Georgian College Auto Show is the best class project ever

The Georgian College Auto Show might be the best class project ever. The show spans three days and features more than 20 different automotive manufacturers. And while that’s impressive, what makes the Georgian College Auto Show truly unique is that it’s organized and staffed entirely by students.

The event drew more than 12,000 people last year and organizers predict that attendance will be even higher this year due to the amazing weather this weekend in Barrie, Ont., where the college is located.

The Georgian College Auto Show

The Georgian College Auto Show
Clayton Seams, Driving

Every single one of the 150 volunteers in the various manufacturer booths is a student and they can tell you anything you want to know about the cars they’re displaying. Director of media relations Shannon Douglas stated that “the students spend a training day with each manufacturer” where they “visit the head offices and meet with the executives” to gain knowledge about the products. Douglas stated that most of the students were from the Auto Business School of Canada (ABSC) and that the event helps them apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a real-world environment.

Second-year Auto Business student Kiran Dhanoa was volunteering in the Honda tent and travelled to Markham, Ont., to learn about the Honda product line. She says that directly after college, she wants to get a job in automotive sales but “one day” dreams of opening her own dealership.

The Georgian College Auto Show

The 2015 Ford Mustang was a big draw at the Georgian College Auto Show.
Clayton Seams, Driving

There’s a lot to do at the show including an opportunity to ride shotgun in a sliding Porsche courtesy of Pfaff Automotive Partners. A Porsche slide ride costs $5 and proceeds go to a charity that supports burn victims.

If zesty skidpad driving isn’t what you’re after, the Plug’n Drive electric car experience might be more your speed. This experience is totally free and puts you in the driver seat of either a Toyota Prius, Mitsubishi I-MIEV or a Ford C-MAX Hybrid. I chose to go for a drive in the little Mitsubishi. Like a bumper car, it’s completely silent and delivers immediate throttle pedal response, but unlike a bumper car, the objective is not to hit everything in sight.

The Georgian College Auto Show

This simulator allows drivers to see how quickly things unravel when texting behind the wheel.
Clayton Seams, Driving

There’s also a thought-provoking distracted driving simulator where visitors can see first-hand how much texting affects their awareness on the road. In this situation, I did hit everything in sight and was honestly shocked at how quickly things can go south when you’re texting behind the wheel.

The show featured a wide variety of cars from a Honda CR-Z (yes they still make those), a Lamborghini Gallardo and everything in between. Sports car enthusiasts will be charmed by the C7 Corvette, Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type on hand and for those who want something even more extreme, a Hennessy CTS VR1200 was also on display. The evil-looking VR1200 uses twin turbos to make a Bugatti-like 1,200 horsepower.

The Georgian College Auto Show

This race-ready Scion IQ was a big draw.
Clayton Seams, Driving

By far the strangest car on display was a race-modified Scion IQ. It wasn’t built for an actual race series and its sole purpose was to be outrageous. Mission accomplished, Scion. The car is boosted by a turbocharger setup but retains its original front-drive layout and jerky automatic transmission. Looking like an angry running shoe on steroids, the IQ is nearly as wide as it is long (short?) and managed to draw a crowd all day.

The well-organized event has been held every year since 1985 and remains the largest student-run auto show in North America. Admission is $7, kids under 12 can get in for free and more information can be found on the Georgian College website. The event runs over the course of the weekend and if you’re in the Toronto area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

About Clayton Seams