June 23–26, 2016


  • Find hidden gems

    So.... if you were to take an official tour offered before, during or after the convention, what might you experience, you ask? Well, besides being in the company of friendly Kiwanians, here are a few highlights: 

    • Taste local snacks on the walking cultural tour of ethnic neighborhoods.
    • Discover areas of the city adapted to look like other cities and eras in movies. You might even witness filming in progress in “Hollywood North”!
    • Take a harbour cruise and visit The Distillery District, the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architecture in North America.
    • Try the many interactive exhibits at the Hockey Hall of Fame. 
    • Look behind the scenes at the Rogers Centre, Toronto’s premiere sports arena.
    • Go antiquing in Kleinburg.
    • Discover the cultural heritage of the Mennonite community, and buy local delicacies at the St. Jacobs’ Farmers' Market & Flea Market.
    • Board the Hornblower and experience the majesty of the Niagara Falls up close. (Lunch will be provided in a restaurant overlooking the Falls.)
    • Learn about the underground tunnels and secret passageways at the Casa Loma Castle.
    • Pretend you’re not in North America for a few hours during your tour of Little Italy, Chinatown and Greektown.
    • Discover the charming opulence of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the dynamic lure of Montréal and the European flair of Vieux Québec. 
    • Admire breathtaking countryside vistas on Canada’s Via Rail.
    • Cruise the St. Lawrence River and admire the beauty of the Montmorency Falls, the Île d'Orléans and the stunning Côte-de-Beaupré.
    Did we whet your appetite? Then consult the tours page and take your pick!

  • The Distillery District: A must-see neighborhood

    A short cab ride from the convention site, you will find one of Toronto’s most unique neighbourhoods: The Distillery District. National Geographic calls it a “Hip new neighbourhood within the best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architecture in Canada.”  

    As a child in Toronto, I remember driving by this area on family trips to downtown. This was a part of the city that had been virtually abandoned and left to ruin. I always wondered what had happened to have it fall into decline. As a bit of a history buff, the story of the Distillery District always intrigued me. We are fortunate that this has had a major redevelopment!

    There is something for everyone in this beautifully preserved area which dates back to 1831, when James Worts opened a grist mill on the site. He was joined by his brother-in-law, William Gooderham, a year later. Tragedy struck and Worts died. Gooderham partnered with James’ son, and in 1837, they built a distillery and began producing their first whiskey. By 1871, they were producing more than half the whiskey made in Ontario. After 153 years of continuous production, the distillery closed. Redevelopment started in the early 2000s, and the site became the number one film location in Canada. Over 1700 films have used this site, among which Chicago, The X-Men or Cinderella Man.

    Today, the Distillery District is home to over 80 shops and galleries. 

    I confess, I am nothing if not a victim of fashion! I love Gentil Uomo. Beautiful clothing with Italian flair. I especially love the wild socks. I tend to be a bit on the conservative side when it comes to dressing but the socks allow a bolder side to sneak out from time to time! If you have just enough time for a short walk around the District and you’d like a cup of coffee, you have to try Balzac's. Great coffee in the French tradition, this shop has two floors and plenty of space to relax with your favourite hot drink, coffee, tea or chocolate. And speaking of chocolate…

    One of our favourite restaurants is El Catrin Destileria. Authentic and modern Mexican cuisine is the specialty. They have a tapas menu that allowed us to sample a variety of their different items. Just stepping into the restaurant is a visual delight. The glass wall mural, the glass panels, the artwork everywhere are an integral part of your experience. There is a beautiful blend of the old and the new that adds to the ambience. Chocolate is featured in many of the dishes.

    We enjoyed a wonderful meal for Valentine’s Day. We started with Guacamole En La Mesa. It is prepared at your table. Delicious! Next was Esquites, charred corn taken off the cob and presented in three small bowls with a variety of salsas and lime. From there, we ordered Pollo Con Mole Tacos, shredded chicken with a light chocolate mole sauce. This was followed by Costilla Corta, a short rib braised for 24 hours, served covered in an Oaxacan mole negro sauce, a rich, dark chocolate sauce! Dessert was a Volcan, molten mole cake. Yes, chocolate again.  I think you can see we have a bit of a chocolate obsession.  

    In the summer, they have a wonderful outdoor patio where you can enjoy a cocktail, a snack or your dinner as you watch the world go by. 
    Most importantly, the food is delicious, presented well and reasonably priced. This is a great spot to visit when you join us at the convention in June! Check out their menu and make your reservations!

    El Catrin is an experience to be savoured, not just a dinner.

    This just scratches the surface of the Distillery District. When you are in Toronto, there may be several special events happening in the District. Check their website as we get closer to convention time to look at the event schedule. There is always something happening in this very special part of Toronto!  

    George Rowell and Laura Somerville are the co-chairmen of the Host Committee for the Kiwanis International convention in Toronto this coming June. Both are members of the Kiwanis Club of East York. They' re enthusiastic travellers who often visit Kiwanis clubs in the places where they travel. They’re looking forward to welcoming you to the convention this year.

