I was lucky enough to attend this year’s PCMA Convening Leaders, which was held in Vancouver.

The conference is primarily for meeting planners and suppliers (mobile app companies, show decorators, convention visitors bureaus, hotel partners, etc). The conference is for three days, January 10th-13th. The meeting took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre and it sits right on the water with a magnificent backdrop of the mountains. The likelihood of us planning a meeting here are slim, but the body work of the Centre is so attractive that plenty of business makes its way to Vancouver.

I decided to extend my stay through the rest of the week and have Andy come meet me and see the whole city along with making a trip up to Whistler. I had these grand visions of skiing and whale watching and crab fishing. But  my visions were pretty much shot to shit. Andy couldn’t decide if he wanted to go to Whistler or not, and then almost backed out of the whole thing all together! But he did make it and we had a great time.

During this extended vacation, I stopped in whistler which I will have another blog post detailing my adventures.

Fun facts about Vancouver

The airport is about 20-30 minutes away from downtown Vancouver. But after speaking to a few people, apparently they stopped airport shuttle services from downtown hotels. However, they have a train that can take you there. I’m all about public transportation, but my flight won’t be arriving until after 10pm and I don’t feel like trying to figure it out by myself. Taxis are only a flat rate of $35 CAD. Andy and I did take the train from downtown Vancouver to the airport, and while we had a delay, the train only takes about 25 minutes and costs $9.75 CAD.

About 1.5 million people live in the city. Some of the hot spots in town are Gas Town District and Yaletown. Robson street also is a popular street with tons of shopping and restaurants

Vancouver also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Outside of the Convention Centre is where the Olympic Cauldron is! It’s pretty wild to see up close.

Vancouver’s harbourside is approximately 22 miles long. It’s also surrounded by tons of smaller islands, such as Granville Island and North Vancouver.

Vancouver basically has crazy restrictions on a the consumption of alcohol. They loved the prohibition idea so much, they came up with their own version and tax the shit out of liquor. Anyone that wants to sell alcohol has to pay a crazy fee of $100,000 in order to distribute. Most restaurants have a primary food license and a liquor license as their secondary. If liquor sales surpass food sales, the restaurant is fined.

Where I Stayed

I stayed at the Pinnacle Harbourfront hotel. It’s about two blocks away from the convention centre, from where the conference is taking place. It’s a Canadian brand hotel formerly a Renaissance, that desperately needs renovations to the room-sits very close to the water. The hotel upgraded me to a harbourview room. I couldn’t see much at night but I knew that in the morning I was in for a treat. Sure enough, I was right. I stepped out onto my balcony and saw the world.

It was stunning! The colors coming from the sunrise, the still water, and the massive mountains appearing from the shadows. I felt so lucky to be looking at this amazing view.

Where I ate

Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar
Arc Restauranttry the seafood chowder 
Steamworks Brewing
Blackbird Public House
Blue Water Cafethe seafood tower is a must
Red Wagonthe pulled pork pancakes is their signature dish
Joe Fortes
Miku Restaurant

Things I did

PCMA Convening Leaders Opening Reception

The opening reception was held inside the Covention Centre in their ballroom. They had fire flames people, snowboard/skiing simulators, Palm readers, save ring lessons, and glass blowers throughout the reception.

Shopping on Robson

Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau always has their event at a Nordstrom and gives attendees a $100 gift card. This is Canada’s very first Nordstrom and I will say it was pretty impressive! The US dollar is very strong here. It’s basically a 30% discount. That’s a no brainer.

Seaplane Tour

The seaplane tour takes off right at the Harbour next to the convention Centre. You have to go down to the terminal to pick up your boarding pass. Most of the planes seat 10 people. We only had three in ours, so it was considered a private tour. My friend even got play co-pilot. Tickets are about $115 CAD or $89 USD. The flight overall is only 30 minutes. 10 minutes for take off and landing. We purchased the extended tour and flew through the mountains and the surrounding islands. By farrrr one of the coolest things I have ever done!

Grouse grouse Mountain/Capilano Suspension Bridge

This tour obviously went to Grouse Mountain which is on an island connected to the Lions Gate Bridge. You take a gondola all the way up to the top where you can ice skate, go on a sleigh ride, ski, and snowboard. They also have a great restaurant with an awesome view. Afterwards we went to a nearby town where the suspension bridge is. The bridge was built in 1889. Apparently it’s strong enough to hold 96 elephants, but I think they’re full of shit. I mean, how would they know? It’s not like they put actual elephants on this bridge suspended 100s of feet in the air over a rolling River. The tour was $50 CAD. It was very scary but so much fun! I felt one with nature!

Granville Island

When Andy finally made it to Vancouver, we walked over to the Granville Bridge and over to the small island. They have a few distilleries, breweries, a public market, and boating tours. The public market was super cool. I bought some tea from the Granville  Island Tea Company and some different flavors of honey from Chilliwack River Valley. The island is about a 45-60 minute walk from city centre.

Overall, it was an amazing trip. I learned so much on how to improve my leadership skills at the conference. I also got to explore the beautiful city of Vancouver. It reminds me of something out of story book. It’s picture perfect and I can’t wait to go back. Maybe in the summer. Until next time…xoxo!

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