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Leveraging Knowledge Hubs

Leveraging Canada’s Knowledge Capital to Grow Global Business Events

Canada may be known by travellers the world over for its vast, dramatic landscapes and warm and welcoming culture, but it’s the country’s global leadership across a spectrum of industries that is helping attract some of the world’s best attended business events.

Destination Canada’s Business Events team understands, that if all other factors that go into choosing a conference destination (hotel rooms, convention space, airline access and affordability) are equal, it’s the local expertise that can help distinguish Canadian destinations from others competing for the event.

“We spent a year mapping out Canada’s leading centres of expertise across seven priority sectors,” said Virginie De Visscher, Senior Director of Business Development, Economic Sectors. By connecting local tourism marketing and economic development agencies, Destination Canada’s Business Events team were able to “help shape a national narrative as to why a global organization should host their event in Canada.”

Early successes have included the World Summit AI  who chose Montréal as its host destination when their global event expanded to North America in 2019. The event organizers inked a multi-year deal with Montréal, thanks in large part to the wealth of ways their delegates could engage with Montréal’s AI community on tech tours, networking events and speaker’s presentations. Inspired Minds, organizers of the event learned of Canada’s leadership in AI during a Destination Canada presentation at London Tech Week. “Our team, together with the Canadian High Commission in London, uncovered the bid opportunity for Canada, but it was the collaboration between Tourisme Montréal and Montréal’s AI community that solidified the win,” says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director of Business Events Canada “Proof, yet again, that when we all work together great things can be accomplished.”

Collision, the “coachella” for tech geeks  was drawn to Canada thanks to Toronto’s outstanding leadership across the tech spectrum  - from Fintech to Medtech, from AI to wireless networking and beyond. The fastest growing tech event in North America welcomed some 30,000 delegates in year one of its three-year commitment and created some $147 million in economic impact.

“Meetings and events are a powerful catalyst for economic development,” says De Visscher, noting that business events such as Collision, or the upcoming Fintech Connect Toronto  provide an ideal opportunity  to spotlight the host city’s innovation ecosystem.”

Saskatoon, meanwhile, is quietly making a name for itself as a destination of choice for international business events focused on agriculture, soil sciences, plant proteins and more. “With the research being done at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources, and at the Global Institute for Food Security, food scientists from around the world are taking notice, leveraging Saskatoon’s intellectual capital to host educational and engaging events,” says De Vissher. In 2019 alone Saskatoon welcomed some 1,600+ attendees from around the globe to three international events including the Fifth International Rhizosphere Conference, the First International Wheat Congress and the 12th Protein Summit Americas 2019.