Toronto Congress Centre expansion to boost business tourism

Minister of Tourism sees symmetry between goals of government and private sector investors

As Toronto’s City Hall considers what to do about polishing the city’s image for tourists, yesterday Mr. Alain Sutton, Chairman and CEO of Congress Centres Inc., parent company of Toronto Congress Centre presented The Honourable Peter Fonseca, Ontario Minister of Tourism with a favourable outlook for business tourism. Although the facility’s half million square foot addition, Toronto Congress Centre North is not quite finished, its doors were opened briefly on Monday, so the Minister could view the massive new facility.

During his tour Minister Fonseca was informed that Toronto Congress Centre hosts more than 600 meetings, conventions and trade shows annually, including some of Canada’s largest and most prestigious events. More than 2 million people pass through its doors each year with more than 50% of its visitors arriving from outside the GTA, other provinces, USA, Europe and Asia. Toronto Congress Centre events currently account for 20% occupancy of the 10,000 hotel rooms in the immediate area.

Toronto Congress Centre North has proven demand for meeting space. Since its exhibit hall was finished in January 2008 (its lobby and café are still to be completed) – the facility has hosted three major conventions and trade shows, with national and international events being booked through 2020. “Current customers and prospective meeting planners from Canada and around the world have been adamant that they need more meeting and exhibit space. Toronto Congress Centre North will help meet pent-up demand from Canadian meeting planners, and attract more business from Europe and Asia,” explained Mr. Sutton.

A 1996 study by Ernst & Young reported that the economic impact of Toronto Congress Centre on Toronto was $371 million in business tourism dollars annually. “Those expenditures,” explained Mr. Sutton, “translate to over $600 million today. With more first class convention and trade show space available, Toronto Congress Centre’s expansion will further boost tourism spending in the region.

According to a news release issued last month from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism spending by business convention visitors reached $779 million in 2004. Convention visitors contribute a great deal more to the economy than do individual tourists. The average convention attendee spent $598 per visit —three times more than what the average visitor to Ontario spends.

Mr. Sutton also noted that Toronto Congress Centre North is LEED compliant for silver certification. Built by re- purposing an unused building on Toronto Congress Centre property Toronto Congress Centre North’s exhibit hall was completed in just 12 months using 75% zero waste construction methods. With a long list of green attributes it is one of the most environmentally friendly facilities of its kind in the world.

Eventually, the modern, state-of-the-art facility will include a green roof, grey water recycling system and co- generation facility. In just over a year, Toronto Congress Centre North has moved from a “Brownfield” to a “Greenfield” site. The new facility has recently been nominated for the prestigious Brownie award from the Canadian Urban Institute.

Now at a million square feet, Toronto Congress Centre remains the largest privately owned convention and meeting facility in Canada, and ranks among the top ten largest venues of its kind in North America.

Toronto Congress Centre is located at 650 Dixon Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 1J1. For more information: call 416-245-5000.

For more information:
Cara Carey, Vice President
Customer Experience and Corporate Communications Toronto Congress Centre
416-245-5000 Ext. 2227