Everyone meets in the Megacity
More than 2,500 event professionals experienced downtown Toronto at its most jubilant as 2 million people took to the streets to celebrate their NBA Champion Toronto Raptors in the middle of Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Conference 2019 in June.
The outpouring of pride is an extension of the diversity, energy and passion that lives in the city every day, said Andrew Weir, executive vice president of Tourism Toronto. He explained that the fourth-largest city in North America is often the first international meeting destination for many U.S.-based companies because of its easy access and welcoming vibe. Half of Toronto’s residents were born outside of Canada and 130 languages are spoken there. Everyone is welcome.
Whether you are considering your first or 50th meeting in Toronto, here are some things you might want to consider.
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is the second-busiest airport in the Americas and is connected to downtown via Union Pearson Express, which drops passengers a block away from Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) for easy guest arrivals and departures. The destination is a 90-minute flight for more than half the U.S. and Canadian population.
Meet and Sleep
The city is home to 36,000 hotel rooms in more than 170 properties, with 14,000 rooms within walking distance of MTCC. Your group can stay close to the action at the modern InterContinental Toronto Centre, which is connected to MTCC North through a dedicated glass entrance. The property also boasts 18,000 sq. ft. of its own meeting space and 584 guest rooms, many with views of Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto.
Directly across the street from Union Station, Fairmont Royal York is celebrating its 90th anniversary by completing a transformation that reimagines the lobby, almost 62,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and all 1,300 guest rooms. The historic property also introduced two residential-style Legacy Suites. The hotel has hosted more than 40 million guests since its opening, including Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Liberace.
A downtown property that embraces the city’s international style is Shangri-La Toronto, which offers 202 guest rooms and almost 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a screening room with leather recliners and the chandeliered Museum Room.
A few blocks away, on the outskirts of Nathan Phillips Square, Hilton Toronto welcomes groups with 600 guest rooms and more than 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the 9,300-square-foot Toronto Ballroom, where MPI Foundation’s President’s Dinner honored industry veteran Anne Hamilton.
The city’s diverse population is reflected in the world-class dining options. Taste for yourself at Steakhouse & Wine Bar inside Toronto Cosmopolitan Hotel, where Crystal Room, a glass-enclosed private dining room, seats 125 people. Discover “Middle-terranean” fare (a mix of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean) at Constantine in The Anndore House. The wood-burning-stove-anchored space seats 145 people. Or elevate the experience at Falcon SkyBar, one of six restaurants in Hotel X Toronto, with views of Lake Ontario.
MTCC is conveniently located in the middle of Toronto’s Entertainment District. A meeting there is steps from Rogers Centre (home of the MLB Blue Jays), Scotia Bank Arena (where the NBA Toronto Raptors play) and iconic CN Tower. The observation needle offers Edge Walk, a chance for groups to experience hands-free hanging 116 stories above the ground. Participants are attached via harnesses to a safety rail and hang together in the air over the city below.