. The Canadian Experience | Northstar Meetings Group

The Canadian Experience

How Canada offers the kind of life-changing destinations to transform your corporate and incentive programs

Canada has always been a place people sought out to reinvent themselves and experience something new. In Canada, one can easily combine the excitement and energy of some of the most desirable cities in the world with the serenity of natural experiences mere minutes away. Wellness is a trend in the meetings and incentive industries but it has always been a way of life there. With 75% of the world’s fresh water, places of immense beauty and quiet, and shoreline on three oceans, Canada brings Mother Nature to your guests’ door. 

Experiential travel ranges from seeing Orca whales breach...to spotting polar bears...to flying upside down over Niagara Falls...to dogsledding across a snowy pine-scented expanse. Wellness and spa destinations abound, with the natural springs of Banff competing with woodland escapes. From fine dining to local specialties, the cuisine is signature Canadian. Think fresh-caught Arctic fish, Nova Scotia Lobster rolls, Saskatoon berry pie and so much more. Off‐the‐beaten‐track gems like Churchill, Fogo Island and Clayoquot show the breadth of experiences available just next door. 

Many of these locales are still to be fully discovered by the world, making the experiences truly new and exceptional — the quintessential bucket-list destinations. All of this in a neighboring country where your budgetary dollar goes farther. Did you know that the Canadian dollar is 25-28% lower than the US dollar? That means substantial savings or additional bells and whistles for your event. And not to be overlooked, the inbound flights are quick and convenient.


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Business Events Canada Shows Off the North's Incentive Offerings
Business Events Canada Shows Off the North's Incentive Offerings
A recent gathering of incentive buyers and destinations made the case for bringing groups to Canada.

Several dozen representatives of top Canadian destinations, properties, DMCs and other suppliers struck an upbeat note as they promoted their offerings to incentive buyers at Business Events Canada's annual Incentive Canada 2019 networking gathering. Held over four days across a pair of British Columbia destinations, the event brought together more than 80 members of the incentive industry for one-on-one meetings, outdoor experiences and educational activities, all aimed at showing off what this expansive country has to offer incentive groups.

To find out more about this event, click here.

Montreal Leads the Way in International Conventions
For the second year running, Montreal leads all destinations in the Americas for the number of international conventions hosted. Montreal had close to double that of New York City, the top US destination. Toronto landed in second place, and while it was a distant 37% behind Montreal in number of conventions, it did lead all destinations in the total number of visitors attending said conventions.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has launched “ThinkOttawa,” designed to bring more large events to the city by aiding associations and industry groups in promoting Ottawa when bidding on conferences.

Canada Popular With US Planners
Meetings & Conventions' Global Planner survey is an annual examination of meetings and events held outside of the U.S. Based on responses from 102 meeting professionals, Canada ranked second in popularity among all international destinations. When asked "where will you meet in 2020?," 46 percent of planners chose Canada. This is the second consecutive year that Canada placed second in the survey.

Business Events Canada Opens the FAM Doors
Business Events Canada is offering 30 hosted familiarization trips over the next year, showcasing the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences that make Canada an inspiring place to meet. The BEC Team will coordinate all airfare, accommodations and itineraries, leaving you to enjoy this stunningly beautiful and diverse country as you discover what makes Canada such a safe, smart, economical and exciting meeting place. Sign up here.


Come along on a quick visit to these varied Canadian incentive destinations, each one unique.  

Transformational Experiences

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Niagara Falls

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Churchill. Churchill, Manitoba is a place like no other. Dining on fresh‐caught arctic char while watching beluga whales, spotting polar bears, experiencing the history of the explorers who opened the north to the world, marveling at the magical aurora borealis (northern lights), kayaking, adventure hiking, bird‐watching...mother nature shows her best here in this northern outpost. Ideal for adventurous groups who have previously enjoyed wilderness and wildlife safaris, Churchill delivers a remarkable reward — your group can even sleep over with the polar bears on specially equipped mobile tundra campers. 



