Please add Tourism Toronto News ( to your safe senders' list.
That way you will receive Tourism Now fully formatted and with images intact every time.


Photo: Luminato 2008, A Midsummer Night's Dream


  • Radio promotions for summer festivals
  • Targeting lesbian & gay market
  • Press take in Luminato
  • Citywide convention in town June 13

The ranking of 28 North American cities just released by Smith Travel Research for January through April 2009 shows Toronto moving up in occupancy ranking from 18th place in 2008 to 15th notwithstanding a decline of 8.5 per cent. Toronto ranks seventh in year-over-year change as the challenges are being felt across the entire continent.

Occupancy - Year-to-Date January-April
Ranked by 2009 Occupancy
City 2008 2009 Change 2008
Oahu Island 77.6% 72.1% -7.1% 3 1
Miami-Hialeah 80.5% 71.2% -11.6% 1 2
New York 78.4% 68.5% -12.6% 2 3
Orlando 74.0% 65.8% -11.1% 4 4
Washington 65.7% 63.3% -3.7% 13 5
San Francisco/ San Mateo 70.2% 62.7% -10.7% 7 6
Los Angeles- Long Beach 72.4% 62.3% -14.0% 6 7
Phoenix 72.8% 61.9% -15.0% 5 8
Anaheim- Santa Ana 70.0% 61.8% -11.7% 8 9
Houston 66.7% 61.8% -7.3% 12 10
New Orleans 70.0% 61.4% -12.3% 9 11
Tampa- St Petersburg 69.0% 61.0% -11.6% 11 12
San Diego 69.9% 60.6% -13.3% 10 13
Vancouver 65.1% 58.6% -9.9% 14 14
Toronto 62.0% 56.7% -8.5% 18 15
Philadelphia 62.1% 56.6% -8.9% 16 16
Seattle 63.3% 54.0% -14.7% 15 17
Canada 57.9% 53.6% -7.4%    
Atlanta 62.1% 53.0% -14.7% 17 18
Nashville 60.6% 52.9% -12.7% 19 19
USA 59.1% 52.6% -11.0%    
Dallas 60.4% 52.6% -12.9% 20 20
Denver 59.4% 52.3% -12.0% 21 21
Montreal 53.9% 51.4% -4.7% 25 22
Boston 59.1% 50.9% -13.9% 22 23
Minneapolis- St Paul 58.8% 50.4% -14.3% 23 24
St Louis 53.8% 49.4% -8.2% 27 25
Chicago 57.3% 48.3% -15.7% 24 26
Norfolk- Virginia Beach 48.6% 47.0% -3.3% 28 27
Detroit 53.3% 44.6% -16.3% 26 28

Ranked by Change
City Change Rank
Norfolk-Virginia Beach -3.3% 1
Washington -3.8% 2
Montreal -4.7% 3
Oahu Island -7.2% 4
Houston -7.3% 5
Canada -7.4%  
St Louis -8.2% 6
Toronto -8.5% 7
Philadelphia -8.9% 8
Vancouver -9.9% 9
San Francisco/San Mateo -10.6% 10
Orlando -11.0% 11
USA -11.0%  
Miami-Hialeah -11.6% 12
Tampa-St Petersburg -11.6% 13
Anaheim-Santa Ana -11.7% 14
Denver -12.0% 15
New Orleans -12.2% 16
New York -12.6% 17
Nashville -12.7% 18
Dallas -12.9% 19
San Diego -13.3% 20
Boston -13.8% 21
Los Angeles-Long Beach -14.0% 22
Minneapolis-St Paul -14.3% 23
Seattle -14.7% 24
Atlanta -14.7% 25
Phoenix -15.0% 26
Chicago -15.8% 27
Detroit -16.4% 28

Source: Smith Travel Research

Major Airtime for Toronto's Summer Festivals
To promote Toronto's wide array of summer festivals Tourism Toronto has negotiated radio exposure on top stations in Buffalo, Ottawa, London and Kingston that will see Toronto's festivals mentioned nearly every day all summer long. The promotions started last week with a focus on Luminato, featuring contests to win trips to Toronto and interviews with Toronto personalities to talk about our thriving summer scene. The promotion runs in all four cities through the end of August.

LGBT Market on Radar
In recognition of the importance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) market, especially for its recession-proof properties, Tourism Toronto is continuing to invest in reaching this community. TT has partnered with the LOGO network, which is a LGBT-oriented cable channel targeting 25-34 year-olds, with $150,000+ household income, reaching 35 million households, chiefly in the New York City area. The program launched May 18 for an eight-week run of a 60-second television spot. The marketing program also includes a sponsorship of the Bump! Marathon on May 29 and online ad placements running through June and July on and its partner sites.

