Considered a national icon and a must-see attraction in Toronto – the CN Tower is arguably the most recognizable landmark in the city. While it is one of Toronto’s top attractions, it’s also a corporate venue for hosting meetings and events of up to 2,000 people. From its spectacular views and award-winning cuisine to the flexible meeting space (including a private in-house theatre and revolving restaurant), the CN Tower is an inspired venue for your next event. This Toronto icon is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, standing at 553m/1,815 ft. It also boasts a couple of unique accolades like the world’s highest ‘hands-free’ walk (called the EdgeWalk) at 116 stories above ground, as well as the world’s highest wine cellar according to the Guinness World Records. It opened in 1976 and celebrates its 40th anniversary on June 26th.
Spring is a time for fresh new starts. And nowhere is that more evident than in the amazing new renovations ready to go at some of Toronto’s best hotels. Let’s check them out!
THE OMNI KING EDWARD
Budget: $40 million
Completed: September 2015
New & Improved: Built in 1903, The King Edward was Toronto’s first luxury hotel. Today, it’s been reimagined for the 21st century while being restored to its former grandeur. The lobby, ballrooms, meeting facilities, restaurant, bar, and 301 guest rooms have all undergone extensive renovations. Given the building’s historical significance, every detail was closely monitored by the architect, designer and the City of Toronto’s heritage board.
FUN FACT: Famous guests have included everyone from Mark Twain to Britney Spears. Beatle mania swept the hotel when the Fab Four’s 1964 visit drew 3,000 fans to the lobby.
Budget: $12 million
Completed: Summer 2015
New & Improved: The Chelsea Hotel celebrated its 40th birthday last year with an upgrade. Canada’s largest hotel completed a $12 million refurbishment on about half of its guestrooms and suites. Bronze-certified with EarthCheck, an environmental management program for the travel and tourism industry, all guestrooms now include low flow showerheads and toilets, as well as energy efficient light bulbs.
Fun Fact: Has Toronto’s only downtown indoor waterslide.
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT TORONTO DOWNTOWN
Budget: $14.5 million
Completed: May 2016
New & Improved: The world’s largest full-service Marriott Courtyard has redesigned all 575 of its guestrooms, making them more spacious with a residential feel, tone-on-tone décor with stylish bathrooms, new corridors and Marriott beds. There is also 13,000 sq. ft. of newly redesigned contemporary meeting space for up to 450 people and the new Lobby Bistro.
Fun Fact: In the lobby, their signature Go-Board® is a state-of-the-art interactive touch screen system that puts news, weather, restaurants, local area information and directions.
TORONTO MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN EATON CENTRE
Budget: $18 million
Completed: Fitness Centre this past March, Concierge Lounge in May, and Guestrooms this summer
New & Improved: With over $100K spent on state-of-the-art exercise equipment in the Fitness Centre, there’s no reason not to work out even while you’re away from home. All 461 guestrooms have been modernized with new carpeting, wallpaper, artwork, lighting, window treatment, 49” Smart TV and chaise. Also, bathrooms have been completely re-done, with stand-up showers in most guestrooms.
Fun Fact: Connected to the Eaton Centre, Toronto’s most popular tourist destination.
FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK
Budget: $14.5 million
Completed: May 2016
New & Improved: The historic Royal York gets some modern touches in 910 of its Fairmont Luxury and Signature guestrooms, including 42” HDTVs, new mattresses, SONIFI (a hi-def television software that lets you view menus and check-out). Other updates include a newly-refreshed lobby, re-designed health club and pool, new Technogym fitness equipment, and new tables and upholstery in the iconic Library Bar. You can even check-in on your iPad!
FUN FACT: Since 2008, three roof-top beehives on the 14th-floor terrace have housed 350,000 honey bees producing hundreds of pounds of honey every year.
Budget: $1.5 million
Completed: Spring 2016
New & Improved: The re-imagined Lobby Bar opened in February, hosting its first parties during the NBA All-Star Weekend. A new high-tech, private event space, The Front Room, features a 60 sq. ft. multi-functional HD media wall. With space for 100 guests, it can be private or open to the main bar. The Portland Meeting Room is updated with new décor, furnishing and technology. And there are three newly constructed guest rooms—two Deluxe Kings and one Executive Suite.
FUN FACT: Has Toronto’s only hotel rooftop lounge
SHERATON CENTRE TORONTO HOTEL
Budget: $120 million+
Completed: May 2016
New & Improved: All 1,372 guestrooms got significant technology-enhancements and increased Wi-Fi bandwidth. Also, $13 million was spent on retrofitting all guest room windows to increase energy efficiency. All ballrooms and meeting spaces received major renovations, while expanding the total meeting and event space to more than 130,000 sq. ft. They’ve also stepped up their culinary experience by bringing the kitchen to the front of the house and offering guests an improved food and beverage experience.
