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A Touch of Authentic Europe

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A Touch of Authentic Europe

Choosing a perfect destination for your group can be a real challenge.  Maybe a historic city with centuries-old architecture is appealing, but you need a high-tech convention center for your tradeshow.  Or maybe you want to be near upscale farm-to-table dining, but also want to explore the wilderness, far from any metropolis. 

Would you believe us if we told you that you can have all of that and more in just one city?  Quebec City is a city filled with surprises – between the rich history, modern facilities, bustling food scene and being surrounded by Canadian wilderness, everyone in your group is sure to find something In Quebec City to fall in love with!  While there are countless reasons to visit this incredible city, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 main reasons:  

History – Being one of the oldest European settlements in North America, Quebec City is the only city North of Mexico who’s fortified city walls still exist.  Inside Old Quebec City, a UNESCO world heritage site dating to the 17thcentury, charming cobblestone streets take you through a maze of Greystone shops, restaurants, churches, and historical monuments. For a real sense of Old Quebec, stay at the famous Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the crown jewel of Quebec City.  Opened in 1893, the Chateau Frontenac is a lavish Chateauesque-styled building that has been graced by visitors such as Charles Lindbergh, Charles de Gaulle, Alfred Hitchcock, and representatives of the British Royal family. 

Modernity – Despite maintaining the Old-World charm of ages past, Quebec City is a modern-edge city with all the conveniences required and expected in the 21stcentury. Rather than tear down and replace the iconic historic buildings, Quebec City architects specialize in repurposing old buildings, updating the interiors without destroying the exterior beauty. The famous Quebec City Armory, for example, suffered a tremendous fire in 2008, destroying nearly everything except some of the exterior walls.  The city of Quebec rebuilt, however, and restored the exterior of the building to exactly duplicate its original splendor. Inside, the armory is now a state-of-the-art events venue featuring exceptional acoustics, high-speed internet, and in-house A/V. Another example of the city’s dedication to staying ahead of the technological curve is the massive downtown Quebec City Convention Centre. Not only does the Convention Centre offer exhibition space, meeting space, breakout rooms, exhibit halls, convention halls, boardrooms, an outdoor terrace, and a total capacity of 9,000 attendees, but they also offer free WiFi to all groups and in-house catering.

Food – The wave of farm-to-table, local and foraging food trends that have become so popular in recent years are just as prominent in Quebec City as any big city.  While you can still find a big comforting bowl of poutine or Canadian maple syrup-slathered pancakes, you can also enjoy locally caught wild boar, quail, house-smoked salmon, venison steaks, foraged mushrooms, apple ice cider, and rabbit croquets.  One restaurant took the concept of local food to an entirely new level. Chez Boulay: Bistro Boreal, located at the luxurious Monoir Victoria hotel in Old Quebec, uses only local, in-season ingredients in their dishes.  And when they say only, they mean only local foods.  For example, since olives do not grow in Canada, they do not use olive oil.  Instead, they find an alternative oil or fat that is native to the area.  It is truly a taste of Canada!

Nature – One of the hardest things to find in a bustling city is green space.  Feeling the energy of a big city through its food, entertainment and fast-paced nightlife is great, but being able to enjoy the outdoors is a welcome respite. Canada is known for its vast expanses of wilderness. Located either in the city itself or only a short drive away, there are countless outdoor activities to enjoy year-round in Quebec including hiking, biking and zip lining. Enjoy beautiful rolling hills on the Plains of Abraham located in Old Quebec, take a kayak tour down the St. Lawrence River, or take a short drive to see Montmorency Falls – a waterfall even taller than Niagara! 

Winter – You may think that travelling to Canada in the winter months is a bad idea.  The truth is that Quebec City is an amazing winter destination!  Locals wait anxiously for the first snowflakes to fall each year, as winter is when everyone bundles up, and heads outdoors!  Ice hockey, skiing, snow mobiling, ice fishing, and of course, the famous Quebec City Winter Festival!  Maybe test your bravery by staying overnight at Hotel de Glace, the ice hotel!  Or, if that’s a little too adventurous for you, maybe just grab a drink at their ice bar. 

Interested in learning more about this amazing city?  Let the professionals at Global Management Services send you a proposal customized to fit your groups’ exact needs!    

