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February 13, 2004
First WinterCity Festival hailed as success by industry partners
  
Wrapping up this week, the first annual WinterCity Festival succeeded in
shining the spotlight on the city of Toronto's culture, creativity and cuisine
for its 14-day run.

"The inaugural WinterCity Festival was a successful city-wide celebration,"
said Mayor David Miller. "With 80 restaurants, 30 attractions and six hotels
all participating, Toronto came together to collectively produce a product
which offers potential for significant impact on the tourism industry, while
engaging local residents in a celebration of their great city."

One of the key objectives of the WinterCity Festival was to encourage residents
and visitors to get out and experience the city's restaurants and attractions
during the traditionally quiet winter season. Winterlicious, the festival's
culinary element, captured the hearts of customers with fine cuisine and great
value offered by 80 participating restaurants. Fred Luk of The Filet of Sole
Restaurant Group participated with three of his restaurants (Fred's Not Here,
Filet of Sole and the Whistling Oyster). "During Winterlicious, our restaurants
went from the typical one seating per evening for this time of year to almost
three seatings per evening. It is great to see residents and visitors alike
celebrating Toronto's exceptional culinary offerings," said Luk.

The festival's WinterCity Passport provided discounts to 30 city-wide
attractions. Special WinterCity programming also added to the experiences of
visitors to these world-class destinations. The Art Gallery of Ontario's Family
Sundays program offered a full series of WinterCity events and benefited from a
visit by kid-approved television star Dora the Explorer.

"The AGO's participation in the WinterCity Festival was very successful. We saw
close to triple our usual attendance for Family Sundays for this time of year,"
said Susan Boyle, Promotions and Community Relations, Art Gallery of Ontario.

The festival's series of free, outdoor programmes developed by Toronto Special
Events was also well attended and highly praised. The Toronto and North
American premieres of two European street theatre companies from France
provided a spectacular injection of WOW! into Toronto's outdoor winter
landscape. The WinterCity entertainment schedule featured a stellar lineup of
121 local and Canadian artists including cirque performances, culinary events,
live concerts and children's entertainment.

"Having the opportunity to participate in Toronto's WinterCity Festival this
year was a blast!" said Eli Chornenki, Artistic Director of Zero Gravity
Circus. "As we've experienced with all City of Toronto produced events, there
were tons of media opportunities to boost our exposure and we got to work
alongside amazing international acts."

Now that the festival has come to a close, data is being collected from all
participating restaurants and attractions. This information, along with survey
results gleaned from audiences attending the festival's outdoor free
programming, will be used to generate an economic impact analysis report to be
released in the near future.

"Based on the overwhelming response received from our industry partners, we are
confident that the economic benefits of producing this event will be
significant, even in the festival's inaugural year," said Jaye Robinson,
Director of Toronto Special Events.

Thank you to the generous support of the WinterCity Festival partners: American
Express, Enbridge Gas Distribution, the Toronto Eaton Centre, Scotiabank,
Ontario More to Discover and the Government of Canada. Collectively these
partners provided 75 per cent of this event's operating budget.

Media contact:
Marilyn Nickel, Marketing Manager, Toronto Special Events,
416-395-7375, mnickel@toronto.ca



 

 

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