Press Release:
Toronto: Top 16 in 2016!

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Contact info + PDF Version

We’re here if you have any questions.
Tourism Toronto Media Relations:
Office: 416-203-3812
Fax – 416-203-6753

Download a PDF version of this press release: Toronto: Top 16 in 2016 (PDF).

1. Toronto is home to NBA All-Star 2016 (first time held outside of the U.S.)! (February) All-Star competitions will get underway on February 12 in Toronto with the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Ricoh Coliseum and the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Raptors. On February 13, Air Canada Centre will host State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, including the Taco Bell Skills Challenge; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; and the Verizon Slam Dunk contest. February 14 will welcome the 65th NBA All-Star Game to Air Canada Centre. There will also be family-friendly All-Star activities at NBA Centre Court at Enercare Centre from February 12 – 14 and an NBA All-Star Practice and NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire at Ricoh Coliseum on February 13. Tickets will be on sale beginning January 12 on In addition to the exciting NBA All-Star lineup, the holiday weekend will be filled with Valentine’s and Family Day events throughout the city.

Basketball was invented by Canadian Dr. James Naismith in 1891, and Toronto hosted the first-ever NBA game on November 1, 1946, when the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens.

2. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom are opening in Toronto in 2016! (February/Fall) Saks is opening its first stores in Canada at Toronto’s Eaton Centre (163,000 square feet) and Sherway Gardens (150,000 square feet), both in late February. Both stores will introduce The Fifth Avenue Club, Saks Fifth Avenue’s personal shopping and styling service, and will also feature the renowned luxury hair and beauty salon, John Barrett. As part of the landmark launch of the brand in Toronto, Pusateri’s Fine Foods will be integrating a world-class food experience at both stores. And, Nordstrom will open a flagship three-level store in the fall of 2016, also at the Eaton Centre. This will be the first of three Nordstorms set to open in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The Yorkdale Shopping Centre location (191,000 square feet) is scheduled to open in October 2016 and a third Toronto location at Toronto’s Sherway Gardens (138,000 square feet) is set to open summer of 2017.,

3. Tempt your taste buds in Toronto in 2016! Toronto’s food scene is one of the best in North America, and there’s always something new to look forward to. Jamie Oliver’s highly anticipated North American restaurant opened in December 2015 at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Oliver and Bonacini are launching unique restaurant concepts at both of the new Saks Fifth Avenues. Also opening in 2016 are Recess, PROVO Food Bar, Carver, Cacao 70, STK, Cafeteria, Beaumont Kitchen, Gusto 501, Bangkok Buri, Eataly, Union Chicken, another Bar Volo, Kwan, Bolpetta, and more.

4. 2016 marks the Toronto Blue Jays 40th Season! (April) The Blue Jays kick off their 40th season at the Home Opener at the Rogers Centre on April 8 against the Boston Red Sox. The Toronto Blue Jays brought playoff baseball excitement back to Toronto in 2015 – selling out Rogers Centre almost every game in the second half of the season and ending a 22 year playoff drought. The Jays’ 40th Season will be one you won’t want to miss!

5. Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (largest photography event in the world) celebrates 20 years in 2016! (May) CONTACT is a premiere cultural event in Canada held month-long each May in Toronto with well over 1,500 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 175 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area. As a leading proponent of photography, the Festival increases exposure and recognition for local, Canadian and international artists and is committed to advancing knowledge, creativity and innovation in photography.

6. 2016 Pride Toronto Festival (largest in North America) to host first-ever “Pride Month” in Canada! (June) Launching June 1 Pride Month in Toronto will feature extended programming and provocative events throughout the city, culminating with the 10-day Pride Toronto festival, June 24 – July 3. Pride Month will begin with its inaugural city proclamation and the raising of the Rainbow flag at Toronto City Hall, set to occur for the first-time at the beginning of June. On July 3, Pride Toronto will make Canadian history with the first time a sitting Prime Minister participates in the annual Pride Parade. 2016 also marks the 35th anniversary of the infamous Bathhouse Raids that incited mass protests and spurred the development of Pride in Toronto. The Festival will reflect on the community’s victories since 1981 and explore the issues that still require change, commitment and focus.

7. Luminato Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary! (June) Luminato is Toronto’s global multi-arts festival for the wildly curious showcasing performance, art, music, theatre, dance and more. The Festival will run June 10 – 26 with a free and ticketed program of local and international artists delivering adventurous art in adventurous places. In its first decade, Luminato has become one of the preeminent arts festivals in North America, having commissioned close to 100 new works of art, with more than 3,000 performances featuring 11,000 artists from over 40 countries. This year, Luminato will transform the Hearn Generating Station, an epic decommissioned power plant and one of Toronto’s unique industrial landmarks, into a public art centre with a theatre, music stage, site-specific performance space, restaurants, bars and more.

8. CN Tower Celebrates 40 Years in 2016! (June) A Canadian icon…Toronto landmark…Engineering Wonder. On June 26, the CN Tower in Toronto will mark the 40th year since it opened to the public in 1976. For 40 years the Tower has been captivating the memories of Toronto residents and over 1.5 million people each year who visit from near and far. Information about events and offers to honour this milestone to follow.

