News   Sep 13, 2019
 1.5K     0 
News   Sep 13, 2019
 1.8K     3 
News   Sep 13, 2019
 1.3K     9 

Toronto Tourism

wild goose chase

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
736
Reaction score
79
How can we make sure more Americans find it easier to travel to the GTA? ( I would first argue for incenting Americans who book an overnight stay here by agreeing to rebate the cost of their passport if obtained in the preceding six months.
Does the passport requirement put off many from visiting? Was there much more tourism from the US to Toronto back when passports weren't required to cross back and forth?

Internationally, beyond advertising, I think we have to do a better job of playing to our strengths. People from Europe arent' coming just for the cafes; or our museums, nor are folks from Asia coming just to admire our skyline or the busy streetlife.

They will come here for what they can NOT find at home. I think selling nature is a key part of selling our City. That will include the naturalized Don Mouth, and Rouge National Park; but more obviously
includes Niagara Falls and for that matter the Escarpment. We can offer a lot more nature within an hour's drive than the vast majority of Europe or Asia.
For those international travellers that are flying long-distance visiting the Toronto area or nearby areas of Ontario more generally who would like nature, Algonquin Park three hours or so away is a good place to go, especially if they have nothing like it in their home country.

Our diversity really can be our strength as well, in that we really do have more quality cuisine and clothing from more cultures than the vast majority of cities on earth.

That said, we don't do a good job of highlighting it. Our principle Chinatown lacks an archway; our 'little India' isn't particularly mesmerizing, despite what it does offer.

The same could be said for many other 'ethic nodes' where we have critical masses of retail/restos of one variety or another.

It needn't be kitch, but it does need to feel distinct and special.
The cultural diversity is definitely a great thing worth displaying more to outsiders (I know even though we pride ourselves on at least claiming to be the most multicultural city, there are many people from other cities and countries that are quite unaware that Toronto is diverse).

However, I'm not sure if many people specifically visit cities to see diversity primarily (though it is a great bonus) as the other major diverse cities -- NYC, LA, London, Sydney etc., have tourist attractions that were already there aside from the cultural/ethnic diversity to see.
 

Northern Light

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
4,226
Reaction score
3,815
Location
Toronto/EY
Does the passport requirement put off many from visiting? Was there much more tourism from the US to Toronto back when passports weren't required to cross back and forth?"
Yes there was more; now the fall off was doubtless also due to our rising dollar (at the time) and to more general foreign travel fears, post-9/11.

However, there are far fewer Americans w/passports relative to Canadians. The disparity is not as great near the Canada/US border, but it remains a factor.

I think it can fit in more broadly w/ease of travel. How complicated is it to get here from Buffalo for a weekend, how long does it take?

Whatever the answer, we know faster, shorter travel times, w/less hassle encourages more visits, particularly short-plan, spontaneous type visits.



[QUOTE="The cultural diversity is definitely a great thing worth displaying more to outsiders (I know even though we pride ourselves on at least claiming to be the most multicultural city, there are many people from other cities and countries that are quite unaware that Toronto is diverse).

However, I'm not sure if many people specifically visit cities to see diversity primarily (though it is a great bonus) as the other major diverse cities -- NYC, LA, London, Sydney etc., have tourist attractions that were already there aside from the cultural/ethnic diversity to see."[/QUOTE]

No doubt there are tourists who go to NYC just to climb the Empire State Bldg or to Paris for the Eiffel Tower. But I for one, get board of 'this is our tall building'. Put another way
I think most tourist attractions aren't actually big sell features, they are things you do while you're in place 'x'.

What attracts people (or at least people like me) is flavour. I don't mean food, per se.

Rather, when I think of NYC I think of its China Town, its Little Italy, Central Park West, SoHo and so on.

Paris is, well Paris, I don't go for any one building, but the food, the markets, the feel of the streets etc.

That doesn't mean we (Toronto) shouldn't have a great theme park or a Toronto museum or whatever.

But rather, when I think of what sells about Toronto, I think about what I love about it.

Despite increasing diversity in London, UK, or Paris. Outside of the predominant culture, food offerings/clothing offerings are mostly confined to one other major group.

Say South-Asians in London and Algerian/Moroccans in Paris.

Frankly, the Italian food choice is pretty bleh in both cities. (Which is fine, cause that's not their selling feature)

But I can think of so much great Italian Food in Toronto, and some pretty damned good Korean Food and Thai food, and Greek Food and so on.

When people come to visit, the diversity (both visibly in people) but also in retail/food is something that's get commented on often.

We under-sell this both domestically and in our international marketing; its part of the Flavour of Toronto.
 

Riverdale Rink Rat

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
2,774
Reaction score
270
Location
Back to East York... Alas!
So, coming back to Toronto has me and the family living at Maple Leaf Square for January. While it's not my kind of tourism, the SoCo corridor is a revelation: a tourist family or crew who doesn't care for museums and does care for sports could stay at Le Germain or Delta or one of the many short term rentals in this place in April or May and spend all their time on Bremner: early season Jays, Ripley's, CN Tower, Steamwhistle/trains, Maple Leafs and/or Raptors or what have you at the ACC. Add in lots of restos/sports pubs, Hockey Hall of Fame, walk down to Amsterdam Brewery and along the water, and it's a serious sports fans Nirvana.

Lots of Blackhawk sweaters wandering around for that game, so some folks have figured it out.

I expect this place will be totally crazy for the All-Star Game.
 

Riverdale Rink Rat

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
2,774
Reaction score
270
Location
Back to East York... Alas!
The low Canadian dollar would attract so many American NBA fans to the All-Star Game as well.

The low Canadian dollar is a major contributor to Toronto's tourism boom.
I started an NBA all star game thread, but one last post here: huge stage platform going up at Roundhouse in front of the Steamwhistle brewery. Bremner is going to be party central for the All Star weekend.
 

