Plan your next incredible office function, away from your office.
There are hundreds of places in Winnipeg to hold a meeting. But it’s important to know what you want out of the meeting to help you choose from all those options.
First, there are some basic things every meeting space needs to ensure the space helps you get the most out of your agenda.
- A meeting space needs good air. If it’s warm and stuffy, or smelly, people will become dazed. Keep in mind that too cold is better than too warm. At best, the air must remain fresh and slightly cooler than average all throughout the day.
- Good light is important for visibility, of course, but also for comfort. Dim light also dims the energy in the room. But overly bright light isn’t great either. Lighting that is too bright can make people feel exposed, and therefore, uncomfortable. If you want people to engage in dialogue, adjust your lighting accordingly.
- Listening to a great topic through a scratchy, patchy or echoing sound system is mentally exhausting. And if the audio is too quiet then your guests will be straining to understand what is being said. If the audio is too loud, attendees will cringe backwards and become annoyed. Spend a bit of budget on good quality sound and it will pay dividends.
Now that the basics are covered, let’s talk about what you want to achieve.
What do you want people to say about your session on their way out? How do you want them to feel about the space and their interactions with others in attendance? What actions do you want them to take at the session or afterwards?
Answer these questions to help determine if you want to find a unique space or a purely functional one. Decide on the audio and video requirements as mentioned, the technology needs and if you want attendees to mix and mingle or be seated in a specific format.
With new buildings and updated facilities that have given Winnipeg a boom over the past several years, there have also been plenty of incredible new meeting spaces available. You may not even know that some of these exist, even if you've been to the location. This list should spark some ideas for your next unique meeting or event plans.
We've even created this infographic to help you follow the route to great meeting places!
1) Caboto Centre
If you want small and large group participation, check out the Caboto Centre.
This space accommodates the whole group, with AV equipment that ensures everyone can follow along. You likely need break-out spaces where smaller groups can work together, and this space offers easels or smart boards to help participants see that you’ve captured their input.
Caboto Centre meets all these requirements and they have on-site catering, green space, great natural light, free parking and connectivity.
Added bonus: Your guests also gain insight into the Italian culture in Winnipeg.
2) Pizzeria Gusto
Is your group looking for privacy?
For that small face to face gathering that requires discretion to support a frank discussion, consider the wine cellar downstairs at Pizzeria Gusto. Leave your cell phones behind, enjoy a comfortable space and be sure you have the privacy you desire.
With seating for up to 12, it offers all you need for your clandestine event including a fine selection of wines, Italian spring water, coffees and, of course, access to the full PG menu.
3) Cineplex VIP Cinema
Want some star power? Try Cineplex VIP Cinema.
Imagine your next presentation or video pitch on the giant movie screen with premium sound. Oversized chairs keep guests comfortable for hours. And individual swing arm tables can accommodate popcorn or a laptop. Select from specialty menus and licensed beverages right in the theatre.
Then kick back with your group after a long working day and stay for the latest first-run films. This is ideal for formal event launches as the VIP cinema can accommodate groups of 20 or more.
4) Alt Hotel
Want to spur creativity galore?
The Red Creative Lounge at the Alt Hotel has a relaxed, innovative vibe and the latest in AV systems. You won’t find straight-backed chairs here as they have comfortable lounging couches, perfect for brainstorming sessions, interviews and informal get-togethers for up to nine people. If you need more space they have a variety of rooms that can be configured in different ways, all on the 8th floor.
Added perks: This hotel is uber-environmentally friendly, and their catering is provided by the Merchant Kitchen.
5) Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada
If you want your strategic plans to take you bravely into the future, consider the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.
Host your event in the company of some of Canada’s greatest bush planes and aviation wonders, including a real Canadian space ship. Your conversations can’t help but take a brave, daring and hopeful turn.
The River Runway photo gallery accommodates 50 people comfortably and can be set-up for boardroom or classroom style settings. Each wall houses 1920s-1930s era photographs highlighting Winnipeg’s Boat Plane history before the Winnipeg International airport was even built.
The second-floor Banquet room accommodates 210 people and looks out onto the flight deck as well as the Winnipeg Airports active runways.
The hangar can be booked privately and can hold up to 400 people. But smaller working groups are probably best. There’s a limit to what you can do with acoustics and sight lines for major presentations in a setting like this one, but no matter what, be prepared for a memorable meeting.
6) Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Celebrate the power of the human spirit in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
The Senator Nancy Ruth Boardroom overlooks the Museum’s interior space, the city and prairie vistas as far as the eye can see.
The Sifton private terrace, attached to the glass-surround boardroom provides its own special perspective, creating a unique boardroom experience. The 760 square foot room can be used for meetings of 10 to 30 people.
Related: "9 expert tips to run amazing meetings"
7) United Way Learning Centre
If you want to inspire social good, consider hosting your meeting at the United Way Learning Centre on Main Street.
You’ll get everything you need: Free Wi-Fi, secure reception, full kitchen, free parking and AV systems. And you and your group get the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing that all the proceeds of your session go directly back to the community.
8) Fort Gibraltar
Want to engage people’s pioneering spirit?
Head out to Fort Gibraltar, on the banks of the Assiniboine River in the French Quarter. It’s the only place in town where guests can try their hand at ax-throwing. They have great outdoor space, free parking, connectivity and AV equipment. The kitchen is run by Promenade Cafe and Wine; a very popular local restaurant.
They have three spaces available. The Great Hall seats 120 for dinner, the Partner’s Room seats 48 and Maison Chaboillez seats 48. Note that the latter is only an option for the summer months, as it’s located just outside the Fort walls, is a little stroll to the washrooms and is heated only by a wood stove. But how's that for a cool experience!?
9) Banville and Jones
If you want to highlight the benefits of integrating complementary ideas, or you want to loosen up the crowd, consider hosting your meeting around a food and wine pairing at Banville and Jones.
They can host meetings of up to 24 people, with wine tastings and team building (wine blending competition anyone?) They have full AV and can bring in outside catering for lunch or snacks. They are also home to Manitoba’s only Sommelier Teaching School and have seven sommeliers on staff to lead any kind of tasting.
10) St. Norbert Arts Centre
You can encourage your participants to thoughtful and introspective leadership at the St. Norbert Arts Centre.
A former Trappist Monastery, they offer a historical setting complete with a pagoda and a meditation garden, all the modern conveniences, free parking and catering options.
The Gallery is located in a turn-of-the-century Guest