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TORONTO, ON-Two 500-plus room hotels here are being renovated and re-flagged. A 586-room hotel adjacent to the Toronto Convention Centre has just reopened as an InterContinental hotel following a $24-million renovation and the largest hotel at the Toronto Pearson International Airport is now a Park Plaza Hotel and undergoing a $4.5-million renovation.

The 586-room InterContinental Toronto Centre is located on Front Street, in the heart of the city’s theater district. It is owned by Pension Fund Realty Limited. The renovation project included refurbishments to all guest rooms and public areas, as well as the creation of a Club Floor with 90 exclusive rooms and suites.

Tony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, says this is good news for the city. “The Toronto hotel industry is regaining momentum, and it is encouraging to see the arrival of such a well respected brand to the country’s most popular entertainment district,” says Pollard. “Investment of this magnitude in the luxury hotel sector shows a long-term belief in this city.”

Meanwhile, the 524-room Carlton Place Hotel–the largest hotel at the Toronto Pearson International Airport and the largest hotel in the AFM portfolio–has been rebranded as the Park Plaza Toronto Airport and is undergoing a $4.5-million renovation.

AFM Hospitality holds the franchise rights and Royal Equator owns the hotel. The renovation includes a new, enlarged lobby, totally refurbished business guest rooms, redecorated meeting and conference rooms, dining facilities and lounge.

“The decision to convert to a Park Plaza Hotel was based on a careful analysis of the hospitality market in general and the Toronto Airport area specifically,” says William Brown, managing director of Royal Equator. “We believe the international growth of the Park Plaza brand … will enable us to re-position the hotel successfully and exceed our fair share of the business traveler to Toronto.”

Glen Blake, AFM Hospitality’s franchise division president, says the introduction of the Park Plaza brand to a critical market like the Toronto airport area represents a major step toward establishing the worldwide Park Plaza brand in key Canadian markets. “In conjunction with the 220-room Park Plaza Hotel at the Vancouver Airport in British Columbia, we believe we are properly positioned to expand the Park Plaza brand in the major urban centers across Canada over the next three years, and we anticipate further announcements in the near future.”

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