Just west of Manitoba, Saskatchewan is a great destination for meetings, workshops and conferences either large or small. Regina and Saskatoon offer world-class accommodations, excellent meeting, convention and trade-show facilities and a wide range of opportunities for off-site activities and pre- or post-tours.
Known as Canada’s sunniest capital city, Regina is the 16th largest city in the country with a growing population quickly approaching 200,000 people. The city is rich in resources such as agriculture, tourism, oil and gas. It also has an interesting history.
Regina was originally known as “Pile of Bones” due to the large amount of buffalo bones in the area. It was renamed Regina in 1882 in honour of Queen Victoria, the British monarch at the time.
Another interesting fact about Regina — the city is in the Guiness Book of World Records for having the widest bridge (Albert Street Bridge) over the narrowest body of water.
Although the bridge makes for a great photo-op, it’s not the only attraction Regina has to offer.
“The No.1 attraction is Casino Regina,” says Gayle Zimmerman, director of communications and conference services for Tourism Regina. “This beautiful building is located within the walls of what used to be the Via Rail station.”
The casino boasts 800 slot machines and 35 table games, including Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Red Dog and Three Card Poker. Its three annual poker tournaments boast some of the biggest prize pools in Canada, attracting players throughout North America. Beyond a casino, it’s also a full-service entertainment destination. Casino Regina’s Vegas-style Show Lounge is home to world-class music, comedy and magic, and the Last Spike Restaurant provides a relaxed dining atmosphere.
“The state-of-the-art show lounge hosts big-name entertainment,” says Zimmerman. “Delegates can enjoy elegant dining in the attached dining car and play the games of chance abound.”
Another attraction, which is brand new to the city, is the $40-million RCMP Heritage Centre. Newly opened on May 24, 2007, the RCMP Heritage Centre tells the story of the RCMP through the use of state-of-the-art exhibits, multimedia technologies and engaging educational programming. Owned and operated by the Mounted Police Heritage Centre, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to telling the RCMP story to the world, visitors to the centre will learn about the history of the
RCMP as well as modern workings of the Force.
One of the many exhibits delegates can enjoy is the Cracking the Case exhibit. Perfect for delegates with a love for all things C.S.I., this exhibit presents the high tech side of modern policing and is very hands-on for visitors with many technologies introduced through interactive exhibits. The Cracking the Case area showcases the importance of learning and knowledge in the RCMP and demonstrates that the Force constantly works to stay at the leading edge of policing techniques.
Specific topics covered include: Solving Crimes with Science, Fingerprinting, Counterfeiting, Tire Track and Shoe Wear Analysis, Chemistry in Forensic Science, Ballistics, and DNA Analysis.
One of the most popular getaways for delegates — whether it’s for a one-hour lunch break or an evening out — is Wascana Park. The largest urban park in North America, Wascana Park is complete with a revitalized lake, which recently hosted the Canada Summer Games and the Canadian Kayak Championships. The park is home to several attractions including the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Saskatchewan Science Centre and Kramer Imax Theatre, the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Saskatchewan Legislative Building — the largest in Canada.
Besides offering great sight-seeing opportunities, Regina is also an ideal place to do business. “The most popular meeting space is the Saskatchewan Trade and Convention Centre,” says Zimmerman.
One of the reasons for the popularity of the Saskatchewan Trade and Convention Centre is because it’s conveniently attached to the Delta Hotel Regina via skywalk, which is ideally located across the street from the Casino Regina and beside the Cornwall Shopping Centre. The 274-guestroom hotel and the Saskatchewan Trade & Convention Centre offer a combined 25,000 square feet of meeting space capable of hosting up to 1,900 meeting attendees.
Another great meeting destination is the Conexus Art Centre — formerly known as the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts. “This unique structure has a lobby ideal for functions with windows that are about five storeys high and look out onto the beautiful Wascana Lake, the park and the city skyline,” says Zimmerman.
The theatre can accommodate up to 2,033 people, ideal for a large lecture-style meeting. Catering can also be supplied at Conexus Art Centre so your delegates will leave fulfilled.
Regina isn’t just a great place to host meetings, it’s also a key destination for team-building activities. Eco-Party Dragon Boat Tours conducts a team-building exercise called Survivor Wascana. “They offer up survivor-based games that teach business and corporate lessons,” says Zimmerman.
Team-building activities take place in the scenic Wascana Park with some portions taking place on islands within the park. Recipients receive a photo and commemorative key chain once they “survive” Wascana.
Saskatoon is known for its inviting people and pristine scenery. A city of bridges, graced by beauty of the South Saskatchewan River, it boasts more than 300 acres of riverbank parks and trails.
“Saskatoon offers a quality of life amongst the best in the world,” says Silvia Martini, director, convention marketing & travel trade for Tourism Saskatoon. “Visitors quickly fall in love with this warm and inviting city.”
