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Staff newsletter


The Elfster gift exchange is back! It’s a gift exchange with a twist. Instead of buying for a colleague, you will be buying a toy for the child version of them. All gifts will be donated to local toy drive organizations. There is a $20 recommended spend limit. Please see HR if you would like to participate, but need support with the gift money.   

In a few clicks, you can sign up using your google account, create a bio, add a wishlist, and even send anonymous questions to help you get ideas without revealing your identity.

The exchange will take place at our Holiday All Hands on December 15th. Both virtual and in-person are encouraged to participate! 

Register HERE by the end of day on December 5th to participate! If you have any questions, please reach out to Rebecca Koole or Kathy Motton.


Join the team for a holiday lunch followed by fun festivities at the All-Hands on December 15th. Don’t forget to indicate using the dropdown next to your YES in Google Calendar if you will be attending in-person or virtually. 


  • 12:00 pm - In-person lunch (location TBD)
  • 1:30 pm - Virtual join in-person on Google Meet for Insights team building exercise
  • 2:15 pm - Virtual and in-person Toy drive exchange
  • 3:00 pm - Virtual and in-person Inspirational speaker
  • 3:30 pm - In-person reception with Board and industry partners 

Any questions, please reach out to Paula Port or Kathy Motton. 

We look forward to celebrating with you!


The digital Toronto VIP Pass (formally the attractions pass) is now LIVE! 

The Toronto VIP Pass is designed to welcome our VIP clients (media journalists, travel/trade agents and meeting planners) to our city with complimentary access to some of our best attractions.  

All relevant staff should review and get familiar with the Toronto VIP Pass DT Team Instructions. 

All clients need to be assigned an individual promo code to access the Passport.  Each department is responsible for managing their own distribution of codes and tracking. The tracking sheets can be found here

Please reach out to Nancy Hall if you have any questions. 


At the last All Hands, it was announced that everyone must install Office 365, and remove Office 2013 from their computers by January 31st, 2023.

Microsoft Office applications are required for full functional compatibility with the Simpleview CRM, and Vena systems.

Destination Toronto’s current version of Microsoft Office 2013 will reach its end of life early next year. We have upgraded to Microsoft Office 365 Apps for Business.

An Office 365 installation step-by-step guide, including software downloads, can be accessed here.

Please reach out to Tom Huller with any questions or issues.


Sharing a round-up of articles that you may have missed:

Research & Insights Terminal:
Business Events: 
Consumer Articles:


Welcoming our newest Destination Toronto team members:

Ashley Rochefort, Media Relations Manager, (she/her) Ashley joins us most recently from AIR MILES, where she was the Manager of B2B Content & PR, managing the PR agency, and contributed to the building of the company's B2B, and PR and communications strategy. Prior to this she was with Baxter Media as the Content Director of OFFSHORE, a luxury travel publication in the GTA and Muskoka area, and was a regular contributor to their two flagship publications: Canadian Travel Press, and Travel Courier. Fun fact: last year her and her family were on Farmhouse Facelift, a home renovation show, on HGTV Canada!

Jose Santoyo, Director, Industry & Partner Relations, (he/him) Jose joins us from the Toronto Region Board of Trade, where he was previously the Director of Trade and Investment for the World Trade Centre Toronto that helps Canadian businesses scale up and access global markets. Previously he worked in a variety of business areas across four continents and has a deep knowledge both of international business and also of the local business community and how key sectors interact with each other. Because of his lived experience in many continents, Jose loves Toronto's multiculturalism and diversity. He is a Formula 1 diehard fan, an avid golfer, and has a very nice cat and roommate named Alvaro!

If you've not done so yet, feel free to send a note to say hi and introduce yourself!


Congratulations to the Global Marketing Team for their Bronze award for the category Social Causes - Innovative Media at the Canadian Marketing Association Awards! City Friends With Benefits was created to excite and inspire confidence in urban travel during the summer of 2021. Congratulations and gratitude to everyone who worked on the campaign!

