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Our History

Nancy Ross, Founding President of CTGA of Toronto

Outline History of CTGA of Toronto

A group of guides working in Toronto got together as a way of networking with each other. They formed a steering committee which formalized an organization to

  • Promote professional development
  • Provide opportunities for continuing education
  • Facilitate networking
  • Encourage professional integrity and ethical conduct in our dealings with each other and with the public
  • Co-operate with Canadian and foreign Guide Associations

The Association was officially constituted as the “Canadian Tour Guide Association (Toronto Chapter)”. It was hoped that other chapters would develop in other Canadian cities, name themselves similarly and ultimately form a national umbrella group.

It successfully recruited 50 members in its first year of existence and included members from several Toronto area tour operators and destination management companies.

Since its beginnings, CTGA has published newsletters to inform our members and organized several annual outings to re-educate our members through a series of fam tours.

CTGA was a finalist in competition for the Toronto Tourism Award for Corporate Services

CTGA joined the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA). Since then we have participated in the annual International Tourist Guide Day celebrations every year except 2003. The list of ourInternational Tourist Guide Day projects can be found on our website. Some members of CTGA have attended each of the WFTGA Conventions held biennially since then.

Our name was officially changed to Canadian Tour Guide Association of Toronto and registered with the Registrar of the Province of Ontario.

We honoured several people and institutions for their promotion of tourism including Mr. Ed Mirvish, the Toronto Star newspaper, the Honourable Mayor Barbara Hall, CN Tower and many more.

The WFTGA Convention was held in Montreal. The hosts were our Montreal colleagues, l’Association professionnelle des guides touristique. We hosted their pre-Convention tour in Toronto and Niagara Falls.

CTGA members worked with OTEC on education course outlines for tour guides and tour directors leading to certification for new tour guides.

CTGA members worked with the Canadian Tourism Commission regarding immigration requirements for tour guides and tour directors.

Due to growing concerns among our membership a special Certification and Licensing Committee was formed to address these two issues.

Intense work concentrated on developing education course material as we felt certification and standards of excellence for guides were needed.

The City of Toronto, Tourism Development Department then chose George Brown College to run educational courses and CTGA joined the formed Advisory Committee working with the city, George Brown College and the tour operators. George Brown College has offered a course for new guides since 2003 every year until 2007, commencing again in 2009.

CTGA developed a brochure about our organization outlining our activities and achievements and programs.

CTGA reached an agreement with the Niagara Parks Commission that our members would only have to write their annual written test once every three years in recognition of the experience of our members.

CTGA became an official member of Tourism Toronto in the hope of further making our voice and opinions regarding tourism heard and contributing ideas that will help promote tourists coming to Toronto.

We also co-operated with the City of Toronto, Tourism Development Department on their recent project of volunteer Ambassadors (TAP) offering help in training the volunteers even though we felt strongly that it would create confusion for tourists understanding the difference between professional tour guides and ambassadors. We were questioning that tax dollars were being spent without real benefits to either the city or the tourists. We are still waiting for a copy of the report of the program’s first summer.

We were given the mandate during the last of the meetings with the City and the Tour Operators to create a manual for tour guides and establish a certification process.

We acquired a guide manual from a guide and travel writer in St. Catharines to use as the basis for our CTGA of Toronto Manual.

2008 –2010
The manual was prepared and went to print by early 2010. Copyrights will be established before publication. CTGA is working with OTEC (Ontario Tourism Education Corporation) and Travel College Canada to establish the process of certification.

We re-established contact with the City of Toronto regarding licensing and are told their Legal Department advises against licensing as it supposedly infringes on the constitutional right of free speech. We are now waiting for the City to give us their reasoning in writing and are consulting lawyers to refute that reasoning.

Fall of 2010
Three CTGA members have written the first examination based on the finished Manual.

History compiled and updated by Brigitta Gamm November 2010.