The Toronto Spring Fishing and Boat Show was an intense five-day affair with many high-lights. First off though, I want to thank Andrew and Vita Pallotta for inviting me to participate at the many different events they manage to cram into five days.
My first exposure to the Pallotta’s organizing prowess was the First Annual Conservation Gala that featured over 120 folks from the fishing industry and media brought together to raise money to fund worthy causes aimed at preserving our fishing heritage. There were a number of silent auction items and a live auction of a new Lund Pro-V boat. Tom MacNair, VP of Canadian sales for Brunswick Marine did a cracker-jack job on stage as the MC, and special guest appearances from Bob Izumi and italo Labignan were certainly highlights. I shared a table with a number of folks from Muskies Canada with whom, surprisingly enough, we SPENT A GOOD PORTION OF THE EVENING EXCHANGING stories ABOUT HUNTING Black Bears. As the closing speaker for the evening, I felt slightly under-matched with the talent in the room, to say the least, but gave it my best shot to get my message out that fishing is a sport everyone can enjoy regardless of their abilities, or lack there of.
The next morning the Canadian Sport Fishing Hall of Fame inducted four new members during a well-attended breakfast which included many of the same folks who attended the conservation dinner the night before. Reno and Angelo Viola, Bruce Park and John Kerr were all inducted in to the Hall of Fame, and the Rick Amsbury award was presented by Big Jim McLaughlin to Dave Mercer. Once again, I provided the closing presentation. The following link will take you to a pod cast of my speech:
With my two key presentations behind me, I was able to get down to the business at hand, which was to showcase the Blind Fishing Boat initiative over the next four days to the thousands of visitors attending the Spring Fishing Show.
Meeting fellow non-sighted fishers such as Richard Holloway is always a treat. Richard has replicas of fish in his home that many of us only ever dream of catching.
Numerous other visitors to my exhibit such as J.P. DeRose kept me and especially Maestro hopping. A big thanks to my booth neighbours David Chong and his legion of volunteers, especially Jeff English, for the assistance over the four days. All-and-all, the show was a huge success on many fronts. I think it’s safe to say that the idea of fishers with vision loss fishing along side sighted fishers has been advanced. Shifting awareness of the public to view fishers with vision loss as folks who just want to fish and who don’t really need any special gear or assistance is happening. Sighted fishers and family and friends of people without sight are becoming steadily more aware that fishing is an ideal sport for those with vision loss due to it’s reliance on touch to understand what can’t be seen taking place under water.