To close out 2019, Business Events Toronto is excited to announce 9 new major conventions that chose to #MeetInToronto for their upcoming events. The conventions, primarily from within the U.S. market, will bring more than 40,000 delegates to Toronto and a total estimated economic impact of more than $156 million for the city.



Toronto’s visitor economy is a vital catalyst for the city and regional economy, according to new data prepared for Tourism Toronto and the Toronto Region Board of Trade. The analysis in, Toronto’s Visitor Economy: An Economic Catalyst for the City and the Region, shows that visitors to Toronto generate an economic impact of $10.3 billion annually, from the city’s 27.5 million visitors per year. The significant impact is felt through tax revenue, job creation and growth, and overall spend in many industry sectors, making the opportunity to grow the visitor economy an important one.

Toronto’s meetings, conferences and events industry is at the heart of a strong visitor economy. Major conventions (over 1,000 delegates) welcome nearly 400,000 business delegates, generating more than $850 million in economic impact.

The visitor economy is a major growth sector for Toronto. Visitor arrivals to the city have increased 17 per cent over five years. While visitation is on the rise, visitor spending is growing even faster, with a 46 per cent increase from 2013 to 2018. The increase in visitor spending is driven by Toronto’s growing share of the international visitor market. Long haul international visitors stay longer and spend more.

“The visitor economy is an important pillar in Toronto’s diverse economy, and an incubator for the broader economy that fuels industries and creates jobs for residents,” said Scott Beck, President & CEO of Tourism Toronto. “This is a destination with visitors as diverse as the city itself. From the leisure travellers, to the delegates here for meetings, conferences and events, Toronto’s visitor economy is thriving – and when the visitor economy is strong, so is Toronto.”

“Tourism is central to business growth. Whether a visitor is coming to our region for business, pleasure, or both, that visit is a critical economic driver that crosses multiple industries,” states Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “A tourist visit or conference kicks into action a value chain composed of service, hospitality, and event staging sectors, and then reaches beyond to other sectors including technology, healthcare, finance and education.”

“We are Canada’s downtown – more and more people want to visit Toronto to enjoy everything our city has to offer. This report makes it clear how important our vibrant visitor economy is to supporting jobs and businesses here in Toronto and across Ontario,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “I am committed to working with the federal and provincial governments to ensure we are helping to further grow and strengthen this sector because we know a strong visitor economy here in Toronto is good for everyone.”

To read the full analysis, click here.




Janice Cardinale
Founder & Chief Idea Hunter
The Idea Hunter


We recently had the opportunity to catch up with industry icon Janice Cardinale  while she took a break from hunting, to chat ideas for 2020!  Janice is the Chief Idea Hunter and founded the company in 2003..  She built a successful business by leading a team of trend-setting intrapreneurs who are on a mission to create human connections and experiences in the meeting and event industry.

The passionate, professional and dedicated team of huntresses at The Idea Hunter take risks to deliver stellar results, creating bespoke experiences that disrupt the status quo and engage audiences through immersing them in the moment.

In constant pursuit of the next big idea, the team is driven by the idea that “We Don’t Do Ordinary; and we don’t think you should either. We Don’t Follow Trends; we create them.”

PLANNERS ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WHAT’S NEW AND HASN’T BEEN DONE BEFORE. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR IDEAS FRESH AND AHEAD OF THE CURVE?Toronto is a world-class city and we pride ourselves on fusing together customized acts and engaging ideas while mentoring young urban talent for a new generation of event professionals.  We are the umbrella for elite ideas & performers which is why our corporate clients choose us. Culture, diversity and inclusion have always been our mantra.

We ideate, innovate and customize most ideas that we execute. We care about our vendors as much as we care about our clients.  We show up at our events to manage our services and our team of huntresses are dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable about what is required on-site and how to manage expectations.

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Janice Cardinale graced the cover of The Meeting Professional Magazine earlier this year.

Great question!  I personally feel that you can no longer get away with selling a menu of ideas so to speak.  A new generation of event professionals expect more attention paid to the why statement.  Are the ideas being presented acceptable, inclusive, diverse and do they feed the culture of the event or do they match up with the purpose of the event? Are the ideas mindful, thoughtful and are they helping to make a difference in the attendee experience.

The fast pace of technology allows us to engage new ideas that are digitally driven.  As an example, we are the first to have digital photo activations that incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI).  We are speaking to all of our clients about health and well-being and what that can look like at their events. Many of the services we sell will change over the next decade and we must prepare ourselves for less human connection and more automated ie: robot-driven experiences.

