Canada – Capitalizing on Knowledge Capital

1st December 2022

Canada is deservedly well known as a safe, welcoming, and culturally diverse event destination. With landscapes that include everything from the skyscrapers of Toronto, to the old-world charm of Montréal, to vast expanses of majestic wilderness, Canada boasts a wealth of exceptional settings for organizers to hold outstanding business events. But geography is just part of the story.

Words Lane Nieset & Marc de Faoite

Unique innovations and an openness to collaboration make Canada one of the world’s premiere event destinations. Its smart and sustainable convention centres are easily accessible, while its knowledge capital gives the Canadian meetings industry a competitive edge that has helped win many major bids. 

Canada’s reassuring competence across diverse fields of expertise constitutes a major attraction for business events of all sizes. Across Canada, associations can tap into the intellectual excellence available, aligning with innovators, industry experts, academia, and a knowledge base centred on the six key sectors of advanced manufacturing agribusiness, life sciences, natural resources, technology, and finance and insurance. 

Organizations, working with Canadian destinations, can tap into these innovation ecosystems through events by engaging in tours of state-of-the-art facilities, hearing from local expert speakers or via B2B exchanges with industry leading firms.

Canadian innovators are producing a diverse range of technologically complex, high-value products for domestic and competitive global markets. Developments in robotics and automation have far-reaching application in aerospace and defence, automotive and agribusiness. In addition, the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies conduct research, perform clinical trials and manufacture their products in Canada. This level of expertise regularly draws influential thought leaders to congregate in Canada, where they can share best practices, lay the groundwork for partnerships that shape the future of advanced manufacturing technologies, and debut trailblazing developments.

©Destination Toronto

The 2030 World Congress of Soil Science – Leveraging Canada’s Agribusiness Strengths  

Canada’s agribusiness sector is a global leader in food security and sustainability, and ranks 8th in the world in research on innovative growing practices, products, and technologies. Across the country, Canadian destinations provide fertile soil for innovation in the field.

Regina, Saskatchewan is home to Protein Industries Canada (PIC), a supercluster of more than 100 member organizations, including SeedMaster and the University of Saskatchewan. PIC aims to position Canada as a global source of high-quality plant protein and plant-based coproducts. 

“Regina has all the ingredients for agriculture and food events,” says John Lee, President and CEO, Economic Development Regina. “The region is rooted in agriculture across the supply chain, with experts in hosting two of the best agricultural shows on the planet, and home to award-winning volunteers. It’s a recipe for success.”

But Regina is just one Canadian destination driving progress in the sector.

Calgary is a hub for precision agriculture and agricultural technology, with more than 22 facilities in Alberta playing an important role in agricultural research and innovation, while, on the other side of the country, Prince Edward Island’s Charlottetown is home to biotech and food manufacturing professionals.

Canada’s agribusiness leadership played a large role in attracting the 2030 World Congress of Soil Science to Toronto. This event is hugely important within its industry. Choosing Canada as its host it will be beneficial to the soil community in many ways.

“This is an opportunity to bring the global soil science community together. Not just soil scientists, but also practitioners — the people who work with the soil,” explains University of Guelph Prof. Richard Heck, a member of Toronto’s Leader Circle, who helped win the bid. “At some point, this information and knowledge needs to move into the realm where it’s going to make an impact. We’re really looking at this as an opportunity to not just get the soil scientists to Canada and give them the opportunity to talk to each other, but also to convoke the broader stakeholders in Canada that go across the whole spectrum.” 

Why was it important to bring this conference back to Canada? 

Canadian soil scientists have been impactful globally,” said Heck. “In terms of technologies and concepts, we’ve made substantial contributions. We’ve traditionally been a country that’s received people from around the world to do undergraduate training or graduate training in soil sciences. We’ve also made an impact globally in terms of the knowledge base that exists out there.”

“It’s not just a pure scientific conference where we are sitting in rooms. That happens, but we also have a pre-congress week and a post-congress week. The post-congress week will include week-long regional tours of soils and landscapes in the West Coast, Prairies, North, East Coast.”

“Those are things that delegates are looking at — what kind of experience, beyond sitting in rooms and listening to technical papers, will this provide? What would be special about holding this particular event in Canada? Obviously, the location of Toronto for the main event was very attractive.”

“In terms of infrastructure, there’s the convention, accommodation and broader entertainment facilities that Toronto has to offer. It’s nicely organized in the downtown core. The transportation from the airport to downtown is nice…Getting there and moving around is very good.” 

“More broadly speaking, it’s not just what’s happening in the convention centre itself. There will be pre-congress events that will use facilities at the University of Guelph, or what we call the International Soil Judging Contest. There may be short technical training programs. In the middle of our congress week, there’s a day off for people to just relax or tour around Toronto. There’s also the opportunity for us to organize one day tours — so we may take people to the Niagara Region to understand soil and wine production. Or go north into the Holland Marsh where a lot of vegetable production takes place on organic soils. Within a couple hour drive radiating out from Toronto, we can provide a lot of opportunities for people to understand the issues of landscape and soil and how changing climatic conditions are having an impact on that. Toronto is also a nice jumping off point to get to other regions of Canada for a post congress tour.”

