Why ‘Most Livable’ Cities Make Great Meeting Destinations


Calgary, Canada

The skyline in Calgary, Canada

When you look at the The Economist’s 2018 list of the most livable cities, one thing stands out: the Top 10 are all mid-size destinations with strong convention offerings. The cities were ranked by the publication based on factors like safety, health care, educational resources, infrastructure, and culture and environment, which are all important aspects when choosing a location for a meeting or event. Coming in at No. 4, Calgary, Canada, scored 97.5 out of 100 on The Economist’s Global Livability Index 2018 survey scale, and its convention neighborhood is a crucial part of that.

Calgary Peace Bridge

Calgary Peace Bridge

Calgary’s downtown and convention neighborhood also earned high marks for walkability, earning a Walk Score of 98 of 100 from walkscore.com. While downtown, meeting attendees will always be steps away from restaurants, coffee shops, bars, parks, shopping, and endless entertainment options. If delegates prefer not to walk at the end of long days of sessions and speakers, the wind-powered Light Rail Transit is available, with a fare-free zone running through downtown.

“Conference attendees can walk from hotels to meeting venues in the comfort of the indoor skywalk systems or on the historic Stephen Avenue Pedestrian Mall,” Clark Grue, president and CEO of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre says. “After conference sessions, they can enjoy a plethora of live-theater venues, art galleries, museums, restaurants, and shopping in downtown Calgary.”

The meetings destination also is known for its lush, green spaces and abundant parks and outdoor event venues, including over 8,000 hectares [about 20,000 acres] of parkland and natural areas, are an integral part of the cityscape. Calgary is also home to the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway system in North America.

“Walk five minutes to the Bow River and you are connected to 850 kilometers [about 528 miles] of pathways and 95 kilometers [about 59 miles] of trails,” Clark Grue, president and CEO of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, tells Convene. “Calgary’s walkability contributes to the city’s recent ranking as the fourth most-livable city in the world.”

East Village Junction in Calgary

East Village Junction and the National Music Centre

Notably, with a perfect score in stability, health care, education, and infrastructure, and a top ranking in culture and environment, The Economist ranked Calgary as the most livable city in North America. Its growing business hub has more company headquarters per capita than any other Canadian city, with 115 head offices, and Calgary was named the third-ranked North American City of the Future for business friendliness, according to fDi American Cities of the Future, 2017-18. Calgary is easily accessible from all over the globe, with numerous nonstop international flights. Upon arrival at Calgary International Airport, attendees can easily travel to downtown Calgary, a quick 20-minute drive away.

Aspects that make for a livable city, like walkability, safety, and culture, are all essential elements to creating an elevated conference-attendee experience. In Calgary, delegates will find a home away from home, conveniently connected to a wide range of local dining, shopping, and entertainment options. They can experience all the benefits of a bustling urban epicenter, while being surrounded by nature and more than 50 miles of bike paths.

Learn more about how Calgary, North America’s most livable city, can elevate your conference experience by visiting here.