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Just like the computer which many said would never replace how we do business, in my research into trends leading up to 2050, I see a very different world where humans are replaced by technology and there will be less human engagement.  Whether one wants to believe it or not, I see this happening at the World Expo in Dubai next year and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo amongst many other ideas that are out there on the internet.  My attitude about all of it is to embrace the change and be ahead of the curve.  That is how we stay relevant at The Idea Hunter and in the minds of corporate clients around the globe.  We don’t follow, we lead.

That’s a tough question because we are blessed to have been a part of so many incredible events in so many different industries across North America, that it is hard to choose one.  Personally, I love the events that we can give back to the community as this is always top of mind.  It is not that these are the events that have extraordinary things, but they feel good in my heart.  An example of this is an event coming up on November 21st for Habitat for Humanity’s 20th anniversary.  I am proud to be able to say that we landed our very first event in Singapore this week and can add that to our many opportunities throughout the business. I am also very proud of my team and the ideas that they create for their clients. I am truly proud of all of it!

Find a mentor, learn from experiences, volunteer for an association, have someone check your resume to ensure it lines up with the expectations our event professionals look for.  Take an accredited course in events such as CMP, CMM, or others that exist beyond the colleges and Universities.

Another great question!  Everything motivates me.  This post motivates me.  I am an entrepreneur and a leader within the event industry in Canada.  I volunteer, I get involved in partnering with associations and conferences that need new ideas.  I love to speak on trends and write editorials on the various event-related subject matter.  I am truly motivated by my team of huntresses, our clients, our vendors and have always been passionate about the hunt.

For more information and to get the team on the hunt for you visit or or


The Chief Idea Hunter predicts that neo mint will reign for 2020, followed by cantaloupe, honey yellow and dusk blue.  Let’s see if she is right?

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When you arrive at the Aga Khan Museum, prepare to step into a world that may be unknown or unfamiliar. With a mandate to educate and inspire, inspiration and new ideas are around every corner! Oh, and did we mention that it is one of the most stunning event venues in Toronto?

The only museum of its kind in Canada the museum exposes guests to the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Set outside of the downtown core in a landscaped park designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki impresses from the moment you arrive.

Planners can tap into the museum for the programming of meetings and events held there with a wide range of optional cultural offerings from educational tours, art carts, curators to be present or speaking at their events. The team at Aga Khan Museum can work to integrate these into any meeting program.

With more than 1,000 pieces in its vast collection, it would be easy to label it as another cultural museum and leave it at that. But the Aga Khan Museum has so much more to offer event planners, not to mention a top-rated food & beverage program overseen by one of Canada’s most recognizable Chefs that will have delegates lined up for seconds (and healthy lines at the bar!!).

Whether it’s corporate events, fundraisers, galas, retreats, or C-suite meetings, it is available for events on the smaller size from 34 up to 400 people for indoor events or up to 600 people outdoors. The Museum has a solid track-record for hosting marquee events for Bell Canada, TK Events, United Jewish Federation, and Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD).

With a wide range of spaces, including a 350-seat auditorium, a room inspired by a Persian salon, a collections gallery, a courtyard enclosed by glass and paved with geometric-patterned stonework, and a Vladimir Djurovic designed park and garden there is a space for almost every occasion.

The Museum’s auditorium combines state-of-the-art facilities with exquisite architecture and excellent acoustics. Under a dome inspired by the ceilings of 10th-century Islamic buildings, there is seating for 335 people. A versatile venue that can be used for performing arts, corporate presentations, speaking engagements, and film screenings makes it a great choice for corporate events.

Described as “the heart of the Museum” and nestled like a crystal jewel in the centre of the building, the glassed-in courtyard throws dramatic patterns of light and shadow on to the walls of the atrium. The area includes the external courtyard and the internal atrium, allowing events to be held under the stars throughout all four seasons

This highly versatile function offers panoramic views of Toronto stretching down to the CN Tower and Lake Ontario and is suitable for a range of small events, including board meetings, private dining, and intimate receptions. In the foreground are gardens and reflecting pools that showcase a distinctively modern take on the traditional Islamic garden.

An ornate dining space, Diwan features stunning décor with decorated wooden panels, hand-carved and painted in Damascus in 1799 evoking a sense of luxury. The space also offers tented outdoor events for up to 320 guests. The patio at Diwan has been called one of Toronto’s prettiest patios by the Los Angeles Times and one of Toronto’s best by Now Magazine.

The McEwan Group, led by Chef Mark McEwan and Executive Chef Shen Ousmand, has been at the helm of the Museum’s food services since 2016. Mark McEwan and his team, who bring their passion for quality and innovation to the food and beverage offerings ranging across cultures from Western, South Asian and Middle Eastern catering options. Kosher and Chinese catering options are also available.

The Aga Khan Museum’s international outlook offers meeting planners and delegates a chance to connect with new perspectives and ideas while supporting the programs and mandate of the Museum. This is a venue that connects with attendees and leaves them knowing that this is way more than just another museum!

