It’s been a busy couple of months – I got a new job, moved out of my parents’ house and have been on the road.
With work, we are hosting events in different Canadian cities so I’ve had the opportunity to glimpse into some cities in Western Canada: Vancouver, Fort McMurray, and Saskatoon.
I was there for 36 hours since I needed to be home for a wedding the morning after our event. I fell in love with the place (mainly the hotel and being able to see water from my hotel room). The city is vibrant and chill at the same time – they have mountains! I managed to eat at Fatburger, lemon meringue dessert at the Fairmont Waterfront (that’s where we stayed and had our event) and had a great view of the water.
Fort McMurray, AB
It snowed when I got off the plane and continued snowing until I got the plane. This was my first solo work trip was so I was a little nervous about running the show on our event. However, everyone was extremely nice and the venue staff all pitched in and we put on a great keynote presentation. I got to try a local beer, Wood Buffalo Brewing Co.‘s Overtime IPA and the cheese burger was awesome! Also, at the Sawridge Hotel & Conference Centre, they have a pool, Jacuzzi, koi pond and palm trees in the centre of the hotel portion. It was very humid. Who would have thought there would be palm trees in the middle of Alberta??
I also learned that there is a huge transient work population where people fly in from all over the country to work in the oil fields (95% of the people on my flights were men). I sat next to a welder who was doing a 2 week on, 2 week off work schedule and flying in from the east coast. It dawned on me that I don’t know much about the oil industry at all because the impact that it has on a community is felt by all – whether it’s a good or bad. Previous events we’ve held in Fort McMurray were attended by over 200 whereas this time, we had around 120, which isn’t bad but not like when the area was booming. However, after talking to some people, the community is still growing but at a slower pace. Amenities that were slated to be built are coming later than expected but it’s still in the schedule. Overall, it was a great experience, too bad we aren’t doing an event there next year.
It snowed when I got off the plane and continued snowing until I got the plane. This time we landed in a huge storm. My manager couldn’t resist and had to take a pic of me bundled up in my snow gear to send to co-workers. In the office, it has now become a running joke of what cold place to send Gloria next – we’re going to Yellowknife in March 2016 😉 Anyways, we arrived 2 days earlier before our event as neither my manager nor myself had seen the event space (it was booked a year in advance). The TCU Place (Saskatoon Arts Centre) was massive and after doing the walk through of the place, I felt better but was hesitant about the timing since we needed to be on schedule for our Conference. The day of the event was great! We received a lot of positive feedback and people can’t wait to attend next year’s Conference 🙂
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Saskatoon Downtown. Now, before you say anything about staying at a Holiday Inn, this one was fantastic and fairly new (built 4-5 years ago). The restaurant downstairs, The Hub had fantastic food to the point where we had all our meals there! The staff were friendly and accommodating while the rooms were spacious and clean. I say accommodating because I was missing my bf’s boxing match back home so we brought a laptop down to dinner and set it up so we could stream it while having our meal. It was a great meal but a disappointing loss for the bf (split decision from the judges). Overall it was a great stay and we’d definitely go back!