Ignite Business Event Expo Lights Up T.O.

with Martha Chapman

If you need to add that surreal moment to your event….

The impressive Niagara Falls booth

This rental couch is available, btw, in pink

It's no secret that the meetings and incentives business is huge in Canada. But if you needed proof, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was the place to be last week. It was the venue for the annual Ignite Business Event Expo, a massive undertaking showcasing the services of dozens of destinations, airlines and, yes, cupcake providers.

“We estimate we have 175 exhibitors representing some 400 suppliers," Ignite's Richard Elliott told me. This is the first time they have partnered with the Special Events Show to showcase all-things-meetings-and-incentives for buyers from across the country.

Here are a few tasty tidbits gleaned from exhibitors:

Porter: The famous tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport? “By June," Porter's Brock Dale assured me. And jets? “We're hoping for September."

VoX: Guess who has just signed Jumeirah Hotels, Resorts & Residences? Truly jaw-dropping properties throughout the Middle East as well as in Europe, the Maldives and Shanghai.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada (located near the CN Tower): They accommodate up to 1,200 for a buyout, a popular option for banks and insurance companies. But sorry, “We get asked, but no one is allowed into the tanks." (Darn.)

Bermuda: Look for more emphasis on experiential tourism, including guided nature walks along the island's charming former railway trail. Elbow Beach, one of the island's legendary hotels, makes families welcome with free sailing instruction for kids at the local yacht club and free art classes at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. Outside Magazine has found 40 great adventures on this tiny isle.

At the adjacent Special Events show, booths promoted everything from apps to mechanical bulls, staging to entertainment, furniture rentals to sailing adventures. And one adorable photo booth in a vintage VW van.

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