Whether you are preparing an intimate corporate retreat or a full-scale conference or convention, most planners are seeking a one-of-a-kind destination for their events. When you expect to achieve maximum impact for your event dollar, head for the urban centres of Alberta, where a robust economy has lead to the development of new and upgraded facilities and accommodations to compete with the world’s best.
One of Canada’s most popular urban destinations and the capital city of Alberta, Edmonton combines the sophistication of a modern, major city with small town friendliness and traditional western hospitality. Edmonton is a national events leader with the largest convention facility in Western Canada and more than 1.3 million square feet of convention space. It is also home to West Edmonton Mall. The size of a small city, it boasts more than 800 stores, 10 attractions including World Waterpark and Galaxyland, two hotels and more than 100 dining options.
The city’s average hotel room rate is lower than in most major Canadian cities and food and beverage costs are competitive. The Shaw Conference Centre offers 150,000 square feet of event space, including four major halls and 23 flexible meeting rooms. Centrally located in the city’s vibrant downtown and overlooking Edmonton’s renowned river valley, guests are just steps away from 2,000 hotel rooms, shopping, restaurants and attractions.
With more than 30 annual festivals, indoors and out, you can plan your meeting around one and mix it up with fine dining, theatre, dance, music, major sporting events, a short trip to a national park, and more than 70 area golf courses. The stunning North Saskatchewan River Valley offers the longest stretch of urban parkland in North America.
Edmonton Festival City in a Box is a program that integrates vibrant festival themes, which can be woven through keynote addresses, team building exercises, entertainment, décor and reception catering.
Make it memorable
Off-site venues allow groups to see Edmonton outside the meeting venue. Special event spaces and idea-provoking activities make a positive impact. Programs can incorporate garden walks to major sports events, including the Downtown Arts District, Devonian Botanical Garden, Old Strathcona, Muttart Conservatory, TELUS World of Science, Art Gallery of Alberta, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and Elk Island National Park tours.
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Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel with 213 guest rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space will be a shining neighbour to Edmonton International Airport’s $1 billion expansion and renovation. Additional renovated properties include the Courtyard by Marriott Edmonton Downtown, the Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton, the Westin Edmonton’s ballroom, and the Delta Edmonton South Hotel & Conference Centre guest rooms.
Reflective of the region’s ethnic and cultural diversity, Edmonton offers a truly cosmopolitan variety of restaurants and fine cuisine. From traditional Canadian dishes to Ukrainian and Russian delicacies, French, Greek, Italian, or a full spectrum of Asian epicurean delights, you’ll find it here. And don’t forget Alberta’s worldwide renowned succulent beef! Try regional cuisine from bison, locally raised lamb, wild boar, fresh picked vegetables and summer berries.
The charge of entrepreneurial energy in this thriving metropolis that attracts innovators from all over the world will inspire your groups. Calgary is a global business and energy centre where you’ll find more than 126 national corporate headquarters. Beyond the oil patch industrial traditions, Calgary abounds with cultural amenities such as the Calgary Stampede, Pumphouse Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park, Theatre Junction Grand and GlobalFest.
Generous western cowboy hospitality is integral to Calgary culture and is alive and thriving year round. Arrange to have event attendees “white hatted” as honorary Calgarians – a ceremony bestowed upon guests from the Dalai Lama to ZZ Top.
Calgary welcomes the world and is no stranger to large international events. From serving as host to the 1988 Winter Olympics to more than one million visitors who take in the Calgary Stampede each year – and over 63,000 who attend the Global Petroleum Show – Calgary is capable of accommodating exhibitions and conferences of all sizes.
The city can host up to 17,000 attendees, has over 1.2 million square feet of meeting and convention space and boasts over 12,000 guest rooms, 4,000 in the downtown core. Two major facilities accommodate larger groups: The Calgary TELUS Convention Centre located downtown offers 122,000 square feet of space, including 36 meeting rooms. The BMO Centre on the Calgary Stampede grounds is the second largest space in Alberta with 450,000 square feet of space.
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Calgary’s accommodation and hotel options are continuously expanding. Opening this year, the 120-room Radisson Hotel and Conference Centre Airport East features five banquet rooms totaling 13,500 square feet that can accommodate up to 600 people. Additionally, a new Fairfield Inn by Marriott will open this year adjacent to Central Memorial Park and will include 124 guest rooms. The new Hilton Airport Hotel Complex, the company’s first three flag hotel development in Canada, is slated to open in late 2013.
