Experts in Excellence
Destination Canada Business Events
' specific knowledge of this vast land makes this team a first stop for executives and organizers focused on sustainability, tailoring the right package for their event, whatever the size.
Canada's booming finance and insurance (F&I) industries are known around the globe. The country's five largest banks are among the world's most trusted, and its banking system ranks second in the G20. Three of Canada's largest life and health insurers rank in the top 15 globally, and its financial institutions and pension funds hold $10 trillion in assets. Additionally, four Canadian cities are among the top fintech hubs in the world. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the country offers major appeal for meeting and event planners focused on these industries.
The F&I industry's resilience and ability to thrive despite the pandemic has also fueled a surge in new demand for in-person conferences and events paired with top-shelf, bucket-list incentive travel experiences. Canada offers memorable opportunities that cater to this audience, for both work and play. Incentive travel fosters teambuilding, connection and collaboration, while motivating and rewarding delegates after a challenging 18 months spent navigating a uniquely difficult business environment.
Canada's major F&I hubs — Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary and Québec City — are magnets for business events, while the wider country boasts several incentive ideas sure to wow your delegates.
Vancouver: A leader in ethical, sustainable investments
From its coastal beauty to its renowned foodie scene to its unparalleled outdoor experiences, Vancouver is an easy sell for business events — and that's especially true for those in the financial and insurance sectors.
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Canada is an ideal destination for business events in numerous innovative sectors. Click here
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Helping to attract these gatherings is the fact that this city employs 60,000 people in the F&I sectors and is one of the top 25 financial centers worldwide, with 239 fintech companies in the city, including Trulioo, which is worth more than $1.75 billion.
Multifaceted and dynamic, Vancouver is developing a specialization in international treasury and financial functions, including factoring, import and export financing, foreign exchange and back-office support. Other subsectors that have a presence in the city, such as credit unions, venture capital investment and green finance, make it a standout choice for events in this field. The city is home to trailblazing innovators like Bitcoiniacs, which pioneered the world's first bitcoin exchange; AxiomZen's CryptoKitties, a cryptocurrency-based digital game, and tech startup Control, which partnered with PayPal to develop a mobile app for merchants to remotely monitor online payments.
Groups slated to meet in Vancouver include the World Council of Credit Unions' Conference 2023, the Financial Management Association International's Annual Meeting 2025, and recurring TED talks.
Calgary: A flourishing F&I center
Calgary is another thriving hub for finance and insurance. This vibrant city boasts close to 2,000 F&I companies and strong conference infrastructure, which is set to develop further thanks to an upcoming $1 billion investment into meetings and conventions, including the $500 million BMO Centre expansion. More than 29,000 bright minds are employed in this sector, which will receive a $609 million boost towards the digital transformation of its F&I industry by 2024.
With subsectors including blockchain, cryptocurrency, InsurTech and crowdfunding, Calgary has been ranked as a top 20 fintech hub to watch by the Global Fintech Index. Innovation drivers such as Creative Destructions Lab, District Ventures and Zone StartUps Calgary have put the city in the spotlight. Startup incubator Harvest Builders has made a name for itself starting and nurturing Calgary-based fintech companies. Recently, ATB Financial became the first financial institution in Canada to complete an overseas payment in seconds using blockchain technology.
It's no wonder that this destination has also been attracting some must-attend events for finance and insurance professionals. Upcoming gatherings include the International Economic Development Council's Economic Future Forum 2023, the Insurance Institute of Canada's Annual General Meeting 2022 and the Certified Professional Bookkeepers of Canada's 2025 National Conference, IGNITE.
Toronto: The fastest-growing financial sector in North America
Over the past 10 years, Toronto has powered its way to the top and established itself as a giant of the F&I world, and in 2020, the city's finance sector was the second-largest contributor to Canada's GDP. Toronto houses 10,000 companies in the F&I sector, employing 280,000 just in the financial area. During the pandemic, Canada's financial institutions have provided more than $286 billion in credit to Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. Also in 2020, the property and casualty insurance industry provided more than $2.4 billion in personal and commercial insurance relief to Canadians.
"Toronto is the hub of Canada's financial sector and the second-largest financial center in North America. Our banking, pension and insurance institutions are global leaders and their success has created a thriving financial sector with significant international influence," says Jennifer Reynolds, president and CEO of Toronto Financial International. "Home to one of the largest and most highly qualified financial and technology talent pools, the Toronto financial center is an ideal city to grow industry-leading financial services businesses."
In November of this year, the city will welcome the Open Banking Expo, the Payments Canada Summit in April 2022 and the MoneyShow in September 2022. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication will hold their Annual Conference and Exhibition in Toronto in 2023, after previously meeting here in 2017.
Montréal: An F&I pioneer fueled by AI
Home to both Canada's oldest stock exchange and an exciting fintech community, Montréal attracts elite F&I talent locally and globally. More than 3,000 financial organizations are based here, employing more than 100,000 skilled workers, and each year, nearly 10,000 finance and IT graduates join the workforce. With 200 leading foreign financial institutions and all the Canadian banks operating here, the city is a premier destination for F&I businesses and related events. The city owes its standing, in part, to its AI expertise driving digital transformation in the sector.
Montréal's strengths include subsectors like sustainable finance — it's been rated third in North America for green finance by the Global Green Finance Index — asset management, regulatory tech and blockchain. Half of Canada's pension funds and asset managers are located here.
"Montréal's rich and dynamic finance ecosystem, combined with the city's state-of-the-art meeting facilities, makes it the perfect location for our finance-focused events."
