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MPI Toronto Chapter E-Newsletter: April 2021
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Were You There?

The Awards Gala took place virtually on Thursday, March 4, and it was a remarkable gathering of our MPI community. Echoing President Margaret Binns' motto for the year, the Awards Gala Committee was thrilled to use "Inspiring Hope" as the theme for the event.

The focus of this annual gala is to recognize excellence in active members for their commitment, service and involvement in the chapter, industry and community at large. We had an exceptional group of 33 nominees up for nine prestigious awards. Way to shine, industry peers! Albeit it was virtual, that didn't stop attendees from enjoying an evening of entertainment, networking and of course ... celebration! A special note of thanks to all our incredible sponsors; without you we could not have made this happen!

On behalf of the Awards Gala Committee and your MPI Toronto community, congratulations to all nominees and recipients! We look forward to seeing you all (*fingers crossed* in-person!) at the 32nd Annual Awards Gala in 2022.


The Toronto Chapter dedicated February as Celebration Month. Dwayne Rutherford, Connie Cay-Santos and Emilia Kim talked about diversity and traditions.

Black History Month

Dwayne shared with us some of the important facts about Black History month.

Black History month dates back to 1995, when Dr. Jean Augustine officially declared February as Black History Month in Canada.

As a Black man, he needed to be more educated on Black history, Black people’s accomplishments and how they helped to make this world a better place. He learned that in about 1500 BC, Black Egyptian people developed the sundial. Black people also invented many things that improved aspects of life, such as the traffic light, light bulb filament, elevators, refrigeration trucks, etc. If we know more about Black history and Black people’s accomplishments, we will have a more inclusive society, and Black people’s lives would be deemed more valued.

Dwayne also likes to engage his children and other youths to learn about their ancestors. In today’s world, the media portray Black people to be all the same; however, this is not true. They have different beliefs, expectations and fears.

Chinese Lunar New Year, 2021 - Year of the Ox

Connie is a Chinese Canadian. She shared with us the Lucky New Year book by Mary Man-Kong, which explained the Chinese Lunar New Year customs and rituals. A few highlights were:

There are two ways to say Happy New Year: “Kung Hee Fat Choy” (wishing someone prosperity) and “San Lin Fai Lok” (Happy New Year)

Sweeping – an act to sweep off the old and welcome the new

Oranges/Mandarin oranges – symbolize sweetness

Noodles – represent long life, the longer the better

Red envelopes – It is a tradition during Lunar New Year to visit relatives. Older generations will give younger ones red envelopes that contain money inside. More money = more luck.

Firecrackers – In ancient times, firecrackers were used to scare away evil spirits. Today, firecrackers are a notable tradition to express happiness and invite good luck.

Dragon – A Chinese dragon is a symbol of good luck. Dragon Dance is often performed during Lunar New Year; the longer the dragon is in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community.

Celebrations – Bright colours like red, yellow, gold and orange signify colourful experiences throughout Lunar New Year.

Korean Lunar New Year - Seollal

Emilia was born in Seoul, South Korea, and she continues her traditions here in Canada in celebrating Lunar New Year (Seollal). “Sae Hae Bok Mani Badu Sayo” is Happy New Year in Korean, meaning I wish you to receive a lot of luck in the New Year.

Seollal is a three-day celebration, a time for families to catch up with each other and pay respect to ancestors. The first day of celebration begins with Charye, a memorial service that prays for the peace and good health of the ancestors. Family members will dress in hanbok, bow to greet the ancestors, followed by ritual food. After the meal, kids perform a New Year’s bow to elder family members in exchange of blessing and New Year’s money (pocket money). Families would partake in outdoor activities like flying kites, one of the traditions during Lunar New Year.


The Toronto Chapter celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Just Networking on March 18. We all played a game called Limerick. A limerick is a humorous poem consisting of five lines. Here are the rules: Rhymes on lines 1, 2 and 5. Another rhyme on lines 3 and 5. Rhyme is ‘da DUM da,” lines 3 and 4 are shorter. Attendees were divided into groups to work on their own limericks, then circled back to share their poems. It was great to see the engagement, energy level and talents among MPI members. Some teams came up with more than one limerick. Here are a couple to share with you.

“There was once a member named May
She volunteered her time every day
Her boss kept her busy
Which made her hair frizzy
Only to find out there was no pay”

“There was once a group called MPI
They all like to eat a lot of pie
Talking about the meetings they plan
And the events they ran
It caused them to drink a lot of rye”

Hope to see you all at the next Just Networking event on May 18.

Special thanks to our sponsors: D.E. Systems and Ignite


On April 6 and 7, MPI Toronto hosted two events in the lead-up to MPI Global’s Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID).

The first event – Connect Up – was a virtual student networking event, which provided an opportunity for over 30 currently enrolled college or university students to connect with leading industry planners and suppliers over Zoom. It featured an opening keynote speaker, Zaman Ishaad, who gave insights into his career path and how the MPI Toronto Chapter helped him transition on his career path from student to professional. We’d like to thank our generous sponsors, D.E. Systems and Ignite magazine.

