Ontario Province - A Successful Meetings Destination

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS October 2007 A popular international destination-as well as the center of Canada's government-Ontario Province is heating up, with Caesars Windsor poised for its 2008 debut and ongoing upscale expansion in its major city, Toronto. But even as the curtain rises on these new developments, the Niagara region's viticulture and quaint attractions make for relaxing explorations.

Essential Tool Box
Convention Centers: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 460,000 sf of dedicated meeting space, 64 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 1,400 theater-style. Toronto Congress Centre, 500,000 sf of dedicated space, 26 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 1,000 theater-style. International Centre, Toronto, 464,000 sf of dedicated space, 23 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 1,090 theater-style. Ottawa Congress Centre, 66,639 sf of dedicated space, 17 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 800.
For complete listings, visit Quick Facility Search at www.mimegasite.com
Toronto Daily Business Costs*:
Hotel $138 F&B $97
For More Info:
Toronto Tourism
www.torontotourism.com
CVB of Windsor, Essex County, & Pelee Island
www.visitwindsor.com
Ottawa CVA
www.ottawatourism.ca
Niagara Falls Tourism
www.niagarafallstourism.com
*Business Travel News 2007 Corporate Travel Index

The Big News
Casino Windsor, of Windsor, ON, is in the midst of a $373-million expansion and renovation that will rename the resort Caesars Windsor upon its debut in spring 2008. This month, the property will top off its new 350-foot-high, 400-room tower, making it the tallest point on the Windsor skyline. Also part of the expansion will be a 100,000-sf convention space featuring a 5,000-seat multipurpose event center. According to Casino Windsor Spokesperson Holly Ward, "There won't be any new openings now until we open the expansion property in the spring of 2008 and change our name to Caesars Windsor." However: "A 30-by-50-foot LED screen will be installed early next year as a promotional tool for our upcoming entertainment acts-and it will be clearly visible from the other side of the river in Detroit."
* In Niagara Falls, the Fallsview Casino is expected to add a 5,000-seat arena-the first venue expansion for the three-year-old resort. Meanwhile, a proposed C$92-million municipal convention center is still in the talking stages.
TORONTO The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is undergoing a $4-million renovation that will reconfigure the pre-function space outside Constitution Hall. The Direct Energy Centre expansion will add a conference center with 58,500 sf of ballroom space and 22,500 sf of dedicated meeting space.
* The Toronto Congress Centre will double its exhibition space to more than one million sf. The 500,000-sf expansion includes 40 meeting rooms and a 25,000-sf ballroom.
* International Centre is adding an $11.5-million state-of-the-art conference center to its existing 500,000 sf of exhibit and meeting facilities. The 50,000-sf expansion offers 12 new meeting rooms, a 17,000-sf ballroom, and a business center. The conference center is scheduled to open in Jan 2008.
* The 77-room luxury Hazelton Hotel opened in Aug in the Yorkville district, featuring a state-of-the-art C$2 million private screening room and a 250-seat restaurant.
OTTAWA The Rideau Canal has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Groups Should Consider these recommendations from Successful Meetings' Home Team* experts. In Toronto, top choices include the 77-room Hazelton Hotel and for venues, the Liberty Grand-Toronto and The Carlu; near Ottawa, the 276-room Brookstreet; near Stratford, the 53-room Langdon Hall Country House & Spa; and in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the 220-room White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa.

*Home Team contributors who informed this section include Sandy Biback, CMP, CMM; and Deborah K. Gaffney. Contact them at [email protected]

On Deck at the Hilton
A recent seven-day, seven-city road trip (where I caught a base-ball game a day) took me to the 600-room Hilton Toronto. Located in the city's financial district and a short walk from the entertainment district, the hotel is also connected to the city's underground PATH system, which connects miles of shops, restaurants, and offices, making them accessible year-round.

For the sports fan in me, I easily could make my way to the Hockey Hall of Fame, before grabbing dinner on Adelaide Street en route to a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre, but I also was able to take in the Hilton's recent renovation to its downstairs 14,000-sf convention floor. Its seven meeting rooms and 9,000-sf ballroom now boast a fresh, contemporary look, creating a unique boutique conference experience.

On the third floor, seven multipurpose rooms are available for board meetings of 10 or seminars of 50, with a walkway that opens into the lobby. Meanwhile, on the second floor, the Governor General Suite offers extra space for up to 150 people.

For more intimate gatherings, guests who stay on the hotel's executive floors have access to the 32nd-floor Executive Lounge, which features views of Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto, as well as a private boardroom and bar service privileges.

The new Hilton campaign focuses on the concept that "travel should facilitate meaningful experiences." And, despite my hectic schedule, my one short day at the Hilton Toronto left me feeling thoroughly relaxed-which is a great feeling to have after a long day of meetings (or baseball games).-Phillip Hennessey