Fueling Movements: The 6ix Is On the Rise
In this new XO series we’re calling “Fueling Movements,” we are putting the spotlight on partners that help our clients elevate their experiences in unexpected ways. Throughout these explorations, the Opus Agency teams are going out of the mainstream and into energy that defines those who have next.
During Collision 2023, the Destination Toronto team showed off the new, the meaningful, and the unexpected from their city. I left with a clear perspective on why this is a city on the rise—and why global brands are producing world-shaping experiences in Toronto.
- Paula Mettler, Brand Journalist, Opus Agency
Step into the vibrant tapestry of Toronto, where event leaders find the perfect destination to fuel their brand movements.
Like other major cities, Toronto, Ontario, has modern infrastructure and a vibrant, walkable downtown. What sets Toronto apart? In the 6ix, innovation and creativity thrive. Upon arrival, visitors sense Toronto's inclusive spirit, rooted in its diversity, making it an ideal place to collaborate and create.
For event leaders on a mission to inspire, meeting in Toronto puts you in the economic, innovative, and cultural heart of Canada. An exciting and ever-evolving city, Toronto is a multicultural, open-minded, and friendly destination. More than 250 different ethnicities and 180 dialects represent the city's population. This broad cultural diversity fosters an environment of tolerance and hospitality where visitors from all backgrounds will feel celebrated and welcomed, contributing to a productive environment for collaboration.
Hosting in Toronto, event leaders benefit from dedicated partnerships between hospitality, business, and government partners — all connected by a shared knowledge and appreciation of the events industry and its economic impact.
The connectedness of Toronto's community and its genuine service culture offer clear advantages for hosting domestic and international meetings and events. The city is a global hub where progressive culture fosters deep dialogue, innovative thinking, and new relationships.
Here are five reasons Toronto is the host city of thousands of events, including one of the world’s biggest tech conferences, Web Summit's Collision Conference.
Five Reasons to Host Your Event in the 6ix
1. Spirit of Innovation
Toronto’s renowned multiculturalism is at the root of a collaborative spirit. The city is a driving force of key business sectors, including technology, life sciences, and financial services. The engaged business community delivers leading talent, thought leadership, and meaningful conversations.
Home to more than a quarter of Canada’s largest business headquarters, Toronto is gaining global influence. The local culture harbors a spirit of innovation and curiosity that inspires big ideas. Toronto has a dynamic culture of industry disruptors, providing a climate for groups to discover what’s new and what’s next in their respective fields.
Toronto is the headquarters of global leaders in banking, insurance, asset management, and capital markets, and it is also home to local innovators in emerging markets like FinTech and sustainable finance. One in twelve jobs in the Toronto area is in financial services, boasting a higher concentration of financial sector employment than in New York or London. Toronto is Canada's hub for examining new financial strategies, trends, and opportunities, hosting everything from international delegations and economic summits to professional development and investor conferences. The Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) consistently places Toronto in the Top 10 for competitiveness, ranking second in North America and seventh worldwide.
Toronto is also home to over 18,000 thriving technology businesses, with nearly 400,000 globally connected. The city’s burgeoning reputation as a global IT and communications technology center attracts tech giants and hipster coders, offering an endless platform to design exciting events. The city fosters an exceptional fusion of culture, education, diversity, and talent for tech start-ups to think and thrive.
2. Collaboration and Expertise
In Toronto, event leaders will find a passionate team of ambassadors motivated to help deliver impactful events and drive attendance. The city’s official Convention and Visitors Bureau, Destination Toronto, is known for its access to speakers, engaged local community, strong network, and sponsorship pool. Their 6ix Stack Attendance Marketing program provides comprehensive event marketing support, offering on-demand assets and customized services in three areas: attendee experience, educational and networking opportunities, and local innovation and thought leadership.
This caliber of partnership is why global brands choose Destination Toronto for their conferences. Just ask Collision and Web Summit co-founder and CEO, Paddy Cosgrave, who shared, “We are grateful for the support from Destination Toronto, the City of Toronto, and the Government of Ontario as we aim to make Collision even more globally impactful and to shine a spotlight on the remarkable Canadian and Toronto tech ecosystem on our global stage.”
Web Summit celebrated a record-breaking year for Collision, welcoming 36,378 attendees from 118 countries in June 2023. Data shared with BetaKit by Destination Toronto, the organization responsible for the Collision bid, claims that the tech conference “fuelled a combined $70 million in direct spending from attendees and $111 million in economic impact in 2019 and 2022. This year, the organization projects that Collision’s impact will grow to generate $49 million in direct spending and $77 million in economic impact—for a total of $119 million in direct spending and $188 million in economic impact over three years.” Collision officially announced that Toronto will host its tech event in 2024, marking four years of partnership between the organizations.
