By Jamie Zachary
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta thriving on booming economy
From Winnipeg to Calgary and Lethbridge to Moose Jaw, the corporate meetings and events industry is booming in the Canadian Prairies. One visit to this diverse region proves why.
Home to vast farmland, majestic mountains, bustling urban hubs and secret getaways, the region has a richness that is unique to Canada.
Where else can you host a meeting in an 18th-century former trading post, and then lounge on one of North America’s top beaches — in the same day? Carve through virgin powder snow after a morning leadership session in a Victorian-styled boardroom?
If diversity is a commodity in the corporate meetings and events industry, then the Prairies are a goldmine.
With word out on this not-so-hidden gem, and a booming economy, this region of some 5.7 million people has been bustling with activity in recent years. Mammoth conference centres like those in Calgary have expanded further, while quaint retreats in mountainside resort towns like Banff have reached out to the “going green” movement.
Other cities, such as Moose Jaw and Lethbridge, have met the challenge of location and size head-on with some of most unique meeting/event packages in the country. And primary provincial hubs like Winnipeg have found ways to attract new groups with a rich cultural scene and updated first-class facilities.
“Meetings and conferences do follow economic trends especially when growth in new industry and business create the need for more of this activity,” says Kerry Lowe, director of conventions and event development for Economic Development Lethbridge. “We see the trend in economic growth across the Prairies and this can, in turn, generate more meetings in the places where this business occurs.”
No other city in the Prairies has benefited from the western boom than Calgary.
Home to $10-million penthouses, Ferrari dealerships and luxury retailers, Cowtown is now boomtown, which, in turn, has revolutionized the local meetings and events industry.
More people from more places are coming to the city than ever before, with the city preparing to host events such as the WorldSkills Competition (2009), Grey Cup (2009) and Global Petroleum Show (2010). And that’s just the beginning, says Calgary Telus Convention Centre (CTCC) communications manager Heather Lundy.
“Calgary’s economy is booming and will continue to do so for a number of years,” says Lundy, whose centre will welcome the International Downtown Association, Digital Photo Expo and 2008 National Tax Conference, to name a few, later this fall. “It’s actually helped us as now people are aware of the destination.”
Accessibility, for one, has had a significant impact on who’s coming to Calgary, and from where. Recent upgrades to the Calgary International Airport — which is the fourth busiest of its kind in Canada, receiving more than 12 million passengers annually — has corresponded with an eight-percent increase in domestic traffic, and a whopping 16-percent jump in the number of international passengers.
Once in Calgary, the available meeting space is as impressive as the city itself.
The city boasts more than 130,000 square feet of meeting space and 389,000 square feet of trade show space spread out across more than three dozen facilities, including the CTCC, Calgary Tower, Stampede Park and Fort Calgary Historic Park. Combine that with close to 11,000 accommodation rooms, 4,036 of which are in the downtown core, and Calgary can cater to most any planners’ needs.
Located in the heart of the historical Olympic Plaza cultural district — steps from the popular Glenbow Museum — the CTCC has undergone considerable changes since it opened as Canada’s first full-service facility in 1974.
The 122,000-square-foot site — that, after renovations in 2000, is now spread out across two buildings — includes a 20,000-square-foot ballroom for up to 2,500 people. The centre’s multi-purpose meeting space, meanwhile, easily transforms from a grand theatre to more intimate boardrooms that are designed for 20 to 60 people.
Additional renovations recently transformed the centre’s once iconic piano bar (Olde Scotch Room) into four new meeting rooms ranging in size from 510 to 920 square feet.
“We are lucky enough to have a wide variety of spaces from large to small, plus exhibit space,” says Lundy, noting the CTCC is also part of the Calgary Convention Connection, which includes the Calgary Mariott, Hyatt Regency and Fairmont Palliser. Combined, the facilities boast more than 180,000 square feet of meeting and conference space, as well as 11,000 guestrooms.
Stampede Park, meanwhile, is undergoing a transformation of its own. A recently unveiled master plan that’s expected to cost around $1 billion includes the addition of several new areas that will dramatically increase its total exhibit space.
Stampede Park currently offers two exhibit halls (Roundup Centre, and Big Four Building) and when combined have more than 300,000 square feet of meeting space.
It also has the Boyce Theatre, capable of seating up to 500 people; the Corral, which offers 17,000 square feet of floor space; and a 50,000-square-foot meeting facility that includes more than 15,000 square feet of expandable rooms.
