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Photo: Honda Indy Toronto


  • Promoting weekend getaways this summer
  • Jazz fest provides media opportunities
  • City-wide event rolls into town
  • Volunteer for ASAE & The Center event

International Arrivals
Statistics Canada recently released border crossing results for April 2009. This includes all types of travel for all of Ontario and provides some interesting findings. For instance:
  • Overnight U.S. arrivals to Ontario were up 10.3 per cent in April (arrivals by automobile up 24 per cent; air arrivals down 9.7 per cent)
  • Year-to-date (YTD) U.S. overnight arrivals down one per cent
  • Overnight overseas arrivals were down 2.1 per cent, making YTD down 7 per cent. But overseas arrivals to Pearson were up slightly at 0.7 per cent, indicating that arrivals to other Ontario ports of entry must have witnessed the decrease
  • There was a large increase of 15.6 per cent in overseas arrivals to Pearson airport on flights via the U.S. rather than direct, suggesting a move by visitors taking cheaper flights rather than convenient direct flights
International Arrivals to Ontario and Canada 2009
Ranked by 2009 Arrivals to Ontario
  YTD 08 YTD 09 Change Rest of CAN
TOTAL* 1,553,266 1,514,096 -2.5% -6.6%
U.S* 1,193,662 1,182,258 -1.0% -7.0%
Overseas* 359,604 331,838 -7.7% -5.9%
UK 67,906 59,844 -11.9% -20.5%
Germany 23,158 23,595 1.9% 7.3%
Mexico 28,561 23,440 -17.9% 0.4%
France 13,115 15,480 18.0% -2.5%
China 13,157 13,258 0.8% 22.9%
Brazil 13,590 13,074 -3.8% -0.4%
Japan 20,250 12,975 -35.9% -14.7%
India 12,706 11,634 -8.4% 34.3%
South Korea 15,348 10,213 -33.5% -20.4%
Argentina 2,492 2,542 2.0% 20.5%
Source: Statistics Canada Border Crossings
*Overnight Arrivals Only
A PDF summary of the findings is available here.

Summer Weekend Getaways Get a Boost
Tourism Toronto's Marketing team has partnered with the Canadian Tourism Commission on U.S. and domestic promotional campaigns designed to drive visitation this summer. The U.S. program features the "Toronto Weekend Getaway" package and includes print insertions in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Red Eye (daily commuter paper) and online ad placements on,,, and targeted email blasts. The ads position Toronto as a fun, urban weekend getaway and are focused on the Chicago and Washington, D.C. areas, complementing existing efforts concentrated on New York City.

In the Canadian market, CTC's "Locals Know" campaign is designed to build intrigue around Canadian travel product and Toronto is part of that campaign with the weekend getaway message and package offer. The domestic program emphasizes family adventure, culinary experiences and the "urban playground" and hits all major markets across Canada.

Japanese Jazz Legend to Tour Toronto
In concert with CTC Japan and Ontario Tourism, TT will showcase Toronto and region via Japanese jazz musician Sadao Watanabe. Watanabe is a musical legend in Japan and is scheduled to appear at the TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival. While here, he will be shown highlights of the city and region and his visit will be documented for later broadcast and publication in Japan. The aim is to leverage a high-profile Japanese personality to enhance Toronto's image as a sophisticated destination.

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming
Last year, TT's Media Relations team hosted a jazz-related press trip that resulted in excellent European coverage. Recently, one of the journalists on that trip again published a high profile article on Germany's national news service that resulted in at least 15 stories in national and regional German newspapers and online publications about Toronto's musical and cultural scene.

FICP Get a Glimpse of Toronto Hospitality
MC&IT's U.S. Corporate team was in Colorado June 21-23 to participate in the Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Educational Forum. Toronto is hosting this important group of conference planners for their Annual Conference in November 2009, so the TT team was there in force to network with the 250 insurance and financial planners from across the U.S. in attendance. As the corporate headquarters for many financial services businesses, Toronto is a frequent host for incoming incentives and corporate programs from around the world each year.

Major Chinese Tour Operators Visit
CTC China Office, OTMP and Tourism Toronto's Leisure Trade sales team co-hosted a Chinese trade familiarization tour in Toronto June 21-23. The group included the 10 top tour operators from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. During their stay in Toronto they visited major attractions, conducted hotel inspections, experienced restaurants and shopping.