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The Roaring Saltwater City

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The Roaring Saltwater City

Consistently ranked as one of the top five cities in the world for livability, Vancouver is one of the most sought-after destinations for incentive programs.  A coastal city in western Canada, Vancouver is the most populated city in the Province of British Columbia and the third largest city in Canada. The city’s popularity has been outpacing many other metropolitan areas in North America, making it one with the highest population density in Canada—and the fifth in North America—and one with one of the most culturally-diverse inhabitants in the world.   

Rising from humble beginnings, Vancouver has fast become one of the most popular destinations for meetings and events of any sort and size. The city is now blessed with a very vibrant waterfront dotted with luxury hotels and a state-of-the-art cruise terminal.  The city’s spectacular landscape has become a draw for the film industry, gaining it the designation “Hollywood North.”  

There is so much to do in Vancouver, making it one of the most “activity-rich” incentive destinations. Take, for example, Stanley Park—which has been compared to New York’s Central Park.  This nearly 1,000-acre park on the tip of Vancouver's "thumb" (just north of the City’s West End) is home to some of the city's favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, those so inclined, could easily spend more than a day here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. For a group activity, we suggest a bicycle tour of the park around the nearly 20-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver's waterfront. 

Or for a more vibrant activity, how about a dine-around on Granville Island?  This former industrial site is now one of Vancouver's most beloved neighborhoods. Practically a mini-city, Granville Island's former factories have now been transformed into trendy restaurants, galleries and theaters. But the main draw here is the Granville Island Public Market, often described as one of the best open-air markets in North America. While on Granville Island, we always include a visit to Canada's first microbrewery—Granville Island Brewing, where our guests get to enjoy daily tours and tastings in the taproom. 

No trip to Vancouver is complete without a tour of Gastown, the original settlement that became the core of the creation of Vancouver. Today, it's a national historic site, at the northeast end of Downtown Vancouver.

For a group that is into sun and sand, a trip to the Spanish Banks Beach is a must.  The beaches at the Spanish Banks are the perfect place to unwind after a day packed with meetings.  Aside from the usual volleyball courts on the beach, we encourage our groups to try their hand at skimboarding—a cross between surfing and skateboarding.  

Intrigued?  Whether it is a meeting, convention or an incentive trip that you are planning for, let GMS organize what could be a most memorable excursion to this fascinating city on the west coast of Canada.  

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Three Perfect days in Montreal

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Three Perfect days in Montreal

Are you craving to go to Europe but don’t want to leave the continent?  Let’s try a piece of Europe just around the corner—Montreal.  With its stunning architecture, trendy nightlife, and mouth-watering food scene, Montreal is a slice of Europe next door.  That’s why when our good client in Brazil asked for a very unique destination for their incentive program, we proposed a trip to the “Belle Province,” where they were able to pack three fun-filled days in this exquisite city.  With their Google translate in hand, everyone was functioning in French right off the bat.   

Arrival

We greeted our VIP guests (a group of 40 retail executives) at the Aéroport de Montréal: International Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau and whisked them to their hotel in the heart of Old Montreal.  In a city of neighborhoods, with an abundant of first-rate hotels, we chose to book the group at the trendy boutique Hôtel Gault (a former cotton factory) for its intimate vibe. 

Day 1

After a hearty breakfast, we put the group in horse-drawn carriages for their short trip to downtown Montreal—a great place to get acquainted with the city, with its lively collection of bars, restaurants, theaters, art galleries, and department stores complemented with some spectacular historical churches dotted along the way.  After our colorful city tour, the group was treated to a serving of the legendary poutine before heading to the world-famous Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which is not only one of Canada’s oldest museums, but also has the best collection of Canadian art anywhere in the world.  Poutine, French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, is undoubtedly the most famous grub throughout the province of Quebec.  There are plenty of places to enjoy this dish in the city, but we took our special guests to Au Pied de Cochon, with its wide-ranging poutine options ranging from the high-end foie gras poutine to la Classique.  In the end, the group got to sample many of the restaurant’s nearly 30 variety of the famous food. 

 After their excursion to the Museum, we had a group of very hungry guests on our hand and what better place for them to experience another Montreal tradition than Joe’s Beef, where they were able to sample some of the best locally-produced and hearty meat dishes the city has to offer including the smoke meat on rye for which the city is well known.

