CMEExpo will be travelling to North America’s most exciting destinations and reporting on what they have to offer in terms of experience, venue, food, and beverage. To have your city nominated, contact email@example.com today and explain why your destination should be featured next.
Edmonton isn’t what you expect it to be.
Contrary to what many think, Edmonton is so much more than just icy temperatures with an exceptionally large shopping mall. It’s vibrant. It’s exciting. It’s surprising. And it’s true: Edmonton is the ultimate Canadian destination.
From an explosive food scene to out-of-the-box venues and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Edmonton should be on your radar for your next event or meeting.
Ice Castles – For a magical experience, Ice Castles are an absolute must-do in Edmonton. The only one of its kind in Canada, Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction that is hand-built using hundreds of thousands of hand-placed icicles. Bundle up and discover all the Edmonton Ice Castles have to offer including mazes, slides, and fountains. Make sure to bring your camera to snap some icy selfies around the castle or take a group photo with an unbelievable backdrop of the icicles.
Helicopter ride – See Edmonton from a whole new perspective in your own private helicopter ride. Edmonton Regional Helicopters based at the Edmonton International Airport specializes in chartered operations, taxi rides, and tours of the city. They even offer a corporate VIP shuttle.
Take in the sights of Edmonton while soaring overhead. Experienced pilots will circle around Edmonton’s city centre pointing out landmarks and iconic places. Take in all the breathtaking views, and don’t forget to bring your camera.
100 Street Funicular – Get those Instagram-worthy shots of the city with the free glass-walled funicular – a link from Downtown Edmonton to the North Saskatchewan River Valley. The 48-second ride leads you to a beautiful walkway with plenty of space to have a picnic, take more photos, or just veg out in the grass. There’s even a lookout point to catch the unobstructed view of the river valley. Fun’s right there in the name.
Royal Alberta Museum – If you’re looking for a unique space to host your next meeting or event, why not try the Royal Alberta Museum? The Museum was closed for three years before re-opening its doors at a new location in downtown Edmonton in October 2018. The new space is 419,000 sq-ft – twice the size of the former museum and was designed by an award-winning team of architects, engineers, interior designers, and landscape architects. There are a number of spaces available to rent, including the Amiskwaciy Theatre (that seats 250 comfortably) and Theatre Lobby, as well as three seminar rooms, and café spaces. If you really want to wow your guests, full facility rentals are available as well.
Rogers Place – At the centre of the ICE district lies Rogers Place – the epicentre of Edmonton and home to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Rogers Place is located in the heart of downtown – close to anything you would ever need for your next tradeshow, conference, or meeting. There are a number of rooms to rent with magnificent views of the city and space for thousands. For a truly different experience, book the ice surface. With a capacity of 1,800 people it’s the perfect place for a large banquet or team-building event.
Ritchie Market – How about hosting your next event in one of Edmonton’s most popular breweries? The Barrel Room, located on the second floor of the Ritchie Market, overlooking Blind Enthusiasm Brewery and Biera Restaurant, can accommodate 20-100 guests. The room is bright and airy with polished concrete floors, and can be arranged however you desire.
Foundry Room at the Oliver Exchange Building – For a unique experience hosting a large meeting or party, try the Foundry Room at the Oliver Exchange Building. A coveted spot for weddings, the Foundry Room blends modern décor (think trendy chandeliers and exposed brick) with ease of use. At the Foundry, they take care of everything from catering, to décor, to chair and table rentals.
Corso 32 – For an intimate yet exquisite meal, try Corso 32 in the heart of downtown Edmonton where you and your guests can enjoy authentic Italian cuisine from chef and owner Daniel Costa. Keep in mind the restaurant is small – with only 32 seats in total – so small parties are preferred.
Don’t miss the house-made goat ricotta and the fresh pasta dishes (we loved the tagliatelle and the roasted farro pappardelle.) If you’re a wine-lover, make sure to get some vino while you’re there. The wine list is exclusively Italian and is selected specifically to complement the menu. Saluti!
Culina To Go – Looking for a boxed lunch for your special guests or delegates? Culina To Go, located in the beautiful Oliver Exchange Building, has you covered. With a focus on fast, fresh comfort food from local producers and suppliers, these lunches will be a hit with those with even the pickiest of pallets. Their selection includes those staple lunch items, like soups, salads, and sandwiches that change daily. Their bento boxes are the hot ticket item. When we visited the restaurant their special bento box of the day was a roasted salmon box, with dolmades and feta, a zucchini and chickpea salad, and a haskap berry crisp. Culina To Go can also handle small catering orders, and can be used for an intimate event space, seating up to 24 guests.
Biera – For a more relaxed atmosphere, Biera is the way to go. Located in Ritchie Market, this laid-back stop doesn’t skimp on flavourful food and craft beer. Small, shareable, extraordinary bites are the name of the game at Biera. No food item is like one you had before. Take the fried potato cakes, for example, shaped like a perfect rectangle and dressed with pickled potato slices and leek aioli. We also recommend the Winter salad – the dill dressing is out of this world.
Pair your bites with a fresh brew from Blind Enthusiasm Brewing, that range from crisp lagers to hoppy ales and tart sours.
Baijiu – Fancy some Asian fusion? Look no further than Baijiu – a trendy cocktail bar and eatery in the heart of downtown Edmonton inside of the historical Mercer Building. The place is known for its creative cocktails – for example, the Baijiu Barbie and the Awkwafina – so make sure you drink up while there. The food is also meant to be shared whether you order a la carte or from its tasting menu. The standouts include the uber-creamy deviled tea eggs, the soft pineapple buns, with pineapple-infused butter, and the perfectly-balanced braised pork bao.
Odd Company Brewing – Looking for a change of scenery for your next meeting? Try Odd Company Brewing located in the Oliver Exchange Building. This cozy spot is the perfect place to host your next meeting or function, or to have a few cold brews with some VIPs. Try one of their several craft beers (that they brew in-house of course) or one of their craft cocktails.
Dosc – If craft cocktails are more your style, check out Dosc in Edmonton’s downtown core that has a lengthy list of creative cocktails on its bar menu. Perfect for a nightcap, or pre-dinner drinks, Dosc has something for everyone. If you can’t find something on the cocktail list you want to try, the bartenders offer a “Dealer’s Choice” option where you choose your spirit (e.g. vodka, gin, bourbon), cocktail style (e.g. martini, old-fashioned, sour), and flavour profile (e.g. sweet, smoky, fruity) and the expert bartenders will whip you up your new favourite drink.
Situation Brewing – Microbrewries are having a moment and if you’re looking to join in on the fun, try Situation Brewing. Everything is brewed on-site and you can even have a bite to eat while you enjoy one of the several varieties of beer they offer. The space is unique in that it blends the atmosphere of a microbrewery with a pub. Beer lovers of any caliber are welcome. To make the most of your experience at Situation Brewing, try a flight.
Strathcona Spirits Distillery – Sign up for a taste and tour at Edmonton’s first and North America’s smallest distillery. The 749 sq-ft distillery is a cozy experience where you learn and see how the award-winning spirits are made through a variety of stills and barrels. After the tour, you have the chance to taste all the spirits the distillery has to offer, too.
Keep in mind the distillery itself can only handle groups of 22 or fewer because of the size of the building, and don’t forget to snap a photo of the iconic bubblegum pink building located in one of the oldest regions of Edmonton.