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Photo: Women in front of YWCA's Ontario House, 698 Ontario Street, ca. 1912. Photographer: William James. City of Toronto Archives. Fonds 1244, Item 71.22.


  • New Hotel Marketing Program
  • Major South American Media Coverage
  • PCMA Honours Tourism Toronto
  • Black History Month Event

February blahs get no traction in Toronto with Black History Month, Winter City, Valentine's Day and Family Day events occupying our calendars. Reading about all our sales, marketing and media relations news will keep you energized, too.
In a ranking of 28 North American cities just released by Smith Travel Research, Toronto finished 10th in hotel occupancy for 2008, moving up from 11th in 2007. Despite a slight decline of 1.4 per cent, Toronto finished 2008 with 67.6 per cent in overall occupancy. In a sign of the challenging times, Toronto ranked 5th in overall change in annual occupancy.

Ranked by Occupancy
City 2007 2008 Change 2007
New York 83.4% 81.9% -1.8% 1 1
San Francisco/ San Mateo 75.1% 75.0% -0.1% 3 2
Oahu Island 76.8% 74.9% -2.5% 2 3
Miami-Hialeah 72.4% 71.5% -1.2% 7 4
Los Angeles- Long Beach 75.0% 71.3% -4.9% 4 5
Vancouver 72.7% 70.2% -3.5% 6 6
San Diego 72.9% 69.5% -4.7% 5 7
Anaheim- Santa Ana 72.2% 68.8% -4.7% 8 8
Seattle 71.4% 68.1% -4.6% 9 9
Toronto 68.5% 67.6% -1.4% 11 10
Houston 65.7% 67.4% 2.6% 18 11
Washington 68.3% 67.1% -1.8% 13 12
Boston 68.4% 66.5% -2.8% 12 13
Orlando 67.9% 65.9% -2.9% 14 14
Philadelphia 68.8% 65.3% -5.1% 10 15
Chicago 67.5% 63.5% -5.9% 15 16
Denver 65.6% 63.1% -3.8% 20 17
New Orleans 57.7% 62.6% 8.5% 28 18
Montreal 65.6% 62.5% -4.8% 21 19
Minneapolis- St Paul 65.8% 61.9% -5.9% 17 20
Nashville 65.7% 60.8% -7.5% 19 21
Phoenix 66.9% 59.4% -11.2% 16 22
Dallas 60.0% 58.9% -1.8% 26 23
Atlanta 63.1% 58.8% -6.8% 22 24
St Louis 60.6% 58.5% -3.5% 24 25
Tampa- St Petersburg 61.4% 56.9% -7.3% 23 26
Detroit 58.3% 55.3% -5.1% 27 27
Norfolk- Virginia Beach 60.3% 55.1% -8.6% 25 28

Ranked by Change
City Change Rank
New Orleans 8.6% 1
Houston 2.6% 2
San Francisco/San Mateo -0.1% 3
Miami-Hialeah -1.3% 4
Toronto -1.4% 5
New York -1.8% 6
Washington -1.8% 7
Dallas -1.9% 8
Oahu Island -2.5% 9
Boston -2.8% 10
Orlando -3.0% 11
Vancouver -3.5% 12
St Louis -3.6% 13
Denver -3.9% 14
San Diego -4.7% 15
Anaheim-Santa Ana -4.7% 16
Seattle -4.7% 17
Montreal -4.8% 18
Los Angeles-Long Beach -5.0% 19
Philadelphia -5.2% 20
Detroit -5.2% 21
Chicago -6.0% 22
Minneapolis-St Paul -6.0% 23
Atlanta -6.8% 24
Tampa-St Petersburg -7.2% 25
Nashville -7.5% 26
Norfolk-Virginia Beach -8.7% 27
Phoenix -11.2% 28

Source: Smith Travel Research

New Marketing Program Promotes Great Toronto Weekend Hotel Stays
In an effort to build on the growing trend of visitors booking vacations online and the growth that Toronto has been experiencing in visits to its website (4,772,238 in 2008), Tourism Toronto has developed a new initiative to encourage leisure travel. A year-long campaign offering the best available weekend rates for Toronto hotels will be offered via TT's website, TT is asking all hotel properties interested in participating in the program to complete the online form. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sabrina Kandasamy at or 416-203-3842.

Delicious Dishes up Toronto
Along with our partners at the Canadian Tourism Commission, the TT media relations team hosted a prominent Australian food and travel writer this past summer. Her visit resulted in an eight-page feature, replete with lush photos, in the February 2009 issue of Delicious magazine. The article captures Toronto's flair and neighbourhood feel while highlighting the virtues of our top chefs, haute cuisine and local fare. Delicious is an Australian food magazine featuring recipes, travel and lifestyle with a circulation of 128,500. The feature has an advertising equivalency of $85,627.

Strathcona Hotel Awarded
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International presented the winners in its 52nd annual Adrian Awards in New York City recently, and Toronto's Strathcona Hotel was given the eMarketer of the Year award. TravelCLICK paid tribute to the best integrated eMarketing program in the hotel industry due to the Strathcona's high rate of bookings coming directly through its website. The Adrian Awards honour the top companies and individuals in hospitality, travel and tourism advertising, public relations and web marketing.

South American Media Coverage
As a result of a Brazilian press tour hosted by the TT media relations team in December 2008, Toronto was the subject of a whopping 10-page feature in the travel section of Folha de S.Paulo. With a readership of 1 million, the Portuguese language daily newspaper, published in Sao Paulo, is the country's largest in circulation and considered the most influential. To view the article, click here and hit "Proximo" to flip through the pages.

