Toronto, ON - In recent months Toronto has been busy gearing up for a peak season, and preparing for another record-breaking year in tourism.  In 2007 Toronto took another step forward as a global tourism destination, welcoming a record 10,660,000 overnight visitors. “Toronto is showing its resilience as a global destination,” said David Whitaker, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “In a year when the forecasts started out rather dire, in the end more visitors came, hotel occupancy rose and our convention business continued to be a bedrock for today and the future.”

Not only is Toronto bustling with exciting new activity, but the city is also making its mark in building an environmentally sustainable foundation. Be sure to look out for the numerous Green announcements within this news release, among dozens of other exciting developments across the Toronto region.

Here is a recap of what’s new in our city:

Building on an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the transformed Art Gallery of Ontario will set the highest standards for accessibility to all facets of the artistic experience by providing unparalleled access to art display, programming, conservation, storage, creation and research. As one of the most distinguished art museums in North America, unique features of the AGO include visible walkways and an extensive use of glass and views of the city and Grange Park, which connect the city to the activity of the Gallery.  The expansion is expected to be completed by Fall, 2008, and will enlarge the AGO by 97,000 square feet, increase art-viewing space by 47 per cent and add thousands of new art works to the museum’s collection. Total cost of the AGO’s redevelopment is $254 million. For more information, please visit

As a national icon, architectural and engineering wonder, and for more than 30 years the World’s Tallest Freestanding Tower, the CN Tower can now also be considered one of the world’s tallest architectural LED lighting installations. During a special lighting event in the early summer of 2007, the CN Tower presented to Torontonians and visitors the new innovative architectural illumination of Canada’s National Tower. The CN Tower implemented a Color Kinetics® lighting system that merges patented Chromacore® technology with microprocessor-controlled light emitting diodes (LEDs). To celebrate the architectural integrity of the structure, an intelligent LED illumination system that is energy efficient and cost effective has been installed, providing city goers each night with a programmed show with lighting from base to the tip, 1815 feet in the air. For more information, please visit

Dancap Production Inc., announced details of the company’s theatrical season. Starting in September 2007, the company will present six blockbuster musical events from Broadway and London’s West End including Tony Award-winners The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, My Fair Lady, Avenue Q, Jersey Boys, and Marion J. Caffey’s 3 Mo’ Divas. For more information, please visit

With its home at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, a 197–acre area featuring expo, trade, and banquet centers, theatre and music buildings, parkland, sports facilities and a number of historic sites, the Direct Energy Centre will undergo a $46.88 million renovation to add a whole new Conference Centre. The centre is committed to achieving Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) and anticipates an opening in April 2009. For more information, please visit

Harbourfront Centre, a key cultural facility located on Toronto’s waterfront, launches its unique exhibit ‘Public Space’ in March of 2008. Devoted to presenting exhibitions which challenge, educate and question the prevailing thoughts, ideas and practices informing contemporary architecture, Public Space will encourage creative links within the architecture community and provide animated and educational public access. For more information, please visit

In an inspiring physical setting where heritage structures adjoin soaring modern architecture, MaRS Centre and Discovery District is nestled within one of North America’s most concentrated clusters of research, discovery and innovation to connect science, technology and social entrepreneurs. In expanding to 1.5 million square feet by 2010, MaRS will help to invent Canada’s new economy, one great discovery and successful company at a time, and provide a distinguished venue for special events. For more information, please visit

Roy Thomson Hall, home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  has become the first performing arts facility in Ontario to receive the highly coveted “Go Green” certification from The Building And Owners Managers Association (BOMA) for becoming one of Toronto’s major buildings managed with environmental excellence. For more information, please visit

Centre to Toronto’s bustling Yonge and Dundas square, Toronto Life Square has constructed a $200 million urban entertainment centre. The popular Toronto crossroad now boasts an additional 20,000 square feet of outdoor signage and 500,000 square feet of indoor space that includes a unique mix of entertainment, lifestyle, office and shopping opportunities. Canada’s largest high-definition video display measuring 30 by 52 feet, and restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck Café, opening in soon, will also add to this vibrant square. For more information, please visit

