Development continues apace in Toronto, with the city’s first five-star hotel preceding a number of other developments.


The 77-room Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville opened in August, ahead of international players such as Trump, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Shangri-La. Nearly 1,000 five-star rooms are scheduled to open across the city by 2010.


Until now, the Fairmont Royal York has been the closest Toronto has had to a five-star hotel. Fairmont said it has no plans to upgrade the property.


The Ontario capital, which has busily been promoting its cultural renaissance for the past few years, is also focusing on its business market.


The Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Direct Energy Centre and the International Centre are all engaged in major expansion projects with a total investment of more than £7.2 million.


Tourism Toronto opened its first London office this year, dedicated to the meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition sector.


The office, headed by Gill Sage, whose background includes five years in MICE sales at the Carnival Corporation, has attracted business from Shell and accountancy firm KPMG.


“Toronto is a vibrant place and remains a hidden secret for many event planners,” said Sage.


Tourism Toronto president and chief executive David Whitaker stressed the need for bringing high-value business – both corporate and leisure travellers – to the city.


“High spenders transcend all age groups and nationalities. They might be young, gay, empty-nesters or families, but what they have in common is a desire to travel and consume whatever they want.”


Toronto’s autumn UK ad campaign – featuring images of the city at night – focuses on shopping and dining. A follow-up campaign is planned for spring.


Toronto will be Icelandair’s second Canadian gateway from May 2008. Flights will depart from Heathrow five times a week, via Keflavik in Iceland. Fares lead in at £335 including taxes. The flights will run on a trial basis until November.