Of course, that’s not to mention the 20,000-plus-seat Pengrowth Saddledome, home to the Calgary Flames and host to a number of entertainment and sporting events throughout the year.
Outside of the meeting room, Calgary offers everything you’d expect from a city that hosts a 10-day celebration known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” In addition to the world-famous Calgary Stampede (July), Calgary has a vibrant cultural scene that features the Alberta Ballet, Calgary Opera and One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre.
The city is also home to a number of trendy, revitalized communities such as Kensington Village and Inglewood, where art galleries, coffee shops, pubs and art houses dot the sidewalk.
Just outside of the city, Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country, the Rocky Mountains and all the recreational opportunities that come with it are just a short car ride away.
“Calgary is known for its Western hospitality and cowboy heritage. Our proximity to the Rocky Mountains is (also) a huge bonus for us,” says Lundy.
With a nickname like the “City of Champions,” it’s almost expected that Edmonton would be considered royalty within Canada’s meetings and conventions industry.
And with more than 50 providers offering some 8,500 hotel rooms, 1,000 restaurant seats and half a million square feet of meeting space, why not?
“Edmonton continues to offer the best value in Canada (among major destinations) to conference delegates and planners,” says Glenn Duncan, director of meetings, business travel and events for Edmonton Tourism. “Superior facilities and an attractive inventory of accommodation suppliers teamed with convenient and affordable air access make Edmonton a very easy destination to consider.”
Leading the way are two of the largest convention and exhibition facilities in Western Canada.
The Shaw Conference Centre, situated in the heart of the city’s vibrant downtown core, is a 155,000-square-feet-facility that can accommodate up to 7,000 people. It boasts 23 meetings rooms, including an 80,000-square-foot exhibition hall that’s divisible into three separate spaces.
The centre’s crown jewel, however, is a glass-enclosed space that offers up to 1,200 guests a breathtaking 270-degree view of Edmonton’s river valley, the largest urban park in North America.
Northlands Park, meanwhile, has more than 450,000 square feet of adaptable meeting space, with a major expansion planned for completion by 2009.
Its buildings — the Spectrum, AgriCom and Sportex, as well as Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers — offer exhibition space for more than 17,000 people. Northlands hosts, on average, 2,500 events annually that attract more than 3.5 million visitors.
“Meeting planners typically find that their attendance in Edmonton exceeds expectations, and the raise-the-bar attitude of those in Edmonton that service these events ensures success,” says Duncan, also noting the success of Edmonton Tourism’s Festival City in a Box program, which integrates festival themes into keynote addresses, breakout sessions and team building, as well as décor, catering and receptions.
Outside of the meeting room, delegates can choose from a wealth of recreational, culinary and cultural activities that is unrivaled in Canada.
Delegates can ride a stream train, streetcar, or a 1920s-replica midway at Fort Edmonton Park, which features more than 70 period buildings spread out over 58 acres of land just a 10-minute drive from downtown Edmonton.
The park also houses the 1920s-era Hotel Selkirk, which offers era-appropriate accommodations and modern-day meeting spaces perfect for intimate events and/or team-building exercises of up to 40 delegates.
Edmonton also offers delegates a journey through time at the Royal Alberta Museum, as well as Old Strathcona, the city’s historical hub that has since been revitalized to feature hundreds of coffeehouses, restaurants, pubs, theatres and shops.
Those looking to stretch their legs won’t be disappointed either, with more than 70 golf courses in the region, as well as 22 major parks with more than 150 kilometres of trails.
And for those looking to stretch their bellies, look no further than around the corner, as Edmonton is home to more than 3,500 restaurants that mirror the diversity of more than 50 ethnic groups in the city.
Finally, what visit to Edmonton would be complete without a visit to West Edmonton Mall? Referred to as the “Greatest Indoor Show on Earth,” the mall spans the equivalent of 48 city blocks, and includes more than 800 stores and services, 100 eating establishments, an indoor amusement park, skating rink, water park, hotel, casino and movie theatres.
“Known for its festivals and enviable arts and culture, Edmonton provides a fresh alternative and perfect backdrop for conferences and meetings,” says Duncan.
Set in the shadows of the majestic Rockies and teeming with a wealth of pristine wilderness, Banff is a dream come true for planners and delegates alike.