The spectacular expansion of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, contains the ROM’s new main entrance and lobby, Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall -- Canada’s largest gallery for temporary exhibitions -- and the Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court. In addition to this recent development, to be unveiled February 16, 2008 are two new galleries on the third level of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery and the Wirth Gallery of the Middle East. For more information, please visit

The doors of the new Toronto Congress Centre expansion officially opened in January 2008, taking the centre to one million square feet of trade    space. Located near Pearson International Airport, Toronto Congress Centre is the largest privately owned show and meeting place in Canada, and is one of the greenest trade show facilities in the world. For more information, please visit
The Visitor Centre Telling the Mennonite Story in St. Jacobs Country has recently received a $250,000 upgrade to explain Mennonite faith and customs to curious visitors.

St. Jacobs Country, a village with over 100 shopping experiences, variety of cultural exhibits, river trail and many fine restaurants, has everything you need to help acquaint yourself with the gentler times of this historical and intimate village. For more information, please visit

In coordination with the dramatic Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, Crystal Five (C5) Restaurant Lounge has now opened on the fifth floor. Located at the pinnacle of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, Crystal Five is a unique dining destination. Using local and artisanal ingredients, menu items can be paired with wines from the international and regional wine list. For more information, please visit

Exceptional 'ONE' restaurant by international chef Mark McEwan is open at the new five star Hazelton Hotel, offering elegant dining in a sea of smoked glass, beautiful cowhide, and boldly striped tiger-eye onyx. Modern North American cuisine delights and surprises the senses with contemporary flourishes. Take advantage of special catering services within the Silver Screening Room and dining rooms or have meals served in a room/suite. 'ONE' features one of the largest street-level patios in the Yorkville area, the perfect spot to sip a coffee for the afternoon and watch as pedestrians stroll by or shop in the area's upscale boutiques.

Located at Queen’s Quay, Toronto’s laid back waterfront neighbourhood, the newest Shoeless Joe’s Restaurant brings all the sports action on dozens of screens to the water’s edge. For more information, please visit
A must-visit steak house of Toronto and Mississauga, Ruth’s Chris Steak House has launched Canada’s first year-round, complimentary Shuttle service offering free door-to-door transportation to and from each location to area hotels and entertainment venues. For more information, please visit

Spacious and edgy with maverick touches, the newest addition to Toronto’s nightlife is Tattoo Rock Parlour, the city’s only live rock n’ roll and DJ venue equipped with a resident tattoo shop. Featuring a fireplace, stage for live music and upper level that holds two bars, Tattoo Rock Parlour will amuse the senses of even the most bona fide rock star. For more information please visit

Sassafraz is once again the heart of the posh Yorkville area of Toronto, having reopened after fire destroyed most of the building. The new Sassafraz features chef Bradley MacDonald's newly revamped menu of contemporary Canadian dishes based in French cuisine, a 20-foot indoor vertical garden and a new rooftop patio that brings seating capacity to 350.  Described as the centre of where all the excitement happens, the celebrity destination is open until 2 a.m. For more information, please visit


The Cambridge Suites Toronto, an intimate Hotel known for the spaciousness of its unique two-room suites, is undergoing a multi-million-dollar refurbishing program. This renovation will bring redevelopment to all of the suites, corridors, public spaces and PORTICO dining and lounge. For more information, please visit

The Delta Chelsea Hotel will undergo two renovation projects, with a total budget of $2.5 million, upgrading the north and south tower corridors and transforming 250 Delta category guestrooms into Premier guestrooms. For more information, please visit

The Doubletree by Hilton - Toronto Airport, formerly called International Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre, has recently completed infrastructural developments including the addition of a Zen Spa, to open in April, 2008, and Orchid Café & Wine Bar, a new wine bar opening in February, 2008. For more information, please visit

Eliana’s Bed & Breakfast has recently completed a $2 million renovation and has newly-opened with 2 suites and 2 rooms, all featuring the utmost elegance and charm. Built in an urban mansion in the trendy Yorkville neighbourhood filled with Toronto history and heritage, this Bed & Breakfast now boasts a Garden Suite with its own gated entrance and a Penthouse suite with 2 separate bedrooms. For more information, please visit