For more information about planning events at the museum, connect with the Events Team at or by visiting



Par-Tee like it’s 1989! Toronto’s latest experiential venue is an interactive adventure fittingly called Par-Tee Putt. An indoor mini-putt with 27-themed holes, it’s as fun as it’s Instagrammable with scenes right out of the 80s and 90s. Most holes are replicas of pop-culture icons like E.T., Seinfeld, and even The Price is Right, while local attractions like the CN Tower and Exhibition Place are also featured. Serving food, beverages and upbeat tunes, Par-Tee Putt has all the ingredients for a unique event filled with laughs (capacity: up to 200 people).

Save room for dessert. The KitKat Chocolatory, a make-your-own chocolate store, is coming to Yorkdale Shopping Centre this fall. Later on in 2019, Eataly is opening its first Canadian location with a 50,000 sq. ft. food hall that sells everything from Italian eats to high-end Italian clothing. Parlour, an upscale multi-level pub that seats over 300, recently opened its doors in a historical piano factory. Finally, Real Sports Bar & Grill’s renovations are completed with a new pedestrian bridge that connects to Scotiabank Arena and the PATH.

The latest in hotel news. Opening in 2020, the Drake Hotel’s expansion includes 32 added guestrooms. The Park Hyatt Toronto is reopening with 220 guestrooms, 9 meeting rooms and over 14,000 sq. ft. of space, by late summer 2020. Also for next summer, the former Thompson Toronto is transforming into Canada’s first 1 Hotel, a one-of-kind eco-friendly, luxury property. Novotel Toronto Mississauga Centre Hotel is independently operating as Mississauga Centre Hotel until its conversion and re-flagging to Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Mississauga.

Honey, they shrunk Canada! Sort of. Arriving in 2020, Little Canada is the latest attraction that’s set to open at Yonge-Dundas Square. Explore 45,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space that showcases the nation, on a miniature scale. Canada’s the 2nd largest country in the world, and now you can easily experience it in its entirety! The attraction will be opening with 5 major Canadian destinations: Little Niagara, Little Toronto, Little Ottawa, Little Quebec, and Little Golden Horseshoe. Other major Canadian destinations are planned to follow.

Here to stay. Since the 2015 Pan Am Games, the Toronto Sign has become one of the city’s most photographed attractions. Originally, it was created solely for the Pan Am Games and wasn’t made for durability. Due to its popularity, it’ll be replaced with a more durable, weather-resistant version of itself by end-of-year. Toronto wouldn’t be the same without the sign’s iconic glow, so it’s staying for good.

It’s the season of change for Toronto’s greenery, but also for some of the city’s venues. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is now called Meridian Hall (Main Stage capacity: up to 3,191). Likewise, The Toronto Centre for the Arts has also been renamed Meridian Arts Centre. It includes 4 stages, with largest being able to hold 1,036 people at capacity.



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.

Toronto’s skyline was a little less full back in 1984 when the Metro Toronto Convention Centre opened to the public.

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.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to the public on October 2, 1984.

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.

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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.
Since opening in 1984, the MTCC has been first to achieve a number of accolades on the world stage.

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!



Earlier this week, BizBash released its list of the top 100 events in Canada for 2019. The list includes an incredible 47 events that took place in Toronto this year across several categories including tradeshows & conventions, festivals, sporting events and more. As Canada’s largest and most visited destination as well as economic engine, it is not surprising to see so many of the city’s top events, festivals, galas recognized here.

Toronto had a particularly strong showing in the Trade Shows & Conventions category where seven events made the list including:
1. Canadian National Exhibition
2. Canadian International Auto Show
4. Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
5. Toronto International Boat Show
7. P.D.A.C. International Trade Show, Convention and Investors’ Exchange
9. National Home Show and Canada Blooms
10. Fan Expo Canada

Both Toronto Pride and Caribbean Carnival were recognized in the Festivals & Events category ranking first and third respectively. The Music Events category featured Toronto events including the Toronto Jazz Festival and Beaches International Jazz Festival, as well as the Junos, which recently announced that it will return to the city in 2021. The Canadian music awards will be celebrating their 50th anniversary at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday, March 28, 2021.

This annual events list is based on several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, its prominence within the community it serves.

Congratulations to everyone who made the list! See the entire list here.


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Business Events Toronto, the meetings, conferences and events unit of Tourism Toronto, is pleased to welcome Scott Beck to the organization as the new President & CEO following an extensive international search. For the past 14 years, Beck has served as the President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake in Salt Lake City, UT, and will begin his new role on October 15, 2019.