This small town of just 8,300, located a little more than an hour’s drive from Calgary, annually attracts some three million visitors from around the world for its rare combination of first-class facilities, limitless outdoor opportunities and awe-inspiring scenery.
Combine that with more than 50 facilities that offer meeting and conference capabilities, as well as accommodations, and it’s no wonder many companies are planning their next event in the area.
“From intimate corporate retreats, to product launches, to international associations, to corporate meetings, to a once-in-a-life-time incentive trip, Banff and Lake Louise delivers,” says Cathy Macdonald, meetings and incentives manager for Banff Lake Louise Tourism.
“State-of-the-art meeting facilities allow (planners) to focus on the business that (they) need to get done, while the destination provides inspiration to step beyond and go hiking, canoeing, or wildlife watching.”
From rustic getaways to lavish hotels, the area offers meeting spaces for all events and occasions. The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, for example, has more than 23 rooms and halls that offer a combined 76,000 square feet of versatile function and exhibition space.
Overlooking the town with its recognizable classic gothic facade, the site also has more than 770 guestrooms, a gourmet dining room, two championship 18-hole golf courses and Canada’s largest odorless natural hot springs. It also has two dedicated conference concierges on staff.
The Banff Centre, meanwhile, boasts more than 60 multi-functional meeting rooms that can accommodate upwards of 1,000 delegates.
It also includes some 400 guestrooms spread out over two facilities, a 350-seat marché-style dining room, 32-seat wine bar and 64-seat à la carte restaurant showcasing signatures of creative, local, fresh, seasonal, and colorful fare in every dish.
For something out of the ordinary, Chateau Lake Louise offers a meeting experience fit for royalty. Overlooking the tranquil turquoise blue waters of Lake Louise, the hotel has welcomed dozens of royals during its 118-year history, including Prince Rainier of Monaco, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, and King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan.
Chateau Lake Louise offers more than 20 meeting spaces, including the 8,856-square-foot Mount Temple Ballroom, which offers breakout spaces. The fairy-tale-like Victoria Ballroom, which first opened in 1913, can also host meetings and banquets for up to 400 guests.
Outside of the boardroom, the opportunities abound. Some 1,600 kilometres of hiking trails, 270 downhill ski runs, 215 holes of golf and seven historic sites, most within the 6,600-square-kilometre Banff National Park, ensure delegates an experience of a lifetime.
With nature playing such a major role in the reason why many planners choose the Banff/Lake Louise region, it only makes sense that “going green” is a major initiative in local meetings and events.
Tour operators, transportation companies and hotel owners deliver casual luxury and unprecedented experiences that encourage preservation of the area’s natural beauty, says Macdonald.
It goes far beyond low-flush toilets and recycled paper; it means high-performance green buildings with lighting, heating and cooling systems that reduce the environmental footprint of each and every guest, she adds.
“For the meeting planner that values ‘green’ meeting facilities, Banff and Lake Louise lead the way,” says Macdonald. “With millions of trees in a protected forest, fresh air and snow-capped mountains that stretch into the distance, Banff and Lake Louise were green long before it was fashionable to be environmentally responsible.”
The sun is shining on Lethbridge’s corporate meetings and events industry, and for good reason.
The southern Alberta city of 81,000, which receives more than 320 days of sunshine per year, has exploded onto the industry’s scene with a rare combination of affordability and economic diversity.
So much so that a number of major, local providers, in response to demand, are undergoing substantial upgrades that will reshape the local corporate meetings and events industry by creating a host of new meeting spaces, ballrooms and guestrooms.
“With raised awareness in Canada of the great potential for meetings in Lethbridge, local hoteliers have noted the increased activity and are responding with some exciting ventures,” says Lowe.
At the Lethbridge Lodge and Conference Centre, renovations are already underway at the 190-guestroom facility, which currently offers eight meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 1,000 people.
Construction has also started at the 105-room El Rancho Hotel and Convention Centre, which boasts five banquet rooms and a number of professional business rooms.
The Ramada Hotel & Suites, meanwhile, is completing preliminary studies to increase its meeting space and add guestrooms, with construction expected to be completed by 2009. The facility currently offers up 119 guestrooms and five meeting spaces best suited for up to 150 people.
“We are so diverse in Lethbridge and the surrounding region that need for meetings in all the different sectors is flourishing,” says Lowe, noting the city has also been singled out for offering one of the lowest costs of doing business in the industrialized world.
