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Photo: Toronto Blue Jays courtesy of Lisa Arai


  • Major baseball tournament comes to town
  • Hosting 75 media in Mexico City
  • Business opportunity in Montreal for members
  • New feature: Concierge Desk


Fastest Growing International (non-U.S.) Arrivals to Ontario
Country 2007 2008 Change
UAE 10,077 15,346 52.3%
Spain 28,816 40,949 42.1%
Argentina 10,718 12,700 18.5%
Brazil 51,749 55,040 6.4%
India 55,346 58,487 5.7%
France 72,490 76,276 5.2%
Hong Kong 34,332 35,720 4.0%
Germany 120,699 125,376 3.9%
Mexico 105,536 108,851 3.1%
Source: Border Crossing Data, Statistics Canada

World Baseball Classic Premiers in Toronto
With one of the most versatile domed stadiums in North America, Toronto is privileged to play host to the World Baseball Classic opening round games at the beginning of March. The WBC is the equivalent to soccer's World Cup, held every three years, and TT's marketing and media relations teams have gone into extra innings promoting the game and hotel packages to drive valuable business in early March. In addition to an active online campaign, TT's media relations efforts generated over 20 news stories promoting hotel packages. Games begin this week, running March 711 at Rogers Centre with Team Canada facing Team U.S.A. on March 7!

Toronto Weekend Getaways Get Online Exposure
In response to the economic climate, TT's Marketing team has launched a major spring campaign aimed at increasing overnight visitors from regional markets. Hotel packages are being vigorously promoted via high profile search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN; a targeted e-newsletter, to a database of over 300,000 people; and banner placements on sites such as,,,, To date 38 hotels are participating in the package rate offering, which can be viewed on TT's website. If you would like to be part of the program please contact Maxine Morrell-West at

Boston Globe Focuses on Toronto
Two separate press trips by Boston-based writers, organized and hosted by TT's Media Relations team, have resulted in copious coverage in the prestigious Boston Globe. The diverse subject matter of the articles ranges from culinary to spa to behind the scenes of television's DeGrassi Street, truly reflecting the range of reasons to visit Toronto. The Boston Globe has a print circulation of 503,659 and 1,200,000 online visitors.

Corporate Team Leverages Economic Climate
With many Toronto-based businesses keeping meetings close to home in 2009, Tourism Toronto has enhanced its efforts to tap into this trend. Corporate and association sellers recently hosted key clients for three days of member site visits, including hotels, restaurants with private dining rooms and another day experiencing key off-site venues, ending with a visit to a leading musical theatre production.

Great Ideas Conference
The MC&IT team represented Toronto, in partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission, at the ASAE and the Center Great Ideas Conference, February 20-24. More than 400 U.S. association executives attended this annual conference, where the Canadian partners hosted a dinner for 20 high-value clients in Miami, Florida.

Toronto Finds a Way to Mexico's Heart Through Its Stomach
TT's push into the growing Mexican market continues as the Media Relations team got front page coverage for Toronto and prominent local chef, Daniel Schick, in the influential newspaper El Universal. The article was the result of promotion TT is doing in advance of a media reception we're holding mid-March in Mexico City. The article and accompanying cheesecake recipe (en espanol) can be found online. The circulation of the print edition of El Universal is 300,000 and the online version is ranked the second most visited news site in Mexico with an average of more than 3 million unique visitors each month.

Our National Sport Nets Stellar Sales Opportunities
TT's Ottawa sales office is providing members with client interaction and business development leads by hosting potential clients at the Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens hockey game. On March 18 and 19, TT and five key members will conduct two days of sales calls with approximately 20 clients, followed by a networking evening at the rink.

March 5 is Hockey Night in America as TT's Washington, D.C. sales office and three members host 12 high-value clients representing prospective convention business, at the Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals NHL game, in Washington, D.C. This is a great chance for one-on-one time with potential clients and to showcase one of Toronto's many sports attractions.