—Julie Perrone, director of communications and marketing for Finance Montréal
Innovators include the Station FinTech, a Finance Montréal initiative, which is partnering with Highline Beta to launch the Station FinTech Montréal Accelerator, a pan-Canadian startup program to drive technological innovation. VC investors abound: More than US$2.7 billion has been invested here since 2018, mostly focusing on technology. Meanwhile, fintech startups like Lightspeed, Mobeewave and Nuvei are trailblazing their way in the banking and financial services sector.
"Montréal's rich and dynamic finance ecosystem, combined with the city's state-of-the-art meeting facilities, makes it the perfect location for our finance-focused events, including the Canada FinTech Forum, our flagship event and largest fintech gathering in the country," says Julie Perrone, director of communications and marketing for Finance Montréal.
Québec City: A key entrepreneurial player
Québec City is known as the country's insurance capital, with four of Canada's 10 largest life and health insurance companies housed in the Québec City-Lévis region. As a leader in the insurance and financial services sector, the city drives investment and business development while attracting major events and conferences.
"Québec City has developed a strong insurance and financial services sector, ranking top among Canadian cities in the field but also as the best leisure destination in Canada, according to Travel + Leisure," says Ann Cantin, director of marketing and communication for Québec City Business Destination. "Events and incentive programs held here can benefit from a dynamic ecosystem, including 10 F&I headquarters, while discovering new flavors and cultural experiences in a European atmosphere."
"Events and incentive programs held here can benefit from a dynamic ecosystem, including 10 F&I headquarters, while discovering new flavors and cultural experiences in a European atmosphere."
—Ann Cantin, director of marketing and communication for Québec City Business Destination
Competitive and cooperative, the ecosystem in Québec City is entrepreneurial and innovative, fueling investment and business development that help attract these events. Four hundred companies employ more than 57,000 people in this sector, which includes niches like personal insurance, life insurance, cooperative financial services, investment and real estate funds, as well as wealth and portfolio management.
Québec City also boasts many research and training facilities, such as Université Laval's Laboratory for Financial Engineering. Innovation centers include FintechLab, an observatory and think tank focusing on how new financial technology impacts the industry.
Upcoming conferences are heading to the city, like the Society of Research Administrators International's Annual Meeting 2022, TD Bank/TD Financial Group's 2022 TD League of Excellence, Manulife Due-Diligence's Mutual Fund Summit 2022 and the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association's Annual Convention 2023.
Gateways to world-class incentive experiences
Industry leadership, however, is not the only thing attracting business events to Canada. The country's unique and unforgettable incentive experiences make Canada a favorite for those looking to reward their teams. Driving collaboration and connection among attendees has become more important than ever, and visiting groups can enhance their event experience by combining high-end activities designed to be memorable rewards for hard work.
Canada offers a vast range of incentive experiences, for those passionate about wellness, gastronomy, culture and more. Click here
to learn about Canada's impactful incentive experiences.
For groups with a thirst for adventure, head north to the Canadian Arctic, where participants can view spectacular glaciers and the incredible northern lights in Nunavut, or get a bird's eye view of the stunning landscape soaring across the sky in a hot air balloon. Here, your guests can see the world's greatest natural phenomenon on an exclusive private journey with Arctic Kingdom. Choose from private dinners with icebergs as a backdrop, intimate wildlife viewing of polar bears on an arctic safari, or exploring icebergs by helicopter.
Alternatively, get your group's adrenaline pumping by venturing out on an incredible alpine ice-climbing adventure on the frozen waterfalls of the Canadian Rockies. Based in Canmore, Alberta, Yamnuska Mountain Adventures will outfit your guests with ice-climbing gear, provide expert safety instruction and training, and then guide you on the ice climb of a lifetime in Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper.
If you’re looking for a more tranquil experience, your guests can take part in an Indigenous wildlife tour with Spirit Bear Lodge in the heart of the 250-mile Great Bear Rainforest, which encompasses a quarter of the world's coastal temperate rainforest along more than six million hectares on British Columbia's north and central coast. The stillness of the lush landscape calms the mind and body as participants learn about traditional Indigenous culture, and they are likely to spot wildlife including sea lions, eagles, dolphins and the mysterious white Kermode "Spirit Bear."
Fancy a tasty night on the town in the "Paris of North America"? Eat and drink your way through Montréal, an acclaimed foodie capital with gourmet bistros and iconic casual fare. Take a food tour through Old Montréal, where you'll sample everything from traditional onion soup to classic Montréal bagels with smoked salmon. Or, try a delicious cocktail class with an expert mixologist.
Experience a “kitchen party” in Atlantic Canada — which locals liken to a warm welcoming hug — where friends share a delicious communal meal fresh from the ocean, followed by songs, stories and dancing. Kitchen parties in Charlottetown, Halifax or St. John's offer the chance for groups to gather on a beach or at a local farmer's market to enjoy a lobster boil, farm-fresh vegetables and local singers, poets and dancers. Or, sip a vodka iceberg cocktail with spirits harvested from icebergs found off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Whether planners are looking to get down to business in some of the world's top finance hubs, or seeking one-of-a-kind experiences for top performers, Canada boasts enriching options for groups in the financial services and insurance industries.
In Canada, leaders in finance and insurance will find support from federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as academia and innovation investors and one of the world's easiest visa regimes. Further simplifying the business process is the pool of destination and sector experts provided by Destination Canada Business Events. The team's specific knowledge of this vast land makes Destination Canada Business Events team an organizer's first stop for tailoring the right package for their event, whatever the size. To learn about assets and opportunities and arrange research trips and site inspections go to businesseventscanada.ca
Canada is an ideal destination for business events and incentive travel in numerous innovative sectors. Click here to learn about Canada's leadership in sectors including technology, agribusiness, life sciences and more.
Content sponsored by Destination Canada Business Events