  • Showcasing the world

    One of the most popular features of the Kiwanis International convention is the World Showcase. Maximize your time in this area by mapping out a strategy to walk through the exhibit floor. It’s a perfect place to spend time between sessions. In fact, there’s so much to do that you may want to start thinking about how to see it all. So here’s an advance look:

    • Join the Welcome Reception on Wednesday, 4–6 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment, light snacks and a cash bar.
    • Trade in your old Kiwanis-branded T-shirt for a shiny new one—and learn all about our new advertising campaign in the Communications booth.
    • Stop by the SLP booth to get new information about building strong Kiwanis-family clubs—and to share what you know.
    • Discover a world of play with Kiwanis Vision Partner Landscape Structures.
    • Get inspiration for new service projects.
    • Have your picture taken in front of the “Eiffel Tower” at the Paris 2017 booth. This is also where you'll receive a small gift when you hand in your completed sheet for the international autograph contest.
    • Consult the Kiwanis International past presidents at their “club clinic” booth
    • Get a fun ribbon to adorn your convention badge.
    • Speak with each of the Kiwanis Preferred Charities and find out how they and your club can benefit each other’s local efforts.
    • Visit exhibitors showcasing fundraising ideas and unique retail items.
    • Enjoy delicious ethnic food selections.
    • Slip into one of the cut-out photo ops with a friend and share the shot on social media.
    • Enjoy music and games, and enter drawings for door prizes.
    • Learn how you can turn an Up With People community performance into a club fundraiser.
    • Pose for a digital caricature of yourself.
    • Win ForMOOHLA at The Formula booth when you play games and test your knowledge.
    • Find service project supplies with Kiwanis member pricing offered by Dollar Days.
    • Embrace your inner pancake-lover—develop a strategy for 2017 National Pancake Day.
    • Learn about Scholastic’s Family and Community Engagement  program, which includes discount pricing for books.
    • Visit the Kiwanis International Foundation booth to find out how Kiwanians are extending their impact—and inspire others by sharing your reasons for giving.
    • Embrace your patriotic pride with a visit to the Atlas Flags booth.
    • Explore new member benefits from Kiwanis Travel, Kiwanis Insurance and the new Kiwanis VISA Rewards card.
    • Visit the International Pavilion to learn about our partnerships with Sister Cities International and JCI, and to discover K Corps, the new Kiwanis youth exchange program.
    • Immerse yourself in the cultures of Toronto’s Friendship/Partnership cities: Quito, Ecuador, and Milan, Italy.

  • Chris Hadfield will be keynote speaker during Opening Session

    “Good morning, Earth!” That is how Colonel Chris Hadfield—writing on Twitter—woke up the world every day while living for five months aboard the International Space Station. Through his 21-years as an astronaut, three spaceflights and 2600 orbits of Earth, Colonel Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions and infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humanity first walked on the Moon. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters.

    Colonel Hadfield is a pioneer of many historic “firsts.” In 1992, he was selected by the Canadian Space Agency as a NASA Mission Specialist—Canada’s first fully-qualified Space Shuttle crew member. Three years later, aboard Shuttle Atlantis, he was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in space, and the first Canadian to board a Russian spacecraft as he helped build space station “Mir.” In 2001, aboard Shuttle Endeavour, Colonel Hadfield performed two spacewalks—the first Canadian to do so—and, in 2013, he was Commander of the International Space Station—the first and only Canadian to ever command a spaceship—so far. He performed a very popular revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity while on board the International Space Station.

    During his multi-faceted career Hadfield has intercepted Soviet bombers in Canadian airspace, lived on the ocean floor, been NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia, and recorded science and music videos seen by hundreds of millions.

    A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, Colonel Hadfield’s many awards include receiving the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was named the Top Test Pilot in both the US Air Force and the US Navy, and has been inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2015, Colonel Hadfield was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. 

    Colonel Hadfield is the author of two internationally bestselling books, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth and You Are Here, and has been commemorated on Canadian postage stamps, Royal Canadian Mint coins, and on Canada’s newest five dollar bill (along with fellow astronauts Steve MacLean and Dave Williams.)

  • Singer Jewel to perform during gala dinner

    Jewel is an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist and daughter to an Alaskan cowboy singer-songwriter.

    From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, the four-time Grammy nominee, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists. Her singular style and beauty continuously land her on the covers of such diverse magazines as TIME, People, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, In Style, Glamour and Seventeen. Stuff listed her among its “102 Sexiest Women in the World” while Blender went further, crowning her “rock’s sexiest poet.”

    Jewel launched her musical career early on, performing as a father-daughter act in Alaskan biker bars and lumberjack joints. Her solo career took off after she moved to San Diego, where she experienced moderate success in the folk-coffeehouse scene while living out of her car. Her first record, a deeply introspective, modern folk collection called Pieces of You, sold about 3,000 copies, nearly all in San Diego, in the nine months after its February 1995 debut. She then hit the road, touring with and opening for the likes of Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, and Neil Young. She followed up her debut album with a succession of albums that steadily built her reputation and fan base: Spirit, This Way, and 0304. After a tremendous amount of success as a singer-songwriter and over 27 million albums sold, Jewel returned to her roots with the release of two country albums Perfectly Clear and Sweet and Wild.

    Jewel is an artist across multiple media, with two published poetry collections, including New York Times bestseller A Night Without Armor. She’s also become a staple on television, hosting the reality show Nashville Star and judging The Sing-Off. She earned critical praise for her acting debut in Ang Lee’s independent Civil War drama Ride With the Devil alongside stars Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich.

    Also near and dear to Jewel’s heart is her charitable initiative, Project Clean Water, which she continues to support, unwaveringly. Jewel founded Project Clean Water in 1997. Having experienced homelessness as a teenager, Jewel became ill and couldn’t afford to buy the bottled water she needed for her sick kidneys. She then realized it was difficult to obtain clean water in the United States, and discovered it was a huge problem globally. She has been relentless in her efforts to bring safe water to those in need and create awareness of clean water shortages around the world. To date, Project Clean Water has helped more than 30 communities overcome their individual drinking water problems in 13 different countries, on five different continents. Jewel currently lives on a working ranch in Stephenville, Texas.

    Jewel will perform a private concert during the gala dinner on Saturday, June 25.