Meetings Canada


Growing Up Fast

If history is any indication, the next 15 years are going to be exciting.

Do you remember 1995? The 1980’s were still a fresh memory, e-mail was just arrivingin the workplace and the fax machine had that annoying roll-paper that disintegrated in less than six months.

That was my first year on the show. I started on the registration desk with a whatever-it-takes attitude. CMITS, as the show was then known, was only four years old and growing quickly. There was the golf tournament on Monday, run by Carlson Marketing and now run by Site Canada. Tuesday and Wednesday morning was a conference that charged $495 to attend; the trade show was on Wednesday afternoon. The closing party that year was at Atlantis, in Ontario Place. Do you remember the revolving dance floor and streamers? I do.

It’s hard to fathom the industry then, compared to today. Many of our associations were only just launching or were less than 10 years old…and there certainly weren’t chapters across Canada. Industry accreditations were just becoming mainstream, venue contracts were often not documented or contained very little detail, and many events were done solely on a handshake. We did not have an Economic Impact Study — or any research or statistics at all!

It is truly amazing to see how much the industry has grown in such a short time. The fact that we recognize ourselves as an industry is possibly the single biggest change I’ve seen. Students are now identifying ‘meeting professional’
as a viable career choice.

Five years ago, we blew-up the CMITS model and re-launched the show as IncentiveWorks, Canada’s Meetings & Events Show. We made the education sessions affordable, so everyone could attend, and we continue to implement that philosophy today. The two-day trade show is Canada’s largest and features every type of supplier or service a meeting or event planner needs. Regardless of what type of meeting, event, conference, retreat or incentive programme you are
planning, IncentiveWorks has the education and networking you need.

Maybe if I’m lucky, in another 15 years I’ll be retired. But until then, I look forward to the ‘teenage years’ that are ahead of us.

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