A lot has changed since 1984. Born in the U.S.A. was the boss of the charts, the original Ghostbusters hit the theatres and Brian Mulroney was the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada. Avril Lavigne, Mark Zuckerberg, Lebron James and Katy Perry were all born. It was a simpler time before the iPhone, Facebook and the Internet changed the way we experienced the world.
It was also the year that the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) opened to the public. As the centre celebrates 35 years this month it is a good time to look back at the important role it plays for the city, meeting professionals and attendees from around the world.
One of the city’s most important economic drivers, the MTCC opened its doors to the public on October 2, 1984 with a formal dedication ceremony conducted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Over the years, the centre has hosted over 21,000 events which have brought more than 65 million people to the city from around the globe. Events hosted range from high-profile, including the G20 and International Aids Conference, to popular consumer shows, corporate meetings, galas, theatre events, and even film and TV shoots.
Created as a joint effort between the Federal Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, with an aim to increase tourism revenue for the City and Province, the MTCC has proven to be an economic driver for the local economy, with $7.8 billion created in economic impact since opening.
While a lot has changed since the centre opened in 1984, what hasn’t is the facility’s focus on relationships with customers, clients and the local community. The centre welcomes more than 500 events a year, bringing thousands of people through the doors each year.
Since opening’s doors for the first time in 1984, the MTCC can lay claim to many firsts in terms of convention centres including:
- First convention centre in Canada to offer clean renewable power
- First convention centre in the world to host a G7 and G20 summit
- First convention centre in North America to reduce the C02 emissions during the delivery move-in process for trade and public shows
- Many international conventions have selected the MTCC as their first Canadian venue. Recent examples include the Global Spine Congress (GSC) and Rehab Week 2019.
In 2018, the Convention Centres of Canada recognized the MTCC as the top-performing convention centre by measurement of economic impact, gross revenues and profitability among 21 centres across Canada.
As Canada’s largest convention facility the centre’s unique location in the heart of downtown Toronto it is connected to all that the city has to offer groups meeting here; cultural richness, culinary diversity, unmatched hospitality and the boundless opportunities for business and events.
Never one to rest on its laurels and recognizing the need to change with the needs of its clients, the facility recently undertook a $23-million modification project with the addition of eight contemporary new meeting rooms to MTCC’s South Building 600 level, and upgrades to the 1,232-seat John Bassett Theatre, including state-of-the-art lighting and acoustic technology. As well the MTCC recently added five new digital walls to engage attendees. Strategically positioned in high traffic areas, the walls can be used to display photos, videos, social media feeds, trivia games and digital art created by students from OCAD, Toronto’s art and design university.
So what’s next? Much of the same for the team at the MTCC – focusing on customers, clients, attendees and the local community. Last year the MTCC announced that they have secured 13 citywide conventions for future years, many of which will take place before 2023 continuing positive momentum for the centre as it continues to welcome the world to Toronto!