Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IGLTA Convention in Toronto - May 2009 - Take 1

What an incredible whirlwind of a week!  For me, it all started a bit early as I flew into Philadelphia on Saturday, May 2nd to attend the Equality Forum Dinner that Saturday night.  As the Equality Forum has always been such a great supporter of IGLTA over the years, I really wanted to attend this event prior to arriving in Toronto for the IGLTA Convention, and I'm so glad I did.  The evening's reception was such a pleasure and I had the opportunity to hang out with several of my business friends from around the country and from Philly.

That evening, Gavin Newsom, our potential future governor of California, got up and gave an eloquent speech to cap off a truly remarkable evening.  He made it very clear to the audience that he stands behind the progress underway for GLBT rights in this country, especially focusing on gay marriage since he was at such a focal point of this controversy with that first legal gay wedding in San Francisco last year.

The next day, after waking up with a Philly cheesesteak sandwich still in my stomach (I ordered a "wiz wit!"), I flew in to Toronto where I was able to enjoy a relaxing evening with friends.  I discovered the Toronto community of Yorktown and the Sassafras restaurant, a hot spot where the film festival crowd hangs out every year.  I knew the whirlwind was about to start, but fortunately we had our IGLTA board of directors meetings first, so starting Tuesday we hit the ground running with board meetings both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday night we had a wonderful dinner at the Gladstone Hotel, one of the older original hotels from Toronto's historical past fully restored with each room designed by a different local designer.  The dinner menu was all from unique and local fare, and between that and the wine, the evening was truly over the top.

The next evening, Wednesday, we made a mad rush to the Out Adventures pre-IGLTA reception at their offices on Bloor St.  I was in the mood to walk, so a group of us set out on foot and got there just a tad late, as we had a subsequent board dinner at the nearby Marriott Hotel and we absolutely could not be late (John Tanzella would crucify us!).  We made the pre-reception where we hung out a bit with Robert Sharp of Out Adventures, as well as Marta from Brazilian EcoTours and a few other gay travel professionals, both local and coming in early for the IGLTA Convention.

Dinner at the Marriott was scrumptious... I decided to go healthy and have everything with fish in it that night, so my menu ranged from black cod to sable fish, with an incredible dessert thrown in.  David Whittaker from Tourism Toronto and Tracey Sandilands of Pride Toronto joined us and we had an amazing evening, all set as a perfect backdrop to the upcoming arrivals of our 26th Annual IGLTA Convention starting on Thursday.

Stay tuned for part 2, the IGLTA Convention, coming up next.

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