Monday, July 19, 2021

Parking Wars aren’t as fun as Star Wars

People debate everything. Conservatives or Liberal. Leafs or Canadiens. Dog or Cat. These are all very common. Another common debate when I grew up was Star Wars or Star Trek. I was all-in on Star Wars. In fact, some pretty nice boys who considered themselves Trekkies, were excluded from my peer group. Even though my peer group was small, and probably could have benefited from some more people, Star Trek lovers need not apply.

Some of you maybe aware, but NTA over the last few years was in a major battle over the parking situation in front of the auction. Unfortunately, it caused me to lose faith in both the town I own a business in, and raise my family. 

I am not going to mention all the idiot’s names. They don’t deserve my time. You can google the names in the media. So, I am going to tell the story using Star Wars characters. I will off course be Luke Skywalker (Don’t like it? Tough, its my story). My business partner is Hans Solo and his wife is Princess Leia. My other partner is Chewbacca. Oh, and North Toronto Auction, is the Rebel force fighting for what is right against those who control the Universe (or Town), the Evil Empire. 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the Rebel Force opened up its brand new, state of the art Home Base. Our new neighbour, Jabba the Hutt, approached us and wanted to form a partnership. You see, the Rebels had many customers and they were parking on the road when it got very busy. This wasn’t a big deal because everyone on the Rebels’ street was closed on Saturdays. This worked great because Saturday was the Rebels busiest day. But Jabba the Hutt wanted to make some extra money. He wanted to charge the customers to park at his palace. Afterall, he was closed on Saturday, so he had the space. The Rebels declined as they didn’t think their customers should pay for parking. 

Jabba was mad. He wanted all the free parking on the street taken away. He didn’t get his way and he wanted to fight. He continuously complained to the Empire. Even though Jabba’s palace was closed on Saturdays, Jabba wanted revenge for being shunned. So, every time Jabba complained to the Empire (it was a lot) the Empire would try and work out an agreement with the Rebels But the rebels were relentless. They didn’t think allowing customers to park on the street was wrong. What is wrong with free parking when it affects no one? However, after tireless meetings with the Empire, the rebels wore down. This was 15 human years later. Luke, Hans Solo and Chewbacca finally decided they needed to move on. They were willing to make concessions for the good of the universe.

So, the Empire proposed a solution and the Rebels reluctantly agreed. Some of the free parking would be taken away, but some would stay. The Rebels wanted peace. The Empire was happy that Jabba’s complaints would stop. But Jabba had other ideas….

Jabba received very good news in 2018, a close companion Darth Vader, was elected to the Evil Empire. Jabba now had an insider in the Empire. Jabba was friends with Vader, and at times, even his landlord. Jabba spoke to Vader about the parking problem. Vader agreed to try and persuade his peers and go against the original recommendation of the Evil Empire. What’s more is that Vader didn’t tell the Rebels. In the Star Wars world, it is called gamesmanship. In the real world it called conflict of interest. 

So, Vader convinced his cronies to change their mind and vote against the Rebels. The Rebels and Hans Solo argued and went to the media. Luke & Chewbacca confronted Vader at the rebel base, but found out what an unethical person he is. Vader and Jabba had won. Troopers from the Evil Empire, in confidence, contacted the Rebels to tell them they were cheated.

Han Solo was mad. He went back to his ship and told Princess Leia about the situation. Besides being a princess, she also worked in municipal law. She knew the relationship between Vader and Jabba was wrong. She made it a mission to find justice. Making appeals, writing letters, even posting to social media. The Evil Empire was too scared they would look bad. They wouldn’t correct the situation. In the end, the Evil Empire’s actions caused health issues for Leia. Luke, Hans Solo and Chewbacca told her to postpone the fight. Parking wasn’t worth someone’s health.

So, like in The Empire Strikes Back, Vader and Jabba won. You can’t park in front of the Rebel base right now. But the Rebels won’t give up!

The Rebels know they have been wronged, but sometimes the bad guys win. 

