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.

Ottawa Business Journal - Meeting in the Capital - - 10 Unique Business Meeting Spots - By Ste­fan Dubowski

BILLINGS ES­TATE

2100 Cabot St., Ottawa

613.247.4830 www.ottawa.ca/res­i­dents/her­itage/mu­se­ums/billings/

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.

BROOK­STREET

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.

DIEFEN­BUNKER

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.

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