On April 7, we hosted our Kick-Off event where MPI Toronto members came together to network, unite and lift each other's spirits in these trying times. Carol Priest Entertainment sponsored live music that opened the event, followed by opening remarks from MPI Toronto Chapter President Margaret Binns. Opportunities to win various prizes were sprinkled throughout the event thanks to our generous sponsors. Debbie Van der Beek shared her new community, named “Raindrops on Roses,” that she was inspired to create during COVID. She showcases planners and suppliers and their side hustles on social media. This fun event was closed out with an incredible aerial circus performance by A2D2 Aerial Dance Cirque Co.

Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors including Carol Priest Entertainment, A2D2 Aerial Dance Cirque Co., D.E. Systems and Ignite magazine. Without you, we could not have made this happen!

On behalf of the GMID Committee and your MPI Toronto community, thank you to everyone who attended. We look forward to being able to host an in-person GMID event for MPI Toronto members in 2022.

Have Your Heard?

This year's virtual meetings and events have provided unique and creative opportunities for the MPI Toronto Chapter to explore diverse partnerships with our local partners.

MPI Toronto Chapter celebrated the first Virtual Awards Gala on March 4, 2021. One hundred and twenty-two people attended for a night of inspiration, networking, prizes and fun! MPI Toronto Chapter celebrated nominees and award recipients who have made significant contributions to and fueled inspiration within the industry.

Early-bird registrants were entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of 50 bottles of wine kindly donated by Peller Estates, Andrew Peller Inc. The lucky winners had their wine glasses raised to cheer on the nominees and toast the awards recipients, celebrating virtually along with other members, nonmembers and students.

The Awards Gala and professional development workshops would not have been possible without our audiovisual partner, AV-CANADA, which kindly sponsored the event platform Hubilo for the evening of the Awards Gala.

From live customized artwork to personalized poems, our members and attendees were mesmerized by the work of The Idea Hunter and Everyday People Typewriter Poems, reflecting the theme of "Hope."

Attendees enjoyed building and strengthening connections at the networking reception, supported by our Welcome Partner Quebec City Business Destination. Dressed in their finest and ready to mingle, industry peers radiated a positive energy throughout the event!

Awards announced virtually during our awards presentation were supplied by Nothers The Award Store, a great keepsake for our winners to remember their influences during a difficult and pivotal year in the industry. Multiple awards were presented throughout the night that were sponsored by several partners:

Planner of the Year Award – Sponsored by Tourism Vancouver
Mentor of the Year Award – Sponsored by Impact AV Solutions
New Member of the Year Award – Sponsored by Fletcher Wright Associates Inc.

The CMP scholarship, generously sponsored in partnership with Destination Toronto, was also highlighted during the awards presentation portion of the event. The CMP scholarship will be presented at 2021’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

In the lead-up to MPI Global’s Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), we continued our celebration with GMID’s first kick-off event, celebrating the special, international day of advocacy that showcases the value of business meetings, conventions, trade shows and events that bring together our community.

An evening full of entertainment, prizes and networking, GMID Connect Up kicked off the event with a gentle song by Sky and Rose, by Carol Priest Entertainment and wrapped up the evening with inspirational aerial dancers of A2D2 Aerial Dance Cirque Co.

MPI Toronto Chapter would also like to recognize our yearlong partners — Registration Partner D.E. Systems and Media Partner Ignite magazine — for our ongoing partnerships and contribution.

Each and every one of our Strategic Partners have unrelenting drive to create positive change that is inspiring. The MPI Toronto Chapter and our proud partners share a profound sense of hope for an equitable future for our meetings and events industry. We are grateful to collaborate alongside the partners to share their unique values and stories with more members than ever before.


Fredericton Named to Global Top 21 List of Intelligent Communities

The City of Fredericton has been named to the Intelligent Community Forum’s (ICF) annual Smart21 list for the fifth time, Mayor Mike O’Brien has announced.

“As the only city east of the Toronto region to make the Smart21 list, we are incredibly proud to once again receive recognition on a global scale for the work that our community and its residents are doing to make Fredericton such a desirable place to live and work,” said O’Brien.

“This is great news for Fredericton and our region,” said Larry Shaw, CEO at Ignite and Knowledge Park. “Being part of this list, and the only city in Eastern Canada, really shows that we have what it takes to work collaboratively to improve our community while being able to compete globally.”

Fredericton joins 20 communities and eight nations in the world list of Smart21 Communities for 2021.
The official video announcement of this year’s Smart21 Intelligent Communities can be viewed here, via YouTube.

More information about ICF, the Intelligent Community Awards and the ICF Method can be found on their website.

Keyboard and Hands

Two Takeaways for Creating Successful Virtual Events for Your Small Business

Member Spotlight – Kathryn Wood, Canadian Golf Superintendents Association

The Communications Committee is always looking for new blog authors! If you have something you would like to write about, please send your suggestions to Shaina at

Don’t forget to check out the winter issue of meeting! Read some great articles on how to rethink, redefine and redesign.

How Are You Feeling?

A great way to unwind after a long day is to take some time for yourself. Whether that is in the form of reading a book, going for a walk, doing yoga or going for a run; do what works for you.

Here are some suggestions from fellow members:

Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone: Indoor walk/aerobic programs for all ages
Emi Wong YouTube fitness and beauty: Fitness programs that range from 10 to 60 minutes
Yoga with Adriene: Yoga designed for all levels to calm and relieve a tired mind and body

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