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Saturday,  May 25, 2024 1:50 PM 

An evening with weird, wonderful Portland & Oregon

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  •   03-13-2015  10:38 am

An evening with weird, wonderful Portland & Oregon

Travel Oregon and Travel Portland brought tour operators, travel agents and media together in Toronto for an evening of presentations, conversation, and craft beer (Oregon-brewed, of course), featuring everything the state and city have to offer.

The self-proclaimed sweet spot of the Pacific Northwest has been sweeping across Canada over the past week, hitting Vancouver, Calgary and finally Toronto as part of a 2015 campaign promoting the state of Oregon and its proudly ‘weird’ city Portland as a travel destination.

“In addition to launching consumer marketing campaigns in B.C., we wanted to leverage our promotions with a travel adventure show as well,” Heather Anderson, tourism manager, USA, Canada & Oceania – representing Greater Portland, Travel Portland told

With the majority of travellers to Portland and Oregon currently hailing from B.C., the two destinations are now turning their attention to Alberta and Ontario in anticipation of the increasing interest in outdoor adventure, culinary and cultural travel – attractions which Travel Portland and Travel Oregon use to define themselves.

“Canada is our largest international in-house market,” said Lisa Itel, travel trade manager, the Americas & Oceania, Travel Oregon. “In the last few years we’ve seen double digit increases from Canada – 1.2 million people a year.”

The campaign took place in tandem with the launch of Air Canada’s direct service to Portland, which will depart from Calgary beginning May 1. The service will increase to twice-daily flights starting on June 1 and run through October, providing travellers with another flight option in addition to Air Canada’s current twice-daily service to Portland out of Vancouver.

Although not yet official, the presentation given by Itel included a suggestion that a direct flight from Toronto with Air Canada may be in the works, but it was made clear that Ontarians shouldn’t wait until then to experience Oregon’s array of attractions, spanning its 363 miles of public coast line (dubbed the ‘People’s Coast’) to the ancient fossil beds on its eastern side.

Oregon’s shoulder seasons make visits in the spring and fall months an attractive option to travellers looking for a different kind of getaway, offering year-round skiing at Mt. Hood, as well as 300 days of sunshine in Central Oregon.

Although the state has a reputation for rock climbing, golf, agricultural tourism and cycling, some lesser-known elements of Oregon’s tourism sector include its title as the largest beer trail in the West, and its riverboat cruising attractions on the Columbia & Snake Rivers.

Portland, presented by Anderson as a perfect blend of urban, agricultural and some undefined in-betweens, is a central hub for more than 500 food trucks, as well as microbreweries, farmers markets and tax-free shopping. Home to the world’s largest bookstore, bars on wheels and 14,973 acres of green space, she outlined the city’s mission to “keep Portland weird” by listing the ways in which it offers something for everyone.

“Some people may assume that Portland is a destination best suited for youth,” she said of the city’s tourism demographic, “but because of the natural beauty that our city is surrounded with, our shopping, our art, our cuisine, culture and history, we’ve really got activities for travellers of all ages.”

PHOTO: Heather Anderson, tourism manager, USA, Canada & Oceania – representing Greater Portland, Travel Portland; Corey Marshall, account director, Travel Oregon;  Lisa Itel, travel trade manager, the Americas & Oceania,​ Travel Oregon