ROM Royal Ontario Museum Toronto Ontario Art Culture

Happy birthday, Toronto — you’re more popular than ever

ROM Royal Ontario Museum Toronto Ontario Art Culture

The Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor Street is one of the attractions that draws big crowds to Toronto. (Julia Pelish/

Story by Staff

Move over Disneyland and Jamaica.

Bing search trends suggests that when it comes to vacation destinations, Canadians are quite happy to stay at home and embrace their own culture.

According to the Bing press release: “Top search results from more than 100 travel-related terms show a declining interest in the ever-popular vacation destinations such as Florida. In fact, Toronto stole the number one spot for most-searched destination. Toronto also leads the way in terms of attractions. Four of the top 10 ‘Binged’ attractions include Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre, Casa Loma and the famous CN Tower, which beat out Disneyland in popularity.”

Bing appears to be confirming what has been an ongoing trend in Canada, especially Toronto, for awhile. On January 30, Huffington Post reported about Toronto setting a tourism record: “For the first time ever, in 2011 the number of hotel room nights sold in Toronto hit 9.1 million, up from 8.9 million the year before. Canada’s largest city last year played host to a whopping 10 million overnight visitors, about four times its population.”

And for the first time since 2006, Toronto has seen an increase in overnight visits from our neighbours south of the border.The vast number of visitors to Toronto are residents of the United States. Tourism Toronto estimates that overseas guests account for 14 per cent of visitors to the city, which celebrates its 178th birthday on March 6.

From the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal to the ski capital of  Whistler Blackcomb, Canada has never had a shortage of worthy attractions and events to keep visitors coming back.

According to Tourism Toronto, the fastest-growing markets for the city are from overseas travellers, whose arrivals rose by 6.2 per cent and now account for 14 per cent of all visitors. The biggest growth is coming from China (34.5 per cent increase), India (13.2 per cent), Italy (9.3 per cent) and Brazil (9.2 per cent).

“Visitors from overseas tend to stay longer and do more while they’re here,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “They also often visit other parts of Ontario and Canada on the same trip.”

In 2011, visitor spending, including same day trips, totalled $4.6 billion in the Toronto region across a range of businesses and activities, employing 242,000 people in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Top 5 Canadian Destinations:

1.      Toronto
2.      Vancouver
3.      Calgary
4.      Ottawa
5.      Montreal

*source: Bing

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Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

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