Wal-Mart Canada Makes History As First Event In Just Completed Toronto Congress Centre North

On February 10th and 11th one of the country’s biggest retailers, Wal-Mart Canada became the first company to hold an event in Toronto Congress Centre’s North Building. Wal-Mart Canada nearly doubled its annual “Year Beginning Meeting” beyond the walls of the original Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) by expanding into the facility’s new 500,000 square foot addition. While contractors are still putting the finishing touches on the North building, Wal-Mart’s 2008 YBM broke new ground for the company and for Toronto Congress Centre.

“For more than a decade, we have always tried to do new things and provide new experiences for meeting attendees, whether it’s their first time or their tenth,” said Mr. Mario Pilozzi, who marked his retirement as Wal- Mart Canada’s outgoing president and CEO at this year’s meeting. “Toronto Congress Centre’s North Building expansion was a pleasant surprise for our event coordinators, and also for our attendees.”

Toronto Congress Centre is Canada’s largest privately owned trade show and meeting place. In February it unofficially opened its expansion for Wal-Mart. The addition of TCC North establishes Toronto Congress Centre as a mega-facility, ranking among the top ten largest convention facilities in North America, and the continent’s top three privately owned trade and meeting facilities.

The Wal-Mart meeting occupied close to a million square feet of space in the North and South buildings. Even though Wal-Mart’s 2008 YBM was the first event to be staged in the newly expanded Toronto Congress Centre, it was not the first time that Wal-Mart had shopped at TCC. Since its first event, in 1996 at Toronto Congress Centre, Wal-Mart and TCC have developed a close working relationship as each company has expanded its business.

“Thinking back to the first meeting, it’s amazing how far we’ve come,” recalled Mr. Pilozzi. “As we’ve grown, we’ve looked for partners who can keep pace with us. TCC certainly fits that bill.”

Wal-Mart was established in 1994 when it transformed 122 Woolco stores nationwide. The company now operates more than 300 outlets across Canada. As the company has parent developed the Wal-Mart team has grown from 16,000 associates to more than 75,000, with an increasing number of Canadian suppliers. Each year, Wal-Mart invites representatives from every store and many suppliers to participate in the year-beginning meeting. As the team has grown, the size and sophistication of TCC had become a necessity.

“Each year our need for service and flexibility grows. This year, in addition to our substantial conference seating space, we had musical acts, smaller meeting pods, meal service and eating areas for thousands, and a full Wal- Mart store set up inside TCC,” said Mr. Pilozzi. “Toronto Congress Centre delivered with ease on every challenge!”

“Like Wal-Mart Canada, Toronto Congress Centre has established a world class reputation by putting customers first,” explains Mr. Alain Sutton, Chairman and CEO, Congress Centres Inc., parent company of Toronto Congress Centre, “The expanded Wal-Mart Canada 2008 event was a good example of how all levels of our customer-centric team adapted to their changing needs. The loyalty and trust that was first established with Wal-Mart Canada in 1996, continues today with Wal-Mart and all of our customers, and we are proud that Wal- Mart Canada banners were the first to hang in Toronto Congress Centre North.”

Toronto Congress Centre hosts many of the largest and most prestigious meetings and expositions in the country. In 2006, Toronto Congress Centre was named a finalist in AIPC’s highly competitive APEX Award for “World’s Best Congress Centre”. In 2005, it became the first and only trade facility in the Americas to receive HACCP Accreditation, meeting the highest level of food safety practices worldwide. TCC prides itself on being Great Experience MakersTM (GEM)TM, providing the best customer experience of any facility, anywhere in the world.

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

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For more information contact:

Cara Carey, Vice President
Customer Experience and Corporate Communications Toronto Congress Centre
416-245-5000 Ext. 2227
ccarey@torontocongresscentre.com