I’m not sure if there is a more beautiful part of the globe than the area around Vancouver, British Columbia, including Whistler Mountain, but I am sure that few places offer as much to the MICE market. The Canadian destination is active year-round with winter and summer activities. Here are my picks on what to organize for your groups.
1. The glass-bottom Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a must-see.
Peak 2 Peak
spans the longest gondola distance in the world and links the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It is a full-day experience with incomparable views of volcanic glaciers and coastal rain forests. End the day with a breathtaking dinner at Roundhouse Lodge
, located at the top of Whistler Mountain. This venue can accommodate up to 250 guests seated or 1,500 reception-style.
2. Vancouver has two venues for large congresses and meetings.
Vancouver Convention Centre, located on the city’s waterfront with the mountains as a backdrop, truly lays claim to one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The state-of-the-art, green-certified center is a highly flexible space and spans two buildings.
Whistler Conference Centre
claims to be a place for “celebration, announcement, excellence, brainstorming and networking,” a statement that proved to be true after taking only a few steps inside the facility. Located in the heart of an alpine village, it is an inspiring setting to stage a meeting or special event.
3. Fun and interactive teambuilding experiences can be found at a host of locations.
In the former Olympic Village, there is a zip line called The Sasquatch spanning more than 1 mile with spectacular views. Other activities promoting a healthy lifestyle are city tours via bicycles, for which Vancouver has nearly 250 miles of dedicated bike routes. For the yoga lovers in your group, the area is home to the Vancouver-born Lululemon Athletica, so to say there are 40 studios across the city is probably an understatement.
4. The Whistler/Vancouver area is as much about artisanal food as it is about the landscape.
The local cuisine is known for farm-to-table experiences incorporating the best of Mother Earth. But the street food scene cannot be downplayed: The annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is quickly becoming a huge draw, despite taking place in January.
5. Bearfoot Bistro, home to the Ketel One Ice Room, affords the area another record breaker.
“It’s the coldest vodka room in the world,” says Kerren Bottay, a Bearfoot manager. The arctic temperature makes the vodka smoother and brings out the taste. Bearfoot
’s private event room holds 10 people comfortably for the tasting experience, which lasts about 10 minutes. Guests gear up in Canada Goose parkas and hats to sample selections of more than 55 vodkas from 12 countries.