When you step off the plane and are greeted by volunteers with red vests, white cowboy hats, and big smiles, you know you’ve arrived in Calgary, Alberta. The White Hat Volunteers are just the first taste of Calgary’s warm, western hospitality that has captured the hearts of event planners and visiting delegates for decades.
Event planners can infuse this heartfelt feeling into their events by incorporating a White Hat Ceremony, making one, two, a handful, or even all delegates honorary Calgarians. Being “white-hatted” is a Calgary tradition dating back to the 1950s, and it puts you in good company. The white hat has been bestowed upon celebrities and dignitaries such as Prince William and Duchess Kate, William Shatner, Garth Brooks, and many more.
Beyond this cultural tradition, Calgarian’s general friendliness and helpful nature has been a high point for event planners. As the Sigma Events Team commented upon completion of the 2019 Sigma Theta Tau International Research Congress, “Working with Meetings + Conventions Calgary was great. They made us feel welcome (and) were a wonderful resource for all the 'extras' we needed, from band recommendations to an offsite social venue. They literally rolled out the red carpet for our members with signage and photo opportunities. Calgary made our job as meeting planners very easy!”
Going above and beyond is just part of the Calgary recipe for success. During the site selection visit for the 2025 Rotary International Convention, Calgary turned the city blue and gold — Rotary’s official colors — for three days, including lighting up The Calgary Tower. As Craig Stokke, co-chair of the organizing committee, put it: “Calgary is a unique city. (The) entrepreneurial spirit, resilience, volunteerism, and energy are traits rarely found in major cities throughout the world. The Calgary spirit is one of (the people's) greatest assets. That said, it is not easy to effectively communicate a city’s vibe as part of a bid proposal. We feel Meetings + Conventions Calgary did a remarkable job representing this city’s intangible spirit.”