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Clayoquot. Wildly indulgent, this is an out-of-the-box incentive destination off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ranked one of the best resorts in the world by Condé Nast Traveler in 2019, Clayoquot is unique in all of Canada. Picture your guests in a luxury tented safari camp in a protected biosphere where wildlife roam free in their natural habitats. Your corporate groups and incentive winners will enjoy the space and time to reconnect with nature, brainstorm big ideas and set strategies in refined luxury. Able to accommodate up to 70 guests for a corporate buy-out, Clayoquot offers groups unbridled adventure in the lap of luxury.

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Fogo Island. Off the coast of Newfoundland is the epitome of a picture-perfect getaway. This small island (off an island), is home to the ultra-lux Fogo Island Inn — an ideal spot to sequester your team, plan new ventures, set strategies or celebrate team successes. Ideal for buy-outs for groups of up to 60, the sustainably run inn spotlights Newfoundland’s unique culture through curated experiences that include nature hikes through one of the “four corners of the world,” seasonal sightseeing cruises for whales and icebergs along Iceberg Alley, and in local “shed parties.” Acclaimed for their hyper-local culinary scene that embraces the land and the sea, the proprietors have thoughtfully infused their unique island culture into every aspect of the inn — right down to the “bergy bits” (iceberg ice) in your cocktails.  

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Sonora Resort. High-end luxury meets pristine wilderness. Only 45 minutes away from Vancouver by scenic helicopter lies Sonora Resort, a Relais & Château property where nature is paired with fully equipped modern meeting spaces. Offering adventures like guided eco-tours to whale watching, Sonora provides the setting to make your event or incentive travel unforgettable.  




Rocky Mountaineer wide view
Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer. What a way to see the magnificent Rocky Mountains: from the glass‐domed cars of the iconic Rocky Mountaineer. This two‐day journey, between Vancouver and either Banff or Jasper, covers 1,400 of the most breath‐taking kilometers on the planet. Fine dining, first‐class service, spectacular hotels along the way and even open-air vestibules to get your guests closer to mother nature, means this journey is second to none. Your group will form a timeless bond in the confined but roomy atmosphere of the world-renowned train.


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Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Banff and Lake Louise. Banff and Lake Louise: their very names inspire visions of towering peaks overlooking beautiful valleys with postcard‐worthy views everywhere one turns. At Lake Louise, brainstorming sessions spark up just about anywhere: skating past an ice castle, on sleigh rides across a lakeside trail, over a blazing bonfire at the Brewster Dance Barns. Consider the five-star lux accommodations, a mountain of active adventures and restorative spaces, state-of-the-art venues — including the Banff Gondola at the summit of Sulphur Mountain and the Banff Centre for the Arts & Creativity — and you soon understand why Banff is a classic destination for meetings and incentives.

Niagara Falls. Home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Niagara Falls is a place to inspire wonder. From world‐class vineyards to top-notch entertainment to delectable dining overlooking awe-inspiring views, everything about Niagara will engage your group. This prime destination is just 90 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport (Canada's largest airport) or 45 minutes from Buffalo Niagara International.

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Quebec's Fairmont Chateau Frontenac

Québec City. Québec City, filled with European charm and history, is a city of spectacular sights. Built on a cliff high over the St. Lawrence River, this 400‐year‐old city — no less than the birthplace of French civilization in North America! — is also home to a vibrant nightlife and the finest French cuisine. Tack on its intriguing history (must-see is the Plains of Abraham/Battle of Québec), a winter-only ice hotel, festivals throughout the summer and excursions to nearby Montmorency Falls, and you have a magical destination for lucky attendees or incentive winners.

Whistler. You think Whistler is all about the winter activities? Sure, you can come here and compete on the tracks and mountains which hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but Whistler is all about summer games, too. Home to lux brands such as Fairmont and Four Seasons, Whistler has been voted Canada’s #1 golf destination by Golf Digest and is ranked 20th in the world. Fine dining abounds in gourmet restaurants where you can sabre your champagne before sipping or at private lakeside, mountaintop events where the view competes with the menu and entertainment. Off-site venues such as the Lil'wat Cultural Centre or the Audain Art Museum offer uniquely Canadian immersive experiences for private group functions.  



