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  Saturday, March 16, 2002



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WWF invasion pumps Toronto business

By MARYANNA LEWYCKYJ -- Toronto Sun

TORONTO --The arrival of WrestleMania's brawny superstars is beefing up business for Toronto shops, restaurants and hotels.

 More than 67,000 fans are expected to watch the action line at the SkyDome, while millions more around the world will tune in to the event on TV.

 "The economic impact for Toronto is quite significant," SkyDome president Norm Seagram said. "How to measure it, we leave to the economists."

 HOTEL TABS

 The tab for hotel stays, meals and other services for the World Wrestling Federation staff, crew and wrestlers alone is expected to hit $2 million.

 "We expect a very high increase in business," said Nick Maverick, of the Lone Star Cafe.

 Since the Lone Star is near the Crowne Plaza Hotel, WWF stars staying there have been dropping in.

 "We've noticed they eat a lot of steaks," Maverick said.

 Joe Bonavota, vice-president of Operations at Shopsy's, expects brisk business at downtown locations on Front and King Sts.

 "Obviously, it's a huge event and any time there's an event at the SkyDome, we get extra business," Bonavota said.

 "I don't think we'll be selling a lot of salads that day."

 WEAK DOLLAR

 Our weak Canadian buck is expected to get Americans to open their wallets wider this weekend.

 "Once they get here and realize how far their dollar will go, it boosts shopping, especially in areas like the Eaton Centre," said Ellen Flowers, of Tourism Toronto.

 Wayne Gretzky's restaurant isn't taking reservations tomorrow and expects a lineup.

 "We'll be very, very busy," general manager Michael Young said.

 "We're gearing up for increased business."

More on: WrestleMania 18




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