Thanks for the feedback, folks.
George, maybe a cultural difference but here in North America if you were to phone someone to, ostensbily, 'chit chat' about their design style or awards they'd won, it would take about two seconds before they said something to the effect of 'what do you want, what are you trying to sell me?' And many wouldn't be that polite.
I live in the GTA. And yes, calling on doors or telemarketing is now taking life into ones' hands. Business owners really loathe cold callers, especially in Toronto and GTA where many offices will simply refuse to speak with you, and with the advent of the internet, I'm not sure its the most efficient use of your time unless you have a good closing ratio.
I think trade shows are a good option depending on the gate, and what they are offering.
My only thought is to connect through other channels as others have suggested.
Are you on Linked IN? What about advertising in magazines specific to the clients you are trying to reach? And hotels often have social functions, would you be able to display your work at any where the commercial clients most likely would attend? Toronto is certainly a meca of hotels -
I think competition for the same market which may be shrinking is going to mean introductions are valuable.
There is a periodical called `Reed Construction Data`which is printed in Ontario. Reed has an office in North York if I recall. The periodical provides the bids in advance for construction jobs and is specific to the industry. They also have other media options and I believe on-line web databases which you must pay to use. The cost to subscribe is something you would need to inquire about.