Anne 🐝 Thornley-Brown, MBA in Executive Team Building Network, Directors and Executives, Hospitality and Tourism President and Founder • Executive Oasis International Mar 23, 2017 · 3 min read · +700

Toronto Team Building: 7 Compelling Reasons the GTA Should be Your Go-to Destination for Executive Retreats

Toronto Team Building: 7 Compelling Reasons the GTA Should be Your Go-to Destination for Executive RetreatsFor executives in search of a location for executive retreats or team building, there are a number of reasons that Toronto should be their "go-to" destination. 

Lonely Planet and The New York Times have both listed Canada as their top destination to visit in 2017. It's Canada's 150th birthday so there will be celebrations and special events. 

Plan executive retreats in and near the Greater Toronto area (GTA) and companies will discover top notch facilitators who have made their mark globally. 

They will also benefit from:

  • freedom from hassles at the border
  • safety and security
  • a favourable exchange rate against many currencies. 

All of these factors translate into expert facilitation, cost-savings, and peace of mind.

Come take a quick tour.

1. Hassle-Free Borders

To avoid the embarrassment of having employees, participants or speakers turned away at the border, many companies are looking for alternatives to having executive retreats, meetings, conferences, and corporate events in the USA. For example, a recent GBTA survey of event professionals revealed that some  European companies have 

cancelled business trips and meetings in the USA. They expect further travel reductions.

Canada welcomes business events and, if you have a large group, Business Events Canada, will be happy to assist you and facilitate the planning of corporate retreats and events in Canada. You can access  Canada Border Services Information on their website.

You can also download this helpful guide:

2. A Range of Venues and Accommodation

From large properties and boutique hotels in downtown Toronto to lakeside resorts and historical inns within easy driving distance, large and smaller groups can access meeting facilities and accommodation are a perfect fit. There are even secluded inns and bed and breakfasts where small executive teams can find peace and privacy. 

In addition to the downtown core, consider York Region, Peel Region, and communities like Caledon, Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Muskokas, Port Carling, and Halliburton.You can even split your time between 2 destinations.

For the special events component of your retreats, there are botanical gardens, greenhouses, art galleries, museums, and even equestrian centres available.

3. A Safe and Clean Destination for Your Employees and Participants

Statistics Canada has released figures indicating that Canada has enjoyed 2 full decades of declining crime rates. In fact, the rate has dramatically trended downward since 1969. 

Even in major urban centres like Toronto, your employees will enjoy a safe, clean environment.

4. Ease of Transportation

Toronto is a hub and destination for many global airlines from the USA, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. An extensive airline and train network makes it easy to get around Canada. Toronto has safe, clean and reliable public transportation throughout the downtown core and the GTA. 

5. A Variety of Experiences to Accommodate Participant Preferences

The activities available in the GTA vary with the seasons. Unique experiences include sugaring off in the spring, lakeside activities in the summer, and dog sledding and snowshoeing in the winter. (Due to the warmer winters, dogsledding is available North of Toronto in the Muskokas and Halliburton.) It is highly recommended that you stay where you intended to play.

In addition to seasonal activities, there are sporting events (from hockey to soccer to polo), theatrical productions, concerts, fashion shows, music festivals, gourmet experiences, wine tours, and cultural events throughout the year. 

Since Toronto is a multi-cultural destination, there is a wide range of activities, events, and culinary delights to cater to every taste.

6. Low Loonie Spells Savings and Tax Rebates Add up 

The value of the Loonie (the Canadian Dollar) against the US$, the Euro, and many other currencies means that companies can stretch their budgets in Canada. Savvy companies will book their retreats for 2017 and coming years now and pay upfront to lock in their savings.

Under the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program, there are refunds and rebates for some of the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) for companies planning team building retreats and corporate event in Canada.

7. Top Notch TorontoTeam Building Facilitators

Depending on your goals, objectives, and timeframes, finding expert team building facilitators will be a breeze. Here are just 3 suggestions.

Executive Oasis International: My company, Executive Oasis International, plans and facilitates executive retreats expertly from start to finish. We offer the convenience of one-stop shopping and we will even help you with location scouting, logistics, and full event planning. 

Our flagship programmes in Toronto integrate business facilitation and theming seamlessly with seasonal outdoor activities that are facilitated in tandem by highly experienced business facilitators and one of Canada's foremost wilderness survival experts. He trained TV's Survivorman:

The following programmes are, at present, only available in or near Toronto:

Some of our programmes that are available worldwide include:

  • Restaurant Inc.: A business simulation that includes facilitated business exercises, hands-on culinary challenges, and designing a strategy for a restaurant launch.

  • Eagles Flight: Located in nearby Guelph, Ontario, Eagles Flight is a pioneer in team building simulations designed through experiential learning. The company offers powerful computer-aided 2 - 3 hour simulations for very large groups. They are ideal for conferences.

  • Learn2: This company has a number of 1/2 day programmes that focus on learning through active engagement and participation.

At a time when organizations are seeking to maximize the value of every dollar invest in team building that contributes to the bottom line, Canada is the logical choice.

Photo Credit: Forks of the Credit Inn

Anne Thornley-Brown is the President of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto team building and management consulting firm. She has designed and facilitated executive retreats, meetings, and team building for companies from 18 countries. 

In addition to her own blogs, Anne blogs for The Huffington Post. She has blogged for a number of corporate clients and event industry portals including Plan Your Meetings by MPI, Cvent, EventMobi, Event Manager Blog, and Elite Meetings.

Your Turn

  • Have you ever been to Toronto or any of the nearby communities mentioned in this blog post?
  • Have you ever attended an executive retreat, meeting or conference in Toronto?
  • What appealed to you most about Toronto?

Whenever you are ready to do the video DIY team building simulation, just holler. It's a new programme for us. Viral video is very powerful.

Lisa Gallagher Mar 24, 2017 · #2

Awesome @Anne Thornley-Brown! Even if I weren't planning a trip for team building, just to visit Toronto would be great. It's been years since I was there. I'm only 4.5 hours from Toronto. The videos were SO enticing. Lake Ontario is beautiful and Toronto looks so clean. It appears you have some great team building workshops coming up. I just told someone the other day I want to learn how to create cool videos, so I'm looking for a class in town. Maybe one day I will have a few people to work with me (even if it's just a hobby), it would be fun to go to the video DIY team building workshop.