Canadian consulate, 'Pop-up Canada,' will set up shop in Pittsburgh in April

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Sidney Crosby isn't the only Canadian with eyes for Pittsburgh.

"Pop-up Canada" will set up shop in Downtown Pittsburgh April 7-11. It's the first time the operations of a Canadian consulate will move to another city.

Representatives from the Consulate General of Canada in New York City said the visit will focus on shared trade, investment, energy and security issues between Canada and Western Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is one of five states covered by the New York office.

Events will be held in a yet-to-be-identified location on Smithfield Street, where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic.

The event will feature serious presentations and some lighthearted fun. Organizers look to partner with local sports, arts and entertainment programs. It is also an opportunity to showcase Canadian tourism, food and drinks.

Social media will help connect Canadians and Pittsburghers before and during the event, beginning with the Twitter account @CanadaPGH.

Long before Twitter, connections between Canada and Western Pennsylvania ran deep.

According to the consulate's website, two-way trade totals $23.1 billion.

"The Canada-Pennsylvania relationship is thriving," said Consul General John F. Prato in a statement. "Canada is, in effect, the state's No. 1 customer."

Nearly 22,000 Pennsylvanians are employed by Canadian-owned businesses, he said.

"Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania are intrinsic to the relationship," Mr. Prato added. "Our decision to bring 'Pop-Up' to Pittsburgh is in no small measure attributable to that overall success story."

Craig Davis, CEO of VisitPittsburgh, agreed. Mr. Davis grew up in Fort Erie, Ontario, near the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

He said the city is a natural choice for an event like this.

"The symmetry between Canada and Pittsburgh is pretty clear," he said, adding that the city has long been a destination for hockey, golf and shopping. "We draw a lot of Canadians to Pittsburgh, and we want Pittsburgh locals to travel the world."

In another development involving Canada, the 400-member Travel Media Association of Canada has chosen to meet in Pittsburgh for its annual convention in May. It marks the first time in the group's 20-year history that it will meet in a U.S. city. The only other time the group of travel writers met outside of Canada was four years ago in Wales.

The association chose Pittsburgh over Orlando, Fla., and will be here May 28-31.

Lauren Lindstrom: llindstrom@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1964.


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