Tips for Planning an International Meeting

When traveling internationally, it’s important to be aware of more than merely changing time-zones.

1. What customs and norms are native to my destination?
In Toronto, our customs and norms are very close, if not identical to those in the U.S. However, when traveling overseas there are many differences you should explore before you leave. Try to work your agenda into the opening and closing times of the local shops and businesses. Many European cities enjoy an afternoon siesta, which can put a damper on your plans if unexpected. Presenting a gift to local officials is customary in some Asian countries. It’s important to be aware of such traditions as it may look disrespectful if they are not followed.

It’s good idea to learn some of the common phrases in the native language. Not only will it make getting around easier, but it also is seen as a courteous gesture to the locals.
Here’s a quick lesson on some common Toronto lingo:

• Eh? – Often used at the end of a sentence to ask for agreeance on what was said (i.e. “don’t you think?”)
• TTC – Toronto Transit Commission. One of North America’s finest transit systems, you can get across the city, transfer between subway, bus and streetcar with just one fare.
• Toque – A winter hat.
• Loonie – The Canadian one-dollar coin.
• Toonie – The Canadian two-dollar coin.
• Pop – Soda.
• Poutine – French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy.

2. What local holidays and seasons will be taking place during my event?
It’s best to research this before your schedule is set in stone. You may have trouble booking activities on major holidays. Also, if you’re planning to venture South of the equator, keep in mind that seasons will be opposite of what you’re used to. There are few holidays that differ from Canada to the U.S., such as Thanksgiving, which takes place in October for Canadians. Click here for a full list of Canadian holidays.

3. What cultural traditions can we celebrate while visiting?
Take advantage of the cuisine, the arts, or perhaps festivals that are unique to that area. Toronto has such diversity that you can experience almost any culture, all within one city!

Contact our CVB for some great ideas on how to incorporate different cultural traditions, dining and entertainment into your event.

4. What valuable information can I provide to my guests to ensure their trip runs smoothly?
Give your attendees as many facts and instructions as you can. Whether it’s maps and landmarks, currency info, phone usage, time changes, electrical outlets etc.

Tourism Toronto has all this and more on our website under the Practical Info section.
If you have additional questions on planning a meeting in Toronto give us a call:
Robert Kawamoto, CMP

Tara Gordon, CMP

Alice Au, CMP

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