Convention Centres of Canada – Annual Conference

Date: 18/06/2024


Canada has many nice traditions, including making visitors very welcome. So, it was no surprise to be warmly welcomed at the Annual Conference of the Convention Centres of Canada (CCofC). This year’s edition was quite special as it combined a conference, the 50th anniversary of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre and the opening of the (Calgary Stampede) BMO Centre. And yes, it took place in Calgary – so hats & boots were (almost) mandatory. 

Nina Kressler (Chair of the CCofC and CEO of the Shaw Centre in Ottawa) and Barry Smith (Executive Director of CCofC) once again brought the Canadian convention center community together to share great experiences. 

Let’s start with the anniversary of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre. Kurby Court, CEO and teacher at the AIPC Academy, was the master of ceremony, combining tributes to the indigenous population, praise to long-standing staff members and bringing to live the history of the venue. He was joined by various guest speakers, who all shared their insights and memories, making the event both festive and memorable. 

Next up was the first day of the actual conference, which was a combination of lectures, panel debates and networking. Leonard Brody, Canadian venture capitalist and author, was the opening keynote and provided unique insights in what the near-term future has to offer economically and at the level of technology (AI must have been the most used word throughout the entire conference). Matt Klass – a long time AIPC partner – found himself in a new role, focusing on sustainability.  

At the end of the day, there was the moment all participants had been waiting for: the grand opening of the BMO Centre. For those who attended either the AIPC Academy or the AIPC Annual Conference over the last years: this is the breathtaking venue designed by Populous that Adam Paulitsch presented on a number of occasions. This time, however, we were about to see the real thing. Guided by music – of very different genres – the crowd was guided through the building, discovering both its immensity and its elegance. Needless to say, that Greg Newton, Executive Vice-President Conventions & Events and General Manager of BMO Centre, was an extremely proud host.  

The conference participants were allowed to re-discover the venue the next day in a less busy setting, with the Convention Centres of Canada being the first official guest of the venue.  One of the areas used was The Exchange, a beautiful work/meet area at the heart of the venue. The second day touched upon several topics, such as cyber security and closed off with a strategy workshop run by Oscar Cerezales, Chief Strategy Officer at MCI. Outcomes and lessons learned were discussed in the closing dinner, which took place in a vintage Calgary setting. 

Staff exchange in motion 

Some time ago, we mentioned that the Swiss Tech Convention Centre and the BMO Centre launched the very first staff exchange under the AIPC banner. The picture below shows the two “partners in crime” who made this happen: Maria Watts from the BMO Centre Myriam Chevally from the SwissTech Convention Centre with AIPC’s President Greg O’Dell.

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