Emerging Destinations

Delta Hotels Kelowna
Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort

Kelowna. Nestled amidst the beautiful Monashee Mountains along the shores of Okanagan Lake, Kelowna sits within an hour flight of three major urban centers, and produces some of the best wines on the planet...think Napa North. Part urban, part agricultural, surrounded by mountains, lakes, 19 golf courses and with two ski resorts within an hour of downtown — Kelowna is the ultimate hybrid meeting destination where delegates can play before, after or in between their meetings.  


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St. John's

St. John’sThis most-easterly Canadian capital is among its friendliest: after all, it's the people in Newfoundland who inspired the hit musical "Come From Away!" St. John’s will engage your group with beautiful of icebergs in June, colorfully painted houses along a twisting seaside, and unique Newfoundland hospitality, characters and natural storytellers that make conference-goers feel at home.


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Tremblant Resort

Tremblant Resort. Recognized as the #1 ski resort in Eastern North America for 19 years running, Tremblant boasts four seasons of indoor and outdoor activities, from Ziptrek Ecotours to dog‐sledding. And it's less than two hours from either Montréal or Ottawa. French Canadian cuisine and culture make Tremblant a unique experience. Think: snowshoeing to a private mountainside cabin for candlelight Fondue complete with a cabane au sucre (cooling maple syrup over beds of ice or snow to create maple candy) or ride the gondola to a mountaintop dinner. Charter private pontoon cruises, golf, hike or unwind at the spa...it's all available in this European-style pedestrian village.


 For more information on the profound experiences your group can have in Canada, visit www.businesseventscanada.ca


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How Much Do You Know About Canada?
How Much Do You Know About Canada?
Which of these regions produce Icewine?

A. Ontario

B. British Columbia

C. Québec

D. Nova Scotia

E. All of the above.


(Answer: E! While most Icewine is produced in Ontario, each of these regions produces Icewine.)

Kelowna Inspires Wellness
Kelowna Inspires Wellness
Tapping into the growing trends focused around “wellness” in all aspects of life, the city of Kelowna is actively promoting the destination as fulfilling all the requirements to inspire healthy meetings. Work-life balance is of great importance to today’s professionals, including their time at meetings and conferences. Healthy meetings in Kelowna emphasize active events; fresh, local dining options; relaxing indoor and outdoor event and meeting spaces; a focus on mind-body and movement activities; and some of the most beautiful vistas in North America.

New Properties Across Canada
Hyatt has announced plans to open as many as 20 new properties across Canada, including three in Niagara Falls. The Hyatt Centric Niagara Falls, part of Hyatt’s full-service, lifestyle line, will be half of a dual-branded new build (with the new Hyatt Regency Niagara Falls). This will be the first of the Centric boutique-style hotels in Canada. The property will have 150 guest rooms, will be situated directly opposite the Fallsview Casino, and will offer easy access to everything Niagara has to offer: the tourist district of Clifton Hill, the Falls themselves, the Niagara wine region, world-class golf, historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, and much more.


Toronto Hotel Scene Expands...Again
Toronto’s hip hotel scene is set to expand yet again. This time, W Hotels has announced plans to establish a property there for the first time. Marriott International plans to launch the W Hotels’ bold design, signature Whatever/Whenever® service and innovative programming to Toronto, underscoring growing demand for luxury accommodations in Canada’s largest city. 









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As a prime destination for corporate and association meetings, Canada offers amazing value. With the vastness of the country, the wide range of destinations, the cultural aspects of the largest centers and the energy of secondary cities, two official languages, three oceans, and four Great Lakes, any style or size of meeting can be successfully hosted. Canada is sure to inspire, educate and entertain delegates. And with the exchange rate sitting at over 30% on the US dollar, that value can't be beat!

Canada is known for its friendly population, multiculturalism, cosmopolitan and dynamic cities, and exciting and diverse culinary scenes. When it comes to safeguarding your group, Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. As well, Canadian cities are centers of excellence and world leaders in research, technology and innovation, giving both corporations and associations strategic reasons to hold their meetings here. 