Annual Destinations Showcase
The MC&IT sales team participated in the annual Destinations Showcase trade show in Washington, D.C. on February 26. This one-day, high profile industry event had educational sessions and an exclusive trade show that featured only convention and visitors bureaus. This allowed TT quality time with current Toronto clients as well as an opportunity to meet new prospective clients.

Business Opportunity
In line with our business plan to develop business from new markets offering growth potential, Tourism Toronto is planning a sales mission to Brazil and Argentina over the dates of April 2024, 2009. Working with our in-market representatives in Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires, we are planning to hold a one-day workshop and luncheon event for tour operators, travel agents and corporate clients; an evening event for trade and consumer media; and a day of joint sales calls in each city. Members are invited to join the sales initiative. For more information please click here.

Toronto is 175 Years Young
The incorporation of the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834 is one of the transformative moments in the evolution of our community as it matured into a vibrant urban centre. Toronto has grown into a city that is recognized around the world for its quality of life, environmental stewardship and multiculturalism. To mark the occasion, City Hall is opening its doors to celebrate the heritage, unity and diversity of our city through music, literature and art. City Hall will be transformed into an exhibition hall featuring art installations, spoken word, dance and music. Special programming will also commemorate the city's early history. From March 6-8 the City of Toronto's Historic Museums (including Fort York, Spadina Museum Mackenzie House, among others) will be open free to the public. More details on the historic museums are available here. For more information about other events to commemorate the 175th anniversary, visit the City of Toronto anniversary website.

Join Our Sales Efforts in Montreal
The Corporate team is inviting members to come to Montreal on March 25 and 26 to promote meetings and events in Toronto. The luncheon events will be an opportunity for TT staff and members to network with clients and sell their services to potential incoming groups. The invited clients will represent many business sectors including third-party accounts, financial, insurance, pharmaceutical, food and beverage and natural resources. If you are interested in finding out more about participating in these events, please contact Sarah LaDouceur at or 416-203-3840. Watch for a separate business opportunity notification coming out shortly.

Toronto Wins ACTE Canada Education Conference for Second Consecutive Year
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives has announced that it will return to Toronto for its 2009 ACTE Canada Education Conference, November 8-10. The conference will take place at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel and will offer practical strategies for operating effectively and successfully in a challenging global economic climate. Check ACTE's website in the coming months for information about the conference and special registration rates and travel discounts.

New Tourism Conference
From March 15-17, 2009 the inaugural Gardens & Tourism Conference will fill our heads with thoughts of spring and summer. The conference will help participants position their garden experience and destination for immediate and future tourism opportunities. You may learn more about this event here and register here.

Upcoming Meetings & Conventions (500+ Delegates)

Dates Meeting/Group Name Attendees
Mar 4-14 World Baseball Classic 5,000
Mar 8-11 Assembly of First Nations - Economic Summit 1,000
Mar 11-15 Swimming Canada - Spring Nationals 500
Mar 13-22 Starwood Hotels & Resorts - Global Rally 3,000

As an expansion of our service to our members, we are launching a new feature in Tourism Now in conjunction with our friends at Les Clefs D'Or Canada. In the coming months, we will share insider tips and tidbits from the knowledgeable concierges of Les Clefs D'Or via Carolina Avaria, Director of Ontario and National Secretary. Please enjoy her welcome note, below.

During these challenging economic times, one key item is indisputable in the hospitality industry - each guest to our city must experience impeccable service and walk away with one thought foremost in their mind: "How soon can I return to Toronto?" In the spirit of this influential role, it is with great pride and pleasure that I introduce Les Clefs d'Or to those of you who may not know us.

Les Clefs d'Or (the Golden Keys) is a global professional concierge association celebrating 60 years of activity in the hospitality industry. Our aim is simple yet important: To create a passionate alliance that supports guests' needs, anywhere in the world. With over 50 countries involved and 3,500 members, a Clefs d'Or Concierge has a far-reaching network of acquaintances, friends and colleagues from around the world to ensure a WOW effect in response to any guest request.