In undertaking a $200,000 renovation to its backpackers youth hostel, Global Village Backpackers now offers more private rooms for couples, singles and families that are travelling to Toronto on a budget. Located right in the centre of downtown, Toronto’s hippest hostel has a separate sitting area with television, and an in-house restaurant opening in May of 2008 that will offer home-cooked, quality meals at affordable rates. For more information, please visit

Newly opened in fall 2007, the Hazelton Hotel, Toronto's most exclusive five-star hotel, sets a new standard in style, detail and service. Sexy, dramatic interiors by internationally renowned designers YabuPushelberg make The Hazelton a cultural catalyst in the heart of a thriving city. It offers a unique mix of stunning rooms, sensational art collection, private screening room and world-class cuisine at The Hazelton's restaurant 'ONE' by Mark McEwan. For more information, please visit

Holiday Inn Express Toronto East has just completed a $5-million renovation and is the proud recipient of the 2007 Renovations Award from Intercontinental Hotels Group. This Chalet-style, 140 guest room suburban hotel is nestled in the ideal location for visitors looking for a quieter stay, but who still want to have easy access to Toronto’s bustling city life. For more information, please visit

An agreement has been made for the development of the Hyatt Regency Toronto Airport Hotel, scheduled to open in the summer of 2010. The 12-story hotel will be part of a 15-acre, mixed-use complex with 500-rooms and an overlooking view of the championship Royal Woodbine Golf Course. The $300-million hotel complex will include offices, retail space and convention facilities and be completed as an environmentally sustainable project by adhering to Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) principles. For more information, please visit

With $15 million invested, Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre has completed renovations to reinvent its front lobby, 459 guest rooms now featuring state-of-the art technology, and the hotel public space in order to deliver a more upscale and intimate atmosphere. For more information, please visit

Sandalwood Suites Hotel Toronto Airport has re-launched its recently updated Executive Suites with amenities and values catering to business travellers in the Toronto Airport Area. For more information, please visit
Victoria’s Mansion Guest House, in the heart of downtown Toronto, has invested $100,000 into enhancing the Victorian décor in its comfortable 23-room Guest House. For more information, please visit

Adding to Toronto’s strong portfolio of luxury accommodations, in January of 2009 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will launch the first ever ELEMENT hotel outside of the United States in Downtown Toronto. The ELEMENT Toronto Downtown will be conveniently situated on Front Street West just minutes from Toronto’s booming financial district and the relaxing shores of Lake Ontario, and will offer a fresh perspective on the extended-stay experience through smart design, modern style and natural touches. For more information, please visit

The Windsor Arms Hotel, voted the #1 hotel in Toronto by Conde Nast Traveler, recently renovated its Tea Room, Lounge Twenty Two, and added a new restaurant Prime - A Modern Steakhouse. For more information, please visit

The recently finished Wyndham Garden Hotel – Toronto, at 185 Yorkland Boulevard, is the product of an extensive and impressive renovation of the former Ramada Hotel and Conference Center Toronto – Don Valley. In a recent $15 million renovation, the Wyndham Garden Hotel - Toronto has completely refurbished its 290 guestrooms and suites, and all public areas and meeting space. This transformation has resulted in a unique hotel experience for every guest. For more information, please visit


Situated in Toronto’s famous 'gaybourhood' of Church and Wellesley, Canada's largest lesbian and gay travel company Rainbow High Vacations is proud to launch Being the first of its kind in the world, now lesbian and gay travelers to
Toronto have the convenience of booking all their business and leisure travel on the same site. For more information, please visit


Rosedale Livery, the state-of-the-art luxury transportation company serving Toronto and surrounding area, has committed to annually reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 2%. Through fuel efficiency, reduced electricity use, waste diversion, recycling programs and employee education Rosedale has shown its firm dedication towards environmental sustainability. For more information, please visit

