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Photo: Ontario Tourism, 2009


  • Toronto wins major convention for 2014
  • Canada fifth in world for tourism competitiveness
  • Journalists embrace their inner Canadian
  • Holiday marketing campaign wins another award
  • Join TT at MPI event

Travellers in several key U.S. cities are indicating higher levels of intent to travel to Ontario in the coming months. Preliminary data from the Travel Intentions Study, conducted in February 2009, shows that adults in New York City, Cleveland and Chicago, among others, are more likely to visit Ontario, while intent to travel has declined in other cities like Detroit. One of Toronto's most important visitor markets, Buffalo, showed a decline in intent, but still has the highest level of any city with 20 per cent of travellers there intending to visit Ontario.

Percentage of adults who intend to travel to Ontario during March, April or May
  Feb '08 Feb '09 % Change
Buffalo 27 20 -7
Rochester 13 16 +3
New York City 3 12 +9
Pittsburgh 6 5 -1
Detroit 16 8 -8
Cleveland 6 10 +4
Chicago 8 10 +2
The Travel Intentions Study is a survey of approximately 8,000 people and is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, FedNOR and Tourism Toronto. For more information click here.

Toronto Wins Major Convention for 2014
Tourism Toronto and its partners have won the 97th Annual Lions Clubs International Convention for 2014. The convention to be held from June 27-July 10, 2014 is expected to draw 15,000 attendees from all over the world, representing 35,426 total hotel room night bookings. This is the fifth future citywide convention booked in 2009.

Canada Takes Fifth Spot in World for Tourism Competitiveness
A report on tourism by the World Economic Forum gave Canada top marks for all the Americas in its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009. The forum put Canada fifth in the world out of 133 ranked countries, behind Switzerland, Austria, Germany and France and ahead of the U.S., which came eighth and the U.K., which was 11th. The rankings are based on the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, which measures a variety of regulatory and business-related issues that have been identified as levers for improving travel and tourism competitiveness in countries around the world. Last year Canada placed ninth in the same study.

TT's International Sales Team Works Marquee Events
The MC&IT International team and partners attended the Meeting Planners International EMEC 2009 Conference in Turin, Italy from February 28–March 3. Well attended by 500 MPI global members, the networking and educational sessions provided some valuable insights into the current international meetings climate, such as:
  • despite the economic downturn, there is still business from the corporate and incentives sector, although clients are tougher in their negotiations;
  • mid-range hotels are in higher demand as customers tend to shy away from the negative media effects of using "luxury" products;
  • the international association sector is less affected as the need to hold meetings to effect board successions will not change and conferences are still being held according to association by-laws for knowledge exchange;
  • site selection will lean more towards cost-effective destinations with lower airfare and accommodations.
The MPI U.K. chapter meeting on March 5, sponsored by Tourism Toronto at Canada House in London, drew 100+ global meeting planners with the Deputy High Commissioner, Claude Boucher, delivering the welcome address. The International team and several key members rounded out the sales mission with three days of quality sales calls and brought home several prospective association leads with a potential of 10,000 future room night bookings.

Media Have Canadian Experience Toronto-Style
Tourism Toronto's Media Relations team hosted a group of U.S., Latin American and European travel and lifestyle media for the "Embrace Your Inner Canadian" press tour in mid-March. The five-day tour highlighted the best of Canada with a regional Toronto twist. Quintessential Canadian experiences such as maple syrup making, viewing Group of Seven and Emily Carr artwork at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the AGO and, of course, a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame, were all part of the trip.

Holiday Campaign Reaping Awards
Tourism Toronto's holiday campaign received the 2009 Internet Advertising Competition award for "Best Travel Online Campaign" from the U.S.-based Web Marketing Association. This is the third award for our holiday marketing efforts. The campaign also won the gold award for Best Interactive Tourism Marketing at the 2008 Ontario Tourism Awards and took silver at the Canadian Marketing Association awards gala, in the leisure/travel category.

Online Marketing Campaign Rolls On
TT's online campaign promoting Toronto Weekend Getaways began running February 24 with $125,000 worth of online media (e-newsletter, search engine marketing and display banner ads) in-market until March 31. To date, these online promotions have delivered more than 5.3 million impressions to potential visitors. Toronto Weekend Getaways offer a 2-night package at 39 participating hotels. To sign up your property for the spring campaign, please contact Maxine Morrell-West at 416-203-3806.

Leisure Trade Sales at Major Trade Events in U.K. and Germany
Representatives from the Leisure Trade sales team, along with TT members, were in Berlin and London recently attending two key U.K. and European travel trade events: ITB Berlin and Spotlight Canada U.K. While U.K. and European consumer travel booking patterns remain very short term for the first quarter of 2009, both German and British trade clients were optimistic that Canadian bookings will gain some momentum in the coming weeks and should remain on par with 2008 levels overall. Many operators indicated they had just started to note some increases in booking patterns in the past few weeks. Consumers are seeking added value and waiting for last-minute deals. TT has several tactical marketing initiatives in place in both the U.K. and German markets in partnership with preferred trade clients and the OTMPC to stimulate spring/summer bookings to Toronto.