Toronto was also featured in the Chilean equivalent of People magazine, as a result of a November 2008 Chilean press tour supported by TT's media relations team. Caras magazine, the country's popular entertainment and lifestyle publication, included Toronto in its January 2009 issue.

D.C. Team Strikes Again
In February, the Washington, D.C. sales team will be busy with two strategic industry events. On February 24, the U.S. Capital Chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association holds it annual charity bowl-a-thon. The D.C. team will connect with more than 50 key association clients during an afternoon of informal networking.

February 26 is the date for the 2009 Destination Marketing Association International Destinations Showcase in Washington, D.C. TT will exhibit at this first of three DMAI-sponsored tradeshows across the country. This event draws between 400 and 500 association and corporate planners and serves as a good early-year promotional opportunity.

China Learns About Green Toronto
Tourism Toronto, with the support of a number of members, hosted a media trip from CCTV, the largest TV group in China, in fall 2008. As a result, the Green Space program ran two lengthy Toronto-focused episodes, highlighting the city's green tourism initiatives and its appeal as an international tourist destination. The shows aired during prime time and have an equivalent advertising value of over $2 million dollars.

Tourism Toronto and MTCC Honoured With PCMA Chairman's Award
In recognition of Toronto's exemplary leadership and spirit of partnership, Tourism Toronto and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre have been honoured with the Professional Conference Management Association's 2009 Chairman's Award. Each year, PCMA's Chairman's Award is given to an individual or organization that has made a difference in the meetings and conventions industry or who has contributed in a constructive way to setting a course that will positively affect the travel industry. TT thanks its friends at PCMA for the recognition.

Canada-e-Connect Wraps Up
For those who were unable to attend the well-received conference on digital tourism marketing, there is a brief, interesting review of the highlights posted on the conference Chair's blog. As well, many of the presentations from the conference have been uploaded here.

London Gets a Glimpse of Toronto
TT's media relations team hosted a U.K.-based writer in the fall and the result is a feature in the travel section of London Lite, a free daily commuter newspaper. The publication has a circulation of 401,543 and the advertising equivalency of the article is $24,000.

Team Chicago Staying Super
On February 1, TT's Chicago sales team hosted the 2nd Annual Super Bowl Party at the ESPN Zone in downtown Chicago. This event is growing in popularity, as member participation expanded in 2009 and client attendance doubled. The family-focused approach to this event makes it unique in the Chicago market and reinforces the relationships that we want to develop between TT, our clients and our members.

Tourism Toronto Marks Black History Month
"Many Rivers to Cross: The Toronto Journey 1900-1950" is curated by Toronto historian Sheldon Taylor and runs from February 11 through 16 at the landmark St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East. Tourism Toronto's sales team is hosting a group of influential meeting planners from select U.S. professional associations, such as the National Medical Association and the National Association of Black Journalists, to view the exhibition. As well, the media team is hosting a group of reporters from prominent magazines and radio stations. Tourism Toronto is also sponsoring a visitor guide to Black History Month events, Victorious Legacy, which will be distributed around town and also online via our home page in the coming days.

Toronto Goes Tête-à-Tête With CSAE
The Canadian Society of Association Executives along with Meeting Planners International, hold their annual trade show, "Tête-à-Tête," in Ottawa on February 12. Attended by over 300 key meetings and conventions decision makers, this is a major opportunity to showcase Toronto to the Canadian market. TT is once again a gold sponsor of the CSAE/MPI dinner and the Ottawa sales team will have two tables of clients and members front and centre to make new contacts and identify prime business opportunities.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (500+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Feb 8-10 Canadian Nurses Association 700
Feb 18-19 Canadian Lumbermen's Association 500
Feb 23-26 Ontario Real Estate Association 500
Feb 25-26 Ontario Cattlemen's Association 500
Feb 26-Mar 1 BMO Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships 5,000

Calendar of Business Activities
Tourism Toronto is often looking for members to join them on sales missions or at tradeshows. If you have ever considered joining in these initiatives, the first step would be to take a look at the online Business Activities Calendar. At the bottom of the calendar is contact information, if you have any questions.

Save the Date
Tourism Toronto's AGM is scheduled for May 21, 2009. More details will follow in the coming months.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
Jan 24-Feb 24
COC's Fidelio
Four Seasons Centre

Jan 30-Feb 12
City of Toronto

Feb 5-8
Interior Design Show
Direct Energy Centre

Feb 7
Emm Gryner
Glenn Gould Studio

Feb 7 & 8, 14 & 15
Kuumba - Black History Month Festival
Harbourfront Centre

Feb 9-Mar 7
Miss Julie: Freedom Summer
Canadian Stage - Bluma Appel Theatre

Feb 10-Mar 14
The Color Purple
Canon Theatre

Feb 13-16
Toronto Zoo Celebrates Ontario Family Day
Toronto Zoo

Feb 14
Step Into Ballroom
Bata Shoe Museum

Feb 14
Ontario Science Centre's Sleepovers
Ontario Science Centre

Feb 14-16
ROMkids Family Day Long Weekend
Royal Ontario Museum

Feb 16
Chatterbox Family Day Celebration
Casa Loma

Feb 16
Markham Winter Carnival

Feb 16
Family Day, National Ballet of Canada
The Walter Carsen Centre

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"We live in a one-world community. While the world celebrates Barack Obama's victory, much of it is rooted in Canada's role to end the despicable system of slavery. The Underground Railroad made its way to Canada. Runaway slaves and abolitionists met in Canada."

— Reverend Jesse Jackson in an International Bowl luncheon speech, January 2009.


Did you know? Toronto's first Black politician was elected in 1893. William Peyton Hubbard was elected alderman of Ward 4 and served for 14 years, and from 1904 to 1907 was the Vice Chairman of the Board of Control, a position second only to the mayor.
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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.