Exploring Toronto: A Journey of Connection and Rediscovery

Exploring Toronto: A Journey of Connection and Rediscovery

Helen Yu 19/10/2023
Exploring Toronto: A Journey of Connection and Rediscovery

Toronto has become a significant fintech hub.

It hosts a growing number of startups and companies in the financial technology sector, fostering innovation and creating new opportunities for financial services.

I had the privilege of rediscovering Toronto while reconnecting with the financial services community. The connections I forged with esteemed individuals like đź’Ż Jim MarousBrett King Author Ventures User Strategy IncKatie SchultzPaolo Sironi, and Ali Paterson during a recent conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre made this experience truly exceptional. In addition to these professional connections, I rediscovered a city that’s far more than just a place on the map. My adventures took me beyond the ordinary, revealing the remarkable experiences that Toronto has to offer. 

Reconnecting with Jim Marous

While my recent journey to Toronto was a delightful rediscovery of the city and a chance to connect with peers in the financial services community, one highlight of the trip was my meeting with Jim Marous, a well-known figure in the industry.  

For those familiar with the financial services community’s top influencers, Jim Marous needs no introduction. After years of digital interactions, I finally had the opportunity to meet Jim in person in Toronto.

We found a quiet corner away from all the action at the MTCC in the back of a side room.  I had the opportunity to catch up with Jim Marous to hear what he loves about the host city. From sports to the building boom Toronto is experiencing, we covered a lot of ground in three short minutes! It was a pleasure to gain his unique perspective on this global city and its pivotal role in the financial sector. Jim's insights added new depth to my appreciation for Toronto. You can watch our conversation about Toronto here.

Toronto: A Catalyst for Personal and Professional Growth

Toronto has played a significant role in both my personal and professional development. From igniting my passion for technology during my early career to providing a robust corporate infrastructure that shaped my professional aspirations, this city has been a constant source of inspiration. Read more about my transformative journey and the profound impact of Toronto on my life

Consider Toronto for Your Next Conference

If you're planning a conference, I wholeheartedly recommend making Toronto your ultimate destination.  With its diverse offerings, dynamic ecosystem of business professionals, state-of-the-art convention centers, and world-class service, Toronto is ready to take your event to the next level. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Sibos conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). What I like the most about MTCC is the availability of conference rooms and quiet meetup places throughout the conference center. Walking from the South building to the North building takes less than 10 minutes. The food court is an open area where you can walk around to sample your favorite international flavor.  Over lunch, I enjoyed the live jazz performance, provided by Destination Toronto. They are an excellent resource for creating a memorable conference experience and can assist with everything from expediting your materials through customs to booking local talent.

Culinary Delights in Toronto

No trip to Toronto is complete without indulging in its rich culture and culinary delights. I had the pleasure of dining at Akira Back. This culinary experience was one of the highlights of my Toronto trip. Akira Back, led by the Michelin Star Chef Akira, delivered profound and delicious moments that I captured in a video in my recent post.


Dining at Chotto Matte

Chotto Matte, another gem in Toronto's culinary scene, is perfect for family and friends. I had the pleasure of reconnecting with longtime friends in the financial services community while savoring mouthwatering sushi and delectable Nikkei cuisine. The restaurant's sleek design and lively atmosphere made the evening even more special.

For fellow coffee enthusiasts, Toronto boasts a thriving array of sustainable coffee shops. I discovered some excellent recommendations on Destination Toronto's blog, ensuring I enjoyed eco-friendly and delicious coffee. The blog also offers a variety of culinary recommendations to meet your dining – and dessert! – needs.

Rediscovering Wonder in Toronto

My journey began with a smooth arrival at Pearson Airport. The UP train provided a convenient and efficient way to travel from the airport to Union Station. Trains run every 15 minutes, and the journey takes just 25 minutes. From Union Station, it was a short 10-minute walk to my accommodation at the Hilton Toronto.  

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is just a 10-minute walk from my hotel.  MTCC surprised me with its sustainability initiatives. The South Building boasts a seven-acre green roof, open to the public. It not only enhances the city's beauty but also reduces energy consumption and cooling costs, showcasing Toronto's commitment to sustainability. 


Kensington Market

I explored some of Toronto's thriving neighborhoods, including Kensington Market, Ossington/Queen West, the Waterfront, and the Distillery District.  Each had its own unique charm and offered a diverse range of experiences.  All are within walking distance from downtown Toronto. I stumbled upon a delightful Chinese bakery where I tried moon cake, egg tart, and Macha sponge cake. With just $20, you can treat your entire family to a feast. They are freshly made daily as shown in the picture below.


Chinese Baker


No trip to Toronto is complete without visiting its iconic attractions. I explored the CN Tower, just a 5-minute walk from the MTCC. The St. Lawrence Market was another highlight, a 15-20 minute walk away. I would love to spend more time at the historic Distillery District on my next visit.


CN Tower

Toronto's blend of convenience, culture, and sustainability left a lasting impression on me, making this trip truly memorable.

My journey to Toronto served as a reminder of the importance of seeing the world with fresh eyes, much like a child. It's in these moments of childlike wonder that we truly uncover the magic of a place. Toronto, with its diversity, culture, warm hospitality, culinary delights, and unexpected beauty in everyday moments, continues to amaze and inspire me. I invite you to share your own travel stories of wonder in the comments as we celebrate the magic of exploration together.  Until next time, Toronto!

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Helen Yu

Innovation Expert

Helen Yu is a Global Top 20 thought leader in 10 categories, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, internet of things and marketing. She is a Board Director, Fortune 500 Advisor, WSJ Best Selling & Award Winning Author, Keynote Speaker, Top 50 Women in Tech and IBM Top 10 Global Thought Leader in Digital Transformation. She is also the Founder & CEO of Tigon Advisory, a CXO-as-a-Service growth accelerator, which multiplies growth opportunities from startups to large enterprises. Helen collaborated with prestigious organizations including Intel, VMware, Salesforce, Cisco, Qualcomm, AT&T, IBM, Microsoft and Vodafone. She is also the author of Ascend Your Start-Up.

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