TT Showcases Members to Quebec-Based Tour Operators
In line with our ongoing efforts to target the student and youth (S&Y) market, Tourism Toronto, in partnership with five members, met with six key Quebec-based S&Y tour operators during a two-day sales mission June 10-11. Members had the opportunity to present their 2010 S&Y product to these trade clients for inclusion in future Toronto programs, as Canadian S&Y group travel remains an important growth opportunity for the Toronto region.

From June 6-9, the Professional Convention Management Association hosted the Annual Leadership Conference in Austin, TX. Tourism Toronto and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre sponsored General Session speaker Jason Jennings, renowned business author of Hit the Ground Running. The 350+ delegates were impressed and some commented that "Toronto is everywhere!" Our continued investment in and support of PCMA is paying off as we are positioning Toronto as a hub of thought leaders and solution providers.

Culinary and Culture Featured in Influential U.S. Publications
Two of the key markets on TT's radar recently had features about Toronto in their major dailies. The Washington Post focused on Toronto's food and art scene, while the Chicago Sun-Times profiled one of our artsier accommodations, the Gladstone Hotel.

Buffalo Travel Counsellors Briefed on Toronto Summer Offerings
The Leisure Trade sales team participated in a series of educational sessions to approximately 60 AAA Buffalo travel counsellors. Sessions highlighted the numerous festivals, events, theatre offerings and exhibits taking place this summer in Toronto so they have first hand, up-to-date information and can help drive summer business from their AAA customers to Toronto.

Capital Gains
MC&IT's Ottawa team continues to make Toronto's presence known in the Canadian association marketplace. On June 11, Tourism Toronto was a key sponsor of the Ottawa-Gatineau Golf Tournament with more than 100 Canadian association and government meeting professionals taking part. Toronto's growth in the association market is critical as it offsets downturns in other areas, so our participation in events like this ensures a consistently high profile within the association planning community.

CAEM Comes to Ontario
June 14-16 saw the Canadian Association of Exhibition Management taking up residence at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. A Platinum Sponsor, Tourism Toronto was well represented at this important gathering of domestic industry leaders. Continuing to facilitate relationships and develop opportunities in this market segment is a significant piece of both short- and long-term strategy.

Hitting One Out of the Park
On June 17, TT's Washington, D.C. sales team entertained 17 high value association clients at a Washington Nationals baseball game. With a suite overlooking the field, the intimate event offered valuable networking time and a chance to expand the business pipeline of potential association clients.

Hockey Championships Roll Into Town
The North American Roller Hockey Championships (NARCh) were last held in the Toronto region in 2006 and TT's Mississauga Toronto West sales team lured them back for 2009. The event this year runs from July 10-26 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga and attracts over 12,000 attendees from all over North America and Europe, resulting in 13,000 hotel room nights in the Mississauga and Airport Area. Many of the area's hotels, attractions, restaurants, shopping malls and theatres will benefit from the estimated economic impact of $10 million.

More Association Executive Opportunities
From July 21-24 the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives will hold their Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. In partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism Toronto is an event sponsor of this important meeting that annually draws 700+ delegates from associations with an engineering and scientific focus. Execution of this strategic partnership will continue to deliver future business opportunities for the Toronto.

Incentive Trip Planners Experience the Best of Toronto
MC&IT's Corporate team and business partners will host a group of top incentive and high-end corporate planners from North America in mid-July. This program is a way for six countries - Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Britain, Monaco, and Germany - to come together to educate these planners on what each of their countries have to offer for incentive trips, while at the same time showcasing one of the destinations involved in the program. This group of 150 people will experience activities such as personalized shopping trips, an eco-tour around Toronto, dragon boat racing and venue site inspections. The gala finale of the program will take place at the Palais Royale before the group takes in the Niagara region.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (2,000+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Jun 27-Jul 8 Toronto Cup 2009 (Youth Soccer) 3,000
Jul 8-27 North American Roller Hockey Championships 12,500
Jul 12-25 10th World Wushu Championship 2009 3,000
Jul 17-19 GWN Dragon Boat - Sport Regatta 2009 2,000
Jul 25-Aug 3 American Podiatric Medical Association 3,500


This month's hidden gem is by:
Monika Grossenbacher
Concierge, Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown
Working towards her apprenticeship in Les Clefs d'Or Ontario

Hidden Gem - Ward's Island
Imagine a place where there is no traffic. No chain stores and no high rises. Picture an idyll complete with cosy, cottage-style homes, clean beaches, bike paths and so much green space that you'd swear you were in the countryside. Now imagine that such a place is only ten minutes from the heart of Toronto's bustling financial district!

