7 Superb Toronto Attractions for Event Planners to Take in During IncentiveWorks

If you are heading to Toronto for IncentiveWorks 2017 from August 22 – 23, 2017, you’re in for a treat. In addition to lots of networking on the trade show floor and great speakers, you can look forward to numerous special events including:

  • the 9th Annual SITE Golf Tournament a the The Country Club Golf Course in Woodbridge
  • the MPI Foundation Rendezvous at Real Sports Bar & Grill on Monday August 21st
  • the M+IT Hall of Fame Live
  • a great closing party

You’ll want to arrive early or stay on for a few days to enjoy what the GTA and surrounding areas have to offer.

Arrive a full week early to take in the annual meeting for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) from August 12-15, 2017.

toronto_incentiveworksIn addition to popular Toronto attractions like the CN Tower, Canada’s Wonderland, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Ontario Place, during the summer, Toronto is buzzing with excitement. Some of the unique activities available in the Greater Toronto Area include indoor skydiving at iFly Toronto and flying a jumbo jet simulator at Threshold Aviation.

Since 2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial, there are many activities to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. 

Here are some other ideas to help you get the most out of your time in Toronto for IncentiveWorks.

  1.  There is a district for every interest.

Explore the Distillery District for boutiques and cafes, Yorkville for high end shopping and dining, the Theatre District, Chinatown for Asian fare and great bargains, and Kensington Market, where you can browse for affordable treasures from every corner of the globe.

Toronto Island, which can be accessed by cruise boats, is usually a great place for picnics, cycling and enjoying the amusement park. Due to the extensive flooding in the Spring of 2017, it is not clear whether or not the island will open again in time for IncentiveWorks unfortunately.

  1. Take in Theatre

During the week when IncentiveWorks will be taking place, theatre lovers can also enjoy:

  • Shakespeare in the Park: For this 35 year Toronto tradition, Canadian Stage is mounting not one but 2 theatrical productions at the High Park Amphitheatre: King Lear and Twelfth Night. There are backstage tours on some nights. Book early, some nights are already sold out for this season.
  • Beautiful – The Carole King Musical: At the Ed Mirvish Theatre
  • Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Wizard of Oz: At the Lower Ossington Theatre’s Mainstage
  1. Browse a gallery or art museum

In conjunction with Canada’s sesquicentennial, the Art Gallery of Ontario has a multimedia exhibition showcasing 33 projects created by artists from coast-to-coast.

  • Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood – Until August 20th, The Art Gallery of Ontario has an exhibit with historical photos dating back to the 1800s of the descendants of African-Americans who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad.
  • Free Black North – http://www.ago.net/free-black-north
  1. Have fun at the CNE

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), a Toronto institution which started in 1879 to showcase agriculture, the arts, and industry, kicks off on August 18th, the weekend before IncentiveWorks. Enjoy bandshell concerts, music at the Midway Stage, games and rides at the Midway, equestrian events, an air show, demos by celebrity chefs, and, of course, lots of food.

  1. Sports anyone?

While August is too early to catch hockey or basketball in Toronto, football, baseball and soccer season are in full swing. You need to book early to secure tickets to see the:

  • Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts – Saturday, August 19, 2017 4:00 PM – BMO Field
  • Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays – Fri. August 25, 2017 7:07 PM – Rogers Centre
  • Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – Wednesday August 23, 2017 8:00 PM – BMP Field
  1. Try These Toronto Eateries

Torontonians take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy patios and dine at establishments that offer rooftop dining. Some of the restaurants with patios or terraces for you to check out during IncentiveWorks include:

