Allstream Centre, one of Canada’s greenest and most energy-efficient conference centres, celebrated its one-year anniversary in October 2010 since sweeping renovations to the interior. Originally constructed in 1929, the new Allstream Centre, which was gutted and redone with a new roof, was built to target LEED Silver certification. The Centre is 160,000 square feet of modern elegance and state-of-the-art technology, offering meeting planners an ideal location for their conferences, conventions and galas.
Within the first few steps inside Allstream Centre individuals are surrounded by original art deco honouring the building’s heritage. Just ahead of the lobby’s grand entrance is Toronto’s largest column-free ballroom, conveniently surrounded by three pre-function spaces all bathed in natural light, offering guests scenic views of the city and Lake Ontario. Allstream Centre features 20 technologically advanced rooms on the second level, accessible to all guests. The rooms are equipped with client-operated Crestron AV systems with built-in ceiling projectors and screens, as well as black-out blinds for rooms with natural light.
Additionally, the second level offers four lounges at each corner and features a heritage lounge with original art deco details overlooking Lake Ontario. Allstream Centre offers five truck bays for convenient load-in and load-out efforts and includes six offices and a video conferencing room.
Green meetings are now an industry standard and at Allstream Centre, they are made easy. Operating under the Exhibition Place GREENSmart program, which was formulated in 2004, Allstream Centre offers an extensive list of forward-thinking environmentally conscious initiatives constructed to achieve LEED Silver standards. The program provides superior HVAC systems, four-stream recycling, local and organic food selections, linen-free meeting rooms, 100 per cent Green Power – powered through Direct Energy Business – natural light and rain water harvesting for efficient water use. Also implemented through this program is the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and carpets, ergonomically designed chairs made of recyclable material, use of FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council)-certified paper products, energy-efficient dimmable lighting and electronic way-finding signage.
Planners hosting their events in Toronto’s newest conference centre can tap into three meeting coordinators to assist right through to load out. Westbury National Show Systems is the official audiovisual supplier at the Centre and offers competitive bids. The Centre’s exclusive food and beverage provider is Cerise Fine Catering, and Executive Chef Stephen Montague is on site and responsible for menu development and culinary presentation. The carefully designed in-house kitchen enables Cerise Fine Catering to serve large groups in the ballroom. A satellite kitchen was designed on the second floor to service smaller receptions and working meetings held in the larger meeting rooms and lounges.
Allstream Centre was designed for meeting planners, by meeting planners. The state-of-the-art meeting rooms combined with the ballroom offers a customizable venue, accommodating multiple, concurrent meetings or a full-venue program. For further flexibility, Allstream Centre is connected to Direct Energy Centre – the largest exhibition and conventions centre in Canada. Allstream Centre has played host to Fortune 500 companies, Canadian associations, gala events and international meetings including the G20 Summit.
The Event Experience – CSAE 2009 National Conference Closing Night Gala
The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), held in Toronto for the first time in many years, came to Allstream Centre for a gala on Nov. 26, 2009. The sold-out event hosted 600 guests – with another 100 on the waiting list. In a follow-up letter, Gail McHardy, the CSAE’s Director of Conference and Events, wrote, “The delegates were totally ‘wowed’ by the building and what can be done in it. Congratulations on a job very well done!”
“From the beginning Allstream Centre staff contributed great energy to the project, endless planning hours and continued excellent service,” planner Alice Parnis of Event Fusion said.
Parnis said she would recommend Allstream Centre – one of the largest venues in the GTA.
“It was important to have everyone’s buy-in to the theme and all the contributing components. Many times one only sees the front of house at the event, however it is the back of house that makes it or breaks it,” said Parnis. “At Allstream Centre, the back of house starts with easy access – from the easily accessible loading docks (within metres of the main ballroom), onsite kitchens, helpful venue and grounds coordinators, friendly and smiling security, to everyone eager to help where and when it was needed. The setup, event and load out were performed without a hitch.”
Allstream Centre is continuing enhancements to the Centre – this summer the south lawn will be completely landscaped to create an outdoor space. In 2012 a brand new 380-room hotel will break ground, opening up just west of Allstream Centre. This new addition to the Exhibition Place grounds will provide guests the opportunity to stay on-site for the duration of their stay.
About the author
Dionne Bishop is marketing coordinator at Direct Energy Centre and Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place.