Events and Festivals

Calgary – Banff, Alberta

April 23 – 28, 2017

The purpose of this mission is to showcase organizations and destinations that demonstrate Best Practices in event and festival development to drive tourism and economic benefits for a community. Destination(s) visited will have developed numerous events under seasonal theme(s) and demonstrate how they have added to the product mix of the destination, supported destination brand awareness, contributed to lengthening season and act as an economic generator for the destination. Visiting several destinations and companies, participants will be connected to key success stories, lessons learned and principles of practice in event development and execution that they can apply at home.

Leading us on this mission will be Lesley Anderson.  Lesley brings a wealth of experience in this region as a leader in tourism development.

The Calgary and Banff/Lake Louise area provides an excellent example of both large and small centre event development.  Over the course of the week we will be exposed to organizations and centres that are working hard to grow events in the sporting, arts, culture and business areas. While much of the focus will revolve around event development the group will also be exposed to some of the world-class festival groups that exist in the region.

Location: Calgary – Banff, AB (Flights into and out of Calgary)

Dates: April 23 – 28, 2017

Costs: $2300 – $2600 (Depending on Airport Departure).  For those who are eligible there is a 50% subsidy on all eligible costs up to a maximum of $1500.

Target Participants

Target participants for this mission will include festival and event organizers, tourism associations/marketing organizations, and destination management companies.

Participants may also include operators interested in contributing product to umbrella events by capitalizing on existing themes of a festival/event (i.e. accommodators, restaurant owners, artisans, theatres, chefs, etc.).

Learning Objectives

  • Visit a community/destination(s) that has successfully used event development to drive economic opportunity for the destination and its stakeholders.
  • Realize the potential of events as an economic generator and how the tourism industry can capitalize on these opportunities.
  • Learn how to create successful partnerships around events and to receive increased visibility through partnering and group marketing initiatives.
  • Learn marketing ideas for shoulder season festival and events and how to create and build a legacy product in these seasons.
  • Developing sustainable, legacy events that are unique and well-linked to local culture, history, environment and have a strong connection to place.
  • Understand how events can unify tourism partners/stakeholders to strengthen the community and to increase the potential of the tourism industry.
  • Understand how a community/destination has successfully built its tourism potential around themed events and learn how to promote a total experience within the area surrounding the festival.
  • How to measure success of non-gated events (i.e. events without ticket sales?).

Tentative Schedule

Sunday, April 23, 2017: Travel & Get Acquainted

Travel from Atlantic Canada to Calgary International Airport (YYC). Both Air Canada and Westjet fly to Calgary from Eastern Canada. Please try to arrive in Calgary no later than 4:30pm. Take a take or an airport shuttle to our downtown hotel, the Sheraton Suites Eau Claire (

Sheraton Suites Eau Claire  $159.00
255 Barclay Parade SW,
Calgary, AB
T2P 5C2

6:00pm – Mission Welcome, meet your hosts and we’ll set the stage for the days to come! We will meet in the lobby and make our way together to a spot for welcome & introductions, then enjoy dinner.

Monday, April 24, 2017: Calgary

8:45 am     Business Session #1: The Shifting Market for Corporate Events – a hotel perspective.

The strong economy, as well as the oil & gas industry, on which Calgary’s meetings, conventions and events business hinged has taken a major hit in the past year causing big shifts in the market and its behavior. Hear one hotel’s perspective on how they are responding to this major change in their events market, how they are working together with the Convention Centre to attract new events to the city, and how they leverage destination-wide events to increase occupancy on the leisure side of the business.

10:00 am   Business Session #2: Evolving a Major Metropolitan City into an Events Destination – a session with Tourism Calgary

11:30 am   Lunch (location TBC)

1:00 pm     Business Session #3: Session with Calgary Stampede or Heritage Park (TBD)

3:00 pm     Hop on the coach and relax as we travel to Banff. Travel distance = 135km / approx. 1.5hrs.

Arrive at the Elk & Avenue Hotel ( where you can relax, revitalize and reflect on your day .

6:30 pm     Group Dinner (location TBC)

Elk & Avenue Hotel  $109.00
333 Banff Ave
Banff, Alb
T1L 1B1

Tuesday, April 25, 2017: Banff

7:30 am       Breakfast on your own in Banff

9:00 am     Business Session #4: Building a Year-Round, World-Class Resort Destination – a panel session with Banff Lake Louise Tourism, the Town of Banff and Parks Canada

Working on events within the National Park brings a variety of opportunities, restrictions and limitations. Collaboration between the DMO, the Town and the park is critical to success. During this panel discussion we will hear about the collaborative framework for the strategic planning of events and their implementation:

–        What types of events is Banff trying to attract and why?

–        What successes and challenges have they seen in their efforts?

