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Convention Centre Gets World Acclaim
Added September 6, 2012

NIAGARA FALLS - The staff at the Scotiabank Convention Centre Niagara won’t get many days off over the next two months, but they’re certainly not complaining about it.

Opened in April 2011, the schedule for the convention centre has been busy, but president and general manager Kerry Painter said this fall will be remarkable for the 100,000-square-foot facility.

“We’re so busy in the fall, we’ll be in here many, many nights flipping rooms in order to open the next morning,” said Painter. “There’s not a single day in two months there isn’t something coming in or going out, which is the dream.” The packed stretch goes from mid-September to mid-November and features mostly corporate or industry trade shows that typically fly under the public radar.

“That’s the piece that no one sees,” Painter said. “People say there’s no one here, but that’s because they don’t come in cars. They’re driven from hotels in buses.” The convention centre heads into the key fall season with an extra boost of confidence.

In August, the facility was named one of the six best new convention centres in the world by Conference and Incentive Travel magazine, and a week later it was named one of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in Canada. Painter said the best venue award came as a surprise.

“Often for awards you apply and send in tonnes of documents, but for that one we didn’t do anything. We don’t advertise in that magazine or even subscribe to it. Just out of the blue we were named one of the six best,” she said.While public shows such as Comic Con and the Niagara Motorcycle Show typically draw the most attention in the media, the general manager said private trade shows are key to the facility’s success.

“For the facility and the economic impact on the community, those are the most important pieces because those are the groups that fill the hotels and help fill this building,” Painter said.“They eat at the restaurants and they have budgets to spend. So, it’s a greater impact than someone who lives here or drives here for a few hours and goes home.” In the months leading up to the centre’s opening and in the first year, the focus for trade shows was primarily on going after the Canadian market. But now, the sales staff has expanded their territory, trying to bring in shows from the U.S. and around the world.

“The low-hanging fruit is the Canadian market so you take that first and prove yourself,” Painter said.Among the bigger shows coming to the convention centre in the next few months are dealer events for Canadian Tire and Rexall Pharmacy.

Dan Dankin
Niagara Falls Review


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