INSPIRATION

How to Design Events with Soul

Sponsored by Destination Canada Business Events

Sustainability can mean different things to different people. While protecting the environment is a major aspect of it, preserving local cultures. Today, organizations are looking beyond incentive rewards and corporate trips that simply entertain their employees. Instead, they want to offer the chance to connect with locals who give a destination its identity, its purpose and most importantly, its .

Here are three examples of community leaders across Canada who are making exactly that possible. Each one shines a light on the unique ways that event professionals can incorporate cultural and environmental experiences into their programming — and ultimately, leave delegates feeling more inspired than ever.

Celebrate diverse ways of life

Canada’s Far North is known for its striking beauty, from towering glaciers in every hue of blue imaginable, to a seemingly endless frozen tundra. For two decades, Arctic Kingdom, a luxury operator based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, has been providing a platform to showcase the best of the region to travellers. The company produces and curates a variety of transformative experiences, from floating above icebergs in a hot air balloon to viewing narwhals and beluga whales in their natural habitat.

Beyond admiring its otherworldly landscapes, Arctic Kingdom immerses global corporate and incentive groups in the ways of life of the Inuit people, who have called the region home for more than 5,000 years. For example, teams can enjoy authentic dishes like caribou carpaccio. They can be inspired as they listen to the world’s oldest forms of music, throat singing. Or they can learn the traditional practice of building an igloo from local Indigenous guides.

“We work closely with small villages that range anywhere from 200 to 2,000 people — but all of these are very intimate, remote and way off the beaten path,” says Graham Dickson, founder of Arctic Kingdom. “The biggest impact is often the personal connections between visitors and local communities. While many of our clients and visitors come for the wildlife and scenery, they leave with a much deeper Indigenous appreciation and relationships.”

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Make a positive impact

Located a 90-minute drive from Calgary, Alberta, Banff is Canada’s oldest national park. With dramatic mountain vistas, iconic wildlife and emerald lakes, it’s one of the world’s most awe-inspiring destinations. But what really sets it apart is its relentless dedication to supporting the local community.

Recently, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism launched a powerful new initiative, called the Community Impact Program, which helps event delegates give back in meaningful ways. Through an easy-to-use prepaid card, guests can support a wide range of businesses in Banff and Lake Louise, from local shops to activities and restaurants.

That isn’t all. When a company signs up for the card, they can also choose a local charity that aligns with their values. A portion of funds (along with any unspent funds) go directly to this charity of their choice— from donating meals to wildlife restoration. Afterwards, the participating organization will receive a report highlighting how their program positively impacted the community.   

Leave a lasting legacy

An incredibly diverse country, one of the benefits to meeting in Canada is that organizations won't be hard-pressed to find inspiring people eager to share their cultures and traditions. Take Stephanie Crowchild, for example — who is from the Tsuu'tina First Nation and the Founder and Owner of Stephanie Eagletail Designs. In March 2023, she hosted a fashion show at SITE Incentive Summit Americas in Banff and Lake Louise, which served as a powerful reminder of the ways business events can leave a lasting imprint in the lives of community members.

During the event, she showcased her line of clothing, which draws inspiration from the designs of her ancestors to a captivated and inspired audience. Along with selling several of her one-of-a-kind pieces, she also received global awareness through the show. In short, the conference gave her the opportunity to tell her story and take her brand to new heights.

“Sewing is my form of intergenerational healing, and I’m breaking barriers by reclaiming my identity and language,” Stephanie said. “Having the show in Banff has given me an opportunity to be able to do that, to showcase my pieces and to build these wonderful connections.”

Stephanie also hosts sewing workshops where she teaches Indigenous Peoples to make their own jackets and clothing in a traditional way. So far, she has taught over 250 people to make their own coats in communities across the country.

From supporting local cultures to giving back to communities, business events can make a positive difference in host destinations, while also inspiring attendees. For more information about Canada’s sustainable possibilities, connect with Jennifer Attersall, Director of Incentive Travel, Destination Canada Business Events at attersall.jennifer@destinationcanada.com or +1 403-923-5972

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Written by

SITE Staff

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