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Photo: Greg Reekie - McMichael Canadian Art Collection


  • Toronto shines for ASAE & The Center
  • TT meets with Mexico travel trade about new visa requirements
  • Canada is Live 09/09/09
  • TT adding industry events page to website

In partnership with Ryerson University and the GTAA, Tourism Toronto has been conducting an ongoing survey at the airport of overnight visitors to Toronto. Over 62 per cent of those surveyed said they intend to return to Toronto in the next two years, with almost one in four saying they will return for a pleasure trip.
Do you intend to return to Toronto in the next two years?
  Total that Intend to Return Return for Business Return for Pleasure Return for VFR
TOTAL 62.7% 27.6% 23.0% 30.9%
Business travellers 71.1% 63.9% 18.8% 10.0%
Pleasure travellers 52.5% 13.3% 33.9% 27.5%
VFR travellers 67.7% 5.6% 17.7% 63.2%
Source: Tourism Toronto Visitor Survey

Note From the President
Let me take this opportunity to again reference simply the amazing performance of our Host Committee, our staff and our partners as it relates to organizing and hosting ASAE & The Center For Association Leadership's Annual Meeting and Exposition this past week. I am pleased that so many of you had a chance to participate in various aspects of the effort.

Let me first start by recognizing our Host Committee Co-Chairs - Barry Smith (and his amazing team at the MTCC), Heather McCrory (GM of the Fairmont Royal York) and Bill Duron (Chair of the OTMPC). I also would be remiss if I did not take a moment to recognize and thank our Board Chair, David Ogilvie who has been a partner and leader in the planning and delivery process for well over the past 12 months and the constant visibility and leadership he provided both in working directly with staff at ASAE & The Center and our host city and host sales efforts (including our partnership with PCMA and the International Summit held in conjunction with ASAE & The Center and our special "Ambassadors" who were brought to town made up of major meeting planners who serve as advisors and champions of our MC&IT efforts).

I also want to acknowledge and thank the tremendous planning and effort of our tactical committee volunteers and chairs - the Hospitality & Welcome Committee chaired by Lynette Holloway - Account Director of the Sheraton Centre: the Marketing & Promotion Committee chaired by Heidi Welker - Vice President Marketing, AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions: Media & Public Relations chaired by Cynthia Bond - Director of Public Relations - Canada, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and the amazing turn-out and team of volunteers led by our Volunteer Committee Chair, Ann Corbitt - Vice President, Business Development - Premier Conference and Events.

There are far too many other volunteers and industry partners to mention but I hope your own personal observations of the show and the effort and most importantly the reaction of our guests and colleagues demonstrated the kind of planning and preparation and professionalism that we are so fortunate to have within the Toronto, Ontario and Canada family.

And lastly, let me turn your attention to our staff here at Tourism Toronto. First and foremost, on her watch - this amazing effort was led by Tara Gordon. But she would be the first to tell you this was a total team effort. Just about every staff person at TT had some touch in the planning and implementation. But most visible and equally challenging of course was the amazing three evening events, so on behalf of all of us, let me add to others who have shared so many positive comments and reactions and recognize our Special Events Committee Chair - Tourism Toronto's own Director of Client Services - Kathryn Wakefield. "Wow" is about all that I think is needed to summarize the results.

As she so capably did when we hosted PCMA a few years ago, Tourism Toronto was also fortunate enough to be able to retain Yvonne Dewar as Project Manager for our Host Committee effort. She has worked tirelessly often under the radar but we all owe Yvonne our gratitude, admiration and thanks.

I am just so very, very proud of all of our volunteer and industry partners who made this possible. I have listed below the overall formal committee rosters (each who played a special role). As you scroll down, many may be colleagues of yours or within our membership ranks. When you come across one of them, make sure and mention their outstanding contributions. This was indeed a team effort.

David Whitaker, President & CEO, Tourism Toronto

Host Committee Vice-Chairs
Barry Smith - President and CEO - Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Heather McCrory - The Fairmont Royal York
Bill Duron - Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

Hospitality & Welcome Committee
Lynette Holloway - Account Director - Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel (Chair)
Meghan Bowness - Tourism Toronto
Elsie Lee - Tourism Toronto
Bridget LeGrow - Tourism Toronto
Catherine Beatty - Congress Canada
Jennifer Ginsberg - JPdL
Mark Kelly - CN Tower
Roni Feldman - Feldman & Associates Inc.

