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  • Celebrating the best of the best in Ontario tourism. see more

    Nov. 8, 2017, Niagara Falls—The best of the best in Ontario tourism were celebrated at the annual Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala on Tuesday, Nov. 7th at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. The Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence recognize tourism industry successes by honouring organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to tourism in the province.

    Jointly presented by Attractions Ontario, the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA), the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC), and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence are divided into four respective categories:

    Ontario’s Choice Awards calls upon tourists and locals to vote for their favourite attractions in eight different categories; the overall top-voted attraction is named Attraction of the Year.

    The Culinary Tourism Awards of Excellence celebrate the people and places across the province committed to building Ontario’s food identity, and showcasing the best of its food culture.

    The Tourism Marketing and Travel Media Awards of Excellence recognize those who contribute to Ontario’s tourism industry through impactful partnerships, marketing activities and media relations.

    The Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence are presented to organizations, businesses and individuals that represent the quality of outstanding offerings that make Ontario a destination of choice.

    Congratulations to the winners! Your dedication to outstanding service is what makes Ontario a place to discover for travellers around the world. Thank you for your generous and diverse contributions to our industry.


    2017 Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Winners


    Ontario’s Choice Award for Attraction of the Year


    Top Attraction                                                                         Science North


    Culinary Tourism Awards of Excellence


    Culinary Tourism Leadership Award                                       Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism


    Culinary Tourism Experience Award                                       BMVA: The Apple Trail

    Culinary Tourism Event of the Year Award                            Cultivate: A Festival of Food & Drink


    Tourism Marketing & Travel Media Awards of Excellence


    Tourism Marketing Campaign Award Under $50K                 Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism

    Tourism Marketing Campaign Award Over $50K                   Kingston Accommodation Partners

    Tourism Marketing Partnership Award                                  Tourism Toronto and Air Canada

    Tourism Print Collateral Award                                              Tourism Toronto

    Tourism Digital Marketing Award                                          Kingston Accommodation Partners


    Travel Media Story Award                                                      Colleen Friesen

    Travel Media Photography Award                                          George Fischer


    Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence (TIAO)


    Accessible Tourism Award                                                      Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada

    Sustainable Tourism Award                                                    Yours Outdoors

    Tourism Employer of the Year                                                Caesars Windsor

    Tourism Champion of the Year                                              Adriano Ciotoli

    Tourism Innovator of the Year                                               Escape Manor & Diefenbunker Museum — Escape the Diefenbunker

    Tourism Event of the Year                                                      2016 World Cup of Hockey

    Lifetime Achievement Award                                                 Guy Laflamme


    For more information on award recipients, please see the attached backgrounder.




    “The Ontario Tourism Awards celebrate our dynamic industry’s vision and innovation. Each winner’s contributions bolsters our local economics by welcoming more visitors who are drawn by Ontario’s exciting attractions, unique festivals and delicious local fare. This includes Science North – an agency of my ministry – named by tourists as Ontario’s attraction of the year. Congratulations to all award recipients and thank you for your commitment to making Ontario a world-class tourism destination!”

    Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport


    “Celebrating excellence is a major part of the Ontario Tourism Summit, and we’re very proud to congratulate each winner on their individual achievements. Thank you for sharing your amazing experiences, marketing campaigns, business initiatives and leadership with Ontario and the world!”

    Beth Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)


    “Ontario’s Choice Awards recipients are voted on by consumers and visitors to Ontario. We had a significant number of votes cast this year, and every attraction that was voted for deserves accolades. Finalists for the Attraction of the Year Award feature two small attractions, in addition to an attraction from Northern Ontario—this is a testament that any attraction, big or small, can achieve this honour. Big congratulations to Science North on this accomplishment.”

    Troy Young, CEO, Attractions Ontario


    “All of the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence recipients exemplify the immense breadth of tourism experiences Ontario has to share with visitors. It's exciting to see so many immersive food experiences on the docket this year! Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners that contributed to Ontario’s tourism success.”

    Rebecca Mackenzie, President & CEO, Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA)


    “Congratulations to all of the 2017 Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence winners. The dedication and inspiration that Ontario’s tourism stakeholders provide to our tourism visitors within Ontario, Canada and around the world is what makes Ontario a truly remarkable destination. OTMPC is pleased to be a part of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the industry.”

    Lisa LaVecchia, President & CEO, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC)


  • Promote tourism as a career see more

    TIAO is seeking proposals from agencies with experience in marketing and communications—specifically social media strategy and community building expertise—for the Careers in Tourism Awareness campaign. This campaign’s objective is to create an industry-wide effort to promote tourism careers, and to elevate the public's knowledge of tourism as an economic driver and job creator. While improving the perception of the tourism sector as a viable, life-long career choice, ultimately filling the growing labour gap the industry faces in now and in the coming years. The RFP deadline for submissions is January 11, 2018. For further information please contact Janet O’Connell, Program Coordinator.

    With funding support from MTCS,  the project proposes a three-year campaign led by TIAO to encourage careers in travel and tourism, and connect job seekers within specific target groups with travel and tourism operators in Ontario. This symbiotic relationship intends to fill the increasing number of job vacancies and also push forward the current growth of travel and tourism in Ontario. The goal of the campaign, which will include a travel and tourism job aggregator website, is to more broadly communicate a unified industry voice, position the industry as growing and viable for long-term careers, and inform target groups about the myriad of opportunities available.

    Target groups for this campaign and its website are underserved and underemployed segments of the Ontario population who are actively looking for meaningful, interesting work: Indigenous communities, new Canadians, youth/students, and those looking for a second career. We know that government programs are actively working to find career opportunities for people in these groups as well.


    View the RFP