By Stephanie Wallcraft
Kids and kids-at-heart alike will be thrilled to discover the treasures on display at the Hot Wheels 50th- anniversary celebration, one of the most anticipated features of the 2018 Canadian International AutoShow opening this weekend in Toronto.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a massive, fully operational 20-by-40-foot Hot Wheels track showcasing elements of the Toronto cityscape. Constructed from 320 feet of the brand’s signature orange track along with 150 pounds of custom-built steel, it integrates six spiral towers, more than a dozen accelerators, and six full loops along with numerous other elements that send the traditional 1:64 die-cast cars upside-down and sideways.
Six full-size Hot Wheels cars also are on display throughout the show, including three at the main exhibit on the 700 level. The main attraction is the Darth Vader car, which is making its first visit to Toronto after a debut at San Diego Comic-Con in 2014 where it kicked off a Star Wars inspired line from Hot Wheels.
Visitors can also visit a pop-up shop and a kids’ play area.
A 50th anniversary contest is running in conjunction with the auto show: would-be Hot Wheels creators can submit their designs at hotwheelschallenge.ca, and one lucky winner will have his or her entry made into a real-life Hot Wheels car.
Hot Wheels has sold more than 6-billion cars since the first one was created by Mattel co-founder Elliott Handler and released in January 1968. (Handler’s wife Ruth, who served as Mattel president for a time, was responsible for inventing the brand’s iconic Barbie doll.) Today, the company’s manufacturing facilities turn out approximately 1-million toy cars each week.
The Canadian International AutoShow opens to the public on Friday, January 16 and runs through to Sunday, January 25. More information can be found at the show’s website, autoshow.ca.