Flint

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 7, 2011
Messages
53
Reaction score
24
Talking to international students, they all have the same complaint. There's no where to party. It may not seem like a big deal but when you're travelling and you're in your early 20s. it is. i give them all the same speech, Toronto is great. You just have to peal back the layers and discover it. You have to know where to go and if they're studying here for an extended period of time, they usually figure it out and end up loving the city. But the general traveller who may only come for a couple of days is not interested in that. They want something in the now.

My idea would be to turn the parking lots of Ontario Place into a massive, mixed-entertainment zone with clubs, restaurants, etc. served by a new lakeshore LRT. It's far enough away from residential development that people won't complain about noise, people, etc., it will liven up an underused area of our waterfront, and it could really help revive the ontario place experience.

Just speaking off the top of my head here. Obviously this is just one aspect of tourism here that doesn't target every demographic, but i think it's an idea worth looking at.
 

Riverdale Rink Rat

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
2,774
Reaction score
270
Location
Back to East York... Alas!
Talking to international students, they all have the same complaint. There's no where to party. It may not seem like a big deal but when you're travelling and you're in your early 20s. it is. i give them all the same speech, Toronto is great. You just have to peal back the layers and discover it. You have to know where to go and if they're studying here for an extended period of time, they usually figure it out and end up loving the city. But the general traveller who may only come for a couple of days is not interested in that. They want something in the now.

My idea would be to turn the parking lots of Ontario Place into a massive, mixed-entertainment zone with clubs, restaurants, etc. served by a new lakeshore LRT. It's far enough away from residential development that people won't complain about noise, people, etc., it will liven up an underused area of our waterfront, and it could really help revive the ontario place experience.

Just speaking off the top of my head here. Obviously this is just one aspect of tourism here that doesn't target every demographic, but i think it's an idea worth looking at.
Ummm... there's two downtown universities and a downtown college. What kind of international students need directions to a student pub/nightclub/party zone? If they stepped onto campus at UofT, my frosh daughter or any other kid they stopped could point them to the new College Street hangout of the month, the Brunny, or a dozen other spots. We need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars because international students don't know where to go meet girls? Pshaw.
 

Flint

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 7, 2011
Messages
53
Reaction score
24
Ummm... there's two downtown universities and a downtown college. What kind of international students need directions to a student pub/nightclub/party zone? If they stepped onto campus at UofT, my frosh daughter or any other kid they stopped could point them to the new College Street hangout of the month, the Brunny, or a dozen other spots. We need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars because international students don't know where to go meet girls? Pshaw.
I'm talking of students who come for a month to study english and go. Their first impressions are usually "Toronto is nice...but it's a bit boring here". Toronto's club scene is a bit anemic now with so much potential, a proper club/entertainment district could go a long way. We have such a strong music culture across all genres, we need a great district to showcase that talent.

Something like Kansas City Live in their Power and Light District would do wonders here.

 
Last edited:

Admiral Beez

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
7,208
Reaction score
1,520
My idea would be to turn the parking lots of Ontario Place into a massive, mixed-entertainment zone with clubs, restaurants, etc. served by a new lakeshore LRT. It's far enough away from residential development that people won't complain about noise, people, etc., it will liven up an underused area of our waterfront, and it could really help revive the ontario place experience.
It would be open for a week by the time the first shooting takes place.
 

Irishmonk

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 29, 2007
Messages
1,791
Reaction score
591
Location
Hanoi, VN
So, kids today want to party in cheesy shopping malls? I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering how shitty popular music is today. What a crummy era to be young.
 

Riverdale Rink Rat

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
2,774
Reaction score
270
Location
Back to East York... Alas!
I have to agree. I was born in 1971, moved to Canada in 1976 and grew up in the 1980s. At the time my music tastes were more 1970s Zeppelin than contemporary Bowie, but those were good times.
So your last year of HS would be last year of uni:

https://musiccanada.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/1989s-biggest-canadian-hits-both-english-and-french/

This rings pretty true (saw or listened to most of these bands), but if you really think Barney Bentall is a cut above TheWeeknd, you need to give your head a shake and hitch up your old man's pants... ;)
 

James

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
125
Location
Toronto
I think what this all means is that Toronto doesn't have a single destination hot spot where visitors unanimously go to, like many U.S. cities do. As far as streets, think Las Vegas Blvd in LV or Hollywood Blvd in LA or International Drive in Orlando or 5th Ave in NYC or Bourbon St in N'Orleans. Toronto really is a series of different neighborhoods all melded into one. There's a lot within each neighborhood but there is no one particular street that represents Toronto as a whole.
 

Riverdale Rink Rat

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
2,774
Reaction score
270
Location
Back to East York... Alas!
I think what this all means is that Toronto doesn't have a single destination hot spot where visitors unanimously go to, like many U.S. cities do. As far as streets, think Las Vegas Blvd in LV or Hollywood Blvd in LA or International Drive in Orlando or 5th Ave in NYC or Bourbon St in N'Orleans. Toronto really is a series of different neighborhoods all melded into one. There's a lot within each neighborhood but there is no one particular street that represents Toronto as a whole.
Believe it or not, having lived here a month, for sports fans Bremner Blvd is the only part of Toronto they'll see. Although I don't know if that supports or disproves your point...

OTOH, we took the subway to Ossington to buy a used violin today, and walked back Bloor / Spadina / Adelaide / York to MLS. Toronto has a ton of interesting activity going on, even in January. K-Town was bopping, lots of people out and about at Bloor & Bathurst, Spadina through Chinatown as busy as usual. Haters will see the boarded up storefronts, lovers will see the great new shops/restaurants/bars. It's been a fun month of re-introducing ourselves to Toronto.
 
Top