A proven leader in the destination sales and marketing industry, Beck served on the Executive Committee of Destinations International for six years and served as the organization’s International Board Chair from 2014-2015.

“To say that I am excited about the opportunity to join the highly respected team at Tourism Toronto is an understatement,” said Beck. “Toronto is an incredible destination, one that I’ve followed closely during my many years in this industry. The beauty of the city, the diversity of the community and the world-class tourism infrastructure — all of this will be a true pleasure to promote to the world.”

Before joining Visit Salt Lake, Beck worked in the hotel industry for 18 years, most recently with Ocean Properties Ltd. (OPL) as the General Manager of the Salt Lake Marriott City Center. While at OPL, Scott spent time in B.C. and Alberta working on a task force with OPL’s Canadian affiliate, Atlific Hotels. Prior to his time with OPL, Scott served as Director of Sales and Marketing for Sundance Resort in Provo, Utah.

“Scott’s depth of experience in the hotel industry, combined with his understanding and appreciation of the important role destination marketing organizations like Tourism Toronto play in a city’s economic vitality, make him the right person to fill this role at this time,” said Robert Housez, Chair of the Board of Directors at Tourism Toronto.

Welcome to Canada’s Downtown Scott!

4 Conventions Choose to #MeetInToronto

4 Conventions Choose to #MeetInToronto

It’s been a busy summer for the Business Events Toronto team. Four new U.S.-based city-wide conventions have been secured for Toronto.

In total, the four city-wide conferences will bring 16,100 attendees to Toronto with an estimated economic impact of $46 million.



What a time to be in Toronto! Following the Toronto Raptors historic run to their first ever NBA Championship, the city now turns its attention to hosting Meeting Planners International (MPI) World Education Congress (WEC), June 15 – 18, 2019. The premier event in the meetings industry brings more than 2,500 meeting professionals to the city, providing the opportunity to showcase the best the city has to offer as a live audition for future meetings and events from around the world. Hosting WEC19 in Toronto just adds to the buzz & spotlight surrounding Toronto on the world stage right now.

The MPI events team did a radical redesign of WEC experience in 2018 in collaboration with Denmark-based Event Design Collective, and tweaked sections of that design for 2019 with an overarching theme of “Stop Planning Meetings, Start Planning Shared Experiences.”

Numbers tracked higher than usual for the Toronto 2019 WEC gathering and Melinda Burdette, CMP, CMM, HMCC and director events for MPI, says the combination of the destination and the fear of missing out certainly helped with the draw for planners to attend.


“We really threw everything against the wall last year and tore it apart and this year is another shared experience,” Burdette explains. “We’re continuing with short, focused general sessions that are very high energy, with entertainment values mixed in with education. We really feel that it’s important to bookend each day, to gather everyone together so that planners will share all that they have learned that day with each other.”


According to Burdette the 2018 experience “was so different from any other conference they had ever been to. We’ve mixed it up so that planners can craft whatever experience they want.” Burdette understands who the audience is and the pressure to produce a meeting for meeting planners is understandably daunting. But at the end of the day, Burdette says, “planners have to make the conference work for them; you have to be there for your own professional development.”

Attendees of the Opening Night Celebration will “Celebrate Canada” on Toronto’s iconic Echo Beach at Ontario Place with big stages, big sounds and big fun all around. Featuring lakeside views and interactive experiences, including an assortment of tastes from across the country, delight in the cheerful summer vibes of the great Canadian outdoors. It’s Canada’s festival, representing the country’s robust diversity through vibrant performances, lively culinary activations and colorful activities. Don’t miss the celebration. Casual summer attire is recommended. This event is hosted by Business Events Toronto and Business Events Canada’s destination partners. 

Home to the country’s big-ticket events, globally inspired cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and colorful entertainment. Attendees will experience all of this set against the dazzling backdrop of Toronto’s skyline during the Closing Night Celebration: Let Yourself In at Rebel & Cabana Pool Bar. The evening will feature interactive dance performances, experiential installations, Toronto-centric entertainment and a flavorful journey across the city’s multicultural neighborhoods.

Cabana Pool Bar

Rebel & Cabana Pool Bar are extraordinary, multi-dimensional spaces that evolve through the day and well into the night with 45,000 square feet of striking design and unexpected wonder combined with powerful sound, immersive light, sensual forms and tactile details to delight and astound at every turn. Cabana Pool Bar transforms Toronto’s waterfront into a “Day-to-Night” party spot with private cabanas, daybeds and enough room for 2,500 people to take in the view and all the sun you can take. This multipurpose venue offers breathtaking views of the city skyline and waterfront.

Thank you to all sponsors for their support of hosting MPI WEC19 in Toronto.

Host City Partners

Destination Sponsors - maple

Destination Sponsors - pine