Five Canadian venues took home top prizes in Unique Venues’ Best of Awards. Now in its second year, the program recognizes special event spaces in Canada and the United States. It includes 20 categories ranging from best venue high-tech venue to best venue to enjoy post meeting.
The five Canadian winners are:
Best City Center Venue – Waterview, Vancouver, BC: Opened in May 2015, Waterview has 3,250 square feet of flexible space. The building, designed by architect Bing Thom, features floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramic views of False Creek, Granville Island and the Burrard Street Bridge. Amenities include free WiFi, eco-friendly composting services and exclusive catering from Culinary Capers.
Best Venue for a Formal Affair – Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC: Built in 1908, Hatley Castle is an authentic replica 40-room 15th Edwardian castle. Its event spaces include a Tudor Revival-style Grand Hall and Greek Revival-style Ballroom and lounge. Design features include vaulted ceilings, oak beams, stained glass windows, seven wood-burning fireplaces, four crystal chandeliers, gold beribboned sconces and two sets of French doors.
Best Venue for Exhibitions and Tradeshows – Georgian Conference and Event Services, Barrie, ON: Georgian Conference and Event Services took the top prize in the category for the second year in a row. Its main venue, Georgian College’s student athletic centre, offers 20,000 square feet of column-free event space that can accommodate up to 110 10′ x 10′ booths. Located 90 minutes from Toronto, it hosts approximately 15 events a year (conferences, galas, fairs, expos, etc.). The profits from events go back to the college’s students via events, activities and special projects.
Best Venue for Small Gatherings – St. Lawrence College Conference Services, Kingston, ON: Located in a residential area in Kingston across from Lake Ontario and Lake Ontario Park, St. Lawrence College offers meeting spaces and accommodations for small groups. Its Empire Boardroom has a capacity of 60 and can be arranged in banquet, boardroom or classroom style. The Fireside Room features a central hearth. Other options include a lecture hall that can hold up to 175 people, a gym with a 200-seat retractable stand and some 50 classrooms.
Best Venue to Enjoy When the Meeting is Over – Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC: Housed in a turn-of-the-century former courthouse, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s event spaces include its grand foyer, rotunda, two of the building’s original courthouses, and a rooftop pavilion. But it won for its post-event/meeting options which include private tours and workshops as well the opportunity to explore its four floors of historic and contemporary art exhibitions.
Canadian venues honored as runners-up are:
♦ Best Training and Development Venue – Georgian Conference and Event Services, Barrie, ON
♦ Best Venue for a Reunion – Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Halifax, NS
♦ Best Venue to Host a Youth Meeting or Sports Camp – University of New Brunswick Conference Services, Fredericton, NB
♦ Best City Center Venue – Simon Fraser University Morris Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Vancouver, BC
WINNING US VENUES
Fifteen venues in the United States took the top honors in the remaining categories. They are:
♦ Best Venue to Host a Youth Meeting or Sports Camp – University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
♦ Best Green Venue – Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL
♦ Best Suburban Venue – Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
♦ Most Easily Accessible Venue – University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD
♦ Best Place for a Spiritual or Wellness Gathering – Lake Williamson Christian Center, Carlinville, IL
♦ Best Place to Gather for the Day – Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
♦ Best Place for a Reunion – Silver Bay YMCA, Conference and Family Retreat Center, Silver Bay, NY
♦ Best Farm-to-Table Group Catering Offerings – The Red Bard at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
♦ Best Rural Venue – Arden Shisler Conference Center, Wooster, OH
♦ Best Place to Host an LGBTQ-Friendly Event – University of Delaware Conference and Event Services, Newark, DE
♦ Best Outdoor Event Space – Georgia International Horse Park, Conyers, GA
♦ Best Training and Development Venue – The Duncan Family Sky Room at Saint Peter’s University, Jersey City, NJ
♦ Best High-Tech Venue – McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
♦ Best Venue to Film a Movie – Boston University, Boston, MA
♦ Best Venue to Host a Meeting or Event on Per Diem – University of Georgia Hotel and Conference Center, Athens, GA