For example, the world looks to Vancouver, among other Canadian cities, for cleantech, Toronto in the life sciences, Montréal for artificial intelligence, Saskatoon for biotech, Halifax for oceanography, Waterloo Region in digital communications and quantum computing, Calgary for oil and gas and clean energy...these are just some of the hubs of excellence that are concentrated in Canada. Aerospace, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, cleantech, ICT, life sciences and natural resources groups can find a compelling destination tied to their subject matter in Canada. Canadian destinations are taking their moment on the world stage thanks to their industry innovations, thought-leaders, and state-of-the-art conference and event facilities.

In addition to their topical connections, Canadian cities are secure, popular locations that will draw attendees from around the globe. With welcoming entry policies, excellent air access to all major locations across the country and geography that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific covering six time zones spanning 4.5 hours from coast to coast, there's a destination in Canada that's perfect for your meeting and convenient for your attendees.


Globally Important Sites

Calgary street
Calgary's Downtown Stephen Avenue Pedestrian Walk

Calgary. One of the world’s leading centers for energy developers, Calgary is also known for agribusiness and advanced communications. A new $500 million expansion will double the size of Calgary's BMO Centre to almost one million square feet, transforming it into Canada's second-largest facility. Banff, only an hour away, is a beautiful, world-renowned destination closely linked to the city, providing an additional delegate draw.


Ottawa, Canadian Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Canadian Museum of Civilization

Ottawa. Globally important as the capital of a G7 nation, Ottawa is both friendly and easy to navigate. With easy access from points around the globe, the city brings together leaders in policy, research and planning with top of the line venues and suppliers, with easy access to points around the world. Consider just some of the options for meetings here: the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the National Arts Centre and Canada's Cold War Museum, not to mention access to thought leaders and innovators in digital tech, wireless networking, life sciences, autonomous vehicles, aerospace and more.


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St. John’s. Innovators have led the world in deep-ocean communications and natural resource extraction technologies from St. John's, in Newfoundland, an island province off the coast of Canada. The eastern-most point of North America, St. John's is teeming with one-of-a-kind venues that bring Newfoundland's unique, rich culture to life, including The Rooms (overlooking the city harbor, one of the best vantage ppoints in town), Yellow Belly Brewery (housed in a 19th-century building with a colorful history) or The Rocket Room (above Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food). Looking for a more traditional venue? The St. John's Convention Centre is newly expanded and set in a 500-year-old city.


Historic Quebec city
Historic Quebec City

Québec City. Québec City is the historic heart of French culture in North America. A center for excellence for IT, agriculture and agri-food manufacturing, and life sciences, the cobblestoned streets of Québec City feature outstanding venues including Observatoire de la Capitale, the multi-faceted Morrin Cultural Centre, the Québec Convention Centre, not to mention the most photographed hotel in the world, the iconic Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. With the appeal of a European city without the long-haul flights or expense of Europe, Québec City offers a perfect blend of old-world charm and new-world, modern meeting facilities. 


Industry Leading Locales

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Edmonton. In this festival city and capital of Alberta, Edmonton's key industries — agriculture and agrifood processing, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, deep learning, robotics, energy and sustainability, and digital tech — convene with industry and thought-leaders in two of the city's sustainably operated convention centers. Meanwhile, before, after or in-between conference sessions, delegate can explore the Ice District, the country's largest entertainment district, or historic Strathcona and Whyte Avenue, and the city's burgeoning craft brewery scene.


winnipeg -- canadian museum for human rights
Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Winnipeg. Meeting planners reap the rewards when they meet in Winnipeg, thanks to the newly expanded convention center (making it the fourth-largest in Canada!) and only-in-Canada offsite meeting venues. Here, organizations in aerospace, agriculture and digital technologies can network with Canadian industry and thought leaders at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, have cocktails with polar bears at Assinboine Park Zoo or take in a group performance of the Royal Winnipeg ballet. Winnipeg's central location gives it an edge when it comes to accessibility.


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Fredericton. Known for its leadership in cybersecurity, Fredericton is home to the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick. The small-town sensibility here, combined with urban infrastructure, is a winning combination. Your group will appreciate the mix of activities: historical, cultural, techie and natural. 