With a focus on delivering convenience, speed and service in short-haul air travel, Toronto-based Porter Airlines is expanding into the U.S. market with seven daily roundtrip flights between Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA) and Newark Liberty International Airport starting March 31, 2008. With this new addition to the Toronto City Centre Airport, Porter Airlines has expanded its terminal with an increase in passenger lounge space, added complimentary services for all travelers and increased airport gate capacity. Porter Airlines flies from its own dedicated terminal at Toronto City Centre Airport, one of the most convenient urban airports in the world, located minutes from the downtown core. Porter Airlines flies the 70-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft featuring high cruise speed, revolutionary cabin noise-reduction technology and environmentally friendly engines. For more information, please visit

Star Coach Services has just installed new DVD / Flat screens on all coaches and mini coaches giving all tour guests and chartered bus / coach clients the opportunity to see informative video during their tour. When on Star Coach Services’ famous Niagara Tour travelers can enjoy a video on the history of the Falls, its infamous daredevils, the beautiful wine regions and the pioneers that shaped Niagara’s future. For more information, please visit

The City of Toronto’s unique Tap into TO! Greeter Program has recently grown to include 65 enthusiastic Greeters looking forward to showing off their favorite city - Toronto! The program links visitors to the city with knowledgeable residents that are willing to spend two to four hours showing them the places and neighbourhoods they love best. With the City of Toronto being one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, and one with residents who speak over 180 languages and celebrate over 100 different cultures, TAP into TO! plans to offer visits in a variety of languages. For more information, please visit


InnerGolf, Toronto's premier indoor golf facility located in trendy Queen West village, has recently undertaken equipment upgrades to the tune of $115,000 by acquiring 2 new state-of-the-art simulators, and replacing the current launch monitors with the latest available technology and software upgrades. For more information, please visit

Opening for another great season in May, the place to be when visiting the Toronto Islands in 2008 is definitely Centreville Amusement Park, with over $500,000 being invested in 3 exciting new rides. Centreville is the ultimate family amusement park, nestled in over 600 acres of greenery on Centre Island, and just a short ferry ride away from downtown Toronto. For more information, please visit

An urban snowboarder’s dream, with course designs built for the Novice, Intermediate and Expert rider, Polson Pier brings the Mountain to you. Also new for the Winter Season, Polson Pier now features Ripley’s Urban Rail Park, an indoor street course designed by riders for riders where you can end your day with live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit


Canada's Wonderland changes the landscape for thrill seekers in 2008, with the addition of Canada's biggest, fastest and tallest roller coaster - Behemoth. Following 18 months of planning and construction, Behemoth will premiere at Canada’s Wonderland in May 2008. At over 5,300 feet (1,616m) in length, Behemoth sets the stage for thrills with a climb to a height of 230 feet (70.1m), followed by an adrenaline pumping first drop with speeds reaching 125 kilometers per hour in 3.9 seconds. For more information, please visit

Just a short drive out of Toronto, Oakville’s Bronte Creek Provincial Park recently added to its camping accommodation choices 3 Yurts. A great alternative for people who don’t have camping equipment, a Yurt is a soft-walled, hexagonal cabin complete with floor, electric lights, bunk beds that sleep 6, table and chairs.  For more information, please visit

Just a short bus ride away from Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Forum Galleries Antiques Centre has restructured its facility to include a large auction area where starting in March of 2008, some of the best known auctioneers in Ontario will be auctioning arts, antiques and estates. For more information, please visit

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival will complete $1.5 million in renovations including updates in the lobby of the Festival Theatre to incorporate an entertainment space and café, relocation and update of the Theatre Store as well as the creation of a new world-class rehearsal space to be used for major musicals and international touring productions. For more information, please visit


The landmark Elmwood Spa in downtown Toronto is celebrating 25 years as a standard-setter in Canada’s day-spa industry with a multimillion-dollar renewal. Elmwood Spa has evolved to meet the changing needs of today’s spa-goers and now offers four floors of wellness options, a sleek new lobby and retail boutique, a cutting-edge treatment line, two restaurants, space for special group events and expanded amenities. For more information, please visit

Tourism Toronto, Toronto’s Convention and Visitors Association, is an industry association of more than 1,100 members established to sell and market the Greater Toronto Region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travelers around the globe. For more information please visit