“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to attract meetings and conference business that supports science, technology, alternative energy development, academia, manufacturing, ranching and farming.”
Not that Lethbridge is a slouch outside of the meeting room. A visit to this Prairie oasis proves why it has been voted a cultural capital of Canada, with facilities like the Galt Museum and Archives and Fort Whoop-Up National Historic site — both of which also offer one-of-a-kind meeting facilities.
“Meetings, receptions and dinners (at Fort Whoop-Up) come complete with a panoramic view of the river valley and historic High Level Bridge,” says Lowe. “The building of the bridge holds the distinction of being a national historic event, and it is the highest and longest viaduct-type train bridge in the world.”
While in Lethbridge, delegates can also catch the ponies at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, root for the Bulls in Western Major Baseball League action at the Spitz Stadium or visit the Enmax Centre, home to the Western Hockey League’s Hurricanes, as well as a number of industry events, concerts and live theatre.
The region is also home to five area golf courses — including Paradise Canyon Golf Resort, which is playing host to the 2009 Canadian Men’s Amateur Golf Championship — and the renowned 30-kilometre Coal Banks Trail, a multi-use pathway that meanders through the beautiful river valley, coulees and numerous parks.
It wasn’t long ago that Saskatchewan’s largely agriculture base scared away many corporate meeting and event planners. Yet the times they are a changin’ in this “Land of Living Skies.”
A booming tourism industry, combined with better awareness of the province’s world-class facilities and bountiful recreational opportunities, has transformed Saskatchewan into an industry favorite.
As a result, cities such as Regina are reporting increased visits by out-of-province groups looking for something convenient, affordable and unique, in and out of the meeting room.
That’s something the province has in spades, says Alison Fraser, director of sales meetings, conventions and trade shows for Tourism Regina.
“Choosing a meeting location in Regina is simple. We have the luxury of having improved and new facility options to offer you a choice of location for hotel guest rooms, meeting facilities, unique hospitality sites and experiences,” she says.
For planners, Regina has nearly two dozen accommodation/meeting providers to choose from that offer spaces suitable for up to 7,000 delegates, as well as some 3,000 hotel rooms.
The Saskatchewan Trade and Convention Centre, for example, offers 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space ideal for groups of up to 1,900 people. It’s marked by a dramatic circular reception floor directly outside of the meeting rooms that overlooks the lobby, and connects to Casino Regina and the Cornwall Centre, southern Saskatchewan’s largest mall.
Ipsco Place, meanwhile, is second only to Toronto in terms of convention and exhibit space. It features a 7,000-seat arena, more than 20 buildings and the largest banquet hall in the province.
For planners thinking outside of the box, the Canada-Saskatchewan Soundstage is a star-studded opportunity of a lifetime for delegates. The 82,000-square-foot stately heritage building, located within the 2,300-acre lakeside Wascana Park, is a state-of-the-art film production facility that is home to the CTV sitcom Corner Gas and a number of other film/TV productions.
The RCMP Heritage Centre, meanwhile, is located on the historic site of the RCMP Academy ‘Depot’ Division mere minutes from downtown. The facility offers half a dozen meeting spaces, including a 124-seat theatre and an 8,000-square-foot hall that features a stunning floor-to-ceiling glass wall and is capable of accommodating up to 500 people.
Regina also offers a number of unique attractions that planners and delegates won’t find anywhere else in Canada.
Willow Island, for example, is a man-made island located near the northeast shore of Wascana Lake capable of hosting groups greater than 160. The island — which can be reserved for private functions — features barbecues, picnic tables, fire pits, sports facilities and more. It is often used to host any number of team-building exercises or team retreats, says Fraser.
For the adventuresome, the Beaver Creek Ranch & Horse Centre is a working cattle ranch and training centre that offers corporate retreats, team building and leadership seminars.
Boasting 200 acres of rolling hills in the Qu’Appelle Valley, the ranch features 200 head of cattle that spend the summer grazing on 4,000 acres on park land just northwest of Regina.
“There is a vast array of entertainment, arts and culture, historical and informative destinations; some of which may be included in the conference program, or delegates may wish to visit in their free time,” says Fraser.
One of Canada’s fastest growing cities is quickly becoming a hot commodity in the corporate meeting and event circles.
