How Toronto can become a more ‘welcoming place’ for runners – and their tourism dollars

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Photo by Patrick Leung – the Ghost Race

Back in May 2017 I was invited to speak at City Hall sharing my perspective on Running Tourism in the City of Toronto. I had previously written for iRun magazine on Running Tourism, researching both the monetary benefits and social benefits for communities including Toronto, NYC, Ottawa, and Vancouver. So my perspective has came from that of a marathon runner in other countries, the research I complied for iRun, and my experiences as a leader in the Toronto run community. I was happy to share what I thought the city could do to support this sport and it’s athletes from near and afar and I was happy to continue the conversation in early 2018 as part of the working group establishing recommendations for the city council’s economic development committee. Some thoughts on that initial conversation were shared here by CBC.

On April 14th, the report that had been developed through the established working group of City Councillors, City employees, and community stake holders was released and the city council’s economic development committee voted to take a closer look at our recommendations.

Some recommendations from the working group included ideas like opening public transit earlier, having various City teams communicate more clearly and easily with race directors, and some welcoming and inviting tasks like displaying race promotional material on bus shelters, street banners, and even at the air port, as many Marathon Majors do welcoming athletes to the city and celebrating the event.

We highlight the financial benefit to the city, including a comparison of Toronto’s two marathons (and yes, only have one major race was brought up) to Marathon Majors including NYC ($36 Million CAD of $415 Million USD).

CBC did a follow up interview which I supported. You can check it out here.

As the city council’s economic development committee will be taking a closer look at these recommendations I am glad the the conversation continues and look forward to Toronto continuing to grow as an epic place to race and live.

 

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