For the first time since 2019, there will be an in-person Toronto Sport Card and Memorabilia Spring Expo. The show will begin Thurs., June 2 and run through Sun., June 5 at the Toronto International Centre on Airport Road near Pearson Airport.
Historically, the semi-annual show has been unofficially referred to by many in the hobby as the “Canadian national.” The Fall Expo was a huge success despite the limitations at the border and some of the COVID-19 measures that were still in place at the time.
According to show owner and promoter Steve Menzie, the show is shaping up to be the biggest Spring Expo ever, and may be the largest sports card show in Canadian history.
“It’s definitely the biggest show I’ve ever done, and it looks like it will be the biggest one ever,” show owner and promoter Steve Menzie said. “Our recent show in Edmonton was a huge success. We are seeing a very strong hobby combined with a lot of pent up demand for collectors who haven’t been to the show in three years.”
The show was at its apex in the early 1990s. The 1991 Spring Expo drew more than 20,000 collectors. The 1992 show also drew a crowd in excess of 20,000. The 1993 show was likely the biggest, with a turnout approaching 25,000. The Toronto Maple Leafs were in the middle of a deep playoff run, which drove a hobby frenzy among hockey collectors. The Toronto Blue Jays, meanwhile, were the defending World Series champions and were already establishing themselves as a favorite for a second. They were selling out the 50,000-plus seat Rogers Centre, then known as SkyDome.
This year’s edition of the Expo will be moved from Hall 5 at the International Centre to Hall 2. The move gives the show 25 per cent more floor space. There are also more dealer booths and tables than there were in the early 1990s, with over 200 in all. The show is now a four-day event instead of three days, which will also be a factor in setting a new attendance record for the show.
“The show is full, and there is a wait list,” Menzie said. “It’s an indication that the hobby is very strong right now. Our advance ticket sales are also very strong.”
Jagr Headlines Autograph List
The autograph lineup is one of the strongest the show has ever seen. The marquee name is former NHL superstar Jaromir Jagr, who was supposed to be a guest two years ago before the show was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is Jagr’s first ever appearance at the show.
Jagr is not the only big name NHL superstar to appear at the show. Bob Gainey, Pete and Frank Mahovlich, Bobby Hull, Curtis Joseph, Doug Gilmour, Brad Park, Billy Smith and Bernie Parent will also be signing at the show. Other hockey guests include Don Awrey, Dale Tallon, Brian Conacher, Al Iafrate, Bob Bourne, Jack Valiquette, Ric Natress, Mike Pelyk, Rod Seiling, Mike Krushelnyski, Tom Fergus, Paul Harrison, and Canadian Women’s Olympic star Brianne Jenner.
Current Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and retired Blue Jays legend Ernie Whitt will also be signing. Rickey Henderson was originally scheduled for the show, but he had to cancel his appearance.
“It’s a strong list, and there are quite a few players on the list who took part in the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union,” Menzie said. “With the 50th anniversary of that series coming up in just three months, there will be a lot of excitement for the players who took part.”
The Mahovlich brothers, Awrey, Tallon, Park and Seiling all played for the Canada in the eight-game series.
More Than Hockey
Hockey has always been the driver of the Expo, which is known in the hobby as the world’s largest and collectibles show. Menzie, however, says there is a lot more than just hockey cards and memorabilia that will be available.
“Certainly the show is hockey-focused but you are going to see items from all sports on the floor,” Menzie said. “That’s one of the ways that this show is different from the shows from the 1990s and how the hobby is evolving.”
“You are going to see a lot more non-hockey on the floor than ever before,” Menzie said. “Soccer is huge now. The soccer category has been steadily growing for the past few years. But this year, with Canada just have qualified for the World Cup, there will be more interest in soccer on the floor than ever before, especially here in Toronto. The same goes for F-1. Beck in the 1990s, auto racing cards were all focused on NASCAR. Now, look how popular Lewis Hamilton is and how big F-1 has grown in popularity in North America. The F-1 market is really taking off here.”
Six Grading Companies At Show
While eBay is the presenting sponsor of the show, the Upper Deck Company will also have a large presence. According to Menzie, the company will be running a redemption program at their corporate booth.
Six card grading companies will be set up at the show to take submissions.
PSA Canada will be set up at the show, accepting submissions. Their lowest rate for the show is $70 for the economy rate, with a maximum 90-day turnaround.
Beckett will also be onsite to accept card and comic book submissions. For those who submit cards at the Beckett booth, there are discounts available. The Premium and Express discount is $25 off per card with or without sub grades. The Standard discount is $10 off per card with or without sub grade. The Economy discount is $5 off per card with or without sub grades.
Canadian grading company KSA will be grading onsite for $50 per card. Show specials are five cards for $200, or 10 cards for $375.
MNT has a number of specials on for the show, including same day full service and slab service for $85 per card. They also same day raw grading for $25.
CSG is accepting cards at the show for grading as low as $12 per card with turnaround times ranging from three to 40 days.
SGC has a show special for $35 plus tax that includes shipping and insurance.
There will also be a number of other hobby corporate exhibitors and activities. Popular You Tube sports card show host Jeremy Lee of Calgary will be making the trip east to Toronto to broadcast his show.
Thursday, June 2: 4pm – 8pm (VIP Preview Night)
Friday, June 3: 11am – 8pm
Saturday, June 4: 10am – 6pm
Sunday, June 5: 10am – 5pm