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February 16, 2005
The award-winning WinterCity Festival left Toronto a-buzz
Toronto Special Events - The second annual WinterCity Festival has drawn to a
triumphant close having received overwhelming popular and industry acclaim.
World and North American premiere performances by internationally renowned
street theatre troupes Groupe F (France) and Close Act (Netherlands) left the
city a-buzz, attracting record audiences to Nathan Phillips Square's WOW!
Series. The ever-popular Winterlicious promotion set its own attendance records
at restaurants across Toronto. And last week, the inaugural WinterCity Festival
took home an award for excellence in marketing and product development from the
Economic Development Council of Ontario - aptly timed to celebrate the close of
the festival's 2005 edition.

"The 2005 WinterCity Festival made a major impact on the city, turning the
bleak mid-winter into two weeks of fun," said Mayor David Miller. "This
festival is the perfect way for Torontonians to celebrate their restaurants,
attractions and performers, and to sample the richness of Toronto's diverse
culture and creativity."

The festival's popular Warm Up Series and the WinterCity Passport saw a 54 per
cent increase in participation by some of the city's most popular cultural
attractions. This increase spiked attendance at the facilities for this time of

The public demand for Winterlicious didn't waver for its third installment.
Most of the 12 tempting culinary experiences reached capacity and reservation
lines for the 120 restaurants participating in this year's prix fixe menus
buzzed right up to the event's final day.

Along with record audience attendance, the WOW! Series at Nathan Phillips
Square also attracted more than 20 local and national artistic directors and
producers, representing some of Canada's most renowned festivals and events.
Toronto Special Events, in partnership with the Toronto Alliance for the
Performing Arts, developed two workshops to facilitate an exchange of ideas and
experiences between these Canadian industry members and members of the
international theatre companies performing at the festival.

"WinterCity is breaking ground in Canada's festival and event industry by
producing seemingly impossible outdoor theatrical performances during Toronto's
unpredictable winter," said Jaye Robinson, Director of Events for the City of
Toronto. "These spectacular productions not only develop the reputation of the
festival, but also continue to build Toronto's profile as a dynamic, creative
city and a vibrant winter tourism destination."

Now that the festival has come to a close, data is being collected from all
participating restaurants and attractions. This information, along with
audience survey results, will be used to generate an economic impact analysis
report to be released in the near future. Based on the initial responses
received from industry partners, all indicators point to significant growth in
both attendance and economic impact.

The WinterCity Festival partners-American Express, American Express Foundation,
the Toronto Eaton Centre and Scotiabank-collectively provided 75 per cent of
this event's operating budget.

Next year's WinterCity Festival will take place from January 27 to February 9,

Media contact:
Marilyn Nickel, Marketing Manager, Toronto Special Events,



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