Marketing & Promotion
Heidi Welker - Vice President Marketing - AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions (Chair)
Tara Gordon - Tourism Toronto
Ava Sones - Canadian Tourism Commission
Carrie Jackson - CN Tower
Christine Chiu - Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Kathryn Cesta - Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
Rachel Lester - The Westin Harbour Castle
Richard Innes - Brain Trust
Sabrina Kandasamy - Tourism Toronto
Vera Kurnitzki-West - Tourism Toronto
Rebecca Myers - ASAE & The Center

Media & Public Relations
Cynthia Bond - Director of Public Relations - Canada - Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Chair)
Dan Young - Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Melanie Coates - Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Kattrin Sieber - Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation
Dionne Bishop - Direct Energy Centre
Yola Marshall - InterContinental Toronto Centre
Andrew Weir - Tourism Toronto
Michele Simpson - Tourism Toronto
Cathy Riches - Tourism Toronto

Special Events Committee
Kathryn Wakefield - Director, Client Services - Tourism Toronto (Chair)
Ava Sones - Canadian Tourism Commission
Vicki Owen - Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation
Tara Gordon - Tourism Toronto
Richard Willett - Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Harold Mah - City of Toronto

Volunteer Committee
Ann Corbitt - Vice President, Business Development - Premier Conference & Events (Chair)
Fanny Tse - The Fairmont Royal York
Kaelan Henderson - InterContinental Toronto Centre
Pamela Laite - Tourism Toronto
Sharon Kennedy - Toronto Tours
Melanie Fong - Sutton Place Hotel Toronto
Carly Davis - Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Project Manager
Yvonne Dewar - Project Manager - Tourism Toronto Host Committee

Toronto Performs Brilliantly for Its "Live Audition"
From August 15-18 more than 4,900 participants (including 2,183 association executives, 1,798 exhibitors and 920 other staff, guests and partners) gathered in Toronto for ASAE & The Center's Annual Meeting & EXPO. There was a great buzz throughout the conference with many delegates remarking how wonderful the city looked and what a different place it feels in the summer. (Many of these folks last visited in January 2007 during the PCMA Annual Conference.) Long term interest in Toronto remains strong with particular notice from education, medical and technology groups that have a natural affinity for a centre of innovation such as Toronto. Many thanks to the hundreds of partners and volunteers who stepped up to make this event the stunning success it was!

Tourism Toronto's Media Relations team also took advantage of ASAE & The Center's presence to reach out to media on various fronts. Torontonians gained an appreciation of the importance of the conventions and meetings industry to the local economy, as demonstrated by the coverage in the Toronto Star, National Post, Globe and Mail, City-TV and CBC Radio and TV news. TT and OTMP also hosted a group of key meetings and conventions media for a luncheon on August 16. Representatives from such trade media outlets as Tradeshow Week, Meetings & Conventions magazine, Association Meetings, CM&E, Convene magazine, Trade Show Executive and Meetings Media got a glimpse outside the convention centre walls and a little taste of Toronto hospitality.

Toronto On Top Business Destinations List
USA Today recently polled business travellers to find out their favourite cities for business travel and Toronto made the top ten international destinations as the only Canadian city (in good company with London, Paris, Tokyo...)

Toronto's LGBT Scene Reaches the U.K.
Tourism Toronto's Media Relations team, in partnership with OTMP, hosted Pride Life which resulted in a two-page article: '24 Hours in Toronto" in the August issue of the magazine. Pride Life is the leading gay website and magazine in the U.K. with features on a variety of aspects of LGBT life including travel. This coverage represents a media value of over $38,000.

Reaching Out To Mexico
Tourism Toronto's Corporate sales team travelled to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico for sales calls August 3-7. Recent changes to Canada's customs and immigration policies requiring all Mexican visitors to have visas before they can enter Canada made it important to meet with our key partners and clients face-to-face to educate and discuss the implications. Mexico has been emerging as a key market for all types of travel to Toronto with double-digit increases in visitor numbers every year for the past five years. There is currently a lot of confusion and concern in the market with the new visa requirements that we wanted to do our part to alleviate.

Bring Your Kids to Toronto
On the heels of a family-oriented press trip co-hosted by TT's Media Relations team and Homewood Suites by Hilton in June, coverage has been amassing. Thanks to on-line publications and blogs such as, Family Travel Forum and Go Nomad boasting total unique monthly visitor numbers of over 100,000, readers are now more familiar with a variety of Toronto and York Region attractions.

PCMA International Summit
On August 15, 100 leading association industry minds gathered in Toronto for the 2009 PCMA International Summit and sponsored by Tourism Toronto, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Experts exchanged ideas about many of the top issues confronting international meetings today including the global economy, national security and the impact on international travel and concerns over the possible threat of a pandemic. Participants agreed that while the future is uncertain, we must continue to demonstrate the business realities behind the need for truly international gatherings while better advocating for our industry in our local communities and with the media.

Germany Sees Toronto in New Light
As a result of a Canadiana-themed press trip in March, the German publication, Spotlight published an impressive four-page spread on Toronto's art and design culture in August. Spotlight is a monthly magazine with a circulation of over 135,000.

Another German publication, H.O.M.E. magazine, featured Toronto's stylish side in a four-page spread in its August issue, delivering an equivalent advertising value of over $75,000. H.O.M.E. is published in both German and Hungarian.

