Toronto in March:
A Weather Conundrum!
While manning the Toronto booth at the Long Beach Conference, the most frequent question heard about next year’s Conference was, “What is the weather going to be like?”
I haven’t the faintest idea.
By the middle of March, we have usually enjoyed some hints of the end of winter. Compared with most Canadian cities, Toronto’s winters are relatively mild to begin with. We do not get the heavy snowfalls of our compatriots in Ottawa or Montreal, nor do we get the extended deep freezes. In 2004, the snow had pretty well disappeared by the beginning of March, and many cyclists (including your humble correspondent) were back on the roads and bike paths.
With any luck, we will enjoy some spring-like weather during the 2005 USITT Conference and Stage Expo. Like all Canadians, the slightest promise of the end of winter can drive us slightly mad, so be prepared to see a few T-shirts if the mercury nudges above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 10 degrees Celsius up here in these metric parts). Of course “ ”spring-like” can encompass a range of meteorological sins, so Torontonians are usually prepared to dress in layers at this time of the year. The layer that includes snow shoes, balaclavas, and arctic survival gear can be safely left at home.
Of course, you could also stay safely indoors throughout your entire visit, scurrying between your hotel, the Convention Centre, and much of downtown Toronto like a pampered mole. The Convention Centre actually sits at the southwest extremity of the world’s largest underground shopping complex. Toronto’s PATH network links the major buildings in an area spanning three quarters of a mile from east to west, and over a mile from north to south. It links five subway stations, the convention centre, several hotels, and the train station. If you come by rail, you could leave your coat at home.
The PATH is not a collection of tunnels, but a network of over 16 miles of wide shopping arcades with over 1,200 shops and services. The tens of thousands who live within its compass, or in condominiums with subway access, can spend months at a time without venturing outdoors. Toronto’s troglodytes can be quite pasty by the end of winter, but with over 4 million square feet of retail space on the PATH, they are impeccably well dressed.
To find more about the PATH online, go to www.city.toronto.on.ca/path/index.htm. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the convention hotels are at the bottom of the attached map.
Of course, we hope you will actually be tempted to venture above ground for several of the venue tours we are planning. There are plenty of places to on the streets around the Convention Centre, and that part of town boasts one of the most eclectic collections of buildings to be found in any city centre. The juxtaposition of styles from Victorian neo-Gothic through curvaceous modernism, from the spare elegance of Mies van der Rohe to examples of post modernism that range from the exquisite to what-on-earth-were-they-thinking-of makes for a good few hours of architectural rubber-necking.
We look forward to seeing you here. Dress appropriately - whatever that means.