Toronto may not offer the hot weather and sandy beaches that many popular winter vacation destinations do but a new campaign is aiming to convince travellers that there are still plenty of reasons to brave the frigid cold and visit the city.

Tourism Toronto’s “Spotlight Weekends” campaign, which is being launched in collaboration with the City of Toronto, will provide visitors with two for one deals and other discounts on admission at dozens of popular attractions over four different weekends between the end of January and early March (Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, Feb. 7-9, Feb. 21-23 and Feb. 28 - March 1.)

The idea behind the campaign, officials say, is to boost tourism during a time of year that tends to be slow for hotel operators, restaurants and attractions.

“People don’t notice whether it is winter or summer when they are happy and I think that is what this is all about,” Mayor John Tory said during the official launch of the campaign at the CN Tower on Wednesday. “The spotlight program is about saying we are going to find ways to get people here and make them happy and quite frankly they will think winter is as good as summer.”

35 different partners

A total of 35 partners are participating in the “Spotlight Weekends” campaign, including the CN Tower, the Ontario Science Centre, the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and the Toronto Zoo.

Most of those partners are participating in all four weekends, though some are only participating on select weekends so people are encouraged to visit the program’s website for details.

“It is an opportunity for us to celebrate winter and bring travelers from our regional drive markets but also here in the city to take advantage of what we have going on over the course of the winter,” Tourism Toronto’s Chief Marketing Officer Jon Mamela told CP24. “You are going to save a great deal with what our partners have come to the table with.”

Tourism Toronto says that more than 27.5 million people visit the city annually, resulting in an economic impact of $10.3 billion.

Speaking with reporters, Tory conceded that some residents might gripe about winter in the city but he said that it could be a draw for visitors if promoted properly.

“I want to see us take more advantage of the fact that we have winter as a positive thing because it is a reality of life here in Toronto and it can be a very positive reality in many ways,” he said.