Viewpoint: The Peel basin: To host fairs and enliven Montreal

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Added on 23 November 2005 in Viewpoints

Original text signed by Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, published in Le Journal de Montréal.

November 23, 2005

The Peel basin: To host fairs and enliven Montreal

Anyone who has traveled for business knows there are two main factors determining the level of enthusiasm (or lack thereof!) for business travel: the event itself and, above all, the city or location and what it has to offer.

Of course, it is up to the organizers to make sure the conference or trade fair itself is worthwhile.  But the appeal of the location and the experiences awaiting you there is a whole other matter: it depends on a complex combination of the beauty of the city and its institutions, the hospitality of its people, the atmosphere, the culture, and a host of other factors.

For this reason, the success of a fair centre requires much more than just thousands of square feet of columnless space.  Certainly, a top-notch infrastructure lends itself to the holding of successful fairs and exhibitions.  But to ensure total success, it must be complemented by the promise of outstanding experiences beyond its walls.

Montreal can count itself lucky in this regard.  Our metropolis offers visitors many enjoyable experiences: a blend of North American and European culture; excellent restaurants; an exciting night life; a vibrant cultural scene, and much more.  This unparalleled combination of history, culture, and joie de vivre already makes it a sought-after destination for conferences.

But if we hope to penetrate the market for major fairs and exhibitions, we must remember this: a modern fair centre will enable us to host these events, but it is the quality of the “Montreal experience” that will convince organizers to hold them here.

Only a fair centre that is truly connected to the downtown core and its inexhaustible supply of urban experiences will enable Montreal to distinguish itself in this highly competitive market.

And just one option combines all of these vital ingredients: the Peel Basin project.  Neighbouring the recreational facilities proposed by the Cirque du Soleil and a stone's throw from the city's most beautiful historic sites, hotels, and the downtown core, the location proposed for this entertainment complex admirably meets the need for “local experiences” required by a world-class fair centre.

In our opinion, choosing any other site would be tantamount to a double waste: the waste of money and, above all, the waste of a unique opportunity to establish Montreal as one of the world's most popular business destinations.