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6 Canadian Convention Centers Worth Checking Out

Meeting planners looking north will find much to their liking throughout Canada of late. Upscale facilities like the upcoming Halifax Convention Centre (opening this December), Winnipeg’s just-renovated RBC Convention Centre and the proposed expansion of Calgary’s BMO Centre are leading the way in Canada’s latest gold rush for convention visitors. Here are six Canadian convention centers to keep on your radar.

COMING SOON

Halifax Convention Centre Halifax, Nova Scotia Meeting space: 120,000 square feet

This newly designed conference center is officially opening for business in December 2017 as part of Nova Centre, a 1 million-sq.-ft. mixed-used development. Located 30 minutes from the airport in downtown Halifax, HCC is the first smart building in Atlantic Canada, complete with energy-efficient structures, appliances, electrical systems and plumbing. Options for meeting planners include a 30,000-sq.-ft. ballroom, 50,000 square feet of multipurpose convention space and 40,000 square feet of meeting space.

HCC has booked more than 50 national and international events so far including the International Conference on Residency Education (1,500 attendees) and the Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (2,300 attendees). The center has also drawn back groups who may have not met in Halifax for a while.

Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, says the large new space was a perfect fit for his group. “We’re very pleased to be coming back to Halifax in 2017 for our 50th annual Canadian Employee Benefit Conference,” says Wilson. “The new convention center makes the foundation’s return [to Halifax] possible after too long an absence.”

RENOVATED

RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, Manitoba Meeting space: 260,000 square feet

More than $180 million was spent to expand and renovate RBC Convention Centre in 2016, nearly doubling its convention space. This updated five-level facility has a street-level plaza, underground heated parking, 131,000 square feet of primary exhibition space and a specialty teleconference/videoconference center. Its 24,000-sq.-ft. ballroom accommodates up to 5,000 for banquets.

ONE TO WATCH

BMO Centre at Stampede Park Calgary, Alberta Meeting space: 450,000 square feet

Situated in Stampede Park, BMO Centre delivers some of the most unique meeting space in Canada. Among the “venues within venues” are the historic 1,000-seat, 17,000-sq.-ft. Stampede Corral; the 500-seat Boyce Theatre; and the 24,000-sq.-ft., 17,000-seat Grandstand. City leaders have recently proposed renovations and expansions that would double the capacity here.

MAINSTAYS

Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver, British Columbia Meeting space: 467,000 square feet

This LEED Platinum-certified facility is one of the largest convention centers in Canada. It hosts about 500 events annually and first served as the Canada Pavilion for the 1986 World’s Fair.

Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Ontario Meeting space: 648,000 square feet

This 2014 Sustainable Tourism Award winner has 460,000 square feet of exhibition space and 66 meeting rooms. The facility has hosted both the G20 and G7 Summits.

Palais des congres de Montreal Montreal, Quebec Meeting space: 552,000 square feet

This convention center has hosted the most international conferences in the Americas, welcoming more than 16 million visitors since opening in 1983.

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