The Vancouver Convention Centre looks out over Vancouver’s Coal Harbour and, in the distance, the North Shore Mountains. Many of Canada’s event destinations are surrounded by stunning natural beauty. (Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang)
Event organizers have come up against monumental challenges since the pandemic began — creating engaging virtual events, managing tight budgets, and continuing to connect with their organizations’ members in meaningful ways online. Now more than ever, the events industry recognizes the power of face-to-face events, and it is crucial to deliver on attendees’ heightened expectations for unique experiences.
Across Canada, event organizers will find a wealth of opportunities to bring attendees back together in environments that inspire.
Many attendees are ready to step away from their screens and immerse themselves in vibrant in-person events that include compelling keynote speakers and business-to-business knowledge exchanges.
Programming can make or break an event, and Canadian destinations provide plenty of homegrown talent to help make events hit the mark. For example, Collision 2022, held in Toronto, featured — among many others — local speaker Jeff Shiner, CEO of Toronto-based 1Password. In Montréal, Etienne Laliberté, who leads the Laboratory of Plant Functional Ecology at Université de Montréal, was a keynote speaker at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). And with industry giants and disruptive start-ups across every sector — from Google’s multiple Canadian headquarters and Maple Leaf Consumer Food in Winnipeg to Toronto-based financial services company Wealthsimple and aquaculture farm Cascadia Seaweed in Sidney, British Columbia — there are innovative companies in Canada that events can connect with that align with whatever industry they serve.
The Victoria Conference Centre employs sustainable practices to help planners create inspiring events. Destination Greater Victoria was the first major carbon neutral DMO in North America. (Coast Mountain Photography)
Sustainability is top-of-mind for many organizations looking to make a positive impact on event host locations. As a country that walks the talk when it comes to sustainability practices, Canada makes it easy for visiting events to do the same. In May 2022, Destination Canada launched the Canadian Business Events Sustainability Plan, a first-of-its-kind national program to help Canada improve its social, economic, and environmental sustainability practices in the meetings and events industry — building upon the fantastic work already being done across the country.
No matter where meeting planners take their event in Canada, they will find a partner committed to leaving a positive legacy. For example, Destination Greater Victoria was the first major carbon neutral DMO in North America, while Explore Edmonton and Destination Vancouver both have dedicated specialists who help make their cities, and the events they host, more sustainable.
From coast-to-coast-to-coast, Canada is graced with an abundance of simply stunning natural destinations that offer event participants distinct experiences. And many of Canada’s dynamic urban hubs are located on the cusp of this natural beauty. If an event calls for a bustling setting, there are plenty of Canadian cities with rich cultural and educational institutions, as well as attractions, to fit the bill. Ottawa’s walkable downtown, for instance, is lined with museums, while event-goers will find a world-class arts and culinary scene in Charlottetown.
Canada’s event venues are equally inspiring. Take, for example, Calgary’s BMO Centre, which is undergoing a $500-million expansion that will not only increase the facility’s floor space by more than one-million square feet but places a premium on social connections with a networking hub built around a grand, two-story fireplace.