Andrew Weir was listed in Toronto Life’s The Most Influential 2022 list, an annual ranking of the people who are helping to drive our city forward. The Michelin Stars list includes Andrew Weir as The Catalyst and one of The city’s new culinary heroes

Mara Rodas was selected for PCMA's Class of 20 in their Twenties 2023 program. PCMA selected 20 emerging leaders for this program and the Class of 2023 will be honoured at the upcoming PCMA Convening Leaders in January 2023 in Columbus, OH. Full announcement here

Valerie Miller has completed the practical experience requirement needed to obtain her CPA designation. This was the last element of her training. Her CPA membership will be officially confirmed in December. 

Amy Shen has been recognized by Smart Meetings 2022 Catalyst Awards in the Rising Star category. Read more about Amy’s contribution here

Scott Beck has been nominated for the 100 Most Influential People in the Event Industry by Eventex Awards. Decided entirely by the public, the list recognizes exceptional industry figures from around the globe who have left a mark on the industry. Vote for Scott before December 2nd here.

Do you have a win or kudos you want included in next month's newsletter? Email us with your shout out! 

moving forward

An at-a-glance look at the month ahead for the DT teams.



  • Association Forum's Holiday Showcase, Dec 6, Chicago
  • Chicago Nutcracker Immersive Event, Dec 3, Chicago
  • IT& CM China and CTW China (Online), Dec 12-13, Virtual
  • IAEE Expo Expo, Dec 13-15, Louisville, KY
  • CVB Reps Holiday Party Dec 15 Washington, DC
  • DC in-market event Dec 17, Washington, DC
  • Site Canada Holiday Social, Toronto
  • 2022 Ambassador Holiday Function, Ottawa
  • SITE SoCal Holiday, Dec 12-14


  • Nov 30-Dec 1, Hosting “Coindesk”; a Sales Site with Kathy Tavares as the lead
  • Dec 12-14, Hosting the Pediatric Academic Society for their first planning site with Jennifer Main as the lead
  • Dec 19-21, Hosting the National Association of College Auxilliary Services with Indira Murli as the lead
  • Dec 8-12, Hosting Points of Light for a Sales Site with Kathy Tavares as the lead


  • DO/CITAP Winter Client Event, Vancouver


  • As was mentioned at the last All-Hands meeting, year-end is approaching and we ask that all expense reports, invoices, and purchase orders related to 2022 be entered into our systems before Dec 31.


  • CrowdRiff asset management of new fall photography and videos.
  • Completion of creative artwork for YYZ T1 and T2 exit doors.
  • Staffing for new BE Marketing Specialist and Creative Lead positions.
  • Madelyn Cheung for Represent Asian Project will be doing a Christmas for the Culture story on their social channel, Dec 1-3. 
  • U.S. Border Day Trip, where Buffalo-based media will have the opportunity to experience only-found in Toronto gems, Dec 2 -15. 
  • NYC media mission with media event, Dec 5-8.
  • Mexico, ONCE TV Crew will film unique and under-the-radar gems, Dec 5-9.
  • U.S. Market: Hosting a Holiday-themed Influencer FAM, Dec 8-11.
  • 6ix Weeks of Celebrations holiday campaign in market until Dec 20. Check out the landing page here.
  • Now Playing Toronto covered Da Kink in My Hair in our Now You Know series. Check out the article and video here.
  • New articles on Business Events Hub.
  • Check out the latest Top 6 eNewsletter.


  • Welcome Jose Santoyo to the team and, with his arrival, kick off an important process of partnership development. Partnerships will be an important (and growing) opportunity to expand our revenue and the next few weeks are critical as Jose and team identify the big opportunities and a plan to seize them in 2023.
  • The final EDGE event of the year takes place on Dec 8 with a focus on Managing Online Reviews, with insights from TripAdvisor. A strong attendance showing at this event will push the total annual attendance at events over the annual goal so the team is working hard to get that important KPI over the finish line.
  • The new Resident Survey is now complete and data being analyzed. This survey is done twice each year to assess resident community awareness of the visitor economy and is a key part of our advocacy work going forward, and helps set a baseline for next year's goal of growing awareness. Once the BI team has completed the analysis we will share key findings with the full team. 

CRM Wiki

Destination Toronto’s CRM wiki


Destination Toronto Intranet

HIVE app

DT Office Pre-access Questionnaire


Two new policies have been added to the HR Handbook on the Intranet. Policy 13 outlines Expense and Travel Policies and Policy 14 outlines Purchase Orders and Procurement. The technology policy has also been updated and can be found HERE.