But the Evil Empire has an even bigger problem. Bigger than the Rebels. They have to deal with a Municipal Election in 2022!

Oh boy, did I just hint at a sequel? …

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 28, 2021

Confession of an auction owner (probably #1)

I am going to admit something. It drives me crazy! Please don’t get offended. But it happens all the time. As soon as someone finds out that I’m in the auction business, they want to know what something is worth. It could be anywhere; having a parking lot beer with hockey buddy’s, waiting in line at the Grocery store, or getting the annual (cough) physical. People (sorry Doc) always want me to tell them what their vehicle or equipment is worth. Now I could offer a ball park number. Or quote some guide book. Or even recite the history of a previous auction result. But in reality, the answer is very, very simple. It is worth what someone will pay for it. That’s not being me being a smart ass; it’s the truth. 

I was reading a book about Warren Buffet and he uses a great quote in it. He said “writing a cheque separates a commitment from a conversation”. Immediately, I thought that is the auction way. At the auction, the tire kickers are separated from the buyers. The buyers fight over your vehicle. The winner pays high bid.

The auction is actually similar to the stock market floor. The seller’s have their vehicles for sale and thousands of buyers from all over the world bid on them. The value of the vehicle (just like a stock) is where the bidding stops. It is transparent. And it is true market value. 

Certainly Guide Books and Market results are useful. We have both tools available on web-site. But as Mr. Buffet would say, they don’t write cheques. The auction is the cheque writer. Unlike selling it privately where there may not be multiple offers, or the classifieds which tend to have many more conversationalists then cheque writers, the auction will find the true value and make sure you get paid.

So please don’t ask me what your vehicle is worth. It doesn’t really matter what I say. If you are serious about selling it, call me at the office and I will get it done for market value. I will get it in front of committed buyers. I will separate those who are committed from those who like the conversation. We will sell your vehicle. 

 So please, just pass me a beer and let’s talk about the game. Oh, and Doc, please try to concentrate on what you’re doing there…….

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 7, 2021

I love it when a plan comes together?  The seller’ market continues. 

Last year, at the end of the boat season I wanted to test our new AutoGavel application before it went to market.  So, I uploaded my 2013 Sea Doo and set it up for the next public auction (the app worked perfect, no big deal).  The market was crazy for Sea Doo’s, and I figured I would possibly cash in and test the new app all at once.  Plus, if I sold it, I wouldn’t have to worry about winterizing and storing it over the winter.  As Hannibal Smith from the A-Team used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together”. 

Except there was a small hiccup in the plan.  When you are in the business of selling stuff, the cardinal rule is “everything is for sale”.  I never fall in love with any possessions. Everything I own is always for sale.   But my family isn’t in sales.  They love the Sea Doo.  And I quickly became (or secured my spot as) public enemy of my household when I told them not to drive it, I didn’t want to add more hours while I was selling it. 

After I couldn’t take their silent treatment anymore, I promised to get them a new one in the spring.  I figured the market will have cooled off and I could grab one in the proper price range.  They didn’t like this plan, but I proceeded to auction it anyway, hoping that its better to ask forgiveness. 

Knowing my family’s hesitations, I put a hefty price tag on it.  It just about got there.  But in the end, I chose not to sell it.  I kicked myself all winter for not selling it, but then the seller’s market continued, and continued, and still continues.

Truth be told, I couldn’t replace the family Sae Doo today.  A marine salesman told me he is taking orders for 2022!  Next year!   Now I keep thinking “thank goodness this particular plan didn’t come together” …. 

A few blogs ago I wrote about it being a seller’s market.  And this trend hasn’t changed one bit.  In fact, it might be getting worse. And it is all segments.  Cars & Trucks, recreational Items, and industrial equipment are all effected.   Not only did COVID mess up manufacturer production of items, now a world-wide shortage of an essential microchip has thrown yet another curveball in the supply chain. Car Dealer lots are empty, and accordingly, auction volumes are further affected. 