–        How have events contributed to destination awareness, visitation and lengthening season?

–        How do they support and encourage stakeholder collaboration and partnership?

–        How do they manage risk?

11:00 am   Head to the Banff Gondola! (Travel time approx. 10 min)

We will journey to the top of the Banff Gondola to see a whole new side of Sulphur Mountain and the Canadian Rockies. The gondola complex at the top has just recently undergone a complete overhaul – the mountaintop experience has been rebuilt, redesigned and reimagined, creating a world-class indoor experience 2900 ft. above Banff. Enjoy a facility tour, followed by a delicious lunch with views of the Bow Valley below.

1:00 pm     Business Session #5: Brewster Travel Canada

Brewster is a vertically-integrated corporation that owns three hotels in Banff, five major attractions in Banff & Jasper National Parks, runs a transportation company and is a major inbound tour operator in Canada. We will hear from Brewster representatives Marilu Adams and Diana Gould about their perspectives on events development. Brewster runs its own, individual owned events to grow leisure visitation to its attractions, they are a popular venue for corporate and incentive events and they align with and leverage destination-wide events.

3:30 pm     Business Session #6: Cave & Basin National Historic Site (TBC)

5:30 pm     Free time to enjoy Banff and have dinner in town.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017: Lake Louise/Banff

7:30 am       Breakfast on your own in Banff

9:00 am     Hop on the bus and we’re headed to Lake Louise. (Travel time approx. 45 min)

10:00am     Business Session #7: Chateau Lake Louise Lake Louise is the host destination for a variety of large-scale, winter events including Ice Magic and the Pond Hockey tournament. We will visit the Chateau Lake Louise, one of Canada’s premiere destinations for corporate, incentive and leisure travel to hear about the work they do to attract visitors in the winter and shoulder seasons through events.

11:30am     After our session you will have some free time to take photos and wander along the lake.

12:00pm     Lunch & Business Session #8: The Post Hotel TBC.

2:30pm        Return to Banff.  (Travel time approx. 45 min)

3:30pm        Business Session #9: Banff Centre – TBC.

5:30pm        Return to the hotel. Free time and dinner in Banff.

Thursday, April 27, 2017: Canmore

7:30 am       Breakfast on your own in Banff. Be sure to check out of your hotel room and bring your luggage to the 1st session as we will be departing on the bus directly after the session is complete.

9:00 am     Business Session #10: Travel Alberta – The Provincial Perspective on Events

… with Cam Spence, Industry Development Manager, Canadian Rockies, as he shares his insights from the provincial marketing organization’s perspective on the potential for festivals and events to strengthen destination brand, grow visitation, support destination collaboration and drive economic impact.

10:30am     We’re hopping on the bus after our session and travelling 30 min east to Canmore.

11:00am    Business Session #11: Canmore Uncorked This morning we will meet Andrew Nickerson, former CEO of Canmore Tourism and Business, and current owner of Canmore Uncorked, a hugely successful culinary event that he started at the DMO. We’ll learn the secrets to its success, how they’ve encouraged collaboration and event partnership, and talk about shifting from a DMO-funded & run event model to a private business model.

After our session we will become guinea pigs! We will be taking part in an experience pilot…a progressive walking lunch. This experience is theory turning into practice – a real-life illustration of how an event experience can ignite new product development for a destination. This is an experience that was born as part of the culinary event, Canmore Uncorked, and is now being shifted and transformed into a purchasable tourism experience that can be sold in multiple destinations throughout Canada. Bon appetit!

2:30pm        Business Session #12: Bringing World Cup Competition to Town Our last business session will introduce you to Norbert Meier, a long-time Canmore resident and avid Nordic ski enthusiast. Norbert has been instrumental in bringing the World Cup cross-country races back to Canada and into Canmore. With the former 1988 Olympics Nordic ski venue in town, and a variety of former and current Olympic and high-level Nordic athletes living in town, it was a logical fit to bring this world-class competition to Canmore. Norbert will talk about his experience planning for and executing two World Cup events, his plans for the future, how he engaged the community and its businesses in the events, and how he’s attracting audiences to attend cross-country ski races when they aren’t even skiers!

4:30pm        Hop in the bus & head back to Calgary. (Travel time approx. 1.5 hrs). We will be staying at the airport tonight to make it convenient for those on early flights.

Wyndham Garden Calgary Airport  $119.00
11 Freeport Cres NE,
Calgary, AB
T3J 0T4

6:00pm        Group dinner together to debrief the week and toast to a fabulous trip.

Friday, April 28, 2017: Lake Louise/Banff

Enjoy your travels back to Atlantic Canada – or extend your stay for the weekend and enjoy a little extra time in beautiful Calgary or the Rocky Mountains.