TT Showcases Members to Ontario and Michigan-Based Tour Operators
On July 22 and 23, in line with our ongoing efforts to target the student and youth (S&Y) market, Tourism Toronto, in partnership with seven members, met with six key Ontario and Michigan-based S&Y tour operators during a two-day sales mission. Members had the opportunity to present their 2010 S&Y product to these trade clients for inclusion in future Toronto programs, as these markets remain an important growth opportunity for the Greater Toronto Area.

The Peg Comes to TO
Tourism Toronto's Media Relations team welcomed a journalist from the Winnipeg Free Press to Toronto August 12-14. The writer had a whirlwind tour of a cross section of Toronto delights, to take the word back to Manitobans about the breadth of activities and attractions on offer here.

It's an Honour Just to Be Nominated
SportsTravel magazine has announced that the 2009 World Baseball Classic, of which Toronto was one of the host cities, has been nominated for a 2009 SportsTravel Award. Events are nominated and then voted upon by the readers of SportsTravel, the sports world's event magazine. To cast your vote for the WBC, go online here. Final balloting is open through September 14, 2009.

I'll Take Canada for $200 Please, Colin
The countdown is on! With fewer than 15 days left to Live Canada on September 9, TT's MC&IT team is gearing up to participate in the first meeting and incentive industry event to take place simultaneously in six cities throughout the United States and one in London, England. Coordinated by the Canadian Tourism Commission, Live Canada will come to life with all seven cities connected on one day at one time for an incredible shared experience: a live competition to win the trip of a lifetime. Canadian comedian, Colin Mochrie, star of the Emmy-nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway, will quiz the contestants on Canadian geography, food and wine, and popular culture in fast-paced rounds until there is only one contestant remaining, the winner of the trip of a lifetime. MC&IT staff will participate in all seven cities, networking with potential clients and promoting Toronto for their next meeting or event.

FICP Canada at The Falls Before Coming to Toronto in the Fall
On August 27 the Canadian Chapter Meeting of the Financial and Insurance Conference Planners will take place in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The MC&IT Corporate team from Tourism Toronto will attend along with 110 meeting planners and suppliers from all over Canada. This year, Tourism Toronto will host the closing breakfast on Saturday as well as facilitate a round table discussion on the economy. This is an excellent opportunity to promote Toronto to one of our key industries, as well as increase attendance for FICP’s upcoming North American Annual Conference that will take place in Toronto in November 2009 at the Sheraton Toronto Centre.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (1,000+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Aug 24-28 Rogers Communications Inc. - IncentiveWorks 2,000
Aug 26-31 Ontario Volleyball Association 2,000
Aug 30-Sep 8 American Political Science Association 6,000
Sep 3-8 Network of Indian Professionals 1,000
Sep 9-14 Reed Life Sciences 2,000
Sep 9-14 Photo Marketing Association International 2,000

Congratulations to the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto City Centre (formerly the Comfort Suites City Centre), at 200 Dundas Street East, which officially opened its doors at the beginning of August.

New Industry Events Page on Website
As an additional benefit to members, Tourism Toronto is launching a new feature on our member web page: a list of upcoming industry events. If you have an industry event you would like to share with your fellow members, please send the information, including a website link if possible, to Denise Belgrove at The new feature will launch mid-September. (Please note that public events and festivals will continue to be listed in the events calendar on our consumer website and can be sent to Michael Persaud at

The Industry Relations Committee Wants You
The Tourism Toronto Industry Relations Committee is looking for five additional volunteers to begin their service in September 2009. More details are here.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Aug 21-Sep 7
Canadian National Exhibition
Exhibition Place

Aug 27-30
Scotiabank Buskerfest
St. Lawrence Market district

Aug 29
CanAfric Theatre's Mississauga International Drum & Dance Festival
Living Arts Centre

Sep 3
Lula Lounge

Sep 4-7
Hot and Spicy Food Festival
Harbourfront Centre

Sep 5-7
Canadian International Air Show

Sep 10-19
Toronto International Film Festival
Various theatres

Sep 11-13
Tim Horton's Southside Shuffle
Port Credit

Sep 19-Nov 15
Candice Breitz
The Power Plant

Sep 20
Cabbagetown Preservation Association Tour of Homes

Sep 21-26
Latin Flavours @ Frank
Frank Restaurant - AGO

Sep 24-Oct 4
Small World Music Festival
Various venues

Sep 26 & 27
Doors Open Vaughan
Various locations

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.

"A group of four women went on the hunt for the perfect getaway...York Region offered the group of women a wide selection of spas, shopping experiences, restaurants, wineries and accommodations. It was the perfect choice."

— From the Amherst Bee, July 2008


Did you know? York Region is home to the hamlet of Miami Beach. It was right around the corner from the now defunct hamlet of Beverley Hills, which, ironically, was a flat area on the northern tip of the Holland Marsh.
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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.