Vancouver Makes Giving Back a Part of the Meeting Experience

Author: Sarah Beauchamp       

It’s no surprise that meeting planners named Vancouver the top convention city in Canada and ranked it second in all of North America in the Watkins Research Group’s biennial Meeting and Convention Planners Survey. The city’s Pacific coast setting, award-winning convention center, and vibrant neighborhoods leave a lasting impression on meeting attendees. And in turn, the destination makes it easy for attendees to make a positive impact on the community during their time there.


The award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre

Vancouver is so committed to social responsibility, a few years ago it launched the #VanGiving program allowing meeting professionals to give back to causes they believe in. “We wanted to engage with clients a little bit differently,” explained Rachael Riggs, Tourism Vancouver’s manager of meetings and conventions sales in Chicago and the Midwest. “Vancouver is all about giving back, being socially responsible, and we wanted to approach it so that our customers can give back in a unique way when they bring their meetings here.”


Just last year, PCMA held its Convening Leaders annual meeting at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Delegates participating in the Hospitality Helping Hands program had the opportunity to give back to the city by cleaning, painting and decorating playscapes for the Mount Pleasant Childcare and Grandview Terrace Childcare facilities — early-childhood daycare centers serving at-risk communities.

While hosting an event in Vancouver, organizers can also work with Shoreline Cleanup, providing attendees with an eco-friendly team-building activity. A joint conservation initiative between the Vancouver Aquarium and World Wildlife Fund Canada, the Shoreline Cleanup allows large groups to work together to give back to the environment by cleaning up Canada’s coastlines. The program aims to “promote understanding of shoreline litter issues,” according to the site, and engages tens of thousands of visitors annually.

Tourism Vancouver became the CSR partner for Association Forum this year, held in June, and held a diaper drive for the Chicago-based adoption agency The Cradle, collecting nearly 35,000 diapers. “We partnered with the association’s CEOs to put out a message about the diaper drive within their offices, creating a competition within the industry.” Riggs said. “It ended up taking a line item off the budget for The Cradle and provided them with a year’s worth of diapers.”

There are other ways to give back to the community and engage with the public while convening in Vancouver. For instance, at the International Urogynecological Association’s (IUGA) Annual Meeting held this past June at the convention center, meeting organizers incorporated a free Public Health Forum. Four regional experts and one patient came together to speak about important health issues affecting women. The panel addressed pelvic floor health and provided a safe environment for everyone to ask questions.

Eco-friendly Vancouver is also committed to preserving the environment. The Vancouver Convention Centre has a “scratch” kitchen philosophy, serving primarily fresh local and seasonal food. The venue is a proud partner of Ocean Wise, the sustainable seafood program created by Vancouver Aquarium to combat overfishing. The program makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come.

For more information on Vancouver’s CSR offerings, visit

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