Countless General Managers recognize the value of having a Clefs d'Or Concierge in their lobby as the crossed golden keys worn on our lapels are not just a sign of immediate comfort to the experienced traveller; they are recognized worldwide as a symbol of guaranteed quality service. When a guest approaches one of us for assistance, they know that they are being cared for by a dedicated professional, who is not only knowledgeable but has been carefully selected to be part of this prestigious, well-respected group of hoteliers. I invite you to visit our national website to view a list of our Canadian members and for further information.

Through our continued friendship with Tourism Toronto, in the months ahead please allow us to share with you some of the gems and most authentic corners of our unique and vibrant city. As proud ambassadors for Toronto, we recognize how lucky we are to live in one of the most diverse communities in the world. Very few Concierges have such an ample opportunity to delight guests by creating exceptional experiences through the perspective of hundreds of cultures.

In Service Through Friendship,

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

140 TT Members Supporting Special-Needs Families
The Relax, Recharge & Renew program continues to gather steam thanks to the enthusiastic support of our members. To date over 140 members have participated by donating vouchers for hotel stays, restaurant meals and tickets to shows, attractions and events. TT launched the program just over six months ago and it is designed to give the parents of special needs children a rare and much deserved break so they can return to caring for their children with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

Thirty-three families have benefited from the program so far and their appreciation has been overwhelmingly sincere and heartfelt. As one participant wrote after her stay:

"I would like to thank you very much for the well organized weekend away. I had the time of my life, there were lots of firsts for me. I had so much fun!!!!!! The hotel, the meals, everything was perfect. Sometimes I get so involved with life and caring for others, that I forget that there is a world out there. My life revolves around my son, but it sure is great to get away from the stress and pressure for a short while. Again thank you, I will never forget my weekend. Also I am not sure who paid for it all, but please, send my heartfelt thank you to them as well."

For more information about Tourism Toronto social responsibility programs, please visit our dedicated web page. To find out how you can participate, please contact Tom Griffin at or 416-203-3813.

AGM Update - Mark Your Calendars
The Tourism Toronto Annual General meeting will be held on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at Ontario Place followed by a networking reception inside Atlantis Pavilion.

Thank you to our sponsoring partners Ontario Place, Atlantis and Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group.

Member Workshop - Working with Festivals and Events
Honda Indy Toronto presented at our recent member workshop on February 25. The sessions were well-attended, and having different sectors of the industry at the table facilitated the generation of a variety of ideas about how to create an enhanced experience for visitors as well as partnering opportunities for the members.

For those who missed the opportunity to sit in on this session, keep an eye on your inbox for upcoming sessions.

Darryl Nielsen has been appointed as Group and IT Sales Manager of Skyline Boutique Hotels and Resorts. Mr. Nielsen will represent the Cosmopolitan Toronto Centre Hotel & Spa and the Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre. Mr. Nielsen has worked with several hotels in Toronto since launching his career after graduating from the Hospitality and Tourism Administration Program at Centennial College over 10 years ago. Tourism Toronto congratulates Mr. Nielsen on his new role.

Tourism Toronto: Toronto Convention & Visitors Association
To Mar 29
Honest Threads
Koffler Gallery at Honest Ed's

To Mar 29
Dirty Dancing
Royal Alexandra Theatre

Opening Mar 4
Bound for Glory: Cutting Edge Winter Sports Footwear
Bata Shoe Museum

Mar 6
Lula Lounge

Mar 6-8
ESP Psychic Expo
International Centre

Mar 7-11
World Baseball Classic
Rogers Centre

Mar 7-Apr 13
Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival
Kortright Centre

Mar 13-15
Toronto International Bicycle Show
Direct Energy Centre

Mar 14
Colin Linden
Glenn Gould Studio

March 14-22
March Break Fun
Black Creek Pioneer Village

Mar 18
Living Arts Centre

Mar 18-22
Canada Blooms

For a complete listing of events please go to our online events calendar.
"Toronto really is a haven for sports fans."

— from "Toronto a Towering Success," Aberdeen Press and Journal, September 20, 2008


Did you know? Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Toronto in 1914. The three-run homer, hit during a game at Maple Leaf Stadium on Hanlan's Point, landed in Lake Ontario.
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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.