Travels in Wine Country

It has been quite a week.  We are fortunate enough to be hosting 15,000 delegates from all over the world for the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference.

There is a buzz of excitement as we welcome (and feed) thousands of people each day. The work and organization it takes to put together local buffet lunches for 10,000 is worthy of it’s own post, but the sheer numbers of people descending on Toronto got me thinking about conferences in general, who attends, and what they do when the day’s programming is done, or the conference wraps.

Sharing local food (and drink) with our international guests doesn’t stop when they leave the meal hall, and there are so many ways to sample the tastes of Ontario during their visit.

Following the conference on Twitter (#WPC12) I noticed a great tweet, encouraging people to have a classic Toronto breakfast by heading a little East along Front Street to the St. Lawrence market for what must be a bit of a Provincial delicacy, peameal bacon on a bun. No matter how busy we get, everybody eats, and one of the pleasures of traveling to a new city is a chance to explore the culinary landscape and try the local fare.

We are so lucky in Ontario. Not only do we have thriving culinary scenes in Toronto (and Ottawa, and Stratford, and….) but also the rolling hills and valleys of Wine Country, easily accessible by transit or car, which offer the opportunity for our guests to see the wineries who produce the Ontario wines they have tried here at the MTCC.  So we’ve provided our Guest Services desks with copies of the brand new Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide to share with our visitors. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out online.)

Our wines are winning awards and receiving worldwide acclaim, but who knows this? Seeing where our local food, wines, spirits, and beers are made really makes a difference in our appreciation of them. It’s great when organizations who promote local food (like Wine Country Ontario) put out these great resources that make it so easy. One visit to the Benches of Niagara, the bird-filled paradise of Pelee Island, or the pastoral playground of Prince Edward County is an experience unto itself.  Add some internationally recognized wines, and a free afternoon to taste, and you have a winner.

For more information on the wine regions of Ontario and how to get there, visit Wine Country Ontario.

For more information about the great local programmes at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, check out their blog here.

- Kelly Hughes, Local Food Procurement Officer at Metro Toronto Convention Centre