Rendez-Vous Success
TT's Leisure Trade team made the most of the 2009 Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) marketplace held in Calgary May 9-13. RVC is Canada's premier annual tourism industry event, bringing selected international buyers together with invited suppliers of Canadian tourism products for a combination of timed business meetings and networking opportunities. While at RVC, Tourism Toronto conducted 95 meetings with key trade clients from North America, Europe, China, Japan, Mexico and South America and generated approximately 30 business leads and member referrals. Operators across the globe are reporting diminished bookings for the first quarter of 2009, citing low consumer confidence as the primary reason for the drop. Exchange rates, high airfares and increased competition from newer destinations were other factors affecting travel patterns noted by international trade clients.

All AMPed Up!
On May 13, TT was highly visible both as a premiere hole sponsor and participant in a leading foursome at the Association of Meeting Professionals (AMPS) Annual golf tournament in Potomac, Maryland. The buzz among the 144 participants - all metropolitan D.C. meetings industry leaders - was the stylish oasis created on the tee box at Tourism Toronto's sponsored hole. Our reputation as a creative city keeps on growing and this buzz-worthy outing will keep our profile high in Washington, DC, the nation's largest hub for U.S. association headquarters.

Toronto - Je t'aime
A writer with the prestigious French art news magazine L'Objet d'art was in Toronto for four days in late May. TT's Media Relations team crafted an itinerary designed to show our artsy side, including some of our major museums and an insider's glimpse of the inner workings of the National Ballet Company. L'Objet d'art reaches 40,000 art lovers, collectors, professionals, scholars and museum curators.

Regional Client Events A team of 20 members representing hotels, audio visual services, meeting venues and transportation services, along with TT's Canadian Corporate and Ontario Association Account Directors, hosted two successful signature client events on May 27 and 28. The events, held at member venues Langdon Hall in Cambridge and the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre in London, were excellent opportunities for 50 clients to learn about what's new in Toronto and build relationships with potential clients from a cross-section of industries - and hone their croquet game while they were at it.

Tourism Toronto and Members Work the Phones
TT's U.S. Corporate team and nine members hit the phones at the Direct Energy Centre on May 20 to prospect over 900 companies in the U.S. Although many organizations contacted indicated that they have cancelled their yearly meetings and events in 2009, they were optimistic about 2010 and beyond. The initiative generated a long list of clients to target for future development and follow up. Another prospecting blitz is planned for October 2009. For more information on how to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact Bonnie Howell at

Media Revel in Luminato
Luminato: Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity is a stellar opportunity to showcase the city's broad range of cultural offerings as the festival encompasses music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts and lectures. For five days, TT's Media Relations team will host two different groups of journalists from Europe and the U.K., as well as Mexico, Brazil, the U.S. and Canada. The trips will also highlight Toronto's architectural renaissance as they take in the city's revitalized concert halls, galleries, museum collections and performing arts companies.

Toronto Festival Express Rolls In
To bring greater profile to Toronto's outstanding summer festival line-up, TT's media team has partnered with Luminato and VIA Rail to bring a special Toronto Festival Express train from Ottawa to Toronto this Friday, June 5. The train arrives in time for Luminato's opening night and features Luminato-themed entertainment on board throughout the trip to Toronto. Also on board will be a salsa dance performance and open dance lesson courtesy of the Toronto Salsa Festival (July 9-12) and a live performance by a band that will be featured at this year's North by Northeast Music Festival (June 17-21). The Festival Express will help generate media coverage and buzz for Toronto as the critical summer season gets underway.

Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting
Approximately 7,000 nuclear medicine and molecular imaging experts and attendant trades people will descend on Toronto mid-June. Centred around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the meeting, which officially kicks off on June 13, is expected to have associated visitor spending of over $10 million.

Increasing Exposure With Exposition Managers
The Canadian Association of Exposition Management will host its 2009 Annual Conference from June 14-16 in Huntsville and our Ottawa-based representative will lead the charge for the Toronto community there. As a Platinum Sponsor, TT is well-positioned to impress the 300+ delegates who are major players in the Canadian exposition industry and to secure future opportunities from domestic clients.

