Always creative with their FAM tours, Tourism Toronto’s Business Events team fashioned a three-day program based on their findings that while most event planners are women, most on-the-ground participants are men. Joining a group of male meeting planners, my “Men About Town” experience provided a healthy reminder of just how well Toronto takes care of all delegates.
Fresh off a $90 million upgrade, our base was the 1,372-room Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Offering 130,000 square feet of fully renovated space, the brand’s Canadian flagship comes with 60 meeting rooms.
Kick-off was an evening at another legendary ’70s property, the 977-room Westin Harbour Castle. Following cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Savoury, the hotel’s intimate chef’s table concept, our multicourse dinner was staged in the former Poseidon restaurant, where in 1977 The Rolling Stones held court prior to Keith Richards’ infamous arrest at the hotel.
Hallowed training ground for another band of renegades—Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short and Mike Myers, to name a few—The Second City Toronto is the seat of Canadian comedy. At the venue’s Training Centre, corporate groups learn public speaking and presentation skills from the best.
Putting on his own show, banker-turned-restaurateur Alex Rad treated us to Southern-influenced BBQ and hands-on whiskey sour-making at his event-capable Smoque N’ Bones. Later, we dined at Asian-inspired NAO Steakhouse.
Breakfast the next morning was hosted by a true man about town and meetings maven, Trevor Lui, who sits on the Global Board of Trustees for the MPI Foundation and serves as director of operations and sustainability for the International Centre.
An inveterate foodie, Lui co-owns Kanpai Snack Bar, his homage to Taiwanese street food in the city’s historic Cabbagetown neighborhood.
Memorable, too, was hurling axes at three-ringed targets in group tournament play at event-capable BATL Grounds Toronto East.
Next, there was pampering, starting with manicures and cocktails at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, an innovative salon/spa/cafe concept offering space for private events. Then, a presentation on the latest men’s footwear trends at Town Shoes, Canada’s largest branded shoe retailer, which also has event space.
We said our farewells at Rodney’s Oyster House. Like the Canadian, U.S. and international beds that supply Rodney’s with its supremely fresh oysters, Toronto, hosting the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition this August, nourishes all delegates, in every way.