Thanks to its exquisite landscapes, rich cultures and standout experiences, Canada is an unparalleled incentive travel destination. This dynamic, diverse country offers endless best-in-class options to electrify incentive groups eager to experience local treasures, superb food from Canadian land and sea, and bucket-list activities.
As demonstrated during an exclusive July 2022 trip to Halifax and Fox Harb’r Resort, Nova Scotia, hosted by Destination Canada's Business Events team, planners can design immersive experiences that align with key trends in today’s incentive market. These include wellness, exploring the path less travelled, and giving attendees choices and time to explore the breathtaking surroundings on their own.
From festive Atlantic kitchen parties complete with toe-tapping fiddle music, to sunset harbor cruises aboard a traditional schooner against the backdrop of Nova Scotia’s natural coastal beauty, here’s a taste of the kinds of unique, memorable incentive opportunities your group can enjoy in Canada.
The perfect gathering place on the eastern edge of North America
To begin their journey in discovering what makes Canadian Maritime culture so distinct, the several dozen incentive participants soaked up the colorful urban vibe at The Westin Nova Scotian, just steps from Halifax’s bustling harborfront Seaport District. This city, where land and ocean meet and stunning landscapes help inspire creativity, provides the ideal backdrop for attendees to connect.
From here, delegates had the choice between city tours that included a behind-the-scenes peek at the historic Halifax Distilling Co., or time spent exploring the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, sampling local delicacies at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market or simply marvelllng at the striking views of the harbor or Cornwallis Park. Whatever they chose, it was an experience they would be unable to find anywhere else.
"It's an impressive, big country — with an enormous amount of opportunities and possibilities," said Ben Gosman, managing owner of Free Style Events.
Following a welcome cocktail reception at the Westin, where attendees sampled local seafood, the fun continued aboard the Tall Ship Silva. On this sunset cruise of the harbor, participants were immersed in the local culture as they enjoyed mouth-watering lobster rolls and other regional cuisine, while enjoy the sweet sounds of some lively traditional Nova Scotian music. As their vessel traversed the stunning coastline, stood beneath the Silva's billowing sails, the group took in Halifax’s most notable landmarks, including Georges Island. With the fresh sea air against their faces, the attendees enjoyed a truly rewarding sense of relaxation and freedom.
A breathtaking surprise along the Northumberland Shore
The second day began with a scenic drive to the legendary Fox Harb'r Resort, during which the group stopped to witness one of Eastern Canada’s most unique sights: The Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore. This natural wonder, where the waters of the incoming tide travel up the river — reversing the flow of the current — awed guests and demonstrated the wealth of natural phenomena that are available in Canada.
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.
The group then arrived at the luxurious Fox Harb’r Resort. This coastal getaway offers a world-class, 18-hole, par-72 golf course designed by Graham Cooke, clay shooting and archery ranges, as well as activities including horseback riding, boating and a sumptuous spa treatment menu. Attendees got to experience Atlantic Canada’s warm hospitality and top-notch amenities on the sprawling, 1,100-acre oceanside setting, against a backdrop of lush green hills and the Atlantic’s white-capped waves.
A traditional Acadian dinner — prepared by celebrity chef Alain Bosse (“the Kilted Chef”) — was served at the Main Clubhouse, with décor inspired by the region’s colorful villages. Guests delighted in a meal featuring Atlantic salmon, cream lobster, chicken fricot and chef’s famed poutines à trou with salted caramel — the most delectable of Acadian desserts — paired with wine from the resort’s vineyards.
Following this delightful dinner, in celebration of Nova Scotia’s Scottish roots and musical soul, attendees enjoyed traditional songs and stories around an oceanside bonfire, followed by mesmerizing stargazing, hosted by a local astrology club.
“People will be so in awe of what’s available in Canada,” said Richard Williams, CEO of American Guest. “Everyone I met here has something so unique. I don’t think people can fully imagine what Canada can be until they get here. I am in awe. Every single moment here, I have enjoyed myself.”
