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Biennial Canadian RV and Camping Convention Nov. 5-8

image027The fifth Canadian RV and Camping Convention will take place Nov. 5-8 at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA of Canada) and the British Columbia Lodging and Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) sponsor the biennial event.

Approximately 300 people representing Canadian RV dealerships, manufacturers and campgrounds are expected to attend the event, which features workshops, a trade show, campground tours and nightly entertainment.

“We always have fun at these conventions,” said Louise Morel, executive director of the convention organizing committee. “Unlike some conventions where attendees ‘spread out’ after hours, this group stays together. Everybody is there, together, 24/7. It makes it more intimate. You get to meet people and socialize with them. It’s a good time to talk with dealers and campground owners from other parts of the country. They really do learn from each other.”

Seldom has that need to network been more important than this year, following the economic downturn, which though not as dramatic in Canada as in the U.S., has still been felt by many in the industry.

“It’s been a tough economic time for everybody,” Morel said. “We are more focused on regrouping and looking toward the future as everybody is.”

There are bright spots.

“From what I’ve heard, campgrounds have done very well,” she said, noting that, like in the U.S., many Canadian campers have chosen to stay closer to home. “Most of the campgrounds I’ve talked to were sold out most of the season, even though the weather didn’t cooperate, especially in the East.”

Meanwhile, RV manufacturing is down in Canada this year, and dealer sales have been spotty, again, depending upon the economic prosperity of a given province, she said.

Still, as of early October, 80% of the RV dealers who attended the last national convention, in 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario, have registered for this year’s convention, Morel said, which she considers to be a good sign for the future.

Organizers have lined up five keynote speakers for the event. They are:

Five Professional Workshops

In addition, professional workshops lined up are:

Campground Tours Offered

Conventioneers will have two opportunities to attend campground tours this year.

The first tour begins before the convention. From Nov. 3-4, participants will visit four British Columbia campgrounds — Fort Camping at Fort Langley, Burnaby RV Park in Burnaby, Riverside RV Resort and Campground in Whistler and Living Forest Oceanside RV & Campground in Nanaimo. The fee of $399 plus tax includes travel, lodging and meals.

The second tour is a free, all-day event (8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on Nov. 5 and will be a visit to Oceanside RV Park in Saanichton.

The campground tours have been part of the convention since the inaugural event, in 2001 in Quebec City, Morel said.

Not only campground operators, but also industry suppliers and dealers attend the tours, Morel noted, as it affords everyone a chance to see campground operations in other provinces.

20-plus Vendors at Trade Show

The trade show, featuring more than a score of industry vendors, is scheduled for Nov. 6-7 in the Victoria Conference Center, which adjoins the hotel.

Besides Thursday’s all-day campground tour, nightly entertainment includes:

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