Toronto – A World Within a City

By Christine Neuberger

Picture giving your qualifiers an incentive trip loaded with some of these highlights: Start with a true Canadian welcome from the Royal Canadian Mounted police in full regalia. Serve breakfast on the field of the SkyDome, followed up by a friendly baseball game as the world’s biggest Jumbotron bears the names of your top producers larger than life. Offer evening cocktails and dancing at the CN Tower, at 1,815 feet the world’s tallest freestanding structure. Spread out dinner and some slap-shot tests in the Hockey Hall of Fame, with its interactive displays honoring the world’s fastest game. Cap it off with a private interactive improv session on the stage of the famed Second City comedy club.

Do all that and more on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Toronto. Canada’s largest city and financial capital offers the elements key to the success of an incentive travel program. It boasts luxury hotels galore, great shopping, a waterfront and a theater-goer’s paradise – you can even tour one of the world’s only operational vaudeville-era theatres. Toronto offers sports, golf and special venues ranging from galleries, museums and concert halls to a fairy-tale castle and a virtual-reality playground for adults. When they’re hungry, let your people sample world-class dining at some of the more than 5,500 restaurants in this city nicknamed “World within a City.”

Sports are major league here. Rent private luxury SkyDome boxes to watch the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team or the Toronto Argonauts football team. Toronto is also home to the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, the Toronto Raptors NBA team and the Toronto Rock, 1999 National Lacrosse League World Champions.

Only a 75-minute drive away, your group can take a memorable helicopter ride over the natural wonder of Niagara Falls or enjoy breathtaking views during lunch in the Skylon Tower’s revolving dining room 775 feet above the falls.

Next to the falls, enjoy the excitement of Casino Niagara, with its 130 gaming tables and 2,700 slot machines. Or drink in the vineyard region, with 13 wineries around historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. Cruise Toronto’s islands and lagoons while enjoying a gourmet dinner aboard a sailing ship. Northern Ontario tantalizes with hiking, rafting, fishing, snow-mobiling and dogsledding.

Accessibility is a big strength. As the continent’s fourth largest international hub, Toronto draws more than 350 nonstop flights from the United States daily. New York and Chicago are just an hour’s flying time away. “I’d recommend Toronto for incentive groups that want a big city that’s foreign but familiar,” advises Lauren Miralia, president of Adviso Group Ltd. of White Plains, NY.

For further information, contact the Toronto Convention and Visitors Association, Newcourt Centre, Queen’s Quay Terminal at Harbourfront, PO Box 126, 207 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario M5J 1A7, Canada; call 416/203-2600 or 1-800-363-1990 (in North America); or visit www.torontotourism.com.