Toronto; the Indigenous Huron community named it ‘the meeting place’ and we’ve been flocking ever since.
As Canada’s capital of commerce and largest city, Toronto sees its fair share of business travellers and sure knows how to host. After all, it’s the top domestic business travel destination and the most popular choice for U.S. sponsored association meetings outside the U.S. Whether you are hosting or attending a business trip to Toronto, use this handy guide to the city and our top 10 tips for getting your business in Toronto off on the right foot.
Pearson International vs Billy Bishop Island Airport
First things first – getting in. For those meeting in the city’s downtown core, Toronto is blessed with a convenient city airport as part of the Toronto Islands of Lake Ontario. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) handles short-haul flights (under 2 hours) with both Air Canada and Porter Airlines, making it popular with those visiting from New York City, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC, among others. For those flying in from farther away, Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is where you’ll arrive.
Get on UP! Getting to/from Pearson International Airport
For those arriving into Pearson International Airport, the Union-Pearson Express, or simply UP Express, offers travellers a speedy and affordable way into the city. The train links the airport with Union Station downtown, making just two stops (Weston and Bloor Street) en route. Operating roughly every 15 minutes, you just can't beat the 25-minute ride to and from the city centre.
Stay where you should be
With 36,000 hotel rooms in over 170 hotels, finding a room in Toronto, even for a group, is generally easy. FCBT travel managers have access to wholesale rates and inventory at a number of quality properties, whether you‘re looking for a room at a popular chain or a unique boutique hotel.
Top Toronto hotels for business
For the most popular business hotels downtown, all with easy access to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, among other popular event venues, look no further than the Fairmont Royal York, the Shangri-La and the St. Regis.
For those with business at or near Pearson International Airport, or if you have a long layover, our top three airport hotels include the Sheraton Gateway (attached to Terminal 3), Westin Toronto Airport and ALT Hotel Pearson.
Car rentals from a range of dealers are available at the airport, downtown, and from depots scattered throughout the city. As with hotels, keep in mind that FCBT travel managers have access to wholesale rates on car rentals and are happy to make your booking. Of course, taxis and ride-sharing companies are also options here, including from both airports. Toronto is also well-connected with an award-winning public transit system (Toronto Transit Commission – TTC).
Mix business with pleasure
Entertaining your clients in Toronto is easy with a bevy of options suiting all tastes and budgets. Sporting events make for good bonding sessions and Toronto doesn’t disappoint with a number of professional teams. Thrill your clients with box seats at a Blue Jays, Maple Leafs or Raptors game. Wine and dine your guests at a range of popular bars and restaurants or schedule your trip around any of the city’s major events like the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Caribana or PRIDE, and get it on the fun.
Eat, drink and be merry
Famous for its diversity, Toronto may be the world’s most global city. With 50% of the population born outside of Canada and some 130 languages and dialects spoken, you know you can expect some fantastic food options. A multitude of authentic eateries cover just about every ethnicity, and it isn’t uncommon to find a proper Peruvian restaurant on the same block as a traditional Japanese ramen house, a French bistro or a true Ethiopian dining experience.
When travelling for work, it’s easy to let your good habits fall by the wayside, especially staying fit. Keeping your regular workout routine on the road is easier than you think, especially in a metropolis like Toronto. Most decent hotels offer the use of their gym or workout facility. A yoga directory can find you a class at any time. Fancy a run but don’t know the city? Join a local running group or find a trail near you. No excuses!
Extend your stay to enjoy the city
The concept of ‘bleisure travel’ (combining business with leisure travel) isn’t new but it has been gaining steam lately. After your business is taken care of, why not stay on to explore and enjoy the city? Schedule your work for the end of the week and tack on the weekend for fun and relaxation. It might even open your eyes to something new you can use for your next business trip. Extending your trip shouldn’t cost you much more in airfare, just an additional hotel night or two.
Things to do
Toronto is also Canada’s cultural hub with always something going on, from Friday Night Jazz at the Aquarium to axe throwing. When looking for things to do in Toronto, visit BlogTO and NOW Magazine, as well as checking in with our Toronto-based FCBT travel managers. All will keep you up-to-date with what to see and do, including where to go for the city’s best food and libations – there are many!
Explore nearby attractions
Once you’ve had your fill of Toronto’s vibrant entertainment scene, get out of town. The big city is surrounded by iconic attractions (Niagara Falls), stunning nature (Muskoka, Haliburton Highlands, etc.) and even some reputable spas and wineries (Niagara-On-The-Lake, Prince Edward County), all worthy of a short road trip. Go on, get out there!
Now that you’ve been introduced to one of Canada’s most dynamic destinations, book that Toronto business trip! Our FCBT travel managers are standing by.