Delegates who like to hit the links, will be more than happy visiting Saskatoon. The city boasts more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in Canada. One of the most popular golf courses is the Saskatoon Golf & Country Club. Founded in 1907, this Bill Kinnear designed golf course has stood the test of time and is still widely regarded as one of the finest courses in the province. Gently rolling fairways enveloped by towering pines are the signature of this fully mature 36-hole course, which offers a private 18-hole members course as well as an 18-hole public west course. The 19,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, which opened in 1999, is chock-full of amenities to serve all the course’s members.
Delegates who like the outdoors but not necessarily golf, will enjoy the beautiful Meewasin Valley, where they can walk, cycle or jog. “Meewasin” is the Cree word for beautiful — a fitting adjective for this scenic attraction. The Meewasin Valley Trail follows the South Saskatchewan River through the heart of Saskatoon, offering year-round recreation and sightseeing opportunities.
When the weather isn’t co-operating, heading inside the Western Development Museum is another great attraction for delegates to check out. The Saskatchewan Western Development Museum (WDM) is the museum of social and economic history for the Province of Saskatchewan. It is a network of four exhibit branches in the cities of Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Saskatoon and Yorkton, with a headquarters facility, the Curatorial Centre, also in Saskatoon.
The Saskatoon branch explores the crucial role the railway played in Saskatoon’s development. Railway sidings developed into meeting places and became railway towns where groceries, hardware, lumber, blacksmithing, mail, express and freight services were provided. Boomtown – the longest indoor street in North America – portrays Saskatoon during this booming period. More than 30 buildings portray community life – from the general store overflowing with everything from nails to gingham, to the blacksmith shop ringing with the sound of the hammer striking the anvil. Delegates are even transported back in time when the clip clop of horses’ hooves fills the air.
And, of course, no visit to Saskatoon would be complete without visiting the Berry Barn. Located just a 20-minute drive from downtown Saskatoon, the Berry Barn serves up home-style fare such as delectable Saskatoon berry pie and other desserts. Delegates can take home jars of homemade Saskatoon Berry jam and other berry-related souvenirs.
If the attractions aren’t enough to draw you to the area for your next meeting, the facts about corporate Saskatoon are sure to impress.
Saskatoon ranks No. 1 in Midwest USA for cost-effectiveness, is rated No. 1 in North America for economic potential under 500,000 population by Foreign Direct Investment Magazine, U.K. Financial Times. Moreover, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook 2006, Saskatoon is the third hottest economy in Canada.
“This together with more than 750,000 square feet of state-of-the-art convention space and more than 3,300 hotel rooms, minutes away from shopping, dining and entertainment, and an average commute of 15 minutes, Saskatoon is quickly becoming a favored location for many convention planners,” says Martini.
One of the most popular places to host meetings in Saskatoon includes TCU Place — Saskatoon’s Art & Convention Centre. Located in the heart of downtown Saskatoon across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn and next door to a large shopping complex, TCU Place is a five-minute walk from three other major hotels and a 10-minute drive from the airport.
“TCU Place is the perfect place to hold a conference of 500 — 1,300 people,” says Donna Melnychuk, director of sales for TCU Place.
The venue boasts more than 104,000 sq. ft of meeting, banquet and convention space. It’s also complete with a 2,003 soft seat theatre where a larger plenary can take place.
Because the venue is centrally located, delegates have plenty of options when it comes to things to do during their downtime. “There is always lots to do in downtown Saskatoon,” says Melnychuk. “We have festivals such as the Jazz Festival, the Fringe Festival and Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan — all located downtown. Moreover there are more than 400 shops and restaurants in the downtown core alone.”
The Credit Union Sports and Entertainment Centre is another popular meeting destination. The centre has played host to a multitude of national and international events and has the reputation of being one of Canada’s busiest arenas.
The centre contains 110,000 sq. ft of meeting space that can accommodate up to 13,192 delegates. If meeting planners are looking for a spot to host a tradeshow or exhibition, the Credit Union Centre can convert the Arena Level into 70,000 sq. ft. of exhibitor space and also has an additional 40,000 sq. ft. of space on the Concourse level.
Another major meeting place is Saskatoon Prairieland Park. The venue has evolved into a provincial leader in the development of trade shows, conferences, special events and industry expositions. The site has invested more than $9 million in infrastructure enhancement in recent years, making it one of Canada’s premier venues. The 136-acre park features easy access, ample on-site parking, and 180,000 square feet of world-class meeting, trade show and conference space. Prairieland Park attracts 1.6 million people and hosts 321 events per year.
Whether your next convention is big or small, Saskatoon can accommodate any sized group. Not only will delegates be treated to first-rate facilities but they’ll experience the beauty and culture of Saskatoon.
“Delegates are known to embark on their return flight home with a smile on their face, a relaxed brow and many wonderful memories,” says Martini.