FUN FACT: The tallest all-hotel structure in Toronto
Toronto is elevating the airport dining experience. Here are a few places to check out before you take off.
The city has been enjoying the spotlight lately, especially for its diverse and eclectic food scene. In case you missed it, Vogue Magazine dubbed Toronto as the next ultimate foodie destination. But you don’t have to venture deep into the city to find amazing eats.
It’s no secret; Toronto is an ideal destination for meetings and conventions for several reasons that go beyond its excellent venues and services. What truly sets it apart from other cities are the talented and creative meetings professionals who work in the local business events industry. Today, on Global Meetings Industry Day, we recognize the impact that meetings have on our region but also show appreciation for the professionals that drive this business in Toronto. Read more in the latest blog post by Tourism Toronto’s President & CEO, Johanne Belanger.
A LOOK AHEAD AT TORONTO’S YEAR IN SPORTS
Mark your calendars for what’s sure to be an exciting 2016 for sports fans!
After last year’s nail biter, fingers are crossed that this is the year for the Toronto Blue Jays, especially because this marks their 40th season! The Home Opener at Rogers Centre pits the Jays against the Boston Red Sox. Do whatever it takes to get your hands on tickets for one of their 81 home games this season!
Toronto has basketball fever after the rousing NBA All-Star Weekend in February. The Raptors enter the playoffs this month, with their first opponent yet to be announced.
Honda Indy Toronto takes place on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place near Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto, featuring a week of the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities.
The 2016 Ontario Summer Games are coming to Mississauga, with athletes 13 to 17 from all over Ontario competing in more than 32 sports, including Boxing, Diving, Karate, Kickboxing, Sledge Hockey, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Women’s Hockey, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
Over 150 of the top players in the NHL® face off in Toronto in the World Cup of Hockey, one of the most competitive, highly skilled hockey tournaments in the history of the sport. The 2016-2017 hockey season marks the 100th Anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs! And Toronto co-hosts with Montreal the 41st IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Hockey Championships!
Four reasons that now’s the time to visit Toronto!
With the rousing Pan Am & Parapan Am Games, an unforgettable bat flip, and Drake bringing international attention to the “6IX,” 2015 was an incredible year for the city of Toronto. And 2016 is poised to be even bigger. From rejuvenated neighbourhoods to renovated hotels to exciting events, here are four reasons why there’s never been a better time to visit Canada’s Downtown.
TIMES OF OUR LIVES
Dubbed “Canada’s premier city,” Toronto joins Mexico City, Bordeaux and Abu Dhabi on The New York Times’ list of 52 Places to Go in 2016. Writer David Shaftel says, “Toronto has long been known for its cultural diversity and continues to draw major artistic and sporting events.” The revitalized Queens Quay at the waterfront, The Junction neighbourhood’s influx of new cafés, bars, and shops, and the Toronto International Film Festival’s promise of another year of glitz and glamour are all counted as reasons to visit.
Big things are coming to Toronto this year. Make room in your closet as the first Saks Fifth Avenue in Canada just opened on Queen St. in February, and Nordstrom opens this fall. The Toronto Blue Jays kick off their 40th season with a home opener on April 8 against the Boston Red Sox. Pride Toronto hosts its first-ever “Pride Month” with extended programming and provocative events, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joining the Parade on July 3rd (also a first for a sitting PM!) The 10th annual Luminato Festival, Toronto’s global multi-arts celebration, runs from June 10 – 26. And On June 26, the CN Tower fetes its 40th birthday with special events and offers.
CHECK OUT TIME
Make your stay in Toronto even more comfortable, as some of the most popular hotels in the city have recently undergone major renovations. The downtown Courtyard Marriott’s $14.5 million transformation with redesigned guest rooms, new beds, contemporary new meeting spaces, and new lobby bistro is nearly complete. The Thompson Hotel recently unveiled their new Lobby Bar, after a $1.5 million reno, complete with a high-tech, private event space called “The Front Room,” featuring an 60 sq. ft. multi-functional HD media wall and a 100-person capacity. The Omni King Edward, Toronto’s first luxury hotel, has gotten a $40 million restoration from the ballrooms, meeting facilities and updated restaurant and bar to the 301 guest rooms.
The favourable US/Canadian exchange rate means that your money goes a little further when you visit Toronto. Now you can treat yourself to more. How? We suggest upgrading your hotel room to a deluxe suite, treating your group to a night out on the town, or taking a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls!