Demand for outdoor venues has skyrocketed in the past two years, including for use for incentive experiences. And one place that has memorable outdoor spaces ideal for groups is the glorious Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. Incentive venues in Banff and Lake Louise offer guests the chance to experience nature up close through bespoke activities designed to create lasting memories.
Looking for country and western vibes? Send your incentive winners to the Brewster BBQ and Dance Barn, where groups will enjoy a delicious private banquet featuring the Brewster "Hip of Beef," a family specialty that's aged, cooked to perfection and transported to the table by pitch fork. Add-ons to enhance the atmosphere include live country rock music, horseback riding, line dancing instruction, a gunfighters stunt show or a horse-drawn sleigh ride beneath the Victoria Glacier.
An Iconic Property and Memorable Meals
Treat your VIPs to a classic Canadian icon known as the "Castle in the Rockies": The Fairmont Banff Springs (pictured at top, photo credit: Adobe Stock), a luxurious property nestled slope-side within Banff National Park.
"Our hotel creates a lot of excitement for incentive groups, and not just because it's on many people's bucket list," says Wendy Kirkpatrick, director of group sales for the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. "The charm of this hotel, offering 12 restaurants and lounges, a bowling center, a world-class spa and 27 holes of golf, all while surrounded by huge mountains and wildlife, provides a stunning backdrop in which to unwind and truly appreciate this location. At Spray Meadows, which overlooks our golf course, many incentives host events for up to 1,000 people."
For another special experience in Banff, Mount View Barbeque — located just 10 minutes from the downtown core — offers 360-degree mountain views and can accommodate up to 300 guests in one of two roundhouses, or on the expansive lawn. This was one of the venues used by Northstar Meetings Group's recent Global Incentive Summit, where the group of incentive planners enjoyed a performance of Indigenous hoop dancers, interpretive presentations about Alberta birds of prey, or the rousing sounds of the Calgary Fiddlers.
Exploring the Landscape
Learn about conservation and connection to the land through storytelling at one of Canada's national protected areas, Cave and Basin, a special place for Indigenous peoples for more than 10,000 years. The site, which was brought to national attention by three railway workers in 1883, would give birth to Canada’s first national park.
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Transfer your guests in luxury, or simply show of the area's sights, with a fleet of vintage-style open-top buses inspired by vehicles used in the 1930s, suggests Marilu Adams, director of sales, group event management and affiliates at Pursuit Collection. Guests can enjoy the fresh mountain air while riding in comfort.
"Brewster had these incredible old buses with the roof off, and people would go touring around the Banff town site, so we've recreated them," she explains. "We're a modern fleet, but with the historical leather benches and the open-top roof. We also have costumed historical characters driving these vehicles and we tell stories of days gone by. It's a twist on a classic sightseeing trip."
Take your incentive experience to the next level at the top of Mt. Norquay by buying out its flagship venue, Cascade Lodge, a stunning 24,000-square-foot timber-frame lodge with large outdoor patios. Suitable for groups of up to 900, the jaw-dropping views will have guests raving long after the event.
For smaller groups, take the chairlift 6,900 feet up to Mt. Norquay's Cliffhouse Bistro, a European-style tearoom first built in the 1950s, now fully restored. Known for its panoramic vistas and exquisite food, the venue can accommodate up to 48 guests.
To set the stage for a magical, musical evening, Casavant also recommends the Banff Centre of the Arts' Shaw Amphitheatre for private concerts and receptions. Here, up to 1,700 guests can enjoy 360-degree mountain views, just five minutes from town.
For a destination as famed for its outdoors as Canada — and Banff and Lake Louise in particular — it's little surprise that visiting groups will find plenty of outdoor venues from which to enjoy outstanding views. Whether listening to storytellers or sipping a glass of wine, incentive winners will find many ways to soak up the surrounding nature of the Canadian Rockies.
Canada offers a vast range of incentive experiences, for those passionate about wellness, gastronomy, adventure and more. Learn more about Canada's Signature Incentive Experience Collection here.
Create a truly memorable incentive program by tapping into the expertise and creativity of the Destination Canada's Business Events team. Learn how your Canada experts can help tailor a program to your group's specific interests and needs by visiting businesseventscanada.ca.
Content sponsored by Destination Canada Business Events