I have heard many stories that this could go on for another year.  The sellers are enjoying the hottest market of the last 20 years.  Our sales team is constantly looking for more and more consignment for our buyers.  Our new AutoGavel app is being used by hundreds so far to upload inventory. We are getting inventory for our buyers. 

That being said, it’s a seller’s market.  If you have been thinking of selling something, and you have your family’s permission, now is definitely the time!  Give us a call, and remember everything is for sale!

Thanks for reading,



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

I suck at lots of stuff. I suck at remembering people’s names. I suck at sportsmanship. I suck at fake smiling for pictures and I apparently really suck at fishing. But I have one unique talent. I’ve been told this over and over. I have the talent not to give a sh*t about what people think of me. I actually couldn’t care less. I say what’s on my mind and sometimes there is collateral damage. But I don’t care. If I want praise, I just call my Mom. Without a doubt if you ask her who the smartest person in the room is, she always picks me.

It’s funny but my business partners have the exact same talent. They don’t care either. So, when people started leaving reviews about NTA we never read them. I never responded to them even though consultants said I should. If someone said something bad oh well. If someone said something great, thank you, and oh well. I never got to high on the good ones and couldn’t care less about the bad ones.

One day though my 11-year-old son was reading the reviews on his iPad and he said “Dad, some people say some not nice stuff about you”. I decided to take a look. There were many reviews that were just flat out lies. Anonymously left by cowards. I discovered some that were former employees that I had fired with police involvement. Some were my competitors. In the end people were leaving junk on the internet about the auction. My partners and I didn’t care, but my son sure did.

So, I started replying. To every single one. Most were garbage from trolls. But some I felt helpful. In fact, one time I bought a car back from a person who didn’t leave an anonymous review and had a real problem. That time the review was useful.

My goal is that everyone’s experience at the auction is great. But I understand that it can’t always be. Some of my best relationships with my customers have started with resolving an issue with a simple phone call. If you are unhappy, just call me. Email me. Fax me. Send out a roaming pigeon. But let’s try resolve the issue. I may not always give you the answer you want, but let’s communicate as adults.

I understand that many people don’t want to pick up the phone. So, we have implemented a Message Board on our website where you can talk to a key member of our team. This isn’t outsourced. The same people who respond to the messages, also answer the phones, and are the first people you see when you come here. They have the answers you need, and if they don’t, they will get them.

So, don’t leave a review. Tell my staff if they did great, write a testimonial for our website, or even (its old school) tell a friend about us! If we didn’t satisfy you, please call us! We will do our best to try and make things right. It might not work all the time, but it sure will give us a much better chance at making you happy then an anonymous review.

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Crazy Ted (not his real name),

Before I started in the auction business, my first experience in the automotive industry was eye-opening. I worked in the summer for an auto dealer, we will call Crazy Ted, whose business plan was to buy wrecked cars, fix them, and sell them to a consumer. I drove vehicles from the salvage auctions that airbags had been deployed, I went to wrecking yards to get parts, and as the new guy, I got to undercoat the vehicles with tar to hide accident repair weld marks. I never, ever asked questions. I was sixteen years old. If I only knew then, what I know now.

Crazy Ted had a fine business plan; just as long as the customer who was buying the vehicle was informed of the previous accident history. However, based on the fact that Crazy Ted had his dealer license revoked by the regulator and is no longer allowed in the industry, I am willing to guess that he may have “forgotten” to tell some customers the truth about their new purchases.

People like Crazy Ted have no place in the industry. When we decided to host public auctions in 2005, we were determined to bring professionalism to the auction ring. Purchasing at an auction caused anxiety with some of our buyers. We wanted our buyers to have a worry-free experience. So, we did something that no other auction in Canada was doing at the time. We included a full vehicle history report with each vehicle offered. No one was doing this. It was a huge step for the consumer confidence and big news in the industry.

Today, vehicle history reports are a common part of the transaction as the vehicle ownership. Almost all auctions will make them available where you can see and inquire about previous insurance records before you purchase. In fact, it really shows how the public have progressed with their car buying habits when most people will not purchase the car without some form of history record.

