12 FEB 2019: With the Canadian dollar hovering around 75 cents US and many global destinations experiencing political and economic turmoil, the trend towards travelling in one’s own country continues to be popular.

A survey of Canadian travellers in 2017 suggested that 53 percent of respondents planned to take a “staycation,” and while 2019 data has yet to surface, it stands to reason that similar conditions to two years ago will have many citizens still looking to stick closer to home this year as well.

Tour operator Globus, for example, has recognized the trend and created a page on its web site entitled “19 Perfect Staycations for 2019,” while Vision Travel, meanwhile, advises, “Two or three nights at a local hotel or spa can give you just that recharge you need, with minimal packing and travel time.”

Naturally, with plenty of such hotels and spas to choose from, not to mention numerous attractions and vibrant cultural, food, entertainment and sporting scenes, Toronto has plenty to offer.

Indeed, the city was ranked No. 2 on CanadaStays’ review of top vacation rental destinations in Canada in 2018.

For its part, Toronto Tourism wants to help the trend continue and has compiled a list for prospective visitors and planners of a few of the hot Hogtown happenings in 2019. Here’s a look:


• Academy Award-winning director Guillermo Del Toro and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Programmer Diana Sanchez bring a new film festival, Sui generis: An Alternative History of Mexican Cinema, to TIFF Bell Lightbox from Feb. 28 to April 6. The unique retrospective is comprised of 25 films and features special guests.

• Ai Weiwei: Unbroken debuts at the Gardiner Museum on Feb. 28. The exhibition features iconic ceramic works by the renowned international artist and human rights activist.

• The City of Toronto turns 185 in 2019. Celebrate Toronto hosts Toronto's 185th Anniversary at Nathan Phillips Square March 9 – 10.

• Toronto will have the longest unbroken stretch of free, public, wireless internet access in the province as Queen Street becomes a hotspot between Simcoe and Bathurst streets. This marks a key juncture in the reboot the Queen Street BIA has recently launched that includes an enhanced digital presence and a host of signature events for 2019.

• Through March 31 in the CN Tower's new Observation Level, Regalia – Native Pride, is a limited-time exhibition giving visitors the chance for a genuine encounter with the First Nations.

• Canada's Wonderland will unveil the record-breaking roller coaster Yukon Striker in April, which will be the longest, fastest and tallest dive roller coaster in the world. The new coaster will be situated in the newly themed section called Frontier Canada. WinterFest is an all-new immersive holiday experience happening late November and December for the first time in the theme park's history.

• The Ontario Science Centre is celebrating its 50-year milestone with a slew of new exhibits including Inventorium 2.0, IMAX's Great Bear Rainforest, Super Power Dogs, Astronaut, and Women in Space, The mind.

• Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room - Let's Survive Forever, is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) this Spring.

• Toronto will welcome new live theatre shows including the Canadian premieres of Mirvish’s Dear Evan Hansen and The Last Ship by multiple Grammy Award winner Sting; The National Ballet of Canada will present Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Soulpepper launches its newest performance, Rose; and the Sony Centre will premiere Another Brick in the Wall Opera.

• The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents two new exhibits in 2019: Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur showcases a new recently discovered dinosaur series through May 30; and, It's Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art, an exhibit curated by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, starting July 13.

• Fairmont Royal York will celebrate a milestone 90th anniversary in June and reveal a major transformation in the summer.

• Radisson Hotel Group is introducing its upscale hotel brand, Radisson Blu, in Toronto – the company's first upscale hotel introduction in Canada. The property (a conversion of the Radisson Admiral) is expected to open in June 2019.

• Toronto's first-ever Toronto Biennial of Art is a 90-day contemporary art exhibit that will take place every two years. Launching Sept. 21, the inaugural year will feature exhibitions, commissions, performances and educational events along the city's waterfront.

• Canada's first Eataly – a vibrant Italian food marketplace including a mix of food markets, restaurants, and eateries – will open in the Fall, taking up three stories in the newly renovated Manulife Centre in the heart of Yorkville. There are Eatalys in New York, Las Vegas and elsewhere.

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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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