It exists, this place, and it really is only ten minutes from the frenzied downtown core. By ferry, that is.

Many visitors to Toronto have heard about the Toronto Islands, but those that visit them often head directly for Centre Island and its amusement park. By doing this you'll miss the most charming part of the Islands. Instead of taking the larger Centre Island ferries, opt for the smaller one that takes you directly to Ward's Island and its community of "Islanders."

Although the Toronto Islands were settled as early as the 1830s, the current community on Ward's Island, and the adjacent Algonquin Island, began as a settlement of tents in the 1880s, whose main motto was to "keep it simple." In the early 1900s, some of these summer tent homes turned into year-round houses, with the addition of floors, porches and kitchens, progressing to the 262 remaining cottage-style homes you'll find there today. Stroll through this unique community by taking the first arched footbridge on your right after you exit the ferry over to Algonquin Island. One of your rewards will be an unparalleled view of the city skyline across the harbour. If an afternoon here isn't long enough, there are seven bed & breakfasts on Ward's Island offering overnight accommodations.

In addition to being a terrific place for a picnic, Ward's Island offers two dining options: The Rectory Café and Gravity Coffee House, with the former being a casual but full-service restaurant including a patio, and the coffee house offering take-out fare. (Both are only open from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving and have weather-dependent operating hours. See for daily details.) Everything on Ward's Island is easily accessible on foot or bicycle and other highlights include the St. Andrew's-by-the-Lake Anglican Church, the Blue Flag-certified Ward's Island beach, and the nearly two-kilometre long beach boardwalk that spans the north-eastern part of the Islands.

Ward's Island is open year-round, however this hidden gem is at its most beautiful in the summer months. Frequency of the ferry service varies from every 30 minutes during the day in summer to once an hour in the off-season, from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and cost is $6.50. For full schedule details please see:

Request for Volunteers
ASAE & The Centre for Association Leadership's Annual Meeting & Exposition is taking place in Toronto August 15-18, 2009.This is a singular opportunity to showcase Toronto's hospitality to an influential group of association professionals. We'd love to have you help us! See here for details.

Golf Tournament Raised Funds for Tourism Scholarships
This year the GTHA and Tourism Toronto joined forces to co-host the annual golf tournament and hundreds of members and partners turned out to help raise $6,000. The funds go to the Greater Toronto Hotel Association Scholarship for students in hospitality and tourism programs at Ryerson University, Guelph University, George Brown, Humber, Centennial and Seneca Colleges.

Our thanks go to the numerous sponsors who made the day a success with their generous support. Major sponsors of the tournament include:
  • Turtle Island Recycling (Gold)
  • Unisource (Silver)
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre (Dinner)
  • Fallsview Casino Resort (Cocktail Reception)
  • Smart Serve
  • Ecolab
  • Labatt
  • Molson
  • Frischkorn Audiovisual
Welcome Tourism Toronto's Newest Members
Meetings Services
Absolute Tent & Events Services
Robinson Show Services Inc.

iTourGuides Ltd.
imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival
Mississauga Waterfront Festival

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
June 26-July 5
TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival
Nathan Phillips Square & various locations

June 27-Jan 3, 2010
Dead Sea Scrolls

July 1 & 4
Canada Dry Festival of Fire
Ontario Place

July 1, 4 & 5
Chin Picnic
Exhibition Place

July 3-19
Various restaurants

July 3-5
The Hot Spot
Harbourfront Centre

July 4
Salsa at Ontario Place
Ontario Place

July 8-Oct 21
Harvest Wednesdays
Gladstone Hotel

July 10-12
Honda Indy Toronto
Lakeshore area

July 11 & 12
Salsa on St. Clair
St. Clair West

July 12
Mitchel Musso
Toronto Zoo

July 14-Aug 2
Scotiabank Caribana
Various locations

July 15-19
Westjet Toronto Just for Laughs Festival
Various venues

July 17-26
Beaches International Jazz Festival
Queen Street East & vicinity

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

"As a driver, Toronto was always my favorite race of the year... The fans are some of the most enthusiastic you'll ever be around and we're looking forward to building on the great history of this event."

— Michael Andretti


Did you know? In this year's Honda Indy Toronto, native son Paul Tracy will be contesting his 17th race on the streets of Toronto, where he has finished in the top five eight times.
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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.