I am proud to say that the media called North Toronto Auction trailblazers when we introduced them as mandatory. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And we are flattered that our competitors now offer this service. But what is important is that consumers are getting the information they need to make the right decision. You can see these reports on each vehicle as you shop our website. It gives you great history information so you can bid accordingly. We are committed to offer this disclosure.

I find it ironic that Crazy Ted has helped so many consumers make great decisions when purchasing. If he hadn’t taught me his ways, and essentially NOT what to do, we may have not been the first full-disclosure auction in Canada.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 19, 2021

Happy 18th Birthday!

This week’s blog is a special one. North Toronto Auction celebrated it ’s 18th anniversary on April 10 2021. I can’t believe it has already been 18 years. I remember sitting on a patio and having one too many pints at a Jack Astor’s with my future partners. We discussed our plan to open a new auction somewhere in Central Ontario. When we are having tough days, we always joke that we should have all just went home that fateful night. But as I really think back, what a wonderful, roller coaster ride, this has been.

People often say we could write a book when we start reminiscing about the last 18 years. I am not sure all the stories are suitable for an all-age crowd, but yes, we sure do have some great ones. As I continue to write these blogs, I will spin some tales to you. For the “R” rated stories, you need to visit me at the office when we open back up. And of course, there are some stories that will die in the grave with Frank, Stu and I. One thing for sure, you will always be entertained. Thinking about the last 18 years, I think of three main things, the different characters who have worked here over the years, the loyal customers that we have crossed paths with, and some of our decisions and milestones that made us what we are today.

We started the auction in 2003 and there were seven people on payroll. When I think back this was the most stressful time in our lives, yet also the most rewarding. We worked until 10pm or later every night and the NTA team was truly a family. I think of the long trips picking up cars with our only drivers (Petra, Cecil and Flash) and how they would be in the shuttle van with the owners as we strategized our survival. Over the years, as we brought family in to help us out (Mom, Jackie, Deb, Janna, Marnie, James, Christian, Ben, Hank, Bobbie-Sue, Jack, Joshua). Many of them never received a pay cheque from us right away, if ever. I think of the of all the staff that learned our way of the auctions and went on to have successful careers in the business (Scott, Gerry, Mehtab, Sandy) and I think of staff that became our customers when they moved on and we still deal with everyday (Joey G, Nathan, and Christian again). I think of the staff who lied, the staff who stole (two were arrested), and the staff that didn’t last long (one left before lunchtime). Even though some won’t be receiving a Christmas card from me, they all helped shaped the auction we have today. Today, our post pandemic roster is driven by the best team in the business. I couldn’t be prouder to be involved with this group (Maks, Roger, Odalys, Ryan, Kayla, Steph, Carlee, James, Juan, Darrin, Murray, Rhonda, John P, John S, Stephen, Buddy and Jeanette). And let’s not forget the auctioneer’s that have been with us since day 1 (Steve, Jimmy, Barry and a little later Jason). This group has adapted to our new business plan, learning as we go, and I imagine dealing with so many personal stresses that the pandemic has caused. I really thank them.

We have some of the most loyal customers in the business. As I look back, close to 30 different dealerships were part of our opening day auction in 2003 that we still do business with every single week. “Tony T” from Broadway Auto was here on day one and is still one of our greatest partners. His son JP was still in high school at the time and now is running the business. Others including George from Wise Choice, Ed Stevenson, Sean Utopia, Dave Cruise, Eric’s Auto, Erwin Giles, Uncle Bobby, Bryan Moffat, Dennis Car Connection, GW Motors, Wiarton Matthew and Reg from Meaford were all visitors at our facility on day one and still buy or sell weekly from us at our online auctions. I can’t thank them enough for the past 18 years. Goodness we have been through a lot. What a business!