Play Ball!
On June 11 Team Toronto, along with three members, will host 17 high-value U.S. association clients in various stages of the sales cycle at a Washington Nationals/Cincinnati Reds baseball game at the new Nationals Park. The intimate suite and casual atmosphere of an afternoon ballgame will provide the ideal environment in which to cultivate those all important relationships and further develop opportunities for Toronto.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (1,000+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
May 26-Jun 7 American Industrial Hygiene Association 10,000
Jun 2-6 Professional Writers Association of Canada 1,000
Jun 4-12 Society of Actuaries 1,200
Jun 9-20 Society of Nuclear Medicine 7,000
Jun 1825 International Society of Chemotherapy 3,000
Jun 21-29 University of Toronto - Canadian Track & Field Championships 1,700

Hidden Gem - High Park
Named by the original purchaser, John George Howard, for its position as the highest land point along the Humber Bay shoreline, High Park has developed from a 160-acre sheep farm to the largest park in Toronto at 399 acres. Bordered by Bloor Street West, The Queensway, Ellis Park Road and Parkside Drive, High Park is enjoyed by over a million people annually for its natural beauty found just minutes from the downtown core.

Maintenance of the area's history and local terrain are strongly supported by not only the city but local volunteers and organizations. The historical Colborne Lodge is strong evidence of this with its original Howard family furnishings from 1837 and a fine collection of early Toronto watercolours.

An adventure awaits as you wander through the park. Encounter an unexpected outdoor sculpture created by a local artisan nestled amidst the cherry trees. Sidestep a chipmunk along the ravine trails which are favoured by joggers in the summer and cross country skiers in the winter. Find yourself sitting peacefully amidst one of the towering Black Oak savannahs, a remnant of the sand prairie system that once dominated the Ontario landscape. Round a bend in the road and you are suddenly presented with a mini zoo, home to everything from peacocks to bison and, of course, sheep. The zoo is open year-round from 7:00 a.m. to dusk daily and there is no admission fee.

If it happens to be the second or fourth Sunday of the month, head down to the benches across the road from the restaurant to join up with the High Park walking tour group. Volunteer historian- or local naturalist-led tours run from 10:30 a.m. until noon, with tour topics ranging from "Myths and Legends of High Park" to "Returning Migratory Birds" or a "Photo Buff Walk." Tours are also available every third Thursday evening of the summer months.

Perhaps a less physically demanding overview of the park sounds tempting. From 10:30 a.m. to dusk purchase a $4.00 25-minute tour from the driver of the seasonal (April through September) open air trackless train. Sit back as bicyclists whiz by on the hilly paved terrain heading south towards access points of the Martin Goodman Trail. Take in the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground designed by children for children, the laughter and splashes from the public swimming pool or see locals gardening in their very own rented allotment garden.

For the ultimate Toronto photo op visit the beautiful Hillside Gardens made up of three distinct styles of landscaping, alongside waterfalls and wooden bridges. Nearby see the 200-foot-wide Grenadier Pond which myth has it is bottomless. Only the fish avoiding local licensed anglers truly know!

Finally, as the day winds down, be one of the first at the outdoor amphitheatre as the gates open any Tuesday to Sunday from June 26 to September 6 to enjoy the pay-what-you-can performance of one of Shakespeare's masterpieces presented by the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park. World class theatre underneath the stars!


Article written by:
Georgina McCormick
Four Seasons Hotel

Golf Tournament
Foursomes are filling up quickly so just a few spots are left for a day of golf at the Greater Toronto Hotel Association's 55th Annual Golf Tournament, co-hosted by Tourism Toronto, on Wednesday June 24. Don't miss your chance to join industry leaders and colleagues at the Lionhead Golf and Country Club at 8525 Mississauga Road, Brampton for a day of networking fun. Register here.

Some great sponsorship opportunities are still available too.

Member-to-Member Promotional Opportunities
Do you have an offer you would like to present to your fellow members? We will be happy to post it in the Member section of the website. Just send your offer to Nicole Webster at

Visit the member offers page to see the great discounts available.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
June 5-14
Various locations

June 5 & 6
People in Motion
Queen Elizabeth Building

June 5-7
Bread & Honey Festival

June 6 & 7
Mixed Martial Arts Expo
International Centre

June 12-14
Art '09
Metro Toronto Convention Centre

June 17 & 18
Dafnis Prieto Si O Si Quartet
The Rex Hotel

June 17-21
North by Northeast
Various locations

June 19-21
Toronto Nautical Festival
HTO Park East and Toronto's Waterfront

June 19-21
Mississauga Waterfront Festival
Memorial Park, Port Credit

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

"For 10 days in June, the stages and streets of Toronto are taken over by theater, dance, film, music, visual arts, literature, and design as the Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity comes to town."

— from the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, April 2009


Did you know? Luminato Festival will try to break the Guinness World Record for the world's largest guitar ensemble, playing Neil Young's "Helpless" on June 6 in Yonge-Dundas Square.
We want to hear your feedback on this newsletter. Email us at with your thoughts and suggestions.

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.