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Montreal Offers Event Planners Renovated Venues in a Move Towards Originality

Montreal

Imagine skating on the ice at the Bell Centre, the same place in which the Montréal Canadiens play hockey. That’s what attendees did at a TATA Communications event in May, and it was just one of many activities planned by Altitude C, a Montréal-based corporate event planning company, to help showcase the city.

“Montréal was a great destination since most of the guests were from Europe and Asia, and it changed their habits to be in a North American city,” says Ianik Lajeunesse (MPI Montréal & Québec Chapter), president of Altitude C. “Also, the city celebrated its 375th anniversary; therefore, many activities were happening in the city. Even more, we had the chance to visit the Montréal Canadiens—a very special moment for our international guests.”

Visitors have come to Montréal for decades to participate in its many festivals, learn its history and immerse themselves in its culture.

“Montréal is an awesome city to hold events,” Lajeunesse says. “We are a bilingual city, and as the cliché says, we are somewhere between North America and Europe. Lots of hotels and original venues are available.”

Business events are more creative, too, Lajeunesse says.

“Guests come to Montréal to live something different, get inspired and think outside of the box,” he says. “We have entered a more participative era, and guests want to be involved in events. Technology is everywhere, and the event industry is now offering immersive experiences.”

Consider, for example, the annual C2 Montréal conference.

“C2 Montréal definitely changed the positioning of Montréal, making obvious to the world how innovative and open to new ideas Montréalers are,” says Michel Bourdon, vice president of sales and convention services for Tourisme Montréal. “People are now daring to do things a little differently because they are in Montréal.”

The conference influences venue design, too.

“A concrete example is how Hotel Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth decided to include a C2 Montréal space to its massive renovations project,” Bourdon says. “The new Fairmont Hotel in Montréal is far from the traditional, and really reflects Montréal’s out-of-the-box way of thinking in its meeting spaces.”

Related Article: 4 Emerging Cities for Meeting and Event Destinations

The Queen Elizabeth

The Hotel Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth is Montréal’s largest hotel with 950 guest rooms. It’s where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their “bed-in for peace” and regularly hosts royalty and celebrities. Recent property renovations include a new restaurant and bar, a multi-purpose venue named Agora and new space on the 21st floor called Espace C2, which occupies one wing of the floor and the rooftop terrace, accommodating up to 220 guests.

Fairmont The Queen ElizabethPhoto credit: Fairmount Hotel The Queen Elizabeth

We are very proud to be able to offer, as of this fall, a modern and functional gathering place in the heart of Montréal,” C2 President Richard St-Pierre said in a statement. “Ideal for business meetings, conferences and executive retreats, this space is designed to adapt to client needs and features technologically leading-edge equipment that can transform the place and the ambience.”

David Connor, regional vice president - Eastern Canada for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, says this space is special.

“This first permanent space by C2 is unique and will change the way meetings are conducted,” Connor said in a statement. “With its inspiring and original programming, it will enable us to attract a local and international clientele. The very structure of this space will also transform the urban landscape and allow our guests to enjoy outstanding rooms and a terrace with a breathtaking view over downtown.”

Au Sommet Place Ville Observatory

Au Sommet Place Ville Marie’s new 46th-floor 360 Observation Deck for events. The space accommodates up to 200 people and is rentable for a variety of functions.

Au Sommet Place Ville

Photo credit: Au Sommet Place Ville

Closer to the ground, the Alexandra Pier is a cruise terminal located in the Old Port. Currently under renovation, improvements will include better traffic flow for buses, a green rooftop, a new observation tower and event spaces. The Port Centre, perfect for cocktail events, is now open, while the prime networking location the Esplanade and the Tower will open in 2019.

Le Mount Stephen Hotel

Planners seeking to book events at a hotel should consider the new Le Mount Stephen, a 90-room boutique hotel that was once a mansion; the AC Hotel Montréal, which opens in February with 5,910 square feet of event space; the Four Seasons Hotel Montréal, set to open at the end of 2018 with a 6,000-square-foot ballroom; or the Humaniti Hotel, opening in 2020 with meeting space, a 100-seat restaurant and a lounge bar.

La Mount Stephen HotelPhoto credit:Le Mount Stephen Hotel

A surge of visitors to Montréal has helped supercharge the hotel boom,” Aili McConnen wrote for The New York Times. “Montréal is on track to hit 11.2 million tourists by the end of 2017, up 20 percent from 2013, according to the Conference Board of Canada and Tourisme Montréal.”

There appears to be something elemental drawing visitors and groups to the city.

“Montréal is a big city with a human face,” Bourdon says. “Meeting planners are always surprised how easy it is to make connections in Montréal.”

Lajeunesse says that planners can expect very cool venues to hold events.


About the Author

Jason Hensel
Jason Hensel

Jason Hensel is a freelance writer and former editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes improv comedy, bacon and books.