The group’s visit coincided with Montreal’s famous Jazz Festival.  So, after lunch, they went for a stroll along the Rue St-Catherine, home to the city’s many excellent jazz bars.  The entire St-Catherine Street seemed to have been turned into one nonstop jazz club, with plenty of free live performances, beer gardens, and street food.  In the evening, we took the group to a famous jazz bar, Upstairs Bar and Grill for some hearty food complemented with good jazz. 

Day 2

We started our second day with a hike up to Parc du Mont-Royal, the city’s main park, and where the city got its name—a relaxing respite from the noise of the city. At Parc Mont-Royal, one can explore several different hiking paths, picnic sites in the open lawns, and even ski in the winter. But our ambitious goal was to make it to the top of Mont-Royal itself. Having made it there, we entered the Chalet Du Mont-Royal, where the group was rewarded with an unforgettable view of the city, the river, and the mountains beyond.

 ou can’t be in Montreal very long without someone asking your opinion on the classic Montreal bagel—which is quite different from the New York-style bagels.  The Montreal bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven, and are smaller, thinner, and sweeter than their New York counterparts. We took the group to the famous St-Viateaur Bagel & Café so that they could taste the difference for themselves—which turned out to be a huge success.  The group watched in admiration the bakers at work.  The group then headed to Boulevard St-Laurent to explore the area’s funky and eclectic shops.

Our active group was expecting excitement in this vibrant city.  So, they were treated to an evening of cocktails at La Distillerie No. 1 followed by some heavy-duty clubbing in Quartier Latin. 

Day 3

We started off our final day with brunch in Mile End, an up-and-coming neighborhood in the city. The group got to have breakfast at Lawrence which offers a modern take on the traditional English breakfast, along with some excellent homemade scones and clotted cream.

No visit to Montreal is complete without fully exploring the old city, known as le Vieux-Montreal. A quaint and lively mix of churches, chapels, and cobblestones streets, this is where French settlers first built the town in 1642.  Just the architecture and atmosphere here make the trip to the city well worth it.  Strolling through the cobblestone streets we stopped at the most famous cathedral in Montreal—and all of Canada—the stunning Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, followed by a visit to la Musée d’Arachéologie et d’Historie (Montreal’s history museum) with its famed spooky archeological exhibition that shows the actual foundations of the city.

Finally, we were at the Old Port, where the group got to take one last view of the St. Lawrence River and thus came to an end a most fun filled three days for this group of world travelers.

For best recommendations on where to take your next group, let professionals at Global Management Services, Inc. do the research.

 

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A Whimsical 3-Day Weekend in the Heart of Toronto

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A Whimsical 3-Day Weekend in the Heart of Toronto

Setting foot in the colorful city of Toronto is like being dropped right into the center of a live-action avant-garde painting.

Expecting the unexpected is the name of the game in this larger-than-life city known for its diversity and creative flair, so when a group of top-performing business executives came to us in hopes of planning a uniquely-tailored program that would provide their team members with the most memorable incentive trip possible, we knew Toronto would be the perfect destination to provide the group with the ultimate wow-factor experience.

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Morning 1:

After the super-VIP 18-member board of directors arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, they were immediately picked up and whisked away to Shangri-La Toronto, a luxury 5-star hotel known for its grandiose amenities, ornate Asian-inspired décor, and jaw-dropping skyline views. 

After taking the morning to relax and unwind from the comfort of their lush executive hotel rooms, the group reconvened and headed to Bosk, the hotel’s signature restaurant, to enjoy a tantalizing assortment of show-stopping brunch dishes: decadent servings of butter-poached Atlantic lobster, house-made chorizo served with tomato fondue, and perfectly-crispy fried chicken on a bed of fluffy buttermilk waffles, delicately drizzled in authentic Canadian maple syrup, just to name a few.  

Afternoon 1:

After brunch at Bosk, the group headed a few blocks north to the Art Gallery of Ontario and spent the afternoon admiring an eclectically eye-catching selection of artwork made by some of the brightest creative minds the world has to offer.

Night 1:

A few hours later, the group traveled to Edulis, a quaint cottage restaurant that prides itself on utilizing authentic, naturally delicious ingredients to their fullest potential. 

Much to the group’s surprise, it happened to be truffle season while they were visiting Toronto, so along with a menu consisting of rich seafood dishes and fresh vegetables, the group was treated to an elite selection of high-end truffle dishes as part of their meal, like braised brioche with pine nuts and white truffle.

