4 Steps to Host an International Meeting in Toronto


By Kathy Nicolay

There is no question that international meetings enhance Toronto’s global reputation, help build the local economy and create lasting economic and social legacies.

So, what does it take for international events to take place in our city? It starts with the Leaders Circle, Toronto’s conference ambassador program.

The Leaders Circle, a partnership between Destination Toronto and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, is the only program of its kind in Toronto that offers complimentary resources to assist and lead in the bidding, planning and successful delivery of international conferences and congresses.

Here are four steps to host an international meeting in Toronto:

Step 1: Partnering with the Leaders Circle

The Leaders Circle team regularly conducts strategic research to identify international event opportunities. This strategy includes identifying events that match the city and region’s scientific and academic strengths.

From there, the Leaders Circle will assist every step of the way. Approximately 70% of international meeting bids require the participation of a local leader. Bright minds like Dr. Upton Allen, Division Head, Infectious Diseases at SickKids and Dr. Patrizia Albanese, Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies at Ryerson University, who were both successful in bringing an international meeting to Toronto. Anyone who has decided to bid on an international association’s meeting is ready to connect with Leaders Circle representatives.

Step 2: The Chair and Local Organizing Committee

As you start to think about your bid, it is key to have an influential individual who has notoriety in their field of study to champion the bid.  Along with leading the bid, this person will sit as General Chair of the congress should the bid to host be successful.

Once the bid has been successful, a local organizing committee is confirmed and roles are established. The Chair along with the local organizing committee (LOC) have the exciting task of creating a successful conference and determining the strengths of committee members. LOC roles can include a finance chair, program chair, and a local arrangements chair.

Step 3: Submitting a Strategic Toronto Bid

The bid proposal includes scientific information and tells the story of why Toronto would be a great fit to host the congress based on local expertise in the field of study. It also showcases information about Toronto from a visitor perspective, highlighting all the exciting things delegates can do while here for the congress.

The Leaders Circle team has years of industry expertise in meetings and events and can assist experts in navigating through the bidding process. Leaders Circle bid experts will produce a compelling and visually appealing bid proposal that is poised to be successful.

Step 4: The Selection Process

Once the Toronto bid is submitted, there are two main selection processes that could be at play. It is important to know who selects the winning bid to host the congress. Is the decision made by General Assembly vote or is it purely a decision made by the Association’s Executive Board?

If the selection is determined by a General Assembly vote, this would determine how peers and fellow association members are lobbied ahead of time to vote for their bid over the other cities’ applications to host.

If the decision is made by the Executive Board, is holding the congress a large part in sustaining the organization financially? Do they wish to gain new membership through the congress? These are just two of the analytical aspects to consider if the Executive Board makes the final decision.

Would you like to partner with the Leaders Circle to bring an international meeting to Toronto? The Leaders Circle is committed to representing your organization professionally and provide complimentary access to support and advice from expert meeting professionals. Get in touch! Let us know how we can help by emailing knicolay@theleaderscircle.ca.

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