10 unique business meeting spots
Looking for a unique place for your next business meeting or conference? These 10 locations feature unusual surroundings, distinctive amenities, and add an air of exclusivity to any kind of professional get-together.
2100 Cabot St., Ottawa
facility_en.html Constructed in 1829, the Billings Estate is the oldest wood frame building in Ottawa, and now this designated historic site can be rented for conferences and business meetings. It offers two conference rooms, each suitable for approximately 15 people. During the summer months, the tranquil grounds are also available, and conference organizers can arrange for tents of various sizes for events of up to 100 people. When the business of the day is over, participants can take a trip back in time. The Estate’s trained interpreters guide visitors through a story spanning four generations, detailing one of Ottawa’s founding families. Braddish and Lamira Billings were key players in the area’s fledgling timber business, and in the development of the Rideau Canal, itself a historic example of commercial infrastructure that helped transform numerous nearby villages and towns into veritable business hubs.
525 Legget Dr., Kanata
888.826.2220 www.brookstreet.ca If you’re looking for a boutique hotel setting with the amenities of a full scale resort, consider Brookstreet. This inn, spa and golf resort is situated in Kanata, Ottawa’s tech-heavy western business hub – perfect for meeting with technology bigwigs. The location will also soon prove convenient for federal government meetings as Canada’s public service plans to take up additional space west of downtown. Brookstreet offers more than 22,000 square feet of meeting space, including a luxurious 5,200 square-foot ballroom. The facilities provide state-of-the-art webcasting, video-conferencing and multimedia presentation support, as well as wireless high-speed Internet access. Meeting packages include catering and spa
treatments at Brookstreet’s exclusive wellness and medical facility. The adjacent Marshes Golf Club provides a world-class golfing experience, perfect for discussing key decisions or relaxing when business is done. For overnight stays, the guest rooms offer a large workspace, high-speed Internet access, and cordless phones.
CANADIAN AVIATION MUSEUM
11 Aviation Pkwy., Ottawa
800.463.2038 www.aviation.technomuses.ca Want your business meeting to really take off? The Canadian Aviation Museum is undergoing substantial renovations that, when complete, will add conference and business meeting facilities to an already worthwhile destination. The museum will feature a new 250-seat auditorium, a theatre for up to 500, a smaller theatre seating 65, and rooms for seminars and strategy sessions. “We’re hoping to offer facilities for a variety of events, from conferences to educations forums and receptions,” says Christina Lucas, the museum’s marketing chief.
Beyond business, the museum is recognized as having the most extensive aviation collection in Canada and one which ranks among the best in the world. It details Canada’s success in aeronautical engineering and construction, and of course features a wide range of vehicles, everything from the Avro Canada CF-100 Mk. 5D interceptor jet to the Zenair CH300 Tri-Z light airplane. While the new business meeting and conference facilities won’t be open until 2010, planners can get a sneak peak of the museum when it hosts the 2009 Genie Awards on April 4.
CODE’S MILL INN AND SPA
82 Peter St., Perth
613.326.0082 www.codesmillinn.com Located an hour outside of Ottawa, Perth already attracts thousands of visitors each year with its inspiring limestone architecture and storied past. The town was founded in 1816 by the British military, and many of the buildings were crafted by Scottish stonemasons. Code’s Mill is one local edifice that lends to this historic setting, and offers a unique site for business gettogethers. Overlooking Perth’s Stewart Park, this former felt factory includes conference facilities for up to 250 guests, configured as required for a conference, lunch or speaker session. The newly constructed 55-room inn and clapboard-style cottage with seven suites provide complementary high-speed
Internet access, workspaces, and handsfree telephones with voice mail. Should the conference or meeting schedule allow for a recreational break, Perth offers a wealth of unique shops, restaurants and outdoor entertainment. Special golf packages are available at the recently rebuilt Perth Links O’Tay Golf Course as well.
3911 Carp Rd., Carp
800.409.1965 www.diefenbunker.ca A former Cold-War era stronghold for the federal government, this underground shelter now serves as one of the most unusual places in the Ottawa area to hold business meetings. It was constructed in the 1960s to protect the government in case of nuclear war. Named after Prime Minister Diefenbaker, who authorized the construction, the four-storey Diefenbunker includes a war room where members of Cabinet would have met to discuss strategy. Today, organizations of all sorts can rent the war room for their own strategy sessions. It seats 15. For larger groups, the cafeteria is available, with room for 60. “It’s probably the safest place to have a meeting anywhere,” says Jesse Alexander, the Diefenbunker’s program manager. “Of course, there are no windows. And since the war room is underground and surrounded steel and concrete, there’s no cell phone reception.” This could actually make for more productive meetings, as participants wouldn’t be distracted by their wireless devices. Still, the building does offer wireless Internet service, so conferencegoers wouldn’t be completely cut off.