Finally I think of the things we achieved as a team; our first public auction, Canada’s first full disclosure auction, the expansion from 5 acres to 15 acres, Canadian Business magazine naming us one of Canada’s fastest growing companies (Back to Back…no big deal), the launch of our new website and bidding platform, our Pro subscription and now our latest milestone…..

On April 12 2021 we launched AutoGavel, Canada’s first online vehicle marketplace that is opened to the public. What a way to celebrate 18 years in the business. We wanted to have our traditional anniversary party as well, but Covid messed that up. So instead we are letting our dealers and Pro subscribers sell on the platform for free for the foreseeable future. It is our way of saying thank you for everything over the last 18 years.

Visit us today at and we will get you started. We appreciate your role in our journey.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Don’t get “stung” – check for liens

When I was 8 years old, I was walking with my neighbour in a farmer’s field. I’m quite positive I was up to no good. This is not based on memory but probability. I remember what happened next though vividly. I was following my friend through a culvert to get home and I stepped on a wasp’s nest. I was covered. Screaming, we both ran all the way home. My Mom was in the kitchen when I burst through the door. I was screaming that I got stung on my thumb. My thumb was hurting so much! I don’t know why I was fixated on the pain in my thumb. I was covered head to toe in wasp stings. But the only pain I felt was my thumb. My first experience with being “stung” was a dandy….

Of course, in the real world we use the word “stung” in an entirely different way. Usually, we refer to it as being “ripped off” or “cheated”. We say things like that customer “stung” us for thousands of dollars. Being stung in a transaction is painful. Like stepping on a wasp’s nest. Its just a different kind of pain.

I was almost recently “stung” again. In the fall, when kids’ hockey was officially cancelled, I thought maybe I would enjoy the winter months getting a snowmobile. I decided to buy used because it was an impulse buy, and a buddy of mine searched the classifieds for a toy that was priced right. He buys a tonne of stuff privately so he was a great help.

After countless conversations with sellers, I was getting really frustrated. About to give up, we came across a great deal in Waterloo. I immediately contacted the guy and negotiated a price. My buddy was going to pick it up with me the following weekend. Then my auction instincts kicked in. I requested the serial number of the sled. The guy didn’t respond right away. I asked again. He sent it over to me and right away admitted there was an unpaid lien on the vehicle. Essentially, he owed the bank for the sled. He assured me that he was going to take my money and pay off the loan. He was a nice guy; he probably would have. But what if he didn’t….

Just because you have ownership of a vehicle, it doesn’t mean it is free and clear. Banks have rights to repossess vehicles that they are owed money on. Regardless of whether the ownership has changed hands. I could have bought that sled, and a bailiff could have legally taken it from my driveway the next day.

My friend was in shock. He buys all the time privately from the classifieds and had never checked this. He is lucky that he has never been “stung”.

At the auction we check every item purchased for liens. We don’t accept consignment unless it is lien free. The last thing we want is you purchasing a vehicle through the auction worried about if the vehicle has a lien on it. Rest assured; we have taken care of this for you.

When you buy at North Toronto Auction, you can buy with confidence. Vehicles are free and clear of all liens and encumbrances. The only stings that you need to worry about are from our flying wasp friends….

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, March 22, 2021

My father in law is a hoarder. He hates parting way with stuff. But inevitably my mother in law wins and he lets go. This past weekend they decided part ways with their leather sofa set. It was in good condition, only a small tear, but otherwise still very useful. The problem is, they had no idea what to do with it.

I have bought & sold many small items before using a classified application. This app is really easy to use and I have had some success with it. I told my in-laws I would help them out and post the sofa set on the app for them. Success! We posted the sofa set on Saturday and it was picked up Sunday. It really couldn’t have sold faster but…….

There are always things that could have gone better.

First is setting the price of the item you are selling. In the auction business I “speak” vehicles and equipment. My father-in law asked me what I thought his sofa set was worth. I immediately said $300. He thought this was way too low. He said $800. I figured he was crazy, but we agreed to post it for $675. By the amount of inquiries, we were both wrong. It sold for the $675 easily. There was no negotiation. I couldn’t help wonder how much more money we could have gotten. “This would never happen at the auction”, I thought.