Curated excursions captured the surrounding Maritime beauty
To take in the spectacular coastal scenery of the resort, guests could choose between a sunrise watercolor painting class with local artist Mary Garouette, or an early bike tour to spot seals, foxes and the dawn light on the Northumberland Strait. Both activities proved popular with participants, with many eager for a wellness-oriented outing among the stunning natural surroundings, and others seeking a creative experience rooted in the unique local culture.
Golf carts then transported delegates the Fox Harb’r marina. A delectable lunch was served at the Lighthouse at the Quay, an ideal spot to savor lobster boils and soak up the unspoiled rustic beauty and sea breeze.
Given the importance of choice to today’s incentive traveler, after lunch, guest enjoyed an experience of their choosing. These options included a helicopter tour along the rugged coastline to the award-winning Steinhart Distillery. Here, guests learned about and sampled spirits crafted via centuries-old German traditions, including maple vodka and rhubarb gin while they snacked on local charcuterie.
Other participants headed aboard a luxury yacht for a two-hour cruise to Oak Island, where they saw harp seals along the tranquil Northumberland coastline and cooled off during an afternoon ocean swim.
The golfers of the group had a chance to tee off at a championship course, on one of Canada’s top-rated oceanside golf courses, designed by golf architect and Golf Hall of Fame member Graham Cooke — a favorite of Tiger Woods. They were also treated to a club fitting, a golf lesson and tips from academy pros to improve their game.
The final group of delegates opted for a private wine-tasting in the resort’s onsite vineyard, Tidlebay. This was followed by a special “healing from the sea” spa experience — choosing from eight luxurious treatments created from local ocean ingredients, such as a warming seaweed mud therapy featuring detoxifying organic kelp. Here, guests revitalized mind, body and spirit in the peaceful waterfront surroundings.
Authentic cultural connection
The warm waters surrounding Nova Scotia are the perfect habitat for lobsters. That evening, attendees headed to the new Joyce Centre, featuring a 37,000 square-foot contemporary designed flexible meeting space, for an interactive learning session and demonstration hosted by the resort’s chef on how to choose, cook, crack and eat lobster, followed by a sumptuous alfresco dinner outdoors.
Then the chatter of the meal hushed as Nova Scotian musical legend Bruce Guthro invited the group to join in an intimate Songwriter's Circle. A Cape Breton native who crafted his songwriting while working in the local rock mines before headlining concerts and earning numerous awards for his songs, Guthro and several fellow musicians entertained the attendees with personal stories. As the members of the circle listened in rapt attention, the musicians shared the origin of several songs and discussed their songwriting process before breaking into tunes that got the attendees clapping their hands, then dancing along before enjoying dessert.
A fond farewell to a captivating corner of Canada
After a morning of activities that included sunrise yoga at the lighthouse, or a bike tour for those that had missed it, incentive guests gathered for a final breakfast at the Cape Cliff Dining Room to share their thoughts about their Canadian experience.
“One word to describe my time in Canada is ‘transformative’,” says Padraic Gilligan, CMO of SITE Global. “I think people should consider Canada for their next incentive if they want to have that variety of experiences in one place.”
American Guest CEO Williams said he was struck at how welcoming spirit of the region.
"I think it's the culture. I think it's the kindness. It's just — you feel welcome," said Williams. "I love the music. I love a lot of things, so Canada's a great place for me."
Canada is ready for your group’s next adventure
The Atlantic Canada experience is just one example of the type of program planners can host in Canada. From polar bear encounters in Churchill, to heli-yoga sessions in Banff, or a lively performance by Québec’s famed Cirque du Soleil, there are a myriad of incentive trips waiting for your top performers.
Whether your focus is on overall wellness, learning about unique heritages and cultures, or thrilling your guests with wilderness adventures and wildlife, Canada’s diverse offerings represent the perfect opportunity to reward, reconnect and revitalize your team.
For impartial insights and advice, and to learn more about the incredible unique experiences available here, reach out to the experts at Destination Canada Business Events. They can help you personalize an unforgettable incentive program that will exceed your team’s expectations.