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Delivering on the Wow Factor – Canada Leverages Unique Destinations, Intellectual Capital to Attract Business Events

Vancouver Convention Centre

By: MPINJ | May 31, 2019

There are plenty of factors to weigh when considering a location to host meetings: air access, the selection of unique spaces to meet and network, delegate safety, environmental sustainability, and diversity top many lists. Now consider how Millennials are reshaping the meeting landscape with their desire for less formal places, and engaging, interactive experiences. Then there’s the “wow” factor – the ability of a destination to draw delegates. And let’s don’t forget content; content is king when conference organizers are competing for the attention of their delegates. So, is there one destination that checks all the boxes? Look north. Look to Canada.

When it comes to unique spaces to meet and network you almost can’t beat Canada’s environmentally sustainable conference centres. Delegate safety? Canada ranks in the top 10 world’s safest countries (in fact, genuine hospitality is a Canadian calling card). Progressive social policies, a federal government that supports and promotes innovation, a spectrum of destinations with only-in-Canada expertise across a variety of industries (and access to those experts to help augment conference agendas), all combine to make the world’s second largest nation a natural host for international business events.  Never considered Canada? Here’s what you’re missing:

Toronto is always a natural draw. Ranked fourth safest city in the world by TheToronto Economist, Toronto is the second largest financial centre in North America, and home to 40% of Canada’s corporate headquarters. A centre of excellence for life sciences, healthtech, AI and more, the city is often referred to as “Canada’s downtown” because of the wealth of cultural, culinary and sports experiences to be had here. An invitation to meet in this vibrant metropolis is always compelling with cool event spaces like the Royal Ontario Museum, Evergreen Brickworks, and the new Globe & Mail Centre to complement traditional conference spaces and hotels. In Canada’s lakeside downtown, dynamic arts experiences, big league sports, and one of the country’s most diverse culinary scenes creates the kind of vibe that draws planners and delegates alike.

Look further east to Halifax, where the Halifax Convention Centre is the largest, and smartest high-tech building in Atlantic Canada. At 120,000 square feet, the conventionHalifax centre is built to the highest environmental standards as a LEED Gold Certified facility, and outfitted with the latest technology. Halifax recently launched a “local" flavours program which highlights Nova Scotia food, culture and entertainment to international conferences. Just over one hour from New York and Boston, Halifax lures groups focused on technology and ocean sciences to its fabled shores.

Saskatoon is an up-and-comer in the world of global meetings. The very heart of Saskatchewan culture, education, scientific and agricultural innovation, meeting planners have plenty of choices when organizing conferences here: two conventionSasakotoon centres, and the newly opened REMAI Modern – a riverside art gallery showcasing contemporary and modern works — make exceptional meeting locations. Mix in this prairie city’s progressive culinary scene and you have all the ingredients you need for successful meetings and events. Don’t overlook neighbouring Calgary – the centre of the universe in Canada’s oil and gas sector, Calgary leverages their intellectual capital in cleantech, agri-business and more to attract global meetings. Last year heralded a boom in Calgary’s hotel scene, followed in 2019 with an announcement of the expansion of BMO Centre, which, once complete will become Canada’s largest convention space at almost one million square feet.

When it comes to inspired settings for conference, it’s hard to beat British Columbia. Vancouver tops many lists for its enviable location between mountains and sea, its luxury hotels, Double Platinum LEED Vancouver Convention Centre, and award-winning airport experience. But don’t overlook nearby Kelowna, in the Okanagan Valley, oftenKelowana compared to Napa Valley for the abundance of vineyards and orchards and a dynamic farm-to-fork culinary scene that enhances virtually any conference agenda. Surrounded by lakes, mountains and endless vineyards, Kelowna is centre of excellence for digital technologies, agriculture and viticulture, and is the ultimate hybrid urban/resort meeting spot.

Don’t limit your search to just these locations. Canada’s vast landscape is populated with countless urban, resort, and luxury destinations offering extraordinary experiences for groups of every size. To learn more, visit: www.businesseventscanada.ca 

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