News Release
September 14, 2021

(Note: This news release was updated on September 15 with new data.)

Today, Mayor John Tory launched ShowLoveTO to inspire local tourism, foster community engagement, support local businesses and encourage economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Tory was joined for this announcement by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee; local Councillor Josh Matlow (Toronto-St. Paul’s); Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Development at Destination Toronto; and Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services at American Express Canada.

The program was made possible through Founding Sponsor American Express and in partnership with Destination Toronto and with funding from the Government of Ontario.

Local businesses are essential to a healthy and vibrant community. ShowLoveTO encourages Torontonians to rediscover and support local small businesses to help Toronto’s businesses thrive.

ShowLoveTO includes a series of programs that will be led by the City and community organizations throughout Toronto, with TPH guidance to provide a safer environment for participants.

The following ShowLoveTO initiatives will engage Toronto residents this fall:

  • Shop Local is a campaign that will launch across digital platforms, out-of-home advertising and radio and television to inspire residents to rediscover homegrown treasures and support local Toronto small businesses. Residents will be encouraged to find great shops, restaurants, products, services, creators, innovators and entrepreneurs in the community.
  • DineTOgether is a two-week restaurant promotion, from Friday, September 17 to Sunday, October 3, to support the hospitality industry’s recovery and renewal. It will showcase the breadth and diversity of Toronto’s restaurants and inspire residents to patronize local eateries. Feature menus will be available by takeout, delivery, patio dining and/or indoor dining. Menus will offer two items – a main and either an appetizer or dessert – and will range in price from $15 to $50 per person, plus taxes and gratuity.
  • Dine With Your Neighbours will encourage Torontonians to dine with their neighbours on a driveway, porch, front lawn, balcony or their local restaurant patio to share a meal together during a one-night event, as part of the DineTOgether program.
  • StrollTO will provide a way for residents to get outside and get to know their neighbourhood’s hidden gems. StrollTO’s 140 unique, self-guided itineraries were created in partnership with First Story and Heritage Toronto and will showcase Toronto’s hidden gems and stories. StrollTO will also offer guided in-person weekend neighbourhood walks, in select neighbourhoods, in partnership with local community groups and experts. Additional StrollTO neighbourhood activations will include Poems for Your Path and NoVacancy art installations. StrollTO also will present Soundtracks of the City – playlists that combine 425 songs that feature more than 500 different local artists or acts, showcasing songs in 23 different languages.
  • BigArtTO is a city-wide, temporary public art campaign that will encourage residents to explore their neighbourhoods again. Each of the program’s 29 sites will digitally project a neighbourhood-specific, customized artwork created by Toronto artists onto a local building or landmark. The program will run for 11 weeks as part of ShowLoveTO and ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, with two to three locations per week. Each projection will play for three hours, Wednesday through Saturday, providing more than 350 hours of free, temporary public art.
  • ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022 celebrates Toronto’s exceptional major public art and the artists behind it. Discover creativity and community across the city here
  • LoveTO will feature 25 illuminated hearts distributed in wards across the city and one at City Hall. Developed in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, the LoveTO hearts will be placed close to main streets to spread love to Toronto businesses, especially in neighbourhoods hardest hit by the pandemic. Residents can snap, tag and share using #ShowLoveTO.
  • ActiveTO provides residents routes to get outside and active every weekend. Times and locations are available here
  • ActiveArtsTO, in partnership with OpenStreetsTO, will support recreation, cultural animation and community engagement along ActiveTO’s Lake Shore Boulevard West route on Sunday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Offerings will include pop-up art and activations.
  • Arts in Your Neighbourhood will present dance, music and theatre performances, murals, large-scale video projections, and art installations in public parks, main streets, sidewalks, parking lots and cafés.
  • CaféTO patio patrons can enjoy nearly 1,200 on-street or sidewalk patios across the city, as well as expanded dining space on private property, such as in plaza parking lots. Curb lane (on street cafes) will be in place up until early November. New this winter, people can enjoy a whole new patio season as sidewalk cafes are permitted through April 2022.
  • The Amplified Live Music on Patios pilot builds on CaféTO by facilitating live entertainment on participating patios until October 31. Residents can find a patio near them by using Destination Toronto’s website
  • HistoricTO is a time-ticketed, guided neighbourhood walking tour experience anchored at Toronto History Museums that connects Toronto’s communities by providing equitable and inclusive access to local history, heritage and land-based learnings. Tour schedule and tickets are available here
  • Cultural Loops offers self-guided tours that will feature outside-the-core neighbourhoods, and highlight public art, murals, local history, architecture and green spaces.
  • Attractions Week, in partnership with Toronto Attractions Council and Destination Toronto, encourages residents to discover Toronto’s premier attractions again, or for the first time, with special promotions, experiences and exhibits from Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 10.

More information about ShowLoveTO is available here

ShowLoveTO is produced by the City of Toronto in association with Founding Sponsor American Express and in partnership with Destination Toronto. ShowLoveTO programs are funded by the Government of Ontario and sponsored by The Carpenters Union Local 27, Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, Oxford Properties, Downtown AutoGroup and Equinix. ShowLoveTO programs would not be possible without the support of OCAD University, AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc. and Media Partners Bell Media and Rogers Sports and Media.

The City continues to encourage all residents to show their love for Toronto by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Toronto Public Health (TPH) is holding a mobile pop-up vaccination clinic during the ShowLoveTO launch event (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) to provide first and second COVID-19 vaccinations to area residents.


“As we look to rebuild our city, ShowLoveTO is our opportunity to show our love for the small businesses, restaurants and main streets that make our neighbourhoods so vibrant. The many programs that are part of this new initiative will provide residents the chance to experience their city in different ways and to participate in their local community. Now that vaccine uptake has increased and as we look at reopening our city, now is the time to reconnect with our favourite restaurants, businesses, and artists and discover something new.”

– Mayor John Tory

“ShowLoveTO provides pathways to connect safely with the people, places and things we love about our City. From self-guided outdoor walking tours, to public art to restaurant feature menus there is something for everyone.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“For more than a year, Ontario’s tourism and culture industries have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – these two major industries bring people together and our province to life. The Government of Ontario is supporting initiatives like ShowLoveTO that are finding new and exciting ways to safely engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating jobs and boosting the economy.”

– Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

“Our city is filled with new experiences and ‘Never Have I Ever’ moments no matter how much you have already explored. Our dynamic neighbourhoods, restaurants, arts and culture scene and hospitality businesses have faced immense challenges and this is a vital moment to support them.”

– Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Development, Destination Toronto

“ShowLoveTO will support our local economy by celebrating art, culture and community. Through innovative and inclusive partnerships, it will drive people to the city’s Business Improvement Areas and main streets to safety engage, explore and shop all of Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods.”

– John Kiru, Executive Director, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas

“Small businesses are so often the heart of our communities and neighbourhoods, but they need our continued to support to thrive. We are proud to be the founding sponsor of ShowLoveTO to help encourage all Torontonians to rediscover and support the local places they love.”

– Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager, Merchant Services, American Express Canada

About Destination Toronto

Toronto’s visitor economy is a vital economic engine for the city, generating more than $10 billion in economic activity and supporting 70,000 jobs in 2019. Destination Toronto’s mandate is to reflect the breadth and diversity of Toronto’s people, places and culture to inspire residents and visitors to meet, visit and explore our city. Operating in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Destination Toronto markets and promotes the city to global travellers, attracts and supports major meetings and events, and supports local businesses to maximize the opportunities of visitor spending. For more information please visit here

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media contact: Media Relations,