International Conference on 
Parallel Architecture and Compilation Techniques
Toronto, Canada
October 25-29, 2008

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If you are looking for PaCT (Parallel Computing Technologies), please follow this link: PaCT-2007.

The Seventeenth International Conference on
Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques (PACT)

Holiday Inn on King
Toronto, CANADA
October 25-29, 2008

Conference Venue | Traveling to Toronto
Toronto Local Information | Visa Information

Toronto - Local Information(*)

Toronto is the capital of the Ontario province, and the largest city in Canada. The population of Toronto and its suburbs (aka GTA = Greater Toronto Area) is 5.5 million+. English is the main language in Toronto. Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world with about half of its residents born outside of Canada.
Toronto's Official Website.

Orientation: The city is located on the north-western shore of Lake Ontario. Most streets are on a grid system (i.e., north-south & east-west). Street numbers on north-south streets increase as you go north (away from the lake). Yonge Street is the central street that runs north-south. Yonge street is said to be the longest street in the world with a length of 1,896km (1,178 miles). Street numbers on east-west streets increase as you go away from Yonge Street.

Public Transit: Getting around the city is very easy by public transit (called the TTC). There are subways, buses and streetcars. When entering the TTC you pay a fare and can obtain a slip of paper called a transfer (either from the bus or streetcar driver or from a red machine in subway station entrances). A transfer allows you to transfer from one TTC vehicle to another any number of times and is valid as long as you are making one continuous journey, in one direction, without stopovers. If you pay cash (with exact change), a trip fare is $2.75. At the entrance to any subway station, you can buy 5 tokens for $11.25 ($2.25 per ride), or a weekly pass (valid for unlimited use from Monday to Sunday) for $32.25. TTC also offers one day passes for $9. A day pass allows for unlimited one-day travel on all regular TTC services. On Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, one day pass can be used for 2 adults and up to 4 children/youths 19 age or younger.

Toronto Map: You can find a pretty detailed map of GTA and its public transit system at any subway stations. The map is free. Just ask for a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) map at one of the subway station booths. There is a nice online map here.

Weather: The average daily maximum temperature in October is 14C and the average daily minimum is 7C. For more information about Toronto's weather please check out this page.

Time: Toronto is in the Eastern Time Zone (same zone as New York).

Safety: Toronto is one of the safest large cities in North America. (See this page for statistics.)

Telephones: To call direct to international locations, dial 011 followed by the country code. (To dial within North America, just dial 1 followed by the area code.)

News: Two popular newspapers are Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

Currency: The currency is the Canadian dollar (currency conversions). ATMs are available everywhere, and Mastercard, Visa and American Express credit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants. It's customary to tip waiters (about 15%) and cab drivers. In shops and restaurants, advertised prices do not include provincial sales tax (8%) and the goods and services tax (5%), which apply to almost all items (but not all).

About Canada: The official languages are English and French. The country is divided into ten provinces and three territories. Quebec City, the oldest permanent European settlement in Canada celebrated its 400th anniversary this year, although the Vikings briefly settled in Newfoundland around A.D. 1000. Canada became an independent Dominion on July 1, 1867, and underwent several territorial expansions between then and July 1, 1949 (when Newfoundland joined Confederation).

Visiting Toronto

The free weekly Now magazine includes extensive listings and reviews of events going on in town. Get it from the green newspaper boxes on streets. Eye magazine (yellow newspaper boxes) is another free weekly paper that also has listings.

The Toronto Tourism site has lots of information about Toronto. The My Toronto Meeting web site also has useful information for visitors. (See their event calendar and special deals section, which has coupons for dining and shopping in Toronto.) Below are some Toronto highlights.


Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods with distinctive characters. Here are some of the most popular:

·         Queen Street West: Restaurants, cafes, bars and shops make Queen St a major tourist attraction.

·         The Distillery District: Galleries, restaurants, craft stores, etc. all located in the beautiful brick lined streets of the largest collection of 19th century industrial architecture in North America. (Near the lake, east of Parliament St.)

·         Kensington Market: Funky shops. South of College St., west of Spadina Ave.

·         St Lawrence Market: Toronto's oldest neighbourhood, with lots of historic buildings, centred around the market itself. Around King Street East and Jarvis Street.

