Canada, Here We Come!

Next week this time, we--and hopefully many of you, especially if you're a professional in the occupational and environmental health & safety industry--will be in multifaceted Toronto, Canada's economic capital and, with more than 2.5 million residents, its most populous city. While the 70th anniversary of AIHce is the draw, plenty will be going on outside the walls of the Toronto Convention Centre, so while the bag packing is still a few days away, now is a good time to consider some of the extracurricular options on the agenda.

In addition to the technical tours that are designed for and limited to professional registrants (see elsewhere in this newsletter for a rundown of those), a varied slate of social tours and complimentary activities for attendees and significant others are planned. One of those, taking place every weekday of the show (Monday through Wednesday, June 1-3), is a Fitness Walk from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. A "Welcome to Toronto" brunch is scheduled for Monday, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; continental breakfasts will be served the other days, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Included in the organized social tours--the fees for which include transportation, professional escort, entrance fees, and other amenities--Monday offers the "Toronto by Land, Toronto by Sea" tour, happening from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for $50 per person. This package includes a bus ride providing an up-close look at the buildings that form the city's famous skyline--CN Tower, the Royal Bank Building, and historic Casa Loma, to name a few--and motors you through the sights of Chinatown, Little Italy, Cabbagetown, and Forest Hill before delivering you to the "sea" portion, which is actually a cruise on Lake Ontario. "Glide through the Toronto Islands and delight in the abundant waterfowl and island tranquility," says the AIHce Advance Program of the tour. "Onshore, spend free time exploring the eclectic shops at Queen's Quay Terminal or the Craft Studios at Harbourfront."

For Tuesday, June 2, two excursions are planned--one in the afternoon, the other that evening. The "Work of Art" outing, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., includes a guided tour of the Gardiner Museum and the opportunity for participants to sculpt their own ceramic treasure in a hands-on clay workshop led by a professional potter in the museum's studio. Cost is $55 per person. Later, for baseball fans (and homesick Californians), the Blue Jays have a game scheduled with the Los Angeles Angels at Rogers Centre. To get a seat with the official AIHce group, tickets are $35 per person. The estimated outing time is 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., but game time is 7 p.m., and there's always the possibility of extra innings! Organizers warn that tickets for this event sell fast.

Wednesday's "Day at the Falls" tour lasts all day, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and, for $98 per person, promises participants a day they will never forget. The Advance Program describes it this way: "Since the 1820s, visitors have flocked to Niagara Falls drawn by its beauty, power, and majesty. Don raincoats and hats and board the Maid of the Mist for a close up view of this natural phenomenon. Cruise to the base of the American Falls and, with water rushing all around, forge on into the basin of Horseshoe Falls. Following this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, lunch awaits at Elements Restaurant. After lunch, travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake, considered one of the prettiest town in Ontario boasting luxurious country homes and lush vineyards. Take time to wander through the specialty shops and galleries along Main Street before returning to downtown Toronto."

The AIHce Hospitality Center, where you can sign up for the above events, will be located in The Fairmont Royal York and staffed by a concierge who can answer questions about what to do, where to go, where to eat, and where to otherwise play in the city. Registration for AIHce is not required to participate in the social tours. For expanded descriptions of these and other planned activities, visit www.aihce2009.org.

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