Make it memorable
The Rockies are so close you can see them from the high-rises of Calgary’s downtown core. In Calgary’s backyard are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Canadian Rockies and the Canadian Badlands, so it’s easy to add on a group teambuilding activity or incentive program to a meeting or conference.
Off-site venues allow groups to see Calgary outside the meeting space. Ideas for programs range from trout fishing and wilderness adventures to horse jumping championships and Olympic sport simulations.
Calgary is home to a broad range of green initiatives, from wind and solar sources to landfill gas recovery programs. In addition, several premier meeting hotels have extensive programs for helping meeting professionals measure the sustainability of their conferences and can assist groups with social responsibility sponsorships and other CSR activities or options for energy and other resource savings.
Lethbridge is Alberta’s sunniest meeting destination and is conveniently located two hours south of Calgary, one hour north of Montana and one hour east of the Canadian Rockies. With a population just under 100,000, Lethbridge is large enough to provide top quality dining, accommodation, shopping and entertainment yet small enough to easily get around. You can drive anywhere in the city in 15 minutes or less. Smaller in size translates into a smaller price tag for most meetings and conferences.
The Coast Lethbridge Hotel & Conference Centre is where you will find southern Alberta’s largest ballroom. LAChefs and their award winning culinary team provide exquisite fair sourced fresh from local producers. Within walking distance of the hotel is the spectacular Henderson Lake Golf Course and Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. These gardens are ranked among the top 25 Japanese Gardens in North America, ranked second in Canada. They offer original delegate experiences and a number of unique activities for couples.
Lethbridge is a jumping off point for many of southern Alberta’s popular attractions including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Frank Slide in Crowsnest Pass and Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park are both just over an hour away.
Lethbridge is the commercial, financial, industrial and cultural centre of southern Alberta. The city is home to one university and two colleges. Cultural highlights include the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Galt Museum & Archives, and the unique Fort Whoop-Up, celebrating the city’s Wild West whiskey trading past.
The Holiday Inn Lethbridge is a newly renovated and beautifully appointed corporate hotel. Guests of this hotel can take advantage of the close proximity to shopping and dining, or they may go over to the Rocky Mountain Turf Club for some offsite adventures or live horse racing. Throughout the year, many tradeshows, agricultural, cultural and sporting events are showcased at Exhibition Park, adjacent to the Holiday Inn Lethbridge. Within walking distance of the hotel, delegates and event attendees can take in a WHL hockey game, Broadway show, or some bull riding at the newly renovated Enmax Centre.
The Oldman River winds its way through Lethbridge and along its deep river valley that is an immense network of beautiful urban parks – one of the largest park systems on the continent – including a 200-acre nature preserve at the base of the High Level Bridge, the world’s longest and tallest railway bridge.
Located midway between Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta’s third largest city is the heartbeat of central Alberta. Red Deer is also the only city on the Canadian prairies with a potential market of more than two million people within a 160 km radius.
Red Deer’s size makes it easy and convenient for delegates to access all services, amenities and central meeting sites or off-site functions within minutes’ drive of each other.
Whether it’s a small meeting or a large convention, Red Deer has the facilities and amenities to handle it – Westerner Park being a prime example. Visitors will enjoy great dining, nightlife, accommodation, shopping and entertainment.
Choose from unique western barbeque events to nature centres and art galleries; there are many options to add on to your conference or meeting for group team building activities.
Meet the green
Red Deer is renowned for its beautiful parks and green spaces. The Waskasoo Park system spanning the city offers a number of uncommon meeting spaces including a wildlife sanctuary, historic fort and a heritage ranch. There are over 110 km of easily accessible paved hiking and equestrian trails for your guests to discover and be back in time for the first meeting of the day or unwind in the park. This trail system is also a perfect location for a team building activity such as a hike or a birdwatching adventure.
With over 99,000 total square feet of meeting space, Westerner Park is home to over 1,500 events and 1.5 million visitors each year. The numerous facilities range from 800 – 40,000 square feet and may be the perfect fit for your tradeshow, conference, banquet or business meeting.
The Capri Hotel, Trade, and Convention Centre has 217 luxury guest rooms and suites. The 55,000 square feet full service trade and convention centre is the premier meeting facility of Red Deer and can accommodate up to 3,000 attendees.