Transforming Old Models Into New Ideas in Toronto

A Sponsored Message from Destination Toronto & the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Author: Ascend Media       

Toronto TIFF drive-in screening

In response to COVID-19, TIFF 2020 offered digital tickets to allow watching movies at a drive-in, an outdoor screening, or from home. (George Pimentel photo)

The pandemic has forced all event planners to think about meetings differently and make drastic changes to their business models and audience engagement strategies. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was no different. TIFF 2020 cleverly transformed into a virtual event and was able to exceed projections, achieving record engagement numbers on social media platforms and garnering 40,000 attendees.

Find out how organizers accomplished this feat by joining the Convening Leaders 2021 session, “Transforming TIFF for an Unprecedented Year,” hosted by TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey and brought to you by Destination Toronto & the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“This year’s Convening Leaders event takes on an even more vital role as we work together and focus on the recovery of our industry,” said Scott Beck, president and CEO of Destination Toronto. “As an Official Network Partner, Destination Toronto is proud to be aligned and invested in these efforts and the critical role meetings and events will have on the recovery of our global communities.”

TIFF 2020 is just one of many examples of how Toronto is helping meeting planners evolve and succeed. Toronto keeps pushing the envelope with new virtual and hybrid experiences that are both immersive and safe.

In response to the evolution of hybrid events, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is looking to enhance its space to ensure that meetings it hosts can be easily broadcast virtually. Centrally located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the MTCC is within walking distance of more than 11,000 hotel rooms and many of Toronto’s top attractions, including the entertainment district and a few of Canada’s best sports and entertainment venues.

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is just a short stroll from many of Toronto’s top attractions, including the entertainment district and sports and entertainment venues.

Meeting Safety a Top Priority

The MTCC and Destination Toronto are committed to providing the best for the industry, with health and safety at the forefront of every event. Relying on the highest international standards and adherence to public health guidance, Toronto’s hospitality community is continuing to focus on keeping meeting guests safe, which includes such efforts as reducing capacity, managing traffic flows, mask requirements, contactless experiences, and rigorous sanitization.

The MTCC recently was given a Safe Travels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council — an international symbol designed to allow travelers to recognize governments and companies around the world that have adopted standardized protocol for health and hygiene. The MTCC’s enhanced safe events plan, ONWARD, has been reviewed and approved by Toronto Public Health. It prioritizes physical distancing, PPE, traffic flow, signage, air circulation, cleaning, and disinfection. The center’s No. 1 priority is the health and safety of attendees, employees, and the community.


In September 2020, a new 3D Toronto sign was installed at Nathan Phillips Square.

Making an Impact

The MTCC also wants to make a difference in the community during this challenging time. MTCC employees have worked to donate food surplus to local shelters and other charitable organizations. In the last few months, the center donated more than 7,900 items, including granola bars and fruit loaves to schools in the Toronto area, providing healthy, nutritious food to students who may not have access to healthy food at home due to circumstances beyond their control.

As a leader in sustainability and the perfect destination for green meetings, the MTCC was awarded the 2020 Award of Excellence for Sustainable Tourism by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. The honor recognizes the MTCC for making an outstanding contribution to the practice and promotion of sustainable tourism. Every year, the facility redirects 90 percent of event waste from landfill by recycling and donating food and materials to local charities. In fiscal year 2019/20 alone, the center diverted the equivalent of 35 garbage trucks of waste from landfill.

“As we all work toward recovery, sharing knowledge, education, and staying connected is more important than ever,” said Lorenz Hassenstein, MTCC president and CEO.

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