Toronto as a city has had a lack of culture for as long as I can remember.
It’s not to say that there is no culture in Toronto, but having been born and raised in the city, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand what a multi-cultural and diverse city Toronto really is;
which has made understanding what its culture is, was or has been throughout the years…
Look into the nightlife and entertainment scene in Toronto and outside of a handful of talented artists and musicians, lies no “style” that has set Toronto apart from other cities in Canada or the world for that matter. We’ve always been a little confused and simply considered a “Big City”. One that has always featured a little bit of everything.
Since 2018 though, Cannabis legalization has been a strong common ground for Canadians to come together and talk about around the country and especially in Toronto after the private boom. Whether you are for or against Cannabis, it has been a hot topic and of course, something new to experience for those who have never tried.
Cannabis is a single topic that has created controversy but has still provided a substantial common ground and possible identity for a city that has never had one in the past. Toronto is known to be a city that has acquired multiple identities and acted as a melting pot for everyone to mix together. Unlike some cities in the United States, people who immigrate to Canada and Toronto specifically have always been encouraged to continue to be who they are and uphold the Traditions from where they came from. It’s what gives Toronto its diversity and multi-cultural identity – yet it hasn’t defined what its culture is.
With tourism on the rise, Cannabis is a topic that people from everywhere around the world are getting excited about when visiting. Though most Torontonians would rather complain about the vast amount of cannabis stores (and rightfully so), the launch of the privatized retail industry injected much needed funds into the economy that was crumbling due to COVID-19. Privatizing retail allowed for store fronts to be rejuvenated during a time where we saw businesses closing on an almost daily basis.
Cannabis Innovation is leading us towards the future
The industry is now becoming more innovative with its product offerings from the hundreds of flavours and types of Edibles to the many practical, every day Topicals on top of the classic consumption methods of Flower, Pre Rolls, Vapes and Extracts. Tourists visiting the city and province now have the ability to experience new, unique and innovative products which are directly supporting Canadian businesses while having a topic to converse about when they’ve left.
Cannabis Tourism in Toronto specifically cannot be anything like it is in Amsterdam, due in part to the Smoke Free Act in Ontario, Toronto does not have the ability to legally offer indoor smoking lounges but advocates for consumption spaces have made it clear: We don’t need indoor smoking spaces.
The goal of consumption spaces and cannabis tourism should be built around education and safety. Smoking outdoors is here to say – but indoors, Food and Drink should be able to be served freely along with regulated product.
How can Toronto benefit from Cannabis Tourism?
With recreational cannabis at the door step of the country, we as Canadians should be making it just as easy for both Residents and Tourists to consume safely, with the education required for those that want to learn.
Consumption Spaces are vital to extending knowledge and since retailers are the only legally licensed bodies to sell cannabis in brick and mortar, it should start with supporting those who have the ability to offer these types of spaces. It would extend beyond community and aid in the growth of the retail sector which is needed for this industry.
Given the results of a survey where Toronto recently ranked as one of the most disappointing cities to visit according to tourists – there is clearly work that needs to be done and sooner then later if we want to continue to see Tourism numbers rise. Being considered a “Big City” with “Tall Buildings” isn’t attracting people here for the long term or having them return.
How many times can visitors go to Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, Casa Loma or the Distillery District?
Toronto needs to give visitors a reason to visit more than once and cannabis consumptions spaces could be the key to growing tourism and driving repeat visits.