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The Business of Marraige:
Gay Americans eager to get hitched are bringing much-needed dollars to SARS-weary Toronto - Society
    by Matthew Hays - Sep 2, 2003

Toronto city councilor Kyle Rae had a great deal of work to do in preparation for his wedding day, June 20. He and his partner, artist Mark Reid, had guests to invite, a venue to line up, and a call to answer from CNN--the network wanted to hook up a live feed to his ceremony.

And as if getting ready for his own wedding weren't enough, Rae says that ever since June 10, when the Ontario court of appeal legally sanctioned marriage for same-sex couples, his office bas been overwhelmed by phone calls from Americans. They want to know when, where, and precisely how to tie the knot. "I guess people found out I was the gay city councilor and assumed I'd know everything about it," Rae says.

Aside from the significant civil rights implications of the court's decision, the news out of Canada couldn't have come at a better time for business in Toronto .

The city had suffered from an astonishing drop in tourist bookings, by both gay and straight visitors, in the wake of the SARS outbreak earlier this year. Prior to Toronto 's June 29 pride celebration, gay tourism representatives reported that American travel to the city--a crucial staple of the local tourism market--was down by as much as 90%." Many of us really thought SARS fears were going to spike pride," Rae says. "But Americans were elated about this freedom to marry and showed their support by coming to Toronto ."

8. Toronto , Ontario - Great Walks Toronto is well known for its many green spaces, including parks, ravines with pathways that interconnect various greenbelts, islands facing downtown in Lake Ontario , and even a boardwalk. We'll mention some of the most easily accessible by public transport and even some special interest organized walkabouts at little or minimal charge. The best part is that most are near a subway stop.

Right downtown you have the Queen's Park area (subway stop: Queen's Park) which includes the grounds of the provincial Parliament Buildings ( Toronto is the capital of Ontario ) and the grounds of the University of Toronto spread out from Bloor Street south to College Street .

View of downtown from the Islands

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