  • The Chase, a semi-formal dining establishment with an elegant rooftop specializes in sustainable gourmet seafood as well as lamb, duck, beef, and chicken dishes. 
  • The Fifth Terrazzo, a rooftop patio, specialized in Mediterranean cuisine. 
  • Spice Route: Specializing in Asian fusion cuisine, the patio at this eatery on King just West of Spadina, is the perfect place to relax. 
  • Kasa Moto: A contemporary Japanese and sushi with a large rooftop terrace in the heart of Toronto’s fashionable Yorkville district.
  • Wayne Gretzky’s: This hockey themed sports bar and restaurant with a patio is owned by the Canadian hockey legend. 
  • El Cabillito: A taco and tequila bar that adds colour and a sense of fun to casual Mexican dishes.
  • Amsterdam BrewHouse offers upscale casual cuisine, and artisan beer that is brewed in-house, on a 2 level patio overlooking the lake
  • Art Square Gallery and Cafe: Located across the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario, this cozy eatery with a small patio as well as an art gallery specializes in crepes, fondues, hand-made chocolates, and profiteroles au chocolat.

Be sure to contact the restaurants in advance as some dining establishments are closed on Sundays and Mondays in Toronto.

Keeping Your Cool:

To cool off during the hot summer evenings, gelato, and ice cream bars are a real treat:incentiveworks_staycool

  • Death in Venice on Queen Street West serves up gelato and sorbet in flavours that change with the seasons. Light snacks like panini, bagel, and croissant sandwiches and healthy salads, stews, and vegetarian dishes are available.
  • Greg’s Ice Cream: With 2 locations, in The Distillery District and on Bloor Street West and Spadina, this traditional ice cream parlour service up cones, sundaes, milk shakes, and floats.
  • 00Gelato: Tucked away on King Street West, just West of John Street, the smallest shop in Toronto specializes in homemade gelato. Unique flavours include cinnamon toast crunch, and peanut butter jelly

Special Treats: 

If you’re looking for a special treat visit the Fairmont Royal York or the Omni King Edward for traditional afternoon tea. With locations in The Distillery District and on King Street just West of Spadina, visitors can witness the creation of chocolate in the on-site, glass enclosed chocolate factory as they enjoy delectable truffles, hot chocolate, and gelato at Somo ChocolateMaker.

  1. Enjoy the musical vibes

To enjoy some of Toronto’s most popular musical events you’ll need to arrive extra early. For example, Toronto Summer Music Festival ends on August 5th and Toronto Caribbean Carnival runs until August 7th. Closer to IncentiveWorks, you can enjoy:

  • The City Hall Live series of outdoor lunchtime concerts continues at Nathan Phillip Square. The line-up will be announced shortly.
  • Camp Wavelength, an annual outdoor music festival, is scheduled to take place at Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands from August 18 – 20, 2017. (Due to the Spring flooding on the Toronto Islands this year, closer to the date, check to see if there will be a change in venue.)
  • Rastafest in The Village August 19 & 20, 2017 This annual reggae festival is an opportunity to enjoy Caribbean music. At its new location, you can also explore Black Creek Pioneer Village that gives insight into Canada’s pioneer lifestyle. (The Canadian Reggae Music Conference will take place at the same venue on August 17th and 18th.)
  • Toronto African Film & Music Festival takes place from August 24 – 27, 2017

Artists who will be performing in Toronto include Blue Rodeo at the Budweiser Stage at Ontario Place on August 19th, Kendrick Lamar at the Air Canada Centre on August 23rd, and Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey on August 24th at the Air Canada Centre.

Bonus: Go for a day trip.

If you arrive on the weekend before IncentiveWorks, it may be fun to take a day trip to some places that are popular with both residents and visitors for boutiques, attractions, galleries, and dining. Visit Niagara Falls, Port Carling, or Niagara-on-the-Lake where the Niagara Summer Concert series is taking place at the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery Amphitheatre.

incentiveworks_daytripThe TD Markham Jazz Festival takes place on Main Street Unionville from August 16 to 20, 2017. In Unionville, great places to dine with patios include Blacksmith’s Bistro, Il Postino, Ambiyan, specializing in authentic Indian cuisine, and the new Next Door Restaurant. You can enjoy cool, refreshing treats at Caffe Gran Sasso, Flavours of Unionville, Exotique Glacé, The Old Firehall Confectionery, and, of course, Dairy Queen. It’s easy to get to Unionville, just North of Toronto, by taking the Go bus from Union Station. The trip will take you just 30 minutes.