Virginia Loves Canadians


A delegation of Virginia tourism officials, including Governor Terry McAuliffe, stopped by Toronto last night (Sept. 24) during a two-day trade mission to Canada to host a special “Taste of Virginia” reception.

Guests were treated to all things Virginia, including fresh oysters, a variety of cheeses, wine and craft beer.

McAuliffe welcomed guests and called the Canadian market, Virginia’s top source for international visitors, “spectacular.”

“You’ve got 50 states to choose from, but let’s be honest, we’ve got 28 miles of coastal beaches, we’ve got mountains, great history, great climate and great cuisine and shopping,” he said. “We’ve got it all. It’s a great place to visit.”

In 2013, Virginia welcomed more than 511,000 Canadians (54% from Ontario), with 2014 numbers projected to be up by about 5%.

Little known to Canadians, Virginia is the fifth largest producer of wine in the US, with more than 250 wineries. Another fast emerging segment is the craft beer industry, with more than 100 breweries available.

Officials also noted that the state, which still boasts the tagline, “Virginia Is For Lovers,” is very accessible, with a strong drive market (it’s only 10-12 hours from Toronto), plenty of air (with service from Air Canada, Porter Airlines, American and United), and even rail.

Pictured (above) at the Toronto event are (l-r) Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Rita McClenny, president of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and McAuliffe. Below, Juan Alsace, new Consulate General of the United States, and another picture of Governor McAuliffe.