Vibrant and cosmopolitan Toronto has plenty to keep incentive groups happy: a lively arts scene, cutting-edge dining, world-class shopping, sports, lively ethnic and historic neighborhoods, and an efficient tourism infrastructure run by friendly and courteous people.
Many Americans know Toronto for its lively theater scene — not surprising, given that it's the third-largest theater center in the English-speaking world. Speaking of the arts, four major cultural developments are expected to wrap up in the next two years. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is under construction in the heart of the city, with a 2,000-seat horseshoe-shaped auditorium designed expressly to showcase productions by the Canadian Royal Opera Company. The Gardiner Museum is closed until the end of 2005 for a renovation involving a new third floor, three galleries, and additional educational facilities. The Royal Ontario Museum is opening up its original grand spaces to create space for additional collections, with construction scheduled to be completed at the end of 2006. Finally, The Art Gallery of Ontario is being enlarged by 75,000 square feet as part of a Frank Gehry — designed addition due to open in 2007 that will include new meeting spaces and improved amenities.
The city also has a healthy inventory of luxury hotel rooms, from hip boutique hotels like the Soho Metropolitan and Le Germaine to more traditional lodging choices like the Four Seasons and Fairmont Royal York. Even a sprawling convention hotel like the 1,377-room Sheraton Centre contains 320 upgraded rooms on more intimate club-level floors, where guests have access to a boardroom and a relaxing private lounge with panoramic 43rd-floor views of the city.
Day trips outside Toronto can satisfy a variety of interests. Some 300 golf courses are within an hour's drive, while the nearby Niagara region is popular for golf, spas, and wineries.
“What surprises some people is that there are so many things to do in Toronto,” says Charmaine Singh, vice president of convention sales for Tourism Toronto. “Once we show them around, they're usually blown away.”
Sixty percent of the U.S. population lives within 1.5 hours or less from Toronto by air. A variety of airlines offer direct service to Toronto from primary and secondary U.S. gateways.