Much has been made over the years of the renowned Maritime hospitality and friendliness of the people that inhabit in this charming, yet cosmopolitan, city by the sea. But upon closer inspection, not only does Halifax deliver on its reputation as a great place to visit with family and friends (even new-found ones), it also flexes considerable muscle as a formidable meetings destination that any planner would be well-served to consider.
Whether it is the multitude of guest accommodations of virtually every imaginable description (over 4,000 rooms at last count) or its easy access from major North American cities such as Toronto, Montreal and New York, Halifax offers big-city amenities in a compact, walkable and definitely convivial destination. Even European centres such as London and Paris are just a (relatively) brief five hours away!
From the moment you step off the plane at Stanfield International Airport, you will be welcomed with open arms by the engaging spirit of Haligonians. It could be an airport limo driver who regales you with a story of being born in a cab atop one of the local bridges or a simple hello from virtually every person you meet, but it can seem at times that everyone in Halifax is on the payroll of the local CVB.
“Halifax is able to offer a variety of high-quality event support services and venues,” says Christina Pantuso, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “The Maritime charm and hospitality that Destination Halifax delivers will make any event a wonderful experience!”
Warmth and hospitality notwithstanding, Halifax offers everything a corporate meeting planner could look for. With convenient plane, train and automobile access from the rest of North America, the city has been recognized internationally for the important economic impacts, leading research and development work, as well as the impressive array of facilities and meetings venues to be found here. Contributions to the global economy made by key Halifax industry sectors such a life sciences, education, aerospace and finance make it an optimal destination for international organizations to host meetings and conventions.
Stunning new facility
Joining the list of those impressive facilities in 2016 will be the new Halifax Convention Centre currently under construction in the heart of downtown. Located just blocks from the bustling waterfront and within easy walking distance of the city’s best restaurants, bars and arts and entertainment, this facility will feature an estimated 120,000 square feet of rentable space, including 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and a spectacular 30,000 square foot ballroom overlooking the city. In addition, the building is part of the Nova Centre – a sustainable, LEED gold standard, 1-million-square-foot, mixed-use development that will completely transform two full blocks of the city’s entertainment district.
Among the other first-class downtown venues, planners will find a variety of facilities to meet all budgets and tastes, from the nautical to the historical:
- Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – Located on Halifax’s waterfront, steps from all major hotels, spectacular harbour view; perfect for receptions, dinners and meetings for up to 250 people. Add a tour of the renowned museum exhibits.
- Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery – Custom packages, dinners, receptions for up to 100 guests. Add an award winning theatrical Brewery Tour with traditional Maritime songs and beer samples.
- Art Gallery of Nova Scotia – A spectacular setting for your presentations, performances, parties, and receptions. An 80-seat theatre, flexible seminar space, beautiful galleries, and on-site caterer make it a picture-perfect venue.
- Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – Canada’s Immigration Museum hosts events of all types – from casual meetings to high-profile conventions and trade shows. Award-winning national attraction, rich in history, with harbour views and functional spaces to ensure your next special event is memorable.
- Cunard Centre – A renovated cargo shed overlooking Halifax Harbour with 45,000 square feet of column-free space. Easy load in – ideal for concerts, trade and automobile shows, gala dinners and fundraisers. Accommodates 2,000 person dinners, 4,000 person receptions and concerts. Divides easily for smaller groups.
- Halifax Citadel National Historic Site – In the heart of downtown, offer your guests a first-class heritage experience complemented by modern-day conveniences. Can accommodate group dinners, receptions, outdoor concerts, and meetings all in an historic setting. Hear the skirl of the bagpipes, the boom of the cannon, chat with a soldier and enjoy one of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites.
With its reputation as being one of the “pub” capitals of the world and a vibrant restaurant scene featuring award-winning chefs, there is no shortage of food and drink options for your event guests when in Halifax. Dine on the freshest lobster and seafood, complemented of course by acclaimed Annapolis Valley wines and locally sourced ingredients. Or take in the oldest Farmer’s Market in North America to create your own culinary masterpiece. And if it is entertainment your delegates are looking for, then the options run from frenetic Celtic beats to music festivals, sporting events and theatre.
For off-site thrills, the Halifax region offers everything from spectacular golf to winery tours, sea kayaking and a multitude of nature hiking trails, not to mention a visit to the iconic shores of Peggy’s Cove less than an hour’s drive away.
“Where many city destinations in Canada are challenged by lack of evening activities, the easy accessibility to great music, a fantastic boardwalk, festivals and evening activities ensures that no one will be bored or without options,” says Richard Roth of CanWest Travel Company. “The combination of a thriving urban environment, diverse and vibrant culture, and easy accessibility to stunning ocean and land environments makes this an appealing destination to any sort of group. There is truly something for everyone here!”
For more information on how the team at Destination Halifax can help plan your next meeting in Halifax, visit them online at www.destinationhalifax.com.
Better known as the “Hub City,” Moncton, New Brunswick is the fastest growing metropolitan city east of Saskatoon. Positioned in the middle of the three Maritime provinces, and close to the U.S. border, Moncton draws from more than 1.4 million people within a three-hour drive.
With nearly 30 venues to choose from, including the world renowned Magnetic Hill concert site, the Moncton Colosseum and Casino New Brunswick, Moncton offers state-of-the-art facilities with professional services to host events small and large.
“Moncton has built a reputation in the social, corporate and sports communities by hosting events that have surpassed audience expectations,” says Louise D’Amours, Destination Sales Manager for the City of Moncton. “The city will provide a number of support services to events being held in the Moncton area,” including assisting in events organizing, support for excursion organizations and assistance with hotel proposals.
Popular tour stop
With an international airport and some of Canada’s most well-known attractions, Moncton has a bilingual and multicultural population, and in 2008 was noted to be the “most polite and honest city in Canada,” in Readers Digest. The city has welcomed the Rolling Stones at Atlantic Canada’s largest ever concert event and was the final stop for U2’s 360 tour. The city hosted the Sommet de la francophonie, which drew an audience of 129,000, the world 2010 Track and Field Championship, regular season CFL games and is set to be one of six Canadian cities to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Moncton is world renowned for its scenic attractions, including the tidal bore, a scenic phenomenon caused by the Bay of Fundy tides and Hopewell Rocks, a rock formation that stands between 10 and 20 metres tall. Moncton is also only a short drive to Parlee Beach Provincial Park, which boasts the warmest salt water in all of Canada and Fundy National Park where guests can enjoy unique ecosystems, rare bird sightings and splendid views of the Bay of Fundy.
For the outdoor enthusiasts and adventurists, Moncton is home to more than 2,000 acres of parkland and a multitude of family friendly trails and parks all within the city limits. Moncton’s indoor amusement park, Crystal Palace boasts an indoor roller coaster, mini golf and more, and is connected to the Ramada Plaza Crystal Palace Hotel.
Dining in Moncton is an experience of its own. With well known eateries, as well as quaint pubs and fine dining, the city is home to more than 200 restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines. And for sports fans, Moncton is home to the Wildcats hockey team, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team that has seen many players rise to professional stardom.
Chosen as one of the top 10 places to do business six years in a row by Canadian Business Magazine, Moncton is sure to leave audiences and guests impressed.