9. The 2016 Ontario Summer Games are coming to Mississauga! (August) Taking place August 11 – 14, athletes ages 13 to 17 from all regions of Ontario will compete against their fellow provincial athletes. The Games provide athletes with development and competitive opportunities that will prepare them for national and international sports competitions. The event roster now includes nine events from the Ontario Winter Games program making the 2016 Summer Games the largest in history. More than 4,000 athletes, coaches, managers and major officials participating in more than 32 different sport events including former winter sport events, Boxing, Diving, Karate, Kickboxing, Sledge Hockey, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Women’s Hockey, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

10. 2016 World Cup of Hockey happens in Toronto! (September) Over 150 of the top players in the NHL® are coming to Toronto September 17 – October 1 to face off in what promises to be one of the most competitive, highly skilled hockey tournaments in the history of the sport, exclusively at Air Canada Centre and featuring players representing over 15 countries. Eight teams — Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, Team Finland, Team North America, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team USA — will compete in this best-on-best international hockey championship.

In more hockey news the 2016-2017 hockey season marks the 100th Anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs! (October) The Leafs were first known as the Toronto Arenas (1917) before becoming the St. Patricks (1919). Conn Smythe then bought the team in 1927 and renamed them the Maple Leafs after a World War I fighting unit. Maple Leaf pride runs deep and the celebration of the team’s rich history runs all season long.

Toronto will co-host with Montreal the 41st IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Hockey Championships in the winter of 2016-17! (December) Known simply as the World Juniors, this is an annual event organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for national under-20 ice hockey teams from around the world. The main tournament features the top ten ranked hockey nations in the world, comprising the ‘Top Division,’ from which a world champion is crowned.

11. The historic Guild Inn in Toronto is undergoing a major revitalization in 2016 (Fall opening) The heritage Scarborough estate house overlooking the Scarborough bluffs in Toronto will be magnificently restored to its original splendour with a spectacular contemporary addition. The new Guild Inn Estate will feature a state of the art event venue, and the old Bickford House will be resurrected and renamed The Bickford Bistro. Built in 1914 as the country estate of Colonel Harold C. Bickford, the Guild served most notably as an arts guild fostered by Rosa and Spencer Clark who bought the property in 1932.

12. The 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw is coming to Toronto in 2016! (November) The championship game of the Canadian Football League (CFL) is Canada’s largest single day sporting event. The game will be played at the renovated BMO Field, new home of the Toronto Argonauts, on November 27. The multi-day festival that precedes the event is the country’s best known celebration. The first Grey Cup was played in 1909 at Toronto’s Rosedale Field and the 100th Grey Cup was played in 2012 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
13. The new home of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) is under construction in 2016! MOCCA and Castlepoint Numa have partnered to create a new permanent home for the museum as the anchor tenant of a new mixed-use community in the emerging Lower Junction neighbourhood in Toronto. MOCCA will be moving its operations to 158 Sterling Road where it will occupy the first two and a half floors of the iconic Tower Automotive Building, which is being restored as part of an eight-acre community being built by Castlepoint Numa. The target completion of the renovation of the c.1919 industrial heritage building is set for winter 2016-17.

14. The only place in Canada where you can see twin giant panda cubs and four white lion cubs is at the Toronto Zoo! The Zoo has been home to Er Shun and Da Mao, two adult giant pandas, who arrived in 2013 as part of a giant panda breeding conservation program. Since their arrival, more than 3.5 million people have visited the Zoo and with the historic births of the first giant panda cubs ever born in Canada (October 2015), the Toronto Zoo is the place to be in 2016! Additionally, with the birth of four male white lion cubs, the Zoo now has one of the largest white lion prides in Canada with seven white lions, a rare sighting that can only be seen at the Toronto Zoo. Speaking of births, the Zoo also welcomed a female polar bear cub, Aurora (November 15).

15. McMichael Canadian Art Collection turns 50 in 2016! To celebrate, McMichael will feature a special exhibition, A Foundation for Fifty Years: McMichael Masterwork. The McMichael owes its existence and collection to the generosity of donors. A Foundation for Fifty Years will present some of the most significant donations made for the McMichael gallery’s founding year, 1966, by Signe and Robert McMichael, as well as their peers, who were all excited to make Canadian masterworks a gift to the public of Ontario. Installed in the McMichael’s principle gallery on the ground floor, this collection of masterworks celebrates their core artists – the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. Artists on show include Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris, David Milne, and Emily Carr, to name a few. The exhibition space has been restored to its 1960s modernist style, in a manner that the McMichaels intended: traditional materials with modern lines.

16. This is the last year to experience Honest Ed’s in Toronto! (closing December 31st) The landmark discount store, which has sat for more than 70 years at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst Streets in downtown Toronto, will close at the end of 2016. The one-of-a-kind bargain centre has everything from wine to twine and is an entertaining shopping experience for all. Ed’s iconic outdoor store signage lights up a full city block like a theatre marquee, using 23,000 light bulbs. The store is named after its original proprietor, Ed Mirvish, who was a successful local businessman, philanthropist and theatrical impresario.


About Tourism Toronto

Tourism Toronto, Toronto’s Convention and Visitors Association, is an industry association of more than 1,100 members established to sell and market the greater Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers around the globe. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Greater Toronto Hotel Association. For more information please visit

*All figures contained in this release should be cited to Tourism Toronto.