Second is dealing with the so called “tire kickers”. Message after message of inquiries from people who truly have no intentions of buying the item. We got low ball offers then people would not respond when you seemed in favour. I had requests to deliver the item, take even more pictures, and respond to questions like “what colour is it?” I kindly responded that it is blue, even though I wanted to reply “Are you serious??? There are 12 f**&%! pictures included!” Apparently, Blue didn’t go with their walls…

And finally, the part that always makes me the most nervous is the pick up of the item. I hate giving my address to people. I try to give my address at the last possible minute, but it always makes me nervous. They have some great online suggestions for this process, but moving a sofa set to a third-party location wasn’t feasible. I agreed to stay with my in-laws until the stranger came to their house and paid. Good thing I did, the buyer (super nice guy by the way) showed up in a truck, alone. He needed help loading. My in-laws never could have helped out. I helped load the truck, and as a result am heading to the chiropractor right after I finish writing this blog.

At the auction we are striving to take some of these pain points out of the buying or selling process. We have launched a new mobile application to assist you. The auction process makes sure you don’t leave money on the table as we have a competitive bidding process. The auction provides qualified buyers and has a seamless inspection report process so the meaningless inquiries are a thing of the passed. Most importantly, our process allows you to use the auction facility as a third-party location. We are the middle-man in the deal, and make sure it is done safely.

To be clear, I am not saying don’t use the classifieds. I do all the time, and I own an auction. But there are many times or circumstances that the using our process is just easier. Or safer. Or more profitable.

Give us a call and start selling your stuff today, the auction way.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

I am not a Cat Guy

I am not a cat guy. Actually, I am not even a pet guy. Although, when I had to put down my 16-year-old cat this past July my eyes swelled with tears. It was probably just seasonal allergies of course, because I am too tough to be a cat guy.

I just got off the phone with a guy who has an uncontrollable cat. Apparently, this cat is so crazy that it jumped on his lap, extended its furry paw, and right clicked his computer mouse; bidding on a vehicle at the auction and buying the car. What are the chances?! Well believe it or not, this apparently happens more often than you think. You laugh, but this isn’t the first time I have had a call from a remorseful buyer with cat issues. Unfortunately, it isn’t even the second time….

I’ve had buyers call me to cancel deals blaming their infant children, ex-wife, disgruntled former employee, drunk husband, pocket dialing mobile phone, and lots and lots of hackers. And while I am sympathetic, I always end the conversation the same way; “I’m sorry, all sales are final.”

Many people don’t realize this, but Ontario regulations don’t offer car buyers a “Cooling-off period”. Consumer protection legislation has this in other industries but not in automotive sales. When your feline friend buys a car on your account at North Toronto Auction; It is yours.

However, to put your mind at ease and in an effort to help new to online buyers (even those with crazy cats), we introduced an auction industry first 72-hour online return policy. This is meant to help those people who have made a mistake with their purchase, have had second thoughts, or just can’t come up with a good excuse to cancel the deal. There is information on our website that explains the policy in more details.

With this policy available you can buy with confidence at North Toronto Auction. Hopefully this helps minimize the blame on some of our feline friends.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Canadian International Auto Show

The auto business is cyclical. Typically, we enjoy stronger months in the spring and fall. The summer tends to be hit and miss with sales while the winter is, let’s just say, more miss then hit. After dark days, lots of snow, and lighter auctions, one thing we at NTA always look forward to is the Canadian International Auto Show Auto Show held in Toronto every February. This is a massive event put on by our friends at the Trillium Automobile Dealer Association (TADA).

The Auto Show is like the auto industries ground hog day. It signifies that the Spring market is coming. It is a day that signifies encouragement and hope for the year. The Show signifies Winter is finally coming to an end; bring on the sales!

