Plan engaging experiences that are only steps from the Exhibition Place's extensive selection of meeting and event venues. Think: gaming, virtual golf, architectural tours and honey harvesting.
You’d hardly know that Toronto’s Exhibition Place started out nearly 150 years ago as an industrial and agricultural fairground. Today, it’s home to Canada’s largest exhibition and convention venue (the 1-million-sq.-ft. Enercare Centre), and hosts more than 350 business, sports and entertainment events annually.
"Guests really appreciate it when the program design is relevant to them or designed to help them gain knowledge. When you match the guest to the experience, that is where the magic really happens.”
– Sheri Moore, BPR, Partner and Creative Director
“Over the years, we have designed, coordinated and managed several interesting tours and excursions at Exhibition Place,” says Sheri Moore, BPR, Partner and Creative Director, Moore Carlyle Consulting, MCC Destination Management. “We have leveraged the ground's buildings that have historical significance or architectural interest and have worked with Exhibition Place's sustainability team to create tours where they shared their projects and insights.”
Exhibition Place has close connections with the city’s creative and entrepreneurial communities, which means there’s no limit to the types of experiences that can be tailored to visiting groups. Here are four suggestions to kick-start your imagination.
1. Play like a pro at the Bell Gaming Centre.
The Bell Gaming Centre—home to Raptors Uprising, Toronto’s official NBA 2K League team—occupies a corner of Coca-Cola Coliseum. This high-energy space is wired for lightning quick Internet access and outfitted with LG UltraGear monitors.
During the league off-season, from about mid-August to February, the gaming space and screening room are available to private groups, accommodating up to 70 guests, says Bryce Eldridge, Director of Esports for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).
"We’re finding ways to package group tickets for Toronto FC or Toronto Argonauts games [to create] an esports and real sports combo experience."
– Bryce Eldridge, Director of Esports for MLSE
2. Perfect your putt at Hotel X Toronto.
Hotel X Toronto’s sports and recreation facilities must be seen to be believed. The hotel’s 10XTO athletic centre features four indoor tennis courts, eight squash courts and a wide range of cutting-edge sport and fitness technology.
For small VIP groups that like to socialize while perfecting their golf swing, the Topgolf Swing Suite offers Topgolf Contender and Topgolf Pressure as well as non-golf games such as Zombie Dodgeball, Hockey Shots, Baseball Pitching and Carnival Classic. The luxury suite features comfortable lounge seating, a high-definition television and catering service.
During COVID, Hotel X hosted professional hockey players as part of the 2020 NHL bubble. “We hosted the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers,” says Matt Black, Director of Marketing and Revenue, Hotel X. “The Bruins basically took over the Topgolf suite.”
3. Harvest honey from rooftop hives.
Toronto Bee Rescue recently hosted two-hour, hands-on beekeeping experiences for the general public on the Enercare Centre rooftop where there are four beehives. The workshop included harvesting, filtering and bottling honey to take home.
“We talk about the different components of the hive, the different bees and what we’re looking for when we’re beekeeping,” says Peter Chorabik, who runs Toronto Bee Rescue and owns, along with his wife Sarah Allinson-Chorabik, Ontario Honey Creations, which offers workshops, educational talks and mead tasting experiences to private groups on their nearby farm.
4. Discover art, architecture and more on a walking tour.
Put on your walking shoes and meander through the Exhibition Place grounds to discover nearly three centuries of Toronto history, all in one place.
Architectural Tour: The French constructed Fort Rouillé on the site in 1751 and while it’s long gone, the location is marked with an obelisk. Nearby, Scadding Cabin, built in 1794, is Toronto’s oldest known surviving house; the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex and the Music Building were designed in the Beaux-Arts style; the Queen Elizabeth Building is a classic example of mid-century modernism; and the Art Deco Horse Palace is home to the Mounted Unit of the Toronto Police. Exhibition Place’s newest buildings include BMO Field, which is a host venue for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, as well as OVO Athletic Centre, the Toronto Raptors’ state-of-the-art practice facility.
Sculpture Garden: Exhibition Place is the permanent home of E.B. Cox's Garden of the Greek Gods, a collection of 20 limestone sculptures created by the artist in the 1960s and depicting figures from Greek mythology, including Medusa, Orpheus and Hercules.
During its 2022 conference, the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) hosted a walking tour for delegates showcasing sustainability projects across the grounds, including the on-site wind turbine.
Sustainability: Exhibition Place has a strong commitment to sustainable development, environmental initiatives and green technologies. During its 2022 conference, the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) hosted a walking tour for delegates showcasing sustainability projects across the grounds, including the on-site wind turbine.
“Guests really appreciate it when the program design is relevant to them or designed to help them gain knowledge,” says Moore, who organized the tour for OAA. “If you are looking to do something different, don't be afraid to give lots of details to the partners you’re working with…when you match the guest to the experience, that is where the magic really happens.”
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