If you visit Quebec and feel like you’ve left the country, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Quebec has forged such a unique personality, with its delightful blend of Old and New World, that it is a province loaded with strong North American and European influences. Deeply rooted in the soil of North America and fiercely proud of its French heritage, Quebecers are renowned for their joie de vivre.
Québecers enjoy fine dining and having a good time, as can be seen from the very busy calendar of festivals and other events. They have always held food and drink in high esteem – lobster caught in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, farmed game, apples, blueberries and numerous maple products are just some of the local products that are the pride of Québec.
The province is also known for its fantastic meeting opportunities. Be it in Montreal, Quebec City or Tremblant, delegates lucky enough to indulge in Quebec’s finest facilities will leave the province full of new ideas and inspired to bring on a new working day.
Located at the northeastern tip of North America, Quebec covers almost 1.7 million square kilometers of Canada — that’s three times the size of France, 40 times the size of Switzerland and 50 times the size of Belgium. Its territory extends nearly 2,000 km from the U.S border to the Arctic Ocean, between Ontario to the west and New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador to the east.
With its entire southern portion dissected by the St. Lawrence River, one of the largest rivers in the world, Quebec is graced with an incredible variety of landscapes: a fertile fluvial plain between the Canadian Shield to the north and the Appalachian Mountains to the south.
Deeply rooted in the soil of North America and fiercely proud of its French heritage, Quebec is a delightful blend of the Old and New Worlds.
“Its enthusiastic and friendly people are known for their passion, spontaneity and unique joie de vivre,” says Gillian Hall, marketing director for Tourism Quebec.
Although English is spoken or understood almost everywhere in the province, French is the language used by the majority of Quebecers.
“Quebec has forged a unique and unaffected personality,” says Hall. “Quebecers enjoy fine dining and having a good time, as can be seen from the very busy calendar of festivals and other events. As a place where both European and North American cultural influences play out, Quebec has long been typified by an incredibly fertile creative energy and cultural vitality — as evidenced by its literature, theatrical productions, paintings, sculpture and arts and crafts.”
Meeting delegates can witness Quebec’s cultural vitality with its myriad of festivals year-round. From jazz to cinema, from comedy to fireworks — not to mention folklore and hot air balloons — meeting delegates will have plenty of opportunities (more than 300) to party during their off-time.
No visit to Quebec during the summer months is complete without checking out the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Attracting more and more visitors each year, thanks to its worldwide reputation, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has become, in the space of 25 years, “the” jazz rendezvous of the country, the continent and even the world.
Today, visitors can choose from more than 500 concerts — some 350 of which are presented outdoors, free of charge — that showcase the talents of the world’s finest performers of jazz music and its spin-offs. Some 2,000 artists and more than 1.5 million festival-goers converge upon Montreal each summer to attend the festival.
Quebec City also has a fantastic summer festival rightly called the Quebec City Summer Festival. For the past 41 years, this festival has been drawing crowds with it unique holiday atmosphere. For 11 days, the city is transformed into a giant outdoor stage where hundreds of performers show off their talents at some 10 venues in and around Old Quebec City, all within easy walking distance.
For delegates descending upon Quebec during the winter, there are also fun winter festivals to attend. Carnaval de Quebec in Quebec City is the biggest winter carnival in the world. Delegates can experience the thrills and emotions by taking part in a variety of winter activities including snow-rafting, horse-drawn sleigh rides and more. And don’t leave before saying ‘bonjour’ to the king of the festival, Bonhomme Carnaval, the party’s well-known mascot.
Quebec isn’t just famous for having fun — it’s also known as a fabulous place to conduct business for its state-of-the-art meeting facilities as well as its provincial character.
Although Montreal and Quebec City are the most recognized places to conduct business, rural Quebec also hosts some amazing meeting facilities.
Gray Rocks is located on the shores of Lake Ouimet, one-and-a-half hours north of Montreal.
“The beauty of Gray Rocks is the lakeside location on Lake Ouimet,” says Blair Miller, director of sales for Gray Rocks. “If you come up north to have a meeting or get out of the city, you should be able to enjoy nature at your doorstep.”
Gray Rocks has two in-house coordinators who link the different departments together to ensure the smooth flow of any meeting. Gray Rocks has 12 different meeting and function rooms that can accommodate up to 400 people. All meeting rooms are fitted with wireless high-speed Internet as well as hard-wired Internet. In addition, its main dining room can accommodate up to 340 delegates for a sit-down meal.
When the meetings are adjourned, there are plenty of things for delegates to do year-round.
Gray Rocks owns two 18-hole golf courses — the Beauty and the Beast, both of which are located within five minutes of the hotel and accessible by car or the hotel’s private shuttle. The Beauty Course is the original golf course featuring a three-hole academy course and driving range and three separate teaching areas so its golf school can introduce non-golfers to the sport without having to venture onto the actual course itself.