Saskatoon, located in central Saskatchewan, has always been a vibrant community, boasting the province’s largest population with more than 200,000 people. But a housing boom, combined with a number of initiatives in the academic field, has enabled the city to tap into a number of previously untouched markets, says Janelle Unrau, director of convention and event marketing for Tourism Saskatoon.
Unrau credits the University of Saskatchewan as one of the main reasons behind this emergence. In recent years, a number of research companies, technology firms and medical organizations have flocked to the university, which is regarded as one of the top biotechnology centres in the world. In fact, the university receives more than 30 percent of all biotechnology research spending in Canada.
“Increasingly, scientific conferences are gathering in Saskatoon to share knowledge and to learn more from the unique and synergistic scientific cluster,” says Unrau, noting recent groups in Saskatoon include the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences (6,000 delegates), Acklands-Grainger (3,000), Skills Canada Competition (1,000) and the Canadian Nurses Association (750).
In addition to the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, which is a $173.5-million national facility that’s one of the largest science projects in Canada, the university is home to Innovation Place, an 80-acre science park with 130 organizations in 18 buildings; the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization; National Research Council Plant Biotechnology Institute; and the $11.4-million Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre.
Once in Saskatoon, there’s plenty of space to host these meetings. The city has some 750,000 square feet of convention space and 3,300 hotel rooms conveniently located within a 15-minute commute.
TCU Place — Saskatoon’s Arts and Convention Centre — is a newly-renovated facility housing a full-service convention centre and one of the top-rated performing arts theatres in Canada.
Highlights include 104,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space with breakout capabilities, a 2,003-seat three-tier theatre with a full production stage and some 20 meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 1,500 people.
TCU Place is also conveniently located in the heart of downtown Saskatoon, mere minutes from the city’s new River Landing Project, the eclectic Broadway District and the University of Saskatchewan.
“The convention centre is in close enough proximity to hotels that transportation need not be provided as delegates can enjoy a short walk to and from hotel rooms with the opportunity to shop, have a coffee or cocktail along the way,” says Unrau.
Mere blocks away is the Radisson Hotel Saskatoon, home to 23,000 square feet of meeting space spread out over 16 meeting rooms. Its largest space is a 7,200-square-foot ballroom that’s divisible by three and capable of hosting up to 1,100 people.
Known as the “City of Bridges” or “The Paris of the Prairies,” Saskatoon lives up to its reputation outside of the boardroom. The city has seven river crossings that lead to more than 4,000 acres of lush parks and trails, many lining the South Saskatchewan River.
“Saskatoon enjoys a parkland setting where delegates can step out of their hotel room to walk along the river and breathe in the fresh air,” says Unrau. “The quality of a delegate’s life is good here as they are able to balance convention time with fresh air and outdoor time.”
In addition, the city is home to five professional theatre companies, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, a number of contemporary art galleries and numerous festivals held throughout the year.
Visitors to Saskatoon looking to hit the links will want to check out Dakota Dunes Golf Links, located just south of the city. The 18-hole, 7,300-yard course, designed by famed architect Graham Cooke, was named best new Canadian golf course by Golf Digest Magazine.
Afterwards, history buffs, culinary connoisseurs and beer aficionados alike would be remiss without a visit to the 100-year-old Hotel Senator. The European boutique hotel, located downtown close to the riverbank and Midtown Plaza Shopping Centre, is home to Rembrandt’s Dining Room, which has a number of private sections perfect for corporate events; and Winston’s Irish Pub, which offers more than 100 beers from around the world.
Once the rumored home to an illegal bootlegging operation run by infamous gangster Al Capone, Moose Jaw is now turning heads on Saskatchewan’s meeting and conference scene with its updated facilities, unique attractions and warm hospitality.
Located west of Regina on the TransCanada Highway in southwestern Saskatchewan, this small Prairie town of 30,000 is noted these days for its burgeoning tourism industry, which has even garnered national acclaim in recent years.
“Moose Jaw is a destination filled with historic buildings, a colorful past and a surprisingly sophisticated future,” says Cheryl Chase, sales and marketing manager for Temple Garden’s Mineral Spa Resort Hotel located in the city’s rejuvenated historic downtown core.
“This small Prairie city boasts the highest number of tourist attractions per capita in Canada. And the best news of all is that most of these attractions are within walking distance.”
Much of the attention paid to Moose Jaw in recent years has come by way of Temple Garden’s, ranked one of the top spas in Canada by Glow, Chatelaine and Elle magazines.
