CMHF & CIAS already gearing up for 2021 induction ceremony

CMHF & CIAS already gearing up for 2021 induction ceremony

By Bryce Turner


Although the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame’s (CMHF) most recent induction ceremony took place less than two months ago, the nomination process to identify next year’s crop of new members will soon begin. As well, preparations for the 2021 ceremony are already underway.

The process of identifying potential candidates begins with the public nomination process. Fans of Canadian racing are encouraged to submit nominations starting May 1. These will be accepted through until July 29.

The process includes the submission of an electronically completed nomination form (available at the website) along with two letters of support. These are directed to the chair of the Selection Committee, with the general manager of the CMHF being copied.

From there, the nominee bios go to the Selection Committee; a body that is wholly independent from the CMHF board.

The Selection Committee is comprised of a group of non-board members, including journalists and recognized motorsport historians and influencers. The committee is given a scoring matrix to help members evaluate the worthiness of each candidate.

The scores from the various committee members are then forwarded to the committee chair, who constructs a numeric ranking for each candidate. These rankings are presented to the CMHF board, without names, at a pre-determined meeting.

“Each candidate is scored independently by members of the Selection Committee,” said CMHF chair Dr. Hugh Scully. “The board then makes a decision to identify that year’s number of inductees, and a cut-off score is chosen to support that number. Only then are the names of the next class of inductees revealed to the board.”

Board members are not allowed to make nominations, but can encourage others to do so. For candidates who fall just short of the cut-off, the committee chair contacts the nominator – the following year – to encourage them to resubmit the application, as well as suggesting what addition information might benefit the application the next time.

In addition to the inductees selected through this process, an international inductee and a ‘Rising Star’ award winner are chosen separately, by the board.

Turning to the 2021 induction gala, next year’s ceremony will be the second in full partnership with the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS).

As part of the relationship, the international inductee is awarded and interviewed during the CIAS’ VIP Gala on the Wednesday just prior to the start of the CIAS.

“The recognition of the CMHF during that evening enhances our profile in a very positive way,” said Dr. Scully.

Dr. Scully contends the partnership with the CIAS is benefit to both parties, providing the CIAS with an element of the automobile industry that hasn’t been part of the event in years past, while increasing the Hall’s profile through interviews conducted during the show.

As well, the CMHF Tribute Room, features historic race cars and provides a venue from which representatives of the CMHF can share information about the Hall with Canadian auto and racing enthusiasts who attend the CIAS.

Board member Peter Lockhart agrees that the partnership is mutually beneficial to the Hall and the CIAS.

“Holding our induction ceremonies in concert with Canada’s largest auto show adds prestige to the event for us and provides the show with excellent pre-show media and PR,” said Lockhart. “The induction gala event on the Wednesday night, where we get to announce the international inductee, is a terrific boost to our event.”

For this year’s ceremony, which was held during the CIAS in February, ten members were inducted under a new ‘Media’ category, in addition to seven new members via the traditional process. With that inaugural ceremony for the media category now in the books, the number of inductees is expected to return to the usual seven or eight, going forward.

A possible change for next year is the addition of bios and profiles of the new inductees to be displayed alongside the list of past inductees in the Tribute Room, an idea suggested by Jason Campbell, general manager of the CIAS. In February, the Tribute Room featured McLaren Racing, the latest international inductee.

With the John Bassett Theatre at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre being significantly larger than the previous host venue, the CMHF will also examine possible changes to the on-stage setup, plus improvements to accessibility.

According to Dr. Scully, the CMHF and the CIAS are looking forward to 2021.

“We have a three-year, working collaborative partnership,” said Dr. Scully. “On the basis of our preliminary experience in February 2019 and our detailed experience in February (2020), all of us – on both sides – are enthusiastic about continuing.”

Discussing the relationship, from the perspective of the CIAS, Campbell said, “The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame association has helped to give the sport a higher profile among our audience, and helped us – as a show – to develop great displays, curate impressive content and attract some of the automotive world’s most recognized names to our market.

“The association makes perfect sense for all concerned, and we look forward to help drive this partnership forward and celebrate Canada’s contribution to our sport for years to come.”

The 2021 induction ceremony will take place during the Canadian International AutoShow, scheduled for February 12-21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto.