Mississauga was just ranked the most-loved travel destination in Ontario
When people visit Canada from abroad, they're generally looking for one of two things: Big, sprawling natural landscapes, like the photogenic mountain-side communities of Alberta and B.C., or big, sprawling urban capitals, like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Or so most people would think.
I mean, who'd want to vacation in the suburbs of Ontario when they could go whale watching in P.E.I.? Or pour maple syrup all over Bonhomme? (That's what they do at Carnaval, right?)
According to a newly-published Tourism Sentiment Index (TSI), a lot of international travellers do in fact prefer to visit the suburbs of major Canadian cities than anywhere else in the country — chiefly Richmond, B.C., and Mississauga, Ontario.
Coming in at spots number 34 and 42 on the TSI's "100 most loved travel destinations around the world," Richmond and Mississauga have respectively been ranked the first and second "most loved" places in Canada.
Only three other Canadian cities even made the top 100 in 2021's ranking: Kelowna, B.C., took spot 96, Canmore, Alberta, took spot 97 and Shuswap, B.C., narrowly beat out Antwerp, Belgium, and Pensacola, Florida, to take spot 99.
Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Halifax, Ottawa and literally every other city in the country failed to make the list.
Well, bunk as the results might seem, the methodology behind the TSI's ranking is actually quite impressive.
"To be able to name the top 100, we kicked off 2022 with an intensive study of our Tourism Sentiment Index data — that's 1.6 billion online conversations and content pieces publicly available about 21,330 global destinations," writes the organization.
Launched in 2018, the TSI purports to use "cutting-edge technology" and "the power of artificial intelligence" to decipher sentiment from human expression. Its technology then analyzes 50 different tourism assets to generate a "sentiment" score for any given major city. These scores can be viewed in real time or refined down to a specific period, such as the newly-published 2021 list.
"These Leading Places are the 100 most loved destinations in 2021 according to what people really feel. No one has paid to be named. No surveys have suggested an answer. Word of mouth built this list, unprompted and unbiased," reads the intro for this year's ranking.
"Each of these 100 destinations has earned the love and an impressive Tourism Sentiment Score during one of the toughest years the tourism industry has faced."
Knowing that the ranking is based on sentiment, and knowing how people tend to speak about Toronto online... it makes perfect sense that Mississauga beat out The 6ix to claim the only spot on this list for any Ontario city.
It's also got Square One, which is low-key the best shopping mall in the GTA. Come at me, Yorkdale.
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