Located just steps away from dozens of trendy restaurants, theatres and tourist attractions, the spa hotel annually hosts a number of corporate/association meetings and trade shows from across the country. Many of them are from within the province, as well as from Alberta and Ontario, says Chase.
Planners have access to more than half a dozen meeting spaces at Temple Garden’s — most with breakout capabilities — that can accommodate intimate boardroom setups for eight, or theatre arrangements for up to 220.
Delegates, meanwhile, have direct access to more than 175 luxury suites and an attached casino, not to mention the Sun Tree Spa and relaxing geo-thermal mineral pool. Combined, it provides an overall meeting experience that many search for, yet few find.
“What I believe sets us apart is that we are not just your everyday hotel,” says Chase.
But what sets Moose Jaw apart from many other smaller Prairie towns is its attractions. The city’s award-winning Tunnels of Moose Jaw, for example, take visitors on unique, interactive guided tours of the underground passageways that criss-cross beneath Moose Jaw’s streets. It is said Chinese immigrants once lived and worked there in steam laundries and gunny-sack factories. Later, it was the alleged home to Capone’s infamous bootlegging operation.
Across the street lies the newly restored Capitol Theatre (now the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre). The 1900-era theatre received a complete overhaul in 2002, opening the following year as a first-class arts facility that hosts musical and theatre acts, as well as corporate events, from across the country.
“From morning to night, visitors can discover their perfect match including vibrant concerts, a few hours at the casino, browsing well-known local artist galleries, and enjoying a chat over Saskatoon berry scones and a cappuccino,” says Chase. “I do believe that we are part of a wonderful secret and very soon everyone is going to realize that … Moose Jaw is a place to visit, for business or for pleasure.”
A big city with a small town feel: that’s the way organizers like to describe Winnipeg when it comes to hosting a meeting or event in Manitoba’s capital.
Perfect for national conventions seeking a midway point in the country, the city of more than 650,000 boasts ample facilities and attractions to accommodate groups of any size, as well as exposure they couldn’t get elsewhere, says Lori Walder, director of marketing & communications for Destination Winnipeg.
“Winnipeg is ideal in that it has all the amenities of a big city, but the personal service and feel of a smaller centre,” she says. “Mid-size conventions especially benefit from this as they attract local attention and increased profile as their presence has a higher impact on the city and doesn’t get lost like in larger centres.”
Planners already seem to be catching on. In 2006, a collaboration of more than 50 local tourism industry partners — under the guise of Team Winnipeg — helped secure 145 future meetings and conventions from 2006-2012. Combined, the events will total more than 46,000 delegates, with associated spending estimated at more than $40 million.
Among that group is the Winnipeg Convention Centre, a three-story multi-purpose facility located in downtown Winnipeg mere minutes from the MTS Centre, shopping districts and the city’s estimated 6,600 hotel rooms.
The WCC’s 160,000 square feet of meeting, exhibition and banquet space is highlighted by 78,000 square feet of pillarless function space on the third floor, and a converted downtown movie theatre that is now a fully wired 300-seat presentation theatre.
It’s one of many offerings among more than 320,000 square feet of hotel meeting space, and nearly 189,000 of off-site space in Winnipeg.
For a different type of meeting experience, Fort Gibraltar offers delegates a rare glimpse back in time.
Situated on the banks of the Red River in Winnipeg’s French-inspired Saint Boniface community, Fort Gibraltar was built in 1809 as a fur trading post for the Northwest Company. Today, the site is a popular spot among tourists and planners looking for an escape from the ordinary.
“As a historic site specific to Manitoba, Fort Gibraltar offers clients a unique experience that fosters pride in community and the history of our province,” says Jennifer Clark-Rouire of The Storm Catering, the exclusive caterer of Fort Gibraltar & Millennium Centre.
Clark-Rouire notes the centre offers three meeting and conference rooms that can accommodate up to 188 people.
La maison du bourgeois features a main-floor Great Hall that combines elegance and comfort with its fireplace, large windows and chandeliers. It’s complimented by an intimate second-floor space with a cathedral ceiling and dormer windows — perfect for groups of up to 60 people.
La maison du bourgeois is the largest building at Fort Gibraltar, and was formerly the residence for the Northwest Company, as well as the main trading facility.
The former trading post also features the Maison Chaboill