Toronto courts convention crowds

It may not be the biggest convention Toronto has ever seen, but it has the potential to give the city one hefty financial kick.

It may not be the biggest convention Toronto has ever seen, but it has the potential to give the city one hefty financial kick.

As more than 4,300 delegates converge for the annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives — what organizers call the “Super Bowl of conventions” — the tourism industry is hoping to put Toronto on the map as an international convention destination.

The idea is simple: If we can convince executives visiting this weekend that Toronto is the place to be for their own organizations’ conventions, that could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for the city’s economy.

In 2008 alone, conventions and trade shows, along with associated hospitality, shopping and sightseeing, brought in more than $500 million.