Last week, team members from Destination Toronto attended IMEX, the largest U.S. trade show for the global meetings and events industry.

With over 5,000 buyers (including 4,000+ hosted buyers), the influential business events show included event management specialists, corporate event planners, DMOs like Destination Toronto, major hotel companies, conference and exhibition venues, and other businesses invested in the growth of the global visitor economy. 

Held over four full days, Destination Toronto participated in more than 100 meetings, hosted a Maritz Global Events team happy hour and joined Destination Canada in the Canada booth where U.S. and international clients chatted with our team and shared their eagerness to bring future business to Canada.

A Voice 4 All

Destination Toronto was also the presenting thought leader behind IMEX’s AVoice4All planner education series, which included four sessions, exploring inclusivity and belonging in events and in business. Each panel was moderated and facilitated by Trevor Lui, Co-Founder of Quell Now and Destination Toronto Board Director.

Trevor at IMEX

The first AVoice4All panel kicked off on Smart Monday and included Toronto-based AccessNow Founder Maayan Ziv, Google’s Megan Henshall and Gokul Krishnan, and Storycraft Lab’s Natalie Fulgencio-Turner. The group discussed what it means to belong—from a variety of compelling perspectives—and how to create accessible spaces that consider everyone.

IMEX jpeg

In the afternoon, Ben Moorsom, CEO and President of Debut, and Trevor explored the importance of storytelling in event design to ensure a sense of belonging and engagement. And the day ended with an intimate fireside-style chat with Melva LeJoy Legrand, CEO and Founder of LaJoy Plans and Gary Mrakami, Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations Teneo Hospitality Group, moderated by Trevor. The three discussed breaking down silos, the imperativeness of good leadership for DEI, true allyship and the importance of vulnerability and humanity in the tourism and service industry.

Maayan IMEX

The following day, Maayan opened the Ideas Stage in the Inspiration Hub on the showroom floor with an engaging keynote on designing for accessibility. She spoke about her own experiences as a person in a wheelchair; the importance of constantly rethinking and adapting design; the innovations that come from designing for people with disabilities (think the electric toothbrush and captions); the work and accessibility mapping done by AccessNow and much more.

“We’ve seen a considerable shift since the pandemic—an acceleration of organizations’ awareness and understanding of accessibility. It’s a potent economic driver that brings benefits for everyone.” - Maayan Ziv, AccessNow

Menisha and Dan IMEX

A Toronto in Vegas wake up service

To respect journalists’ busy schedules and help Toronto standout in a crowded landscape, the media relations team created an exclusive and intimate media opportunity, bringing deskside chats right to media attendees’ hotel rooms. The Destination Toronto Wake Up Service included in-room breakfast, a Toronto Wellness Gift Package and participation in one of two 60 min virtual editorial sessions.

During the sessions, Trevor Lui shared a recap of the IMEX AVoice4All presentation; Menisha Moses, Media Relations Manager, highlighted Toronto’s best attributes for hosting business events; The  Second City Toronto engaged the group in an interactive improv session that showcased the power of improv as an interactive, collaborative experience, and their new venue in downtown Toronto; and, Kayla Baum, founder of corporate wellness provider Twello, provided a sample virtual wellness program that can be used for pre-meeting activities or hybrid events.