Destination Toronto’s President and CEO Scott Beck commented, “Collision’s decision to extend their event in Toronto, beyond the original three-year commitment, validates the deep collaboration among Toronto’s tech community, our meetings and events industry, and all levels of government; and of the positive role we have collectively played in helping to grow the Collision event to a globally recognized powerhouse event for the tech industry.”
3. Accessibility and Infrastructure
Toronto's advantages for hosting events lie in its accessibility and robust infrastructure. The city is a gateway to Canada and North America, with two international airports connecting to over 180 global destinations. Toronto is easily accessible to over 100 million people, making it a convenient choice for participants worldwide.
Upon arrival, attendees board The Union Pearson (UP) Express, an airport rail link connecting Union Station in Downtown Toronto to Toronto Pearson International Airport. The UP Express reliably transfers travelers from the airport to downtown Union Station in 25 minutes.
Additionally, Toronto's renowned PATH system, the world's largest underground pedestrian pathway network, offers a weather-protected and efficient route for attendees to navigate the city center. With its interconnected tunnels and corridors linking major buildings, shopping centers, and transportation hubs, the PATH system enhances the attendee experience and showcases Toronto's unique character.
By choosing Toronto, brands benefit from the city's accessibility and infrastructure, ensuring a seamless event experience and easy exploration of the vibrant urban landscape.
4. World-Class Amenities
Toronto has a wide range of hotels and venues, whether you're organizing a standalone meeting at a single hotel or a citywide event utilizing multiple properties and one of Toronto's convention and exhibition facilities.
The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), in the center of Toronto, is Canada's leading convention and trade show venue. The top-notch facility has 442,000 square feet of exhibit space, 77 meeting rooms, multipurpose ballrooms, and a theater equipped for both corporate events and live performances. The MTCC is regarded as world-class by meeting and event planners and is close to some of the city's most well-liked attractions, eateries, and nightlife. The Center consistently scores a remarkable 99% in terms of customer satisfaction.
Additionally, the MTCC provides an exceptional in-house F&B experience. The facility's food and beverage always leaves a lasting impression thanks to a state-of-the-art kitchen and an award-winning Executive Chef who brings innovation and culinary artistry to each course. An underground tunnel connects Union Station with the UP Express, a 25-minute air-rail connection to Pearson International Airport.
Minutes away, the award-winning Exhibition Place is Canada’s largest entertainment venue, hosting 1,260 events (including the 2023 Collision Conference) and attracting over 5.5 million visitors annually. Exhibition Place has garnered impressive awards and accolades for its sustainability efforts. The Enercare Centre and Beanfield Centre venues within Exhibition Place have received LEED Platinum and Silver certifications, respectively, and the entire facility has signed the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge. These achievements are in addition to the facility's GREENSmart initiative, launched in 2004 and concentrates on implementing sustainable development practices throughout the site.
Toronto’s newest luxury hotel, Hotel X, is situated beside the Beanfield Centre and opposite the Enercare Centre. With over 60,000 square feet of meeting space and 28 meeting rooms, Hotel X indulges the senses just minutes from the Metro Toronto Convention Center campus. In the heart of downtown and within walking distance from MTCC, Hilton Toronto is undergoing exciting renovations to its lobby and meeting space, and Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel is mastering sustainable food and beverage with its zero-waste compost and beekeeping initiatives.
5. Unique Offsites and Experiences
With its global culinary influences and vibrant nightlife, the city sets the stage for memorable gatherings. Toronto serves as a gateway to quintessentially Canadian experiences, from hockey and Canadian art to nearby natural wonders like Niagara Falls and the picturesque wine region of Prince Edward County. Iconic venues like the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, and the Art Gallery of Ontario provide breathtaking settings for creating lasting memories. Attendees can also explore the city's diverse neighborhoods, immersing themselves in Toronto's dynamic culture and culinary delights. In Toronto, brands have a unique opportunity to impress attendees, foster connection, and leave a lasting impression in a city that embraces innovation and offers a vibrant tapestry of experiences.
Delight attendees with VIP experiences like a yacht cruise on Lake Ontario to soak in the skyline, a culinary tour at the iconic St. Lawrence Market, or box seats to one of seven of Toronto’s major league sports teams.
Toronto offers so much more than meeting spaces and hotel rooms—its culture of creativity and belonging is catalyzing brand movements and inspiring innovation. It’s a city on the rise, and event leaders around the globe are taking note. What happens in Toronto certainly isn’t staying in Toronto.
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