For the 3rd consecutive year, Montreal topped the Leading Host Cities of the Americas for International Meetings ranking in the 2013 International Meetings Statistics report issued by the Union of International Associations (UIA).
In view of this announcement, I thought I would share my perspective, as someone who grew up in Montreal, about why the city is such a powerful draw for meetings and conferences.
In addition to extensive hotel, conference, exposition, and meeting facilities, Montreal has:
- A Thriving Fine Arts Scene
In addition to exhibits at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Redpath Museum at McGill University, the McCord Museum, and Pointe-a-Calliere at the birthplace of Montreal, groups can take in performances by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and Orchestre symphonique de Montreal.
For starters, arts festivals include Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in August, Montreal en Lumiere from mid February to early March, and the annual Nuit blanche a Montreal festival.
Montreal takes the arts so seriously that there are public pianos in some green spaces and on some streets.
- Festivals Throughout the Year
Speaking of festivals, Montreal comes alive with festivals all year. Take your pick.
There are so many festivals that Montreal has a festival zone, Quartier des spectacles, with 8 public spaces and over 80 cultural venues.
In the winter, there is Montreal en Fetes during the Christmas season, Igloofest and Fete des neiges de Montreal, a snow festival over 4 weekends from mid-January to early February.
Carifesta, a Caribbean carnival took place last Saturday. The annual Jazz Festival ended 2 days ago.
Juste Pour Rire comedy festival takes place for most of July.
Week-ends du Monde, a festival showcasing cultures from around the world, starts on the first weekend in July and continues until mid-August.
- Ample Green Space
I miss the green spaces accessible near the downtown core including Mont Royal, the many attractions along the river (e.g. Vieux Port, Plage de l'Horloge au Vieux-Port, St. Lawrence River cruises, Parc Jean Drapeau, part of the legacy infrastructure from Terre des Hommes, the 1967 World's Fair), and Jardin botanique de Montreal, covering 185 acres in the east end.
- Getting Around is Easy
Especially if members of your party speak French, navigating the safe, clean and extensive Metro and bus system is a breeze. English is widely spoken so fellow passengers will be happy to provide directions. For large groups, dedicated shuttles to major attractions can also be arranged.
- Sports Are for All Seasons:
Hockey, cross-country skiing, and snow shoeing are a given in the winter. The F1 Grand Prix takes place in June.
Montreal Olympic Stadium, a legacy of the 1976 Olympics, is a meeting and sports venue.
Cycling along the cities extensive bike path network and jet boating on the St. Lawrence River have become popular.
Ziplining and treetop walking are accessible less than an hour away.
For more reasons to meet in Montreal, consult the Cvent Montreal Event Planning Guide.
Photo Credits: Montreal Corporate Events, Executive Oasis International