Take advantage of the strong U.S. dollar at what’s often a 25% savings. You will find an entirely new world in the city of Vancouver, and it’s just over the border.
When I think of the perfect meeting destination, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the images of Vancouver that pop into my mind. First and foremost, I think of safety. In the world we now live in, safety and security is at the forefront of every planner’s mind. When I walk through the city of Vancouver, I feel like I’m in a giant friendly neighborhood. It goes without saying that Canadians are known to be some of the friendliest people around (in my eyes, it’s true – having lived in the Midwest for 6 years, I can vouch that the Canadian demeanor outshines even that of Chicago’s). Next, I think of the less-traveled attendee. As a planner, it’s easy to forget that this could very well be the only time an attendee has work travel each year. I think first of the anxiety my husband feels in non-grid cities. You raise your sightline in Vancouver, and you get clear (breathtaking!) views of mountains and/or water in several directions, allowing you to recalibrate rather quickly. A city’s walkability plays into that – knowing that attendees won’t need to walk through a bad area or travel further than a block or two from their hotel is a major plus. The Vancouver Convention Centre is just steps from a number of properties.
The Vancouver Convention Centre
The VCC is quite possibly the most beautiful, and manageable, convention center you may ever see. Surrounded by floor to ceiling glass windows with sprawling views of the surrounding mountains and water, it feels as if it were designed to have a front seat to nature. With its world-renowned eco-friendly initiatives, it is clear that the center wants you to feel that it is simply an extension of the natural environment that engulfs it. Between the iconic East building (if you’ve ever seen Denver’s airport from a distance, there’s a striking resemblance) and the modern new West building, there is somewhere for everyone. One of my personal favorite qualities of these buildings is that they are not eye sores – they fit right into the surrounding environment.
Eat Like a Local
Vancouver’s food & beverage is defined by what’s local – even at the convention center, where elsewhere it’s normally standard practice to prepare what’s simplest to mass-produce. Consider what you will find in the mountainous areas of British Columbia and expect it to be creatively crafted on your plate in front of you. One of my favorite examples of this was at Notch8 in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, with specialties like the Campfire Tartare, ‘Sea’sar Salad, and Autumn Wild Boar.
Some of the best hotels Vancouver has to offer are just steps from the harbor and most are within a 15 minute walk, providing access to an abundance of activities. If you’re looking for a theme for your meeting, I highly recommend incorporating health and wellness. Healthy living-focused companies such as Lululemon, Saje, and Nature’s Path have chosen Vancouver as their corporation’s home for a reason. Getting your attendees outside and active is one of the best ways to say ‘thank you’ for their time, and there are no shortage of activities to help you accomplish your goals. Form hiking, biking, running, or kayaking groups and their minds and bodies will be energized for a great week of learning and networking.
If you’re concerned about your less-active attendees, there are still many ways to experience Vancouver’s environment and culture. Float plane rides in the sky, whale watching on the water, and eagle/bird watching in the parks and forests are all Vancouver-favorites.
The convenient SkyTrain’s Canada Line allows you to travel easily from YVR to Waterfront Station in less than half an hour which drops you within less than a 10-minute walk to the VCC’s East building.
Where To Stay
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about where to stay in Vancouver, especially regarding the following properties:
- Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront
- Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel
- Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
- Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver
- Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver
- Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
- The Westin Bayshore Vancouver
- Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver
- Hyatt Regency Vancouver
- Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
- Fairmont Pacific Rim
- Rosewood Hotel Georgia