Morning 2:

On their second day in Toronto, the group spent the afternoon at theElgin and Winter Garden Theatres, a gorgeous historic site that is home to the only remaining pair of Edwardian stacked theatres in the entire world. 

They were particularly enchanted by the Winter Garden Theatre, an indoor theatrical venue with storybook charm that houses a picturesque canopy of dried leaves and floral blossoms elegantly aligning the walls and ceiling.

Afternoon 2:

Upon leaving the theatres, the group enjoyed fresh boxed lunches made with produce from a local Toronto market in the city’s famous Grange Park while admiring the area’s sleek public artwork, valuable green space, and infectious air of carefree sophistication and flair present amongst the Toronto locals. 

Night 2:

After an afternoon spent lounging by the hotel’s cascading lap pool, the group then headed to DaiLo, a high-end bistro that puts a modern, award-winning twist on classic forms of Asian cuisine. The group savored every bite of deliciously-unique dishes like buttery pumpkin dumplings, Singapore curry cauliflower, and even a few more adventurous menu options, like their personal favorite dish of the evening: crispy octopus tacos! 

Morning 3:

All good things must eventually come to an end, and so was the case with the VIP group’s 3-day weekend in picturesque Toronto. 

We weren’t ready to let them say goodbye without one last hoorah, so after a quick breakfast at Bosk, the group headed to  Soma Chocolatemaker, a funky and fun specialty chocolate factory that specializes in creating beautiful chocolates with bold, scrumptious flavors. 

After sampling an assortment of satisfying sweet treats, the group stocked up on toffees, pastries, and of course, chocolates, as a way to bring home an authentic piece of Toronto culture to share with loved ones upon their return. 

Travel Home:

After a jam-packed weekend in the charming city of adventure, novelty, and cultural prestige, we rushed the group back to the hotel to pack up their luggage and take one last look at the gorgeous Toronto skyline view before heading to the airport for the journey back home.

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Toronto as an Incentive Destination

Toronto, Ontario is a cosmopolitan metropolis of entertainment and culture that is revered by city slickers and nature lovers alike. This thriving community provides visitors with the best of both worlds—its combination of jaw-dropping high-rise views and lush, verdant green spaces make this bustling city one unlike any other, so it should be no surprise that travelers from all walks of life have come to regard the city of Toronto as a captivating, enriching, and life-changing incentive destination. 

Toronto has something for everyone; the possibilities for fine dining, sight-seeing, entertainment, and relaxation are virtually endless, so read on to learn what exactly it is about this jack-of-all-trades city that makes it a favorite incentive destination for corporate groups everywhere.

Lights, Camera, Action! 

One of the city’s most popular attractions is the annual Toronto International Film Festival. Drawing in roughly half a million participants from all around the world each year, this innovative festival not only offers film screenings, but is also home to lectures, Q&As with prominent filmmakers, workshops, and much more! 

Many influential, award-winning films have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, including crowd-pleasers like American Beauty, Black Swan, and 127 Hours. This year’s festival will take place from September 6thto September 16th, so it’s not too late to book your ticket for 2018! 

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Take Fashion and Style to New Heights

Toronto, Ontario is also home to the bi-annual Toronto Fashion Week. This city is regarded as the pinnacle of high fashion and culture, hosting avant-garde, influential, and experimental designers that include the likes ofHilary MacMillan, one of Toronto’s most popular cruelty-free womenswear designers, and Luis Sequeira and Ann Steel, costume designers for Guillermo Del Toro’s 2018 Academy Award-winning film, The Shape of Water.

If you decide to attend Toronto Fashion Week, you can expect to see bright, out-of-this-world fashion prints, sleek elements of sophistication and street style, and fun, vibrant runway trends that will leave you feeling more inspired and invigorated about the world of fashion than ever before! 

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Have a “Ball”

If fashion and film aren’t your cup of tea, not to worry! Toronto also has a thriving professional sports scene, and is represented by major league sports teams in football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer. 

If you’re a fan of baseball, take a trip to the Rogers Centre, the home field of Toronto’s Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rogers Center is the first stadium in history to feature a fully retractable motorized roof, and also provides a stunning view of Toronto’s spectacular CN Tower, a 553-meter-high observatory located downtown. Go team!

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