For us, The Auto show also comes with another key date. The night before the public jam the Metro Toronto Convention Center, the event hosts a “VIP” night for the industry. It is done up perfectly; black tie, gowns, free food, bottomless drinks, rock bands, and all the newest year vehicles in a “Las Vegas” type atmosphere. The first time you walk in to the VIP night you will be in awe. It truly is a remarkable event.

When us NTA owners were (much) younger we took our VIP experience to another level. We used this as our “networking night”. We took advantage of the food, abused the free drinks, and rocked with all the bands. Sometimes we looked at cars, but not very often. We mingled with customers. We mingled with competitors. We mingled with anyone that wanted to mingle. We went to after parties, the parties after the after parties, had some emergency room visits, and always woke up promising we wouldn’t do that again next year. We have gotten tamer over the years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Advil sales enjoyed a slight uptick every February.

This year though the pandemic has forced the Auto Show to go virtual. I know the TADA will still put on a great show. They always do. Virtual or Live, it still will signify the start of the Spring Market and something for us to look forward to!

Because of Covid-19, I will be missing my first Auto Show since I started in the business in 1998. My mingling streak ends after 22 years. I feel bad for Advil sales. But I will be ready to start a new streak in February 2022!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Why I hate snow

I hate snow. I hate White Christmases. I hate when people say it looks so pretty on the trees. I hate the excitement snow days bring children. But mostly I hate that no one told us that when we started building North Toronto Auction 17 years ago, we picked a great spot for building a business, but oh yeah, its in the middle of a snow belt.

We have 16 acres in Innisfil Ontario, and at any given time thousands of cars and trucks parked in the compound. When it snows, even just a little, it causes a nightmare for us at the auction. We can’t identify window markings, perfectly good vehicles yesterday wont start today, they get stuck in the ice and my pet peeve; snow covered cars look like crap for online photos.

It doesn’t stop there. The auto haulers stay off the roads and don’t bring our vehicles to sell. The buyers wont travel because the radio station is saying it is unsafe; even though the auction is spending thousands to advertise on the same station to tell them to come. Our snow-plow guy inevitably calls in sick, the roof-top furnace breaks, and the salt supplier is experiencing an “industry-wide shortage”. I am cold, grumpy, and feel very sorry for myself.

But it always amazes me how we triumph. The owners head to the yard to help. The operations team work long unforgiving hours. The office staff feels compassion and offer to help in any way they can. Our valued customers become patient and understanding because they have been there themselves. In 17 years, we have never cancelled an auction because of the snow!

I did make myself a promise that I am having a tough time keeping. In April 2020 when the auction was closed for pandemic restrictions, I promised myself I would never complain about the snow again. I would welcome the awful weather, if it meant we could be open again to having auctions .

Eight months later we are open and selling strong! Its been tough for everyone. But online auctions are being accepted as the norm, and the industry is evolving. Online auctions allow customers to work from the safety and comfort of their businesses or homes. Vehicles can be posted from the seller’s business to eliminate travel in nasty weather. The online auctions are solving the pain points. Weather is becoming less of a factor in our business. Heck, with what we have all been through lately, bring on the Snow, we can handle it!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Seller’s Market – When Demand exceeds Supply

I have fielded many calls over the last few months from disgruntled buyers saying “where are all the cars?” or “I can’t believe how high the prices are!” Well these inquiries are actually a cause and effect phenomena. The pandemic has caused a huge shortage in vehicles and equipment on the market causing prices to skyrocket. If you have something to sell, now is the time!

At North Toronto Auction (NTA), we feel the effect of this as well. For differing reasons, our main consignment sources have been affected by the pandemic causing a trickle-down effect and limiting the number of assets being offered at auction.

One of our main sources of consignment is our many government and fleet contracts. On any given month you will see surplus fleet vehicles from entities such as the Province of Ontario, City of Toronto, Hydro One, Toronto Transit Commission or Metrolinx. All of these fleets trust NTA to sell their consignment in a transparent setting. But the pandemic has caused strain on their fleet management. Staffing issues with closures have affected their operation, auction destined vehicles have been redeployed for emergency use, and the Factories making new cars and equipment were closed; causing delays in receiving their new replacement vehicles. This has led to the fleets having to keep their existing vehicle far longer then normal and sending less to the auction.

