OpenRoad staff members assemble their booth for the 2016 Vancouver International Auto Show

Behind the scenes of OpenRoad's Vancouver Auto Show setup

March 27th 2016 | Benjamin Yong
OpenRoad booth setup Vancouver International Auto Show
OpenRoad staff members assemble their booth for the 2016 Vancouver International Auto Show. Photos by Andrew Ling.


That’s all, folks! Another year of the Vancouver International Auto Show (VIAS) has just successfully wrapped up. For anyone who got a chance to drop by the OpenRoad booth, did you get a photo booth picture taken with our Jaguar F-TYPE wrapped with a UK colour scheme, or win a prize from playing the oversized plinko machine provided by BCAA?

bcaa plinko

The auto organization did more than just loan out the game — they were also there to kick off their new partnership with OpenRoad at the event. Representing the first time BCAA has paired up with a dealer group, members can now receive perks such as earning one per cent in CAA Dollars on used and demo vehicles purchased at any participating store, as well as 48 hours advanced access to demos before they’re offered to the public.

But back to VIAS for a moment. To the eye of the casual visitor, the booths may seem fairly straightforward to set up — drive a few cars in, assemble a display here or there. In actuality, preparation begins months in advance, and involves everything from coordinating with vehicle manufacturers to picking the colour of carpet. We share with you here a quick behind-the-scenes look at auto show logistics.

Rolls-Royce Vancouver International Auto Show 2016

December: Planning officially gets underway. There will be six spots for cars allocated, one of which will be occupied by the Rolls-Royce Wraith Drophead Coupe. But what Porsches are going to be there? Inquire with Porsche Cars Canada on model availability (final vehicle confirmation happened a week before the show).

January: Sign contracts for booth space and order necessary equipment for display: electrical, backdrop, lighting. Vote goes toward using grey carpeting instead of last year’s black, to avoid having every bit of lint appear.

OpenRoad booth at Vancouver International Auto Show 2016

February: Start on floor plan and design of booth. Each year a different overall theme is picked — last year’s was racing and this year’s is heritage, hence the British livery on the Jag. Find and work with photo booth provider, and then decide on a vehicle that will fit. Create a contest, i.e. take a picture with the F-TYPE and enter for a chance to win a weekend with the car.

OpenRoad charity car wash Vancouver International Auto Show 2016

March: Two days before the show, shuttle equipment to the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) between the hours of 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. The day before the show, drive or tow vehicles to VCC and load into booth between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Morning of the show, perform final walk-around and set up charity car wash: for $30, guests receive a professional waterless wash and two hours free parking, with proceeds going to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And finally… show time!

About the Author

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5.

Twitter: @b_yong
Instagram: @popuplights