As the capital of Manitoba and in the geographic centre of Canada, Winnipeg is a thriving, cosmopolitan city with an innovative arts scene, tantalizing restaurants, luxurious spas, fabulous shopping, a lively entertainment scene brimming with homegrown talent and compelling history.
With a population of more than 762,000 culturally diverse people, Winnipeg is renowned for its international flair and warm, friendly spirit. Here, multiculturalism is reflected in the city’s ethnically and culturally interesting neighbourhoods. In short, Winnipeg is the perfect spot to meet, offering easy access to delegates from anywhere in North America.
The city’s central location is what appealed to client Margaret Savard of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada for the Canadian Organic Science Conference in 2012. “I loved Winnipeg – it felt homey, but is still a large city,” says Savard.
Winnipeg’s new state-of-the-art LEED certified terminal is the only 24-hour airport in Western Canada and offers 80 flights per day into the city. The world-class James Armstrong Richardson International Airport is just 15 minutes from downtown and was recently named one of the world’s top 10 iconic airports by Travel Channel.
Commuting a breeze
Another highlight is the quick commutes around the city. Downtown Winnipeg is minutes from anywhere delegates need to be and many attractions, hotels and venues are within walking distance.
While exploring the city, visitors will notice many new developments and construction.
“Winnipeg is experiencing an exciting transformation. More than $2 billion of investment in new attractions and infrastructure is boosting Winnipeg’s ability to offer a world-class experience,” says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, senior vice president of Tourism Winnipeg.
When it comes to accommodations, Winnipeg has 7,474 rooms and a range of hotels; another 1,460 rooms will be added with new hotel openings in 2012 and 2013. Throughout Winnipeg, there are well-known chains, such as Fairmont, Delta and Hilton Suites as well as home-grown hoteliers including Place Louis Riel Suite Hotel, The Fort Garry Hotel, The Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre; and Inn at the Forks.
For places to meet there is everything from unique venues with that “wow factor,” to large spaces to host an entire conference or trade show. Boasting more than 160,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the Winnipeg Convention Centre features a 78,000 sq. ft. pillar-less exhibition hall. Plans to expand the centre to almost double its current size are moving ahead.
Many of Winnipeg’s top attractions double as unique venue spaces. The Forks, located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, is Manitoba’s most popular tourist attraction. The site has indoor and outdoor meeting space in a 54-acre setting. The Manitoba Museum’s dramatic walk-through settings include the 17th century full-size replica ship “The Nonsuch”, along with a Planetarium and Science Gallery. Add artistic flair to an event at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, or, for a memorable setting that brings history into play, visit the reconstructed 19th-century Fort Gibraltar just four minutes from downtown.
With more than 1,100 restaurants, Winnipeg is renowned as a hotbed of culinary talent. Award-winning chefs, contemporary restaurants, mom-and-pop diners and ethnic eateries make up the city’s diverse dining scene. When the sun goes down, the city comes to life with live music, packed patios and trendy nightclubs, including Burton Cummings Theatre for Performing Arts and West End Cultural Centre. Meanwhile, entertainment venues, including MTS Centre, Celebrations Dinner Theatre, Rainbow Stage, McPhillips Station Casino, and Club Regent Casino will add a fun factor to any corporate event.
With all the great accommodations, unique venues, attractions and entertainment options, it is no surprise that Winnipeg has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding service while hosting national and international meetings. The local service industry is ready to roll out the red carpet to make visitors feel welcome. This excellence is reflected in client feedback after hosting a corporate event in Winnipeg.
“There was positive response from the attendees – best meeting ever,” says Lorne Sargeant, a client linked to the Garrod Association of Canada annual conference.
For more information, visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com.
Brandon, a dynamic city of 46,000 people about 200 km west of Winnipeg, proudly bills itself as the “host to the world.” With its small-town warmth and hospitality, the city offers a diverse mix of high-quality exhibition, concert and conference facilities along with a wide range of excellent accommodation.
The major event venue in Brandon is the Keystone Centre, one of the largest convention, entertainment, agricultural and recreational complexes of its kind in North America. Home to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, the Keystone Centre features 540,000 sq. ft. of meeting space under one roof, with capacity for 6,000 for meetings, 5,500 for sporting events and 2,000 for banquets.
Along with hosting the Scott Tournament of Hearts and the Brier Canadian curling championships, Brandon has been home to a number of high-profile events over the years, including the Canada Winter Games in 1979 and the Canada Summer Games in 1997. Other major events include the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and the Brandon Folk and Music festival.
“From the time you arrive until you depart, you will feel that you belong in Brandon,” says Rachelle Levesque, program coordinator at Brandon Riverbank/Brandon Tourism. “Brandon Tourism offers hospitality packages to all events and meetings while Brandon First offers support by obtaining quotes from hotels and facilities, supplying event planning guides, partner programming, providing various mailers as well as bid development.”