Return to Toronto
Global Traveler|November 2020
International visitors will once again converge in Canada’s convention city.
RICHARD NEWTON

Toronto is waiting. The disruptions of COVID-19 will be overcome and life will return to normal. When people meet again, the MICE industry, defined by social interaction, will flourish once more.

Toronto — or Trono, as you’ll hear locals call it — has always been a meeting place. Its strategic position between lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron made it an ideal portage route for boats being hauled from one lake to the next, and those lakes provided a gateway in one direction to the Atlantic Ocean and in the other to the North American interior. The advent of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 19th century linked the emerging city to the distant west coast, and its position as a transport hub was consolidated in the jet age. The entire world converges here.

That interconnectedness is defined by the list of cancellations in 2020. As the pandemic took hold, it decimated the city’s schedule. Casualties included the Caribbean Carnival, the Chinatown Festival, the Pride Parade, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Taste of Manila Festival, and the St. Clair Street Salsa Festival. Major international conferences and expos were also canceled, along with much of the year’s sporting calendar, including — unthinkably — ice hockey. (The city, along with Edmonton, Alberta, hosted a resumption of play in August.)

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