Accord in International Sports
Tourism Toronto's Sports sales team, along with 18 Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance colleagues from across Canada, promoted sport hosting destinations in Canada at SportAccord 2009 in Denver from March 23-27. The Pan Am Games Secretariat also attended, supported by Tourism Toronto, in various appointments and networking opportunities. SportAccord is a five-day gathering of 1,500 leading representatives from international sport including the Congresses and General Assemblies of over 100 international sports federations and their related associations. The event offers the sports community a powerful opportunity to come together on a global scale to build relationships, share knowledge and develop ideas.

Chicago Sun Times Goes to Market
The importance of markets to a city's culture was the focus of a recent piece in the Chicago Sun Times. TT's Media Relations team hosted the writer and the many fine assets of the St. Lawrence market - including a history of the famed peameal bacon sandwich - were showcased. The Sun TImes has a daily readership of over 313,000.

Capitalizing on Opportunities
Team Toronto remains busy in Ottawa, using in-market events to maintain a visible presence and drive business opportunities for the community. On March 18 and 19, five members joined Tourism Toronto for appointments with 20 key clients and then hosted 18 additional clients for a great evening of Ottawa Senators hockey. In this weakened corporate market, focusing on the Canadian association, government and union markets will deliver both long- and short-term business for Toronto.

Flying High in Denver
Team Toronto owned Denver the week of March 16 with three days of sales calls on key Colorado-based clients; a fourth consecutive year exhibiting at the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado Tradeshow, and another sell-out client event at the Avalanche game. Our profile is as high as ever in this fourth-largest U.S. association hub and we expect to begin seeing more concrete results of our in-market activity there.

Overseas Foodies Descend on Toronto
TT's Media Relations team partnered with Jet Airways for an overseas press trip with a culinary theme "A World of Food in Toronto." From March 25-29, eight writers from Spain and the U.K. from major publications such as Sunday Times Travel magazine, Decanter and Aviacion Comercial experienced the diversity that Toronto has to offer the foodie visitor.

Showcasing Toronto's Incentive Possibilities
Tourism Toronto, along with several hotel members, partnered in Chicago and Minneapolis in March to entertain over 60 clients to promote an elite corporate and incentive experience in Toronto. Clients experienced not only a Canadian-inspired menu in both locations, but sipped on ice wine and enjoyed the talents of Toronto jazz singer Shannon Butcher. Toronto welcomes incentive programs each year and planners love this destination because of the shopping, variety of activities, and our proximity to Niagara and the wineries.

TT's Media Relations Team Partners With AeroMexico
Five top journalists in Mexico City were selected to come to Toronto and experience AeroMexico’s new direct flight service between Mexico City and Toronto at the beginning of April. During their three-day visit, the writers will experience a Toronto city tour, diverse dining, and Niagara Falls.

Help Sell the City
As noted in our 2009 Calendar of Leisure Trade Activities, Tourism Toronto is planning to exhibit in partnership with interested members at the Arabian Travel Market taking place in Dubai, May 5-8, 2009. This trade show attracts clients from the UAE, South Asia and the Middle East and more detailed show information can be found on the ATM website.

The cost to participate will depend on the number of members wishing to attend and is estimated to be between $1800-$2300 (CDN) per company, plus air and hotel. If you are interested in exhibiting as part of the Tourism Toronto booth, or wish additional information, please contact Roseanne Longo at or 416-203-3825.

Tourism Toronto is inviting members to come to Salt Lake City from July 11-14, 2009 to help promote the Toronto experience at Meeting Planners International World Education Congress. Members must register for the show directly with MPI, but this opportunity will allow two days of networking and selling Toronto in the Canada Tourism Commission pavilion. For more information on participation please contact Amanda Zappia, Account Director, Corporate U.S. at 416-203-3803.

Draw-ing a Crowd in Ottawa
On May 7 Tourism Toronto will be a Platinum Sponsor of Meeting Planners International's Prix Prestige Awards Gala in Ottawa. Dynamic Toronto musician, Dr. Draw, will thrill the crowd of over 300 industry leaders and set the stage for a great opportunity to tell the Toronto story.

Busy Spring in D.C.
The Professional Convention Management Association Foundation annual dinner will be held on April 15 and Team Toronto will sponsor a table of industry luminaries as our guests at this must-attend event in the U.S. capital. Then on April 16, the annual Springtime Expo tradeshow is an invaluable place to build new and cement existing relationships as it draws several hundred of the most influential members of the tri-state meetings industry. To wrap up the week, April 17 is ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership's annual Springtime Golf Tournament, an event in which Tourism Toronto is both a sponsor and active participant, expanding relationships one hole at a time!