·         Chinatown: Toronto has several Chinatowns, but the oldest one is around Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue.

·         Little Italy: Italian restaurants, etc. Along College Street, west of Bathurst Street. (Walk west from the Bahen Centre.)

·         Greektown: Greek restaurants, etc. Along the Danforth near Pape subway station.

·         The Annex: Tree-lined streets with Victorian homes, nice restaurants along Bloor St. The neighbourhood is centred along Bloor St between Bathurst St and Avenue Road. (Walk northwest from the Bahen Centre.)

·         Yorkville: Expensive shops and art galleries. Just north of Bloor St between Avenue Road and Yonge Street.

·         West Queen West: lots of small art galleries, etc. Along Queen Street West between Dufferin St and Bathurst St.

·         Cabbagetown: picturesque Victorian houses. It's centered around Carlton Street, between Sherbourne Street and the Don River.

·         Bloor West Village: Nice little shops and restaurants. Centre of Ukrainian community. Along Bloor Street between Jane St and Runnymede.

·         The Beaches: Boardwalk along the shore, parks, small shops. Along Queen Street East, east of Coxwell Avenue.

·         Little India: Indian restaurants, shops, etc. Gerrard Street around Coxwell.

·         The Village: The centre of Toronto's gay and lesbian neighbourhood is along Church Street between Carlton and Bloor, just east of the Wellesley subway station.


·         Royal Ontario Museum: general collection (history and life sciences), including newly opened wing designed by Daniel Liebeskind. At Museum subway station.

·         Across the street is the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.

·         Unfortunately, the Art Gallery of Ontario is currently closed for renovations. The gallery opens November 14th, 2008.

·         But the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is open. It's the best collection of Group of Seven paintings, as well as other Canadian art, in a lovely setting just outside of the city.

·         Bata Shoe Museum: Where else can you find a museum devoted entirely to shoes? Located at St George subway station.

·         There are lots of cinemas, including a couple of repertory cinemas, in downtown Toronto. The Bloor, Carlton, Cinematheque, Cumberland, Royal and Varsity cinemas are within easy walking distance of the conference site. Check out the complete movie listings . Scotiabank Theatre is the closest to the Holiday Inn on King hotel.

·         There are always lots of plays running in Toronto. See Now magazine for listings and reviews. Anything by Soulpepper is always a good bet.

Tourist Attractions

     Discounts for some of the attractions can often be found at AttractionsOntario.

·         The CN Tower (visible from most places downtown) provides a fantastic view of the city. The main event of the conference will take place at the Horizons Cafe located in the CN Tower.

·         Harbourfront: arts, music, theatre by the lake. Walk southwest from Union Station.

·         The Ontario Science Centre: A science museum, good for kids.

·         The Hockey Hall of Fame: Shrine to the national sport. Near King subway station.

·         Casa Loma: a hundred-year-old, hundred-room castle in downtown Toronto. Near Dupont subway station.

·         The Design Exchange: a small but nice design museum. Near King subway station.

·         Fort York: a 200-year-old fort near the lake, west of Bathurst St.

·         Queen's Park: Ontario's Legislature Building. Free tours available. At Queen's Park subway station.

·         High Park is one of the nicest parks in Toronto's large park system. Near High Park subway station.

·         Toronto Zoo is also worth a visit.

Shopping Districts

See neighbourhood listings above, but also:

·         Eaton Centre: glass-enclosed shopping centre with all the usual stores. Stretches between Dundas and Queen subway stations.

·         Bloor Street West: upscale stores (Holt Renfrew, etc.). Around Bay subway station.

·         Queen Street West: the stretch of Queen Street West, west of University. Go west from Osgoode subway station.

·         Yorkdale Mall: very large mall with all the usual stores. Yorkdale subway station.

Outside Toronto

·         Niagara Falls is 130 km from Toronto. Day-long bus tours are available.

·         You can travel to nearby major cities by train: Montreal (5 hours), Kingston (2.5 hours), Ottawa (4.5 hours).

·         For wilderness lovers, there are lots of hiking trails (e.g., the 800km-long Bruce Trail) and provincial parks in Ontario. (The biggest, Algonquin Park, is 7630 square kilometres.)

The Ontario Tourism site has information about the whole province.


(*) Most of the information presented here was recycled from the websites of previous conferences held in Toronto.