When it comes to picking a host city for a convention or conference, event planners and site selectors have a lot to consider, including attendee appeal, accessibility, originality, and budget-friendly venues and services.

Leanne Calderwood knows the importance of choosing the right host city for an event—and the criteria it takes to find a location that will stoke attendee participation. Calderwood, vice president of global accounts at ConferenceDirect, is a renowned blogger who provides invaluable resources for meeting planners and is a leading expert in assisting event organizers in selecting the right host cities, accommodations, and venues.

Calderwood visited Québec City in February 2019. While she has visited many Canadian cities as a site selector, from the get-go, she was amazed at all the boxes she could tick off as to Québec City’s value as a host city. Here are her top reasons why Québec City is a spectacular place to hold a meeting, conference, or convention:

Original Experiences

“Québec City hits a lot of items on an event planner’s bucket list,” Calderwood said. “There are literally dozens of things to do and see at least once in your lifetime.” She pointed out that while she was there in the wintertime, she was able to immerse herself in the festivities of the Québec Winter Carnival and visit Québec’s ice hotel—two one-of-a-kind activities she deemed event attendees would enjoy.

“I was there in winter. It is fascinating to know that city brims with life in each season and has a myriad of memorable and fun things to do that event planners can organize for participants.”

Unique French-Canadian Culture

Another aspect about Québec City that draws people in: its European charm and culture. “Today’s event attendees, including speakers and sponsors, crave genuine experiences. Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the downtown core alone, event attendees can soak up over 400 years of French history.”

Calderwood described several tourist attractions and off-site venues that are “the bee’s knees,” such as the fortifications of Québec, Plains of Abraham, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Voltigeurs de Québec Armoury, and Musée de l’Amérique francophone. “They are great fits for event receptions.”

A Very Walkable City

“The Québec City Convention Centre, along with many options for accommodations and dining as well as tourist attractions, can be done by foot,” she said. This is a key selling factor for event planners looking for convenience as well as means to curb transportation costs and allow event attendees to easily explore the city.

“There are so many gems located within five to 10 minutes from each other. You can discover a lot about Québec City in just a day, which is ideal for event participants who want some personal leisure time.”

An Amazing Culinary Scene

Calderwood has traveled extensively, and she was fascinated by the quality and authenticity of Québec City’s dining options. “The food was simply fantastic, no matter where we went,” she exclaimed. “And I have got to say, poutine just tastes better in Québec!”

Québec City features a smorgasbord of restaurants and cafés—with many renowned chefs using local ingredients and melding classic dishes with modern twists. “No matter what your taste or budget, you’re sure to find something delicious.”        

The Allure of Independent Hotels

One factor that impressed Ms. Calderwood the most was the number of independent hotels, which many event planners and attendees appreciate because they bring another vibe to their stays. “Independent hotels all offer something different and, oftentimes, a nod to a city’s bygone eras or ever-evolving culture in today’s times. Eventgoers are delighted to be engulfed in distinctive lodgings.”

For event planners who prefer chain hotels, Québec City is also home to most of the major brands recognized throughout North America, which is a testament to the variety of accommodations available.

Ms. Calderwood plans to return to Québec City this coming fall. “I cannot wait to discover more of Québec City’s hidden gems!”

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