All of Toronto gets dressed up with tourism designation

The city of Toronto is looking at a plan that will allow it to be designated a tourism area. The plan was brought forth as a result of the Toronto Act that came into effect in January, 2007.

Previously, only the city centre had been allowed to remain open on a statutory holiday. Now, because of the Toronto Act, city council was able to re-write the law so that it applied to the whole of the Greater Toronto Area.

City council then instructed general manager of economic development, culture and tourism to seek input from members of the public as well as retail industry, small business owners, business improvement areas (BIAs), such as Downtown Yonge, and the tourism industry.

After review the EDCT recommended all of Toronto be designated a tourism area. This will allow stores who choose to be open on New Year’s day, Family Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day and Thanksgiving Day, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. (with the exception of Christmas Day).

“Through the response we’ve gathered from the public we’ve modified the hours a store can be open,” Jamie Maxwell, a tourism development officer for the EDCT said.
Maxwell says that there weren’t people at the Jan. 17 meeting that were opposed to Toronto being designated a tourism area.

He did say however that there have been some opposed,  though he wouldn’t tell the Observer  who they were, citing that since they didn’t speak at a public forum they may not want it made public.

Alex Dagg, co-director of Unite Here, a union that represents hotel and restaurant workers, says making all of Toronto a tourism destination will be good for the city.

“It makes sense and it’s helpful to the local economy … our members are used to working all the time in the food and service industry.

"With the Canadian dollar being so high Toronto has been losing tourism so this is good for our members and the city," she said.

Councillor Robert Ford, Ward 2 Etobicoke, who is also for the proposal which will go to city council on Mar. 3, believes designating Toronto a tourism area will create jobs.

“I’m certainly in favour of it, it will create jobs…let’s go full out 24/7 everyday,” Ford said.