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Halifax Convention Center

Halifax. The largest city on Canada’s Atlantic coast, Halifax is a global hub of oceanographic research and higher education. A center of excellence for life sciences, ocean sciences and aerospace defense, Halifax is home to Canada's newest convention center, just 100 steps from the ocean. When groups meet here, they can walk in the footsteps of history at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, or dine in regimental style atop the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a 19th-century fort built by the British, overlooking the city and the harbor below.



Centers of Excellence

Victoria meeting

Victoria. The capital of British Columbia sits offshore on Vancouver Island and is a hub of technology development, marine research and tourism. Called by some “Canada’s Smartest City,” Victoria has the resources to mount a top‐notch meeting. Events at the Royal BC Museum, Craiggdarroch Castle or Butchart Gardens are out of the box and out of this world. 


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Waterloo. The home of one of the world’s top technology universities, the Waterloo Region benefits from its close proximity to Toronto and six nearby US border crossings. With an international leading institute for quantum physics, Google's largest North American R&D lab, this city is home to 30,000 tech pros. Often called “Silicon Valley North,” the Waterloo Region is a hotbed for innovation and an emerging meeting location attracting conferences in the digital tech sector at venues such as the newly opened Lot 42 global flex campus, heritage mills, urban conference centers and more.


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Saskatoon. This prairie city is a leader in agriculture and health sciences and research, situated within the world’s greatest grain‐producing region. Saskatoon is home to the Canadian Light Source, a synchrotron light source, whose researchers collaborate with scientists the world over in projects related to food sustainability, life sciences, crop sciences and more. Further, the Global Institute for Water Security is headquartered here, attracting researchers, scientists and their global conferences.  

For more information on the countless options for business and associations meetings in Canada, visit www.businesseventscanada.ca


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Vancouver Convention Center
Vancouver Convention Center
Canada on the World Stage
*Toronto is North America's second-largest life sciences cluster.
*Vancouver is ranked the 3rd-greenest city in the world, making it a natural choice for conferences in the sustainability space.
*Canada is the first country in the world to adopt a national artificial intelligence strategy, an indicator of their global leadership in the AI race.


New in Niagara Falls
In an effort to triple the Hyatt presence in Canada, the Hyatt Place Niagara Falls will be one of three Hyatt properties set to open in Niagara Falls in 2022. This 200-room hotel, designed to provide “Select Service for the Most Selective,” will be connected to the award-winning Scotiabank Convention Centre, while enjoying easy access to numerous attractions and entertainment options. 

As well, part of a dual-branded new build property (with the Hyatt Centric Niagara Falls) will be the Hyatt Regency Niagara Falls. The Regency line is aimed at the business traveller; this will be the first of the brand in Canada. It will boast 350 guest rooms with close proximity to Fallsview Casino, the Skylon Tower, and a new 5,000-seat performing arts centre currently under construction.

JW Marriott Debuts in the Heart of Edmonton
JW Marriott Debuts in the Heart of Edmonton
Marriott International Inc., announced the opening of the JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District. Located in the heart of downtown Edmonton, JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District offers a fresh and welcoming take on luxury and will feature modern guest rooms, specialty wellness programs, enriching dining experiences, and 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting and conference spaces, which have been named after iconic Edmonton Oilers Alumni. The hotel is home to a comprehensive wellness facility, including Spa by JW, Edmonton’s only full-service luxury hotel spa, and Archetype, a state-of-the-art fitness club. 

Ottawa and The Hague Form Historic Partnership
The mayors of Ottawa and The Hague, Netherlands, have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding to bring the two cities’ convention services and offerings closer together, forming a strong partnership designed to help both the cities and their clients. The municipalities will cooperate on joint sales activities, research and intelligence documents addressing specific business sectors critical to the destinations, and the identifying of clients, historic and potential, who could be interested in one or both cities. This partnership builds on 75 years of friendship, growing out of the support Canada, and Ottawa specifically, gave the Dutch Royal Family and the Netherlands as a whole during the Second World War.