahony & Sons, or Miku Restaurant for great Japanese on the other side of Canada Place. Make a reservation in advance, or try to avoid going between noon and 1:30 pm or at dinner time to avoid the rush.
TIP #5: For other great Vancouver dining options, check out The City of VANCOUVER‘s Best Bars & Restaurants where you’ll find a number of good places in the Coal Harbour and Gastown sections. Also, for fast food, there’s a food court in the basement of the Waterfront Centre at 200 Burrard.
TIP #6: If looking for a place to stay overnight, check out StayVancouverHotels.com. They often have the best rates and offer bonus perks too (like $25 gift cards with each reservation).
For more information on the event, check out the Vancouver International Auto Show website.
For details about other Lower Mainland car-related events, click Vancouver Car Shows.
For lists of other things to do in Vancouver check out any of the following:
- Vancouver’s March Calendar
- Free Events in March
- Vancouver at Spring Break
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events