Conference delegates at the Vancouver Convention Centre

The 20th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas and the 2024 International Gas Research Conference

Canada is also a world leader in the energy sector. It is the fourth-largest producer of natural gas – or fossil gas, as it is increasingly known – the second-largest producer of uranium, and the second-largest producer of hydroelectric power. 

The Canadian natural resources and clean-tech sectors are growing, in part thanks to initiatives like the Ocean Supercluster, the Vancouver-based Digital Technology Supercluster, and Montréal-based Scale AI, where projects include an intelligent planning tool to help shipyards manage constraints and adapt to various events. There were 86 announced and opened projects between 2015 and 2019 alone. Hosting events like this year’s International Marine Protected Areas Congress and the Sustainable Brands Conference, the Metro Vancouver region is also home to the world’s largest hydrogen and fuel cell industry, with 16% of the global market share.

Thanks to the country’s strength in natural resources, Canada has won the bids for the 2023 20th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas Congresss, which will be hosted in Vancouver, and the International Gas Research Conference, which will come to Banff. Timothy Egan, President of the Canadian Gas Association, is one of the people behind successfully bringing both of these conferences to Canada. 

He says: “We want the world to see the opportunity that’s in Canada, and see the kind of innovative technology we’re pursuing in natural gas use. We want the world to see the quality of our infrastructure and the level of professionalism, experience and expertise we bring, because we think these will open opportunities for Canadian companies and Canadian industry as a whole around the world. It’s a great story for Canada to tell the world about our product, our infrastructure and how we manage it.”

These conferences give international delegates the chance to see some of the projects and initiatives already underway

“Canada represents a model of stability as a very open country, a country with extraordinarily high standards,” says Egan. “It is one of those countries in the world where people talk about as a place they would consider moving to. That’s part of the appeal. Canada offers a stable image of what the world likes to see.”

In addition to the knowledge capital, Egan pointed to some of the reasons that Western Canada was chosen for these prodigious events.

“First off, there’s the locale appeal of both locations. When you host events in places like Banff and Vancouver, people just want to go. The local geography is fascinating. The scenery is spectacularly beautiful. They are both magnificent places. That’s a factor in and of itself.”

At the same time, it is valuable to emphasize a destination’s proven track record in specific industries when submitting a bid for a conference.

“It’s an opportunity to show how we produce natural gas to the highest standards in the world, how we transport it to the highest standards in the world, how our environmental performance record is second to none, and how we are constantly looking at innovation in how we manage emissions from it. These are all things where Western Canada has a huge opportunity to shine—it’s a story that I think a lot of people don’t appreciate,” Egan concludes.

©Lukas Schulze/Collision via Sportsfile

A country of knowledge capital

Canada’s leadership in key sectors continues to attract renowned international events, as experts from across the world look to learn from, and collaborate with, the innovators who are leading their industries. Aside from an elevated event schedule, thanks to interest from local sector workforce, hosting an event in a destination with strong sector specialization allows for boosted attendance. Additional promotion with the destination’s professional networks and cost-savings, thanks to access to local speakers and potential sponsorship from local organizations, are other significant factors for many event organizers and decision-makers.

To make organizing your event a smooth and seamless experience, contact the Destination Canada team for impartial insights, inspiration, and introductions. Email Virginie De Visscher, Senior Director of Business Development, Economic Sectors, Destination Canada Business Events at

When it comes to hosting an event based around one of Canada’s six key sectors, the country has exceptional destinations. Its strong technology sector has attracted events like Collision, in Toronto, and the annual VR/AR Global Summit to Vancouver. Meanwhile, Canada’s finance and insurance expertise has attracted events such as the International Economic Development Council’s 2023 Economic Future Forum to Calgary, and the Institute of Internal Auditors International Conference to Toronto in 2025. Wherever you host in Canada destinations make it easy to access its knowledge capital and host successful events.

Canadian destinations’ ambassador networks – like the Leaders Circle in Toronto or the Ambassadors’ Clubs in Québec City and Montréal – are yet further fantastic resources that planners can use as one-stop-shops to facilitate connections to local industry experts who in turn can help shape a conference agenda from a uniquely Canadian perspective. And, of course, Destination Canada’s Business Events team has a wealth of sector-specific experts who are able to provide industry-relevant insights, information and introductions.

Experience a Canadian Welcome

In sum, Canada’s safety and openness, along with its unique combination of knowledge capital, rich cultural variety and geography-  from the diversity of Toronto to the beauty of Vancouver island – make the country an attractive and unparalleled business events destination.

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