Another of our consignment sources is finance repossessions. We work with many institutions to auction assets that have been repossessed due to failure in payment. You might think that in a struggling economy repossession numbers at the auctions would increase. However, many lenders are working with customers through these tough times. Lenders are repossessing less. This has caused a decrease in these volumes, and a strain on supply.

Finally, our thousands of dealers who consign trades and aged inventory on weekly basis have really been affected. Their dealerships have been restricted through government closures; the new car stores haven’t received their 2021 models causing them to lose valuable business. In survival mode, many dealers have been retailing vehicles they would typically send to auction. Again, auction volumes lower and the demand increases.

As we progress in 2021 and things hopefully open back up, volumes will return. We have seen it starting already. But in the meantime, it is no doubt a seller’s market. So, if you have stuff to sell, take advantage. They don’t come around like this very often.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

I have to admit, I am not a social media person. Like, not at all. I am on zero social media platforms, have never tweeted anyone, and have limited texting skills. It just doesn’t interest me. But I do read a lot of books, and while one of my favourite business books is called Social Media is Bullshit by B.J. Mendelson , I do think there is value in writing a social media blog for our customers especially in these unique times. This will keep you informed of the changes we are experiencing and how we are dealing with them at North Toronto Auction. Therefore, for as long as I think they are prudent and I have something to say, I will post a blog about industry news and trends and all the happenings at North Toronto Auction.

The first ever blog comes in the first week of 2021. A time where we say good-bye to 2020 which for NTA was one of the most challenging in our 17-year history. In March 2020 our world was turned upside down. With Covid-19 and required government restrictions, we haven’t hosted a live auction since. I feel for staff, auctioneers, and customers who have been affected by this. No one could ever plan for this. Negativity these days is everywhere. You can’t avoid it. But I refuse to have my first blog another piece of negative news. So, this inaugural blog will focus on some of the things we have done since March 2020 to keep North Toronto Auction a premier location to buy and sell your vehicles, equipment, and recreational items….

• The biggest move we made was in March 2020 and we launched our new website at and webcast platform . This was necessary to accommodate all of our buyers and seller who were traditional attendees at our physical auctions and keep them enjoying their auction experiences. It has been a huge success and the biggest change we made.

• We created the auction Pro Subscription for our VIP’s. I can’t count how many regulars we have at our auction. People love being part of something. They love purchasing and selling vehicles, equipment, and toys the auction way. We wanted a way that this very important part of our business can enjoy the same benefits as our registered dealers do. We launched the Pro Subscription in May and almost 1000 people have subscribed. The subscribers get access to market reports, entry to specialized auctions, permanent log -ins, and more for only $10 per month. It’s a no-brainer for anyone who loves auctions.

• We became the first auction in Canada (or North America perhaps) that offered our public buyers a no questions asked 72-hour return policy for cars and trucks. If you don’t like, just bring it back. Its an amazing tool for people who are new to the auction way of buying. That being said, we are amazed at how few people use it because they love the car they purchased.

• We started supplying Canadian Black Book Values on all applicable vehicles. The Black book is the industry standard for vehicle valuations. Our buyers now have this information when shopping with us.

• Recognizing money may be tight in these tough times, we partnered with Prefera Finance to offer people another alternative to pay for their purchase. Public buyers can get pre-approved before the auction and simply shop away.

All of these things were implemented this year to assist in transitioning people to online way of buying cars. We talk everyday about ways to make the user experience even better.

In 2021 we have even bigger plans! We will be launching AutoGavel in the next few weeks our new online marketplace which will be a game changer in the industry! Stay Tuned!

I want to thank all of our loyal customers and dedicated employees who have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic. Our goal is to keep bringing you great auctions, any way we can.

Thanks for reading,