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (400+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Mar 27-Apr 4 North American Society for Trenchless Technology 1,200
Mar 27-Apr 3 Society for Human Resource Management 600
Apr 1-5 Ontario Association of Optometrists 500
Apr 5-8 Canadian Education & Research Institute of Counselling 600
Apr 16-19 University of Toronto - Update in General Dentistry 500
Apr 21-26 Registered Nurses Association of Ontario 400
Apr 21-27 Canadian Lung Association 2,000

As an expansion of our service to our members, please enjoy the first in a series of insider tips and hidden gems from our friends at Les Clefs D'Or Canada.

The Dining Room at Osgoode Hall
Have you ever wondered what goes on inside that beautiful building at the corner of Queen and University? What lies behind the stunning black wrought iron fence with its "cow gate" entrance? Osgoode Hall was built in 1832 and named after William Osgoode, Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1792-1794, and also the man credited with initiating the basis of our Canadian justice system. It houses the Ontario Court of Appeal, parts of the Superior Court of Justice, the Law Society of Upper Canada and this month's "hidden gem."

On the second floor of Osgoode Hall hides one of the best lunch spots in Toronto. The dining room at Osgoode Hall is essentially the lawyers' cafeteria, where working lawyers from several of the building's courts can choose from either a twenty dollar prix fixe or an inexpensive, delicious à la carte menu. Best of all, this fabulous lunch spot is open to the public! Monday through Friday, from noon to 2 p.m. (September to June) you can enjoy lunch in this grand, high-ceilinged room, with ten magnificent stained glass windows and walls lined with historic law books. The cuisine is French, the service is attentive and although you may be casually dressed (even jeans are acceptable), do not be surprised if sitting beside you are lawyers dressed in black robes and tabbed white collars.

At the back of the room is an entrance to the "Great Library," arguably one of Canada's most beautiful rooms. If you do venture in, be sure to walk quietly. Although the floor is made of cork, specifically for the purpose of absorbing sound, it was varnished after its construction. Needless to say, this completely negated the designers' intentions! On your way out, give yourself a little time to look at the extraordinary photos of Toronto on the first floor hallways. Images of historic Toronto that will undoubtedly remain with you as you step back onto the busy bustling streets of our magnificent city.

Reservations are recommended, so please call ahead at 416-947-3361. Although the restaurant is closed during the summer months, take advantage of the free tour of Osgoode Hall every weekday at 1:15 p.m. from July 2-August 29.

Carolina Avaria
Chef Concierge
InterContinental Toronto Yorkville
Director of Ontario and
National Secretary
Les Clefs d'Or Canada

Member Events
There is still space in the Working With Festivals and Events workshop on Wednesday, April 8, 2009. Online registration is here.

Golf enthusiasts don't have to wait until September to play, as Tourism Toronto and the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) team up to co-host the GTHA Annual Golf Tournament scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at the Lionhead Golf and Country Club, 8525 Mississauga Road, Brampton. If you are interested in playing, registration is open. To showcase your business, some great sponsorship opportunities are available.

(Please note Tourism Toronto will not be holding its annual golf event in September this year.)

Gillian Preston has joined Tourism Toronto as Manager, Latin American & North American Group Travel. Gillian is a native of Toronto who left a career at Tourism Toronto in the Membership Sales department to move to South America in 1997 where she lived for 10 years. Prior to working at TT, Gillian's background was with hotel sales and while in SA she was active in sales and marketing with a tourism hospitality company handling travel trade, SMERF, corporate and group travel business. Gillian's sales and marketing skills, combined with her past experience in membership sales, give her a deep appreciation of the business and she will be a welcome addition to the Leisure Trade Department and Tourism Toronto.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Apr 1-5
One of a Kind Spring Show
Direct Energy Centre

Apr 1-28
The Misanthrope
Drake Hotel

Apr 2-8
Bach's St. Matthew Passion
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Apr 2-4
Ron James: Mental as Anything Tour
Winter Garden Theatre

Apr 3-5
Spring Classic Collector Car Auction
International Centre

Apr 4
Thoroughbred horse racing opens
Woodbine Racetrack

Apr 4
Toronto FC home opener
BMO field

Apr 8
Harlem Globetrotters
Hershey Centre

Apr 9
Science of Spying
Ontario Science Centre

Apr 10-13
Easter "Egg" Stravaganza
Toronto Zoo

Apr 11-May 24
COC's La Boheme, Simon Boccanegra, Midsummer Night's Dream
Four Seasons Centre

To Apr 19
Backyard Monsters
Royal Botanical Gardens

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"Labelled by Irwin Cohen as 'the jewel of Canadian racing, with some of North America's finest and most unique turf racing surfaces,' Woodbine indeed stands out."

— from "A Day at the Races" Meetings & Conventions magazine


Did you know? Inaugurated in 1860, the Queen's Plate is North America's oldest continuously run stakes race.
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Tourism Toronto is the sales and marketing organization for Greater Toronto's diverse and compelling tourism experiences, representing 1,200 member businesses. Visit us at

Tourism Toronto is located at 207 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 1A7.