Eight ideas for team building, networking or post-meeting playtime
Planning group activities is an effective way to infuse energy and fun into a corporate event. Attendees now want an experience that enhances their learning in a unique way. They want to grasp new industry knowledge, but they also want to mingle with colleagues in unusual settings.
Rather than discuss a morning’s worth of seminars in the back of a conference room, get people talking to each other at a wine tasting or during a trek through an underground cavern.
The Outaouais Region has tons of creative ideas for ice-breakers, team-building events, after-meeting playtime or even to keep the conversations flowing. Here are eight group activities that work with various schedules, budgets and group sizes.
Casino Du Lac-Leamy
Located just a few minutes from Ottawa, Casino Du Lac-Leamy offers a wide variety of games and entertainment. This is a round-the-clock setting for guests looking to mingle with new friends, take in a show or play one of the 1,800 slot machines or 64 gaming tables lighting up the space. Also on site is a conference center, a Hilton hotel and renowned restaurants like Les Brasseurs du Temps microbrewery and pub, or the Five Diamond-rated le Baccara restaurant. Guests can also dance the night away at Alea, an exclusive disco that features the region’s best DJs.
Canada’s premiere tree-top adventure park is filled to the brim with suspended bridges, zip lines, swings and lianas. Courses range from easy to difficult and give delegates a chance to swing through the trees and leap into nets. One course has 45 suspended bridges and nine zip lines. Corporate outings are a park specialty, with activities designed to stimulate team spirit and encourage communication.
If an underground adventure sounds more appealing, organize a group trek through The Canadian Shield’s largest cave. Explore geological phenomenon, unique and massive ice formations in winter and take note of more than 20,000 years of history and mysteries, while voyaging through the passages.
For a chill vibe, plan a group relaxation activity at the largest spa in North America—Nordik-Spa Nature. Located at the entrance of Gatineau Park, only 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this spa oozes serenity. Management is on hand to enhance guests’ health and wellbeing, while providing a rejuvenating experience through the benefits of thermotherapy and massage. Inspired by Scandinavian traditions, there are seven outdoors baths, eight unique saunas, indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, a floating salt-water pool, and a restaurant and lounge with terraces.
Group Bike Tours
Explore the Ottawa-Gatineau Region on two wheels. There are 600 kilometres of recreational pathways for guests of all abilities to choose from. Downtown routes are easier for all ages and abilities. Gatineau Park cycling routes are more difficult due to the hilly terrain. Groups can take a two-hour trek through the region, with its many viewing spots and end up at an outdoor terrace downtown. Or, they can follow the Ottawa River and take in a majestic sunset at the Aylmer Marina.
Wine Tasting at Soif Wine Bar
On the northern bank of the Ottawa River across from Parliament Hill, Soif is a fun and friendly wine bar and restaurant that invites groups to discover and taste wine from family-owned organic vineyards to rare grapes. Véronique Rivest, the sommelier-owner, is one of the most respected sommeliers in Canada and abroad. She was the first woman to reach the podium at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition, placing 2nd in Tokyo in March 2013. Rivest and other trained sommeliers guide workshops for a fun group event, whether it’s discovering a region, uncorking back vintages or practicing the fundamentals of tasting, Soif has a workshop for all levels. They also provide cocktail parties, business dinners and team-building events.
Mackenzie King Estate
Located in Gatineau Park, the estate was bequeathed to all Canadians after Canada’s 10th and longest-serving Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, spent almost 50 years beautifying and expanding his property. Groups can enjoy a guided tour of the estate and on-site museums or take a quiet stroll on the wooded paths, magnificent gardens and historical ruins. Or, they can travel back to the 1900s and enjoy a cup of tea and lunch on the main veranda of the Mackenzie King Tearoom.
Gatineau’s Culture Trail
This three-kilometre urban, cultural, heritage trail winds through downtown Gatineau, and is a fun way to explore the city. Instead of following a yellow brick road, delegates can follow a red line beginning in Hull, leading to different points of interest. To satisfy adventurers at heart, public art pieces interpretation panels, heritage sites, buskers and merchants all dot the trail. One moment the Canadian Museum of History will appear; the next moment may offer a rest stop at a microbrewery.
Outaouais Boat Cruises
Welcome groups aboard a sunset dinner cruise or a daytime boat ride past Ottawa-Gatineau attractions, from the Parliament Buildings to Rideau Falls. If an evening excursion suits your clients’ desires, dinner cruises run for three hours, with live entertainment, gourmet food and a full-service bar. Any time of day, the open-air deck is sure to bring a dash of fresh air to their schedule. www.croisiereoutaouais.com
The Outaouais region is an amazing playground for companies gathering for a meeting or event. Group activities abound and can cater to all interests. For more information, please visit https://www.tourismeoutaouais.com/en/business/.