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2011 TAVES – Prologue

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TAVES – Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show 2011

Towards the end of the 2010 Montreal Audio show, formally known as the “Salon Son et Image”, a bunch of us audiophiles from Toronto gathered at the “Hurley’s Irish Pub” on Crescent Street. It was over a couple of pints of beer which allowed Simon Au (appearing RIGHT on the photo) to let me in on a little known secret at the time.

“Hush Hush Rick, I think we’re going to make it happen”, said Simon. “We’re gonna bring it to Toronto.”

“Who are WE, and WHAT are you bringing to Toronto”, I asked.

“Sauve and I, we are going to make it happen. We are going to have an audio show of our own, a Toronto Audio Show”.

Thank God that wasn’t just an alcohol induced hallucination, although at the time I thought it was, given the number of pints he had downed. But I know Simon Au, he is a man of action and not just words. I knew he would make it happen.

And he did.
Home to more than 5.5 million people, the Greater Toronto Area has one of the largest audiophile community in Canada. It has access to more brand names, and has more dealers than most other Provinces in Canada. It is the home to many active audiophile groups as well as vibrant online audio forums. But as far as I can remember, Toronto has not hosted an audio show for more than 10 years. Montreal’s Salon Son et Image has been the closest alternative.

Many audiophiles in Toronto have made it part of their routine as faithful audiophiles to make the annual pilgrimage to the Montreal Show which involves a long and boring 6 hour drive down Highway 401E. To help make this lonely and arduous trip less painful, I usually go with an audiophile group of 10-15 and make the whole adventure a two night “Party Trip”. There are a good number of brave souls who would rather pull all-nighters , driving to and from Montreal without staying overnight while squeezing the show in between (something which I’ll never do even if I was paid to do so). Needless to say, both the “two day crowd” and the “all-nighter” crowd were drying to see a Toronto show of their own.

Now thanks to Suave Kajko and Simon Au, all this has now become reality. Suave is the Editor in Chief of Canada Hi-Fi Magazine, and the President of TAVES. Simon Au is the owner of Audiyo.com (distributor for the Furutech, and Mundorf brands) and Director of Sales of TAVES. With the help of Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay (Organizers of the Montreal Salon Son & Image) who are partners of TAVES, their dedicated planning and effort have come to fruition. Michel and Sarah bring years of experience to the team and without them the TAVES would not have been possible. The TAVES will be held on September 30th to October 2nd at the Le Meridian King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto.

(Left to right: Suave Kajko, Michel Plante, Simon Au)

The Venue
The King Edward Hotel, known locally as “The King Eddy” , is a historic landmark own its own. It was built by the George Gooderham Toronto Hotel Company, and was first opened to the public in 1903. Located near the heart of the financial district, it provides much better access to the public than all previous audio shows in Toronto, which were mostly unsuccessful.

The postcard of the hotel and the photo of the room dates back to the 60s. The hotel underwent numerous renovations, and to this day, the King Eddy still stands as one of Toronto’s more upscale hotels.

By the way, the King Eddy is also known for its famous High Tea, which they have been faithfully serving since 1904. It has been, and probably will always be a popular attraction. It is served every afternoon from 2.30 to 4.30pm. If you ever visit Toronto, please do yourself a favour and make a reservation. You will not be disappointed,

The Floor Plan

I was quite pleased to learn from the official program book that there were over 75 rooms with 150+ exhibitors representing over 250 brands. The TAVES occupied the entire 2nd and the 6th floors of the King Edward Hotel.

My two day visit allowed me to spend an adequate amount of time in each room to cover the entire show, with enough time left over for coffee breaks and mingling with the local dealers.

Although much smaller in size when compared with the CES or the CEDIA, the atmosphere of TAVES was pleasantly different in many ways. The CES had always been an expensive show to attend for exhibitors and attendees alike. Most exhibitors are business conscious distributors who either want to maximize return on their investments, or to have maximum publicity. Needless to say, no matter how friendly they try to be, they will have less time for the John and Jane Audiophile. TAVES, on the other hand, has a long list of exhibitors which are smaller scale local dealers catering to the local community. Their attitudes were warm, relaxing and welcoming.

Room to Room coverage coming up next…..

(Entrace to King Eddy)

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