Heading North? Three Trending Locales in Eastern Canada

I was able to pick the brains of some Canadian Tourism experts recently on some of the hot meetings locales in our northern neighbor’s eastern realms. Here are three spots they definitely felt planners should have on their collective radar for upcoming event and incentive travel.

1. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

The most easterly province of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is touted by Rhonda Hutton, director of marketing for Destination St. John’s, for its endless coastline and spectacular array of isles—not to mention accessibility.

“St. Johns’ is uniquely positioned as the closest city to Europe, just five hours flying and only three hours from New York City,” Hutton remarks, adding that 18,000 miles of unspoiled coastline in the province recently gave rise to National Geographic awarding it the #1 Coastal Destination in the World. She also says that St. John’s, the province’s capital, provides a completely unique urban experience, and the archipelago of islands (there are more than 7,000 of them if you can imagine that) near the capital make for trips that feel “far away from far away.”

One in particular is Fogo Island, home to the Fogo Island Inn (pictured below) that Hutton informs has been selected as a founding member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, one of only two-dozen properties selected for the honor. The innovative lodging on the edge of the water showcases cutting-edge design, unique public spaces that include a cinema, art gallery and library, and a communal approach meant to spur all sorts of collaboration.  

Hutton adds that St. John’s is also an unexpected foodie destination, and also the only place in the world where the migratory paths of the humpback whales cross paths with 10,000-year-old icebergs drifting south, with both sights visible from shore.

2. Quebec City, Quebec

“When arranging meeting activities in Québec City, you can choose from a wide variety of unusual sites, reception facilities, and entertainment venues,” says Information Officer Emilie Belisle of the Societe du Centre des congress de Quebec, in Quebec City (pictured below). These factors, she says, are sure to drum up interest and create an ambience that attendees will long remember.

Belisle adds that the ancient city has recently boosted its techie and mobile side in a major way.

“Québec City has gone wireless with Zap Québec,” she explains. “It offers 300 free hotspots throughout the city. Furthermore, the Québec City Convention Centre is the first Canadian convention center to offer free high-speed Wi-Fi.”

When hosting an event or meeting, Belisle opines that Québec City is the perfect size to take over. “Delegates own the city and can walk almost anywhere,” she remarks, adding that Québec City has more than 17,000 guest rooms in hotels from historic to natural to urban—and that even though the mother tongue is French, delegates will get service anywhere in English.

Possible Side Trip, suggested by spokesperson Robin Thompson of Business Events Canada: “The Charlevoix region…train or drive to adorable Baie St Paul and the Hotel Le Germain, go a little further to luxurious Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu on the St. Lawrence River.”

3. Niagara Falls, Ontario

While Niagara, Ontario’s Horseshoe Falls (pictured below) are majestic motivation enough to visit the region, Paula Racher, manager, meetings and conventions for Niagara Falls Tourism, says there are other lures aplenty.

“We are perfectly positioned and jammed packed with iconic and exciting attractions, and surrounded by a plethora of world-class hotels, unique meeting venues and award-winning culinary and wine region,” Racher enthuses. 

She also says the destination is constantly innovating with new product development and advancement, and prides itself in on the diverse offerings to accommodate groups of every size and nature. 

“The addition of the new Scotiabank Convention Centre has allowed the destination to concentrate on confirming both the domestic, U.S. and international association markets; attracting city-wide events with attendance up to 10,000 persons,” Racher states, adding that the area has implemented a fully integrated transportation system (WEGO) enabling all attendees to explore the destination as they wish. 

As an added enticement, Niagara Falls Tourism offers up to $10,000 with their In-Kind Sponsorship Program for groups booking their events in the area.  Racher adds that this, combined with the Convention Development (CDF) financial offerings from the Scotiabank Convention Centre, makes booking Niagara Falls a wise financial choice as well. 

New to Niagara is the arrival of Hornblower Niagara Cruises, who have completely innovated the iconic river cruise that originally dates back to 1846.  Some evenings even include a fireworks show according to Racher.

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