Tours reveal the role this once-secret location played in Canada’s Cold War history. Visitors see the Prime Minister’s suite, the CBC radio studio, and the Bank of Canada vault. Conference fees go towards the Diefenbunker’s capacity project, which aims to increase the maximum capacity of the building from 60 to 500, so even more people can benefit from this unique historic experience.
DIVINO WINE STUDIO
225 Preston St., Ottawa
613.221.9760 www.divinowinestudio.com For a relaxing yet edifying business meeting, DiVino offers the perfect blend of exclusivity and great taste. Event organizers can secure a private tasting room in this intimate restaurant for small gatherings of up to 25. DiVino’s knowledgeable staff offer tips in wine tasting, and help transform ordinary meetings into interactive and interesting education sessions. The staff can also assist with food and wine selections, room set-up, decorations and any other special requests. Amenities include a projector and screen, a computer with a DVD player, and wireless Internet access. The main room is also available, and here participants get the opportunity to interact with DiVino’s friendly chefs in the open kitchen, where they offer mini-lessons in culinary creation. The main room features a wireless microphone as well as a projector, a large-screen high-definition TV, and Internet service.
LE NORDIK NATURE SPA
16 Chemin Nordik, Old Chelsea
866.575.3700 www.lenordik.com Bring nature back to business at this modern yet quaint facility in Old Chelsea, Quebec, just a few minutes away from downtown Ottawa. Le Nordik is building a new meeting space suitable for up to 120 guests, with oversized windows for a perfect view of the surrounding oak and maple forest, and access to the outdoor terrace for relaxing session breaks. Scheduled to open in May, the meeting area will feature top-ofthe-line audio-visual equipment, a fireplace and a bar. The venue will also include a separate cocktail foyer. After work, Nordic
baths help participants unwind via the long proven method used for 2,000 years in Finland with a hot sauna, cool bath, and a calming spell in the spa’s relaxation area. The facility also offers overnight accommodation in the Nordic Lodge, and an exceptional dining experience in the adjoined restaurant.
NAV CANADA TRAINING AND CONFERENCE CENTRE
1950 Montreal Rd., Cornwall
877.832.6416 www.conference.navcanada.ca Particularly handy for people driving into the area along the 401, the Nav Canada Training and Conference Centre in Cornwall is the largest conference centre in Eastern Ontario. It’s run by NAV Canada, the nation’s civil air navigation service provider, but anyone can rent the organization’s comprehensive conference facilities. The in-house meeting planners can help map out seminars and conferences of all sizes. With 50 state-of-the-art meeting rooms and 50,000 square-feet of space, there’s no question that the facility is capacious. But it’s also just one of a few Canadian conference centres to have attained accreditation by the International Association of Conference Centres, which sets standards according to 30 criteria, including optimal layout, furniture, sound proofing and lighting. The complex features 560 guest rooms and a complete dining service as well. Of note are the surroundings: 70 acres of parkland seclude NAV Canada’s facility in a tranquil setting, while its general location makes it convenient to the capital.
SAM JAKES INN
188 Main St. East, Merrickville
800.567.4667 www.samjakesinn.com This intriguing business getaway spot overlooks the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and brings conference goers up close and personal with the fascinating history of the National Capital Region. Built in 1861 by entrepreneur Samuel Jakes, the graciously restored stone building now offers meeting spaces suitable for groups of up to 80, providing plenty of natural light through large windows, projectors and screens, audio-visual equipment and video conferencing systems. The facility’s in-house conference facilitator is practically always on hand to help plan and execute the perfect business meeting. Outside, participants step back in time via Merrickville’s interesting shops and restaurants. The Inn itself offers a potentially paranormal experience as well – Jakes’ first wife, Sarah, who died in 1878, is said to haunt the premises.
STANLEY’S OLDE MAPLE LANE FARM
2452 Yorks Corners Rd., Edwards
613.821.2751 www.stanleysfarm.com Enjoy the country atmosphere at this fieldstone house built in the 1850s, now serving as a conference and business meeting destination for groups of all sizes. Located just minutes from downtown Ottawa, Stanley’s modern reception facilities include the Stone House Hall with seating for 80, the festival tent on the South Lawn for up to 200 guests, and The Maples reception area for 400. With numerous outdoor spaces, flexible room sizing and amenities such as wireless highspeed Internet access, Stanley’s combines the best of seclusion and connectedness for productive and fun business gatherings. After work, participants can follow the trails through acres of maple bush, cedar groves and meadows, either on foot or by horse-drawn sleigh or wagon.