Game aside, Grey Cup likely to bring big boost to Toronto's economy
Kristin Andrews, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 7:30AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 19, 2012 7:11AM EST
Will the upcoming Grey Cup have Toronto rolling in green?
With a week-long party ahead, businesses across the city are expecting an economic bump as the 100th Grey Cup Festival rolls into town.
Toronto Argonauts CEO Chris Rudge, who is also the executive chairman of festival, said there are so many different activities planned around the Nov. 25 game that the celebrations are sure to bring in big money.
“I would be surprised if we’re not in the order of $125 to $150 million in economic benefits,” he said.
The last time Toronto hosted the Grey Cup, in 2007, the city saw an economic boost of around $80 million, said Rudge, pointing to research from Tourism Toronto. He added that last year’s 99th Grey Cup in British Columbia brought in around $100 million for Vancouver.
“When I look at what’s going on here, the size and scope is considerably bigger,” said Rudge. “This goes beyond beer and football.”
And it looks like virtually every hotel in the city is sold out for Grey Cup weekend, he added.
“The influx of people coming from other cities is going to be considerable.”
The Intercontinental Hotel on Front Street, for example, has been booked solid for eight month.
“We have a lot of VIPs and dignitaries coming into town that are staying with us,” said sales and marketing director Yola Marshall. “There’s a lot of hosting of clients, there’s a lot of buzz and activity, because we’re really close to the action.”
Marshall said the weekend on which the Grey Cup falls is particularly great for hotels.
“The timing couldn’t be better because it’s over the U.S. Thanksgiving period,” she said. “Traditionally for Toronto hotels this is a very quiet time of year.”
Andrew Weir, vice-president of Tourism Toronto, said Grey Cup weekend has the potential to be one of the busiest weekends of the year for the city.
Plus, with the 100th Grey Cup festival being celebrated over an eleven-day period -- which kicked off Friday -- Weir said he expects to the swell of tourists coming to Toronto to surpass 2007’s event.
“Events are not just in areas around the Rogers Centre, but throughout several parts of the city,” Weir said. “That will help spread the economic impact.”
While the Grey Cup is expected to bring in lots of money, with a $17-million budget for the festival alone, Rudge said there will be activities affordable enough for anyone who wants to come out.
“You don’t have to be a VIP to get down here and have fun; we have so many open to the public and free events,” he said.
“This is about our community getting together and reaching out to the rest of the country,” Rudge added. “Our phrase is ‘an invitation across the nation.’ ”
The 100th edition of the Grey Cup will be played between the Calgary Stampeders to meet Toronto Toronto Argonauts at at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 25 on TSN.
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon touches the Grey Cup at Toronto City Hall during a 100th year celebration that kicked off on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)