Located on Canada's picturesque Pacific Coast, Richmond, British Columbia, has an appealing mix of seaside beauty and modern urban amenities.
“Richmond, B.C., is your ideal West Coast destination for meetings and conferences,” says Deidre DeVico, director of sales for Tourism Richmond. “Our vibrant and culturally diverse community offers attendees a taste of something truly different.”
A site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the city is home to Vancouver International Airport and is just 20 minutes away from downtown Vancouver. In addition, it is easily accessible from both sides of the U.S./Canada border. The community is home to 23 major hotel brands, which feature meeting space and amenities for conferences of all sizes.
Where to Stay
For smaller, more intimate meetings, The Steveston Cafe & Hotel features a comfortable, charming setting. First opened in 1898, the quaint building features 24 guest rooms, The Buck & Ear Bar and Grill and a single, 1,200-square-foot meeting room with space for 60 people in multiple configurations.
On the other end of the size spectrum, the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel features 26 meeting rooms with accommodations for groups of up to 800. Conveniently located in the core of Richmond, the hotel has more than 32,000 square feet, including the 18,000-square-foot Richmond Conference Centre with its 10,000-square-foot Britannia Ballroom. The ballroom can be set up for receptions, classes and presentations. Breakout rooms are also available, and the facility features catering, 390 guest rooms and an on-site audio-visual team.
Minutes from the Vancouver International Airport, River Rock Casino Resort has 11 separate meeting spaces. The adaptable venue includes 15,000 square feet of meeting space in total, which can be tailored to fit classes, conferences and trade shows. Taking things up a notch, its 21,000-square-foot Show Theatre boasts a unique space for presentations and multiuse entertainment options with a professional in-house production team. Once the workday is done, attendees can head to the casino and its 1,100 slots, table games and other gaming services. Those looking to place their bets on a fabulous culinary experience have their choice of three on-site restaurants, including the five-star eatery Tramonto.
“We get a lot of groups coming in from all different parts of Canada, as well as Washington state and California. … We are literally a three- to five-minute SkyTrain ride from the airport … [the SkyTrain] heads all the way into downtown Vancouver,” says Brock Lazaruk, senior marketing manager for River Rock. Lazaruk notes that the resort is also very family friendly and includes a pool with a 70-foot slide.
From board meetings to conferences, the Pacific Gateway Hotel has you covered. The 382-room venue offers customized service in the heart of Richmond. Each of its 24 meeting rooms transforms according to your needs. The 4,800-square-foot Red Cedar Ballroom has room for up to 600, while the intimate Cessna Room is perfect for breakout groups or off-site board meetings. With natural lighting, state-of-the-art staging and a dedicated meeting manager, the Pacific Gateway can accommodate your group’s needs.
An easy walk to the Richmond waterfront is the 200-room Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport. With more than 16,000 square feet of meeting space, this unbeatable venue is perfect for groups from 10 to 400. Its 6,000-square-foot President Ballroom can be broken down into three distinct spaces. Nine stand-alone conference rooms offer natural daylight, high-speed wireless internet and A/V equipment.
Thirty minutes from the U.S. border, the Hilton Vancouver Airport hotel is an ideal setting for sizable conferences and smaller business meetings. With 4,000 total square feet across seven spaces, including a 3,400-squarefoot ballroom and tech lounge, the layout is customizable to suit your needs. With newly renovated rooms and in-house dining options, delegates can relax in comfort after hours or explore the nearby Richmond nightlife.
Where to Play
Richmond’s culturally diverse population and ready access to unique geography provide a singular array of post-meeting recreational opportunities.
DeVico notes, “From National Historic Sites to whale watching to designer shopping and culinary adventures such as our Dumpling Trail [the city’s self-guided tour of its best dumpling restaurants], we’re the ideal destination for your next meeting. Your group will have no lack of things to see and do.”
Fans of ABC’s hit fairy tale series Once Upon a Time may recognize the historic fishing village of Steveston. A popular filming location, the neighborhood stands in for the show’s fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine. Steveston has two National Historic Sites, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, and its museums and activities showcase the city’s history, art and culture.
Delegates can stroll the waterfront and sample delicious seaside dining options, browse numerous local shops, or head out onto the Strait of Georgia for a whale-watching excursion. More-active attendees can rent bikes and ride along 80 kilometers of winding trails. In addition, more than 1,900 acres of parkland are spread across a system of 145 parks, which boast amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, pools, and facilities for tennis, track and lacrosse (for attendees needing to burn off a little excess energy).
Alexandra Road, located in the city center, has become known as Richmond’s “Food Street,” with more than 200 authentic Asian restaurants within a three-block span. It’s possible to sample cuisine from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and more. Many of these eateries are tucked away in small, blink-andyou’ll-miss-them strip malls.
And for the shoppers in your group, Richmond does not disappoint. Home to three shopping malls, Golden Village is Richmond’s retail mecca, showcasing four square city blocks that combine Far East flair with modern Western influences. Here, visitors can try a variety of global delicacies and shop for the latest designer fashions. Adventurous guests can opt for a tea ceremony, foot massage or even a face reading.