TORONTO Event and meeting professionals can thank the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games for giving Toronto an excellent reason to plan, build, and spruce up. As host city for the games this summer, along with nearby Hamilton, Milton, and Oshawa, the city built a new rail line to downtown from the airport, added dedicated bike lanes along the Harbourfront, and constructed an entire athletes’ village by the lake.
Events and meetings held by Lake Ontario, such as the Power Ball and the Dragon Boat Races, benefited the most from these upgrades, while other events, such as the Beaches International Jazz Festival, extended their run to take advantage of added summertime crowds in the city.
Hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games means dealing with road closures and traffic congestion for a few weeks in the summer. But its legacy will be additional, innovative sports and event sites, and—hopefully—a bright, shiny reputation for Toronto.
From established affairs like the Canadian National Exhibition and the Toronto International Film Festival, to newcomers like the Taste of Toronto and the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards rising in prominence, here are our picks for the events in Toronto that annually draw the biggest buzz, crowds, media and donor attention, and important players in their respective fields.
To choose and rank the annual events on this list, we look at several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and an event's prominence within the communities it intends to serve.