Our office will remain open for all regular business days between Dec 28 to Dec 30. If you would like to schedule the time off, please do so in ADP. You can consult the holiday schedule HERE.


We will be using Culture Amp for our annual performance process, performance goals, and quarterly check-ins to make it easy for you to provide feedback to your colleagues. 

These tools are designed to support your role development and help you feel more engaged with your leader. You can learn more about Culture Amp by watching the short video in this article.

Our first process with Culture Amp will be our performance reviews in January months. In the meantime, if you want to review the platform, start with the following:

  • Logging on to Culture Amp, go to settings, and upload  your photo into your profile; there is no login required as it uses single-sign-on through Google.
  • Culture Amp has a great development resource called Skills Coach, Culture Amp’s 2-minute-a-day virtual coaching tool that you’ll receive via email. It covers topics such as resiliency, delivering feedback, and time management. 

If you have any questions, please message Monique Holmes

getting to know

Each edition of PULSE, we’re asking 3 questions to 3 phenomenal DT team members. We’re willing to bet you’ll learn a few tidbits about some of our fave DT people. 

Dean Dsouza (he/him)
Business Analyst

Do you prefer working from home or working at the office?

I’m in that rare minority that genuinely enjoys coming into the office. I discovered that I need an office environment to really maximize my productivity. A task that takes me 1 hour at home will take me 20 minutes in the office.

Coming into the office also helps me set boundaries between different aspects of work. Some meetings are virtual, some are in-person. Building connections and professional relationships are easier when you’re there in person. Once I leave the office, I can ‘switch off’ my brain, so there’s a clear distinction between work and play (this is harder to do at home).

At this point, coming into the office is a finite liberty that I want to take full advantage of. Once I have pets, or a partner or kids, it’ll be harder to justify. Plus, you can’t beat that view and location.

What road trip can you simply not get enough of?

Miami to Key West. This 4 hour drive is one of the best road trips I’ve had. You’re literally driving through various small islands (called ‘Keys’) until you reach the southernmost point of the United States - Key West. You’re surrounded by water and islands and some incredibly breathtaking views. I want to reattempt this trip with a convertible car next time.

Here’s how it looks on Google Maps and some images that give you a glimpse.

Tell us about the best Toronto experience you’ve had this year

I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker since I was a child. But growing up in India, those kinds of aspirations were quickly beat out of me in favor of a more ‘traditional’ job. When I was in America, I was restricted by my work visa, to even think of a career outside of engineering.

Volunteering at TIFF this year was an eye-opening experience. For the first time in decades, I was surrounded by people who were just as passionate as me. I could see how widespread this industry is, and the many ways I can be a part of it. This was my first TIFF (of many more), and it gave me hope that my childhood dream is very much within my grasp.

Annie Ewing (she/her)
Community Engagement Manager

What project are you most looking forward to in the coming months?

Can I sneak two projects in here? First, the Relax, Recharge, Renew program, where we arrange Toronto staycations for parents of kids with complex special needs. It’s clear that past participants have found this truly meaningful. Equally, our new sustainability benchmarking project will be the start of great things to come!

What destination is at the top of your 2023 travel list?

My partner and I are currently considering honeymoon spots. My front runners are Chile, Namibia & Botswana, or Sri Lanka. But my partner’s never been to Italy or Scotland, which are two places I love dearly. It will be hard to choose!

What’s something in Toronto that is at the top of your bucket list?

Does anyone know how to get access to the Ritz Carlton’s cheese cave??? And someday I’d love to visit the (now closed) observation deck at Commerce Court North to view the beautiful Art Deco face carvings.

Ivana Davidovic (she/her)
Sales Coordinator

Tell us about your most memorable trip

This is a tough one but I will go with Paris for my honeymoon. Paris is always a good idea.

What’s your favourite Toronto restaurant? 

Musoshin Ramen at Roncesvalles. Ramen and Chashu Don are to die for!

When someone tells you they’re visiting the 6ix, what’s the first thing you recommend experiencing?

Toronto Island in the summertime. They can chill on the beach, rent a bicycle or just enjoy one of the many restaurants.



Vinita Das - six year anniversary (December 5, 2016)

Roseanne Longo - thirty eight years (December 10, 1984)


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207 Queens Quay West, Suite 405, Toronto, ON M5J 1A7, Canada

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