When the Canadian Alliance to end homelessness presented its 4th national conference at the London Convention Centre last November, it attracted more than 900 attendees – up from the 600 who came to the previous year’s event in Montreal.
Those numbers come as no surprise to Lynne Gale, director of conventions for Tourism London. “When national and provincial associations make the decision to hold their conventions in London, their attendance is usually larger than anticipated, and often record-breaking,” she says.
London may be a mid-sized city, says Gale, but it has the ability to host conferences and large meetings in a big way.
The city offers 3,500 modern hotel rooms including all the major national chains, unique boutique hotels, and on-campus accommodation at Western University, Brescia University College, and Fanshawe College.
It is conveniently located at theconvergence of highways 401, 402 and 403, and boasts a modern international airport served by Air Canada and West Jet. “With non-stop flights from major points across Canada, including ten a day from Toronto, it really is easy to get to London from almost anywhere,” Gale says.
And London offers a variety of world-class facilities suitable for meetings of any size.
Situated in the heart of downtown, the London Convention Centre (LCC) features more than 70,000 square feet of flexible, state-of-the-art meeting space.
In 2015, the centre launched a $5 million capital improvement project.
Completed this August, the revitalized LCC now boasts more modern, flexible, and fully-accessible meeting spaces. With a 33,000-square foot ballroom, up to 14 breakout rooms, and a sun filled, spacious foyer that can host breakout sessions by day and an elegant cocktail reception by night, the LCC can comfortably accommodate up to 2000 people.
London’s largest full-service hotel is located just across the street.
DoubleTree by Hilton is connected to the LCC by a covered walkway. Recently renovated from top to bottom, it features 323 guest rooms, as well as a Prime Minister’s Suite, an Executive Suite, and three private-access floors.
With more than 15 meeting rooms, including a 12,300 square-foot ballroom, DoubleTree can host anything from a five-person boardroom meeting to an event for 600, says Sam Davis, director of business development, DoubleTree by Hilton London.
The hotel’s central location means visitors can walk to everything downtown London has to offer, including night life, sporting events, and a large selection of restaurants. “We are only two blocks from the Via Rail and Greyhound Bus stations, and it’s a ten-minute drive to Hwy 401,” notes Davis.
With dedicated meeting planners and an attentive catering team, conference organizers can relax and focus on the business at hand, he adds. “We offer a very low-key, personalized service.”
Those looking for a unique alternative to traditional meeting facilities may find Brescia University College to be the perfect fit.
Situated on 48 acres overlooking the Western University campus, Brescia combines a retreat-like setting with state-of-the-art meeting facilities, says Brescia College conference services manager, Max Voykin.
“When it comes to conference venues, I like to think of us as London’s hidden gem,” he says. “We are close to everything the city has to offer, but surrounded by open green spaces and lush forest.”
Canada’s only women’s university, Brescia University College was founded in 1919 and its majestic Ursuline Hall remains a local landmark. But most meetings and conferences take place in the award-winning Mercato, located inside Clare Hall, which was built in 2013.
The edgy new meeting space can host up to 400 people and is available for use from May through the end of August. “We are able to offer private, queen-bed accommodation on site, which sets us apart from most other academic institutions,” says Voykin.
Brescia is also known for its exceptional catering services. All meals are freshly prepared using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients by a team of Red Seal Chefs led by internationally-trained executive chef, Tim D’Souza.
“His creative capacity allows us to offer a wide variety of culinary options,” Voykin notes. “Pairing your meeting with comfortable accommodation and wonderful food makes for a great event.”