Tucked between the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment (which is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) and the wooded Bruce Trail, Burlington offers the intrinsic attractions of a scenic location bordering Lake Ontario. And while everything may seem charmingly rural, Burlington is conveniently located within one hour of international airports in Buffalo, Toronto and Hamilton. Which is proof to planners that staging conferences at Burlington event venues can add surprising value.
When it comes to unique, large-scale venues, Burlington and its environs excel with evocative style. Chief among the city's meeting venues, Burlington Convention Centre features 20,000 square feet of flexible space; it is suitable for groups of up to 1,800 and is popular for trade shows, training seminars and product launches. Other venues include the Burlington Performing Arts Centre that has recently opened in the downtown core. The Centre caters to conferences, galas and elaborate awards presentations; its main 718-seat theater fitted with excellent acoustics, a six-story fly tower and orchestra pit. Elsewhere, the Observatory at Discovery Landing is a glass building, which overlooks the waterfront, provides a stunning, light-filled place for receptions, product launches or wine-tasting events.
With more than nine brand name hotels, the city offers more than 1,000 guest rooms. Hotel venues in Burlington include the Waterfront Hotel Downtown Burlington, which overlooks the lakeshore and offers meeting facilities.
For a touch of natural elegance, the Royal Botanical Gardens, set on 2,700 acres, offers outdoor and indoor settings for up to 500 guests. For intimate welcome receptions, planners often book the historic Paletta Lakefront Mansion, which was allegedly deeded to Laura Secord.
Catering to discriminating planners specializing in meetings, incentives and sports travel, Burlington offers a dedicated program, led by talented experts eager to facilitate unique programs. Several restaurants that specialize in local products offer culinary programs. The Burlington Arts Centre, which hosts Canada's largest permanent collection of contemporary ceramics, offers meeting space as well as instructive pottery and weaving sessions. For an upbeat event, planners often bus clients to the OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack for a "night at the races."
Meanwhile, some of the most rousing and competitive incentives are held in Burlington's many sports arenas, such as the famed Climbers Rock Indoor Climbing Gym that hosted the 2011 Canadian National Bouldering Championship. In addition, Burlington's location is a boon to unique incentives; the Bruce Trail is a nature wonderland for hiking and biking team building exercises.