The Gentlemen’s Expo 2014
Returning for its second year, The Gentlemen’s Expo once again took over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in a display encompassing the many facets of what makes a true gentleman. A wide range of vendors, retailers, and activities appealing to men came together as a counter-offering to the myriad of trade shows and conventions targeting women. This year, in a bid to increase attendance and recognition, the show expanded its offerings and their roster of special guests.
So what does a Gentlemen’s Expo consist of? Exactly what you’d think it would. On hand were fast cars, the latest in technology gadgets, clothing retailers, grooming services, a small casino, chefs and food trucks, craft brewery and liquor manufacturers, an enviable man cave, a soundstage, and Canadian Tire’s Ultimate Garage. Special guests this year included former UFC Champion George St. Pierre, who sat down for a one-on-one interview, and former Toronto Maple Leaf Gary Roberts, teaching men how to train like a professional athlete. The wide-range of programming appealed to many different interests.
The Gentlemen’s Expo partnered with Canadian Tire to conceive what they consider the Ultimate Garage. Loaded with the latest tools, gadgets, and storage, one lucky winner was awarded everything that was on display at the show.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre was on hand to present the latest in Fall and Winter clothing trends for men. Presented on the Main Stage, the fashion show featured contemporary business wear, stylish winter coats, and various bold accessories.
The Main Stage also played host to a series of events and guests throughout the weekend, including the Eligible Magazine Dating Game, hosted by radio personality Todd Shapiro
While providing alcohol sampling to visitors, several craft breweries and liquor manufacturers were available to answer questions about their product line-ups. On display from Johnnie Walker was a bottle of their premium and rare Blue Label Scotch Whiskey.
To provide some entertainment for the evening, America’s Got Talent Finalist Smoothini wowed crowds with his impressive magic skills. Known as a Bar Magician for his close-range tricks, he had rapt attention from audience members huddled around the inviting décor of the Johnny Walker booth.
Offering a fresh spin on the bar scene was Barchef Toronto, with its unique and diverse selection of cocktails. With their striking booth and slicked-up bartenders, this was definitely a standout vendor at the show.
The Dove Men +Care booth returned this year, once again offering free samples of their line-up of products and free shaves for men who needed a bit of a cleanup.
To compliment the larger clothing retailers on hand, several smaller local Canadian companies were present as well. Originating from Collingwood, Ontario, Polar Piece offers a selection of top-quality warm and inviting sweatpants, hoodies, and jumpsuits sure to keep anyone warm on those cold winter nights.
New on the market is Lawlaw Scarves. A local Toronto company, they offer a unique, one-of-a-kind selection of quality hand crafted scarves for men and women. The scarves all come in the same basic design but it’s the unique colours and patterns that really make the garment standout.
Sure to give the sports fan many ideas on how to make their basement into the ultimate Man Cave, TSNShop.ca rolled out the rugs to display a wide variety of the products and memorabilia available for purchase from their online store.
Several amazing food options were also available to feast on. Food trucks were setup to offer their delicious eats and all weekend long, cooking demonstrations of BBQ and a handful of other kinds of foods were hosted on the Miele Cooking Stage.
Also serving up appetizing treats was the Carnivore Club booth. Traveling the word looking for the best in hand crafted charcuterie, Carnivore Club is a meat of the month service that delivers premium, cured meats to your door once a month.
To offer an entertaining break from the sights and sounds of the show floor, visitors were able to rock out at the 102.1 The Edge SoundStage, which was offering performances from hot up-and-coming indie rock bands.
The attendance at this year’s event noticeably increased from the inaugural event last year. As word got out and awareness increased, the Gentlemen’s Expo became a weekend event destination for men, their groups of friends, and even for some of the women in their lives. The Expo has been making a concerted effort to let women know that they are more than welcome to attend.
While this Expo will surely continue to grow in popularity and in the size of their offerings, they would do well to expand the male demographics they are targeting. At times it feels like they are focusing on a very particular type of man and the show feels limited in certain ways. What is currently on offer does appeal to a majority of men, but perhaps an expansion into unorthodox areas would allow them to attract new and different clientele. The refined sensibilities of patrons of the Arts would certainly qualify as an essential element to being a well-rounded gentleman. This was only their second year so there is still plenty of room for growth and from the excitement seen in the crowds in attendance; it has become a welcome addition to the event calendar in Toronto.