The Beast course is a challenging test of more than 6,800 yards that wind down through the Devils River Valley.
If hitting the links isn’t your thing, Gray Rocks also has 22 clay tennis courts, the largest clay court facility in Canada. For delegates with a weak backhand, the Tennis Academy can organize lessons and round robin tournaments for groups.
Montreal is a blend of old and new, a shot of Europe with a dash of North America, where 360 years of French, British and contemporary architecture and culture mesh together.
Nestled between mountain and river, Montreal’s contemporary compact downtown core vibrates to a world beat. “This is where Montrealers live, work and play — there’s no 6 p.m. exodus to suburbs unknown,” says Luc Charbonneau, director of sales and marketing for Tourism Montreal.
Along Sainte-Catherine Street, which traverses almost the entire city from east to west and up and down cross streets, restaurants of every nationality share sidewalk space with international name-brand boutiques, department stores, intimate café-terraces and hip nightclubs and bars.
Walk five minutes to Old Montreal and delegates will experience an entirely different city.
“One thousand years of history and architecture are recorded in the museums and buildings of Old Montreal,” says Charbonneau. “As you stroll along the serpentine cobbles, stop at City Hall to admire its Second-Empire architecture, visit the archaeological crypt under Pointe-a-Calliere, Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, dance with the street performers on Place Jacques-Cartier and visit Marche Bonsecours, for its magnificent tin-plated dome and its terraces and designer boutiques.”
In addition to its beautiful cityscapes, Montreal is also among North America’s leading convention cities, hosting many prestigious events every year.
The Palais des congres enjoys an ideal location, serving as a bridge between the downtown core and Old Montreal, home to the Old Port and a score of major tourist attractions. The Palais is accessible by subway and is also linked to Montreal’s underground city, a pedestrian corridor that enables shoppers to go from one mall to another without ever setting foot outdoors.
Located just 20 minutes from downtown Montreal, the Sheraton Laval is another popular meeting destination. It is located in the heart of Laval right beside the Carrefour Laval, the largest shopping mall in Quebec.
“Meeting delegates should choose the Sheraton Laval to hold meetings and team-building activities because we are in a prime location, have a convention centre with 27,300 square feet of meeting space, the staff is professional and we are renowned for our food quality,” says Teresa Cafagna, director of sales and marketing for Sheraton Laval.
For delegates who have to rush to a meeting after they land in Montreal, The Hilton Montreal Airport is located less than two kilometers from the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
The Hilton Montreal Airport is a full-service hotel with 22 meeting rooms capable of accommodating up to 600 people.
“We offer competitive meeting packages, have on-site Hilton Meeting managers, a business centre and audio-visual company, says Carolyn Soumeihan, director of business development. “Delegates will experience professional service and flexibility in order to accommodate their needs and make their meeting successful.”
Nestled within its fortifications, Quebec City dazzles all its visitors who discover in it a unique blend of the Old and New World. North America’s most European city has been lauded by UNESCO for its exceptional natural heritage.
“Quebec City is a unique destination in Canada,” says Helene Pomerieau, director of meetings and incentive travel for Quebec City Tourism. “It’s like being in Europe without the jetlag.”
The Citadelle is the largest fortification in North America still occupied by regular troops and is the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. This historic site was built by the Royal Engineers on top of French fortifications dating back to the 17th century. The Royal 22e Regiment has been garrisoned there since 1920 and offers guided tours of the Citadelle and its museum. In the summer, the soldiers of the regiment stage military ceremonies, such as Beating the Retreat and the Changing of the Guard.
The Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec is another must-see. Located in the heart of the Plains of Abraham, this museum presents exhibitions featuring Quebec artists from the past and present and hosts important international art events.
Delegates will be charmed by the Maison Francois-Xavier Garneau, a magnificent 19th-century mansion formally the home of national historian Francois-Xavier Garneau.
“Be charmed by the elegance of this bourgeois home, Victorian furnishings, rare books, gramophone music from the past, widows walking on rooftops,” says Hall. “The extensive private collection features examples of the intellectual activities prevalent during the era.”
In addition to its cultural riches, Quebec City is also a nice place to conduct business.
The Convention Centre boasts 33 meeting rooms and 99,780 square feet of exhibition space. Its largest hall can seat up to 7,500 delegates and the largest banquet hall can seat 4,780 guests. With more than 12,000 rooms, the Convention Centre can accommodate any meeting big or small. And for the utmost convenience, 948 rooms are directly linked to the Convention Centre.
Hotel Pur, located in downtown Quebec City, is known for its modern renaissance and upscale meeting facilities. Hotel Pur offers a variety of flexible meeting space to meet the needs of any event.
Able to accommodate up to 400 delegates, Hotel Pur is the venue of choice for the city’s most notable gatherings. The contemporary chic hotel is currently undergoing a $10-million renovation. Although no set date has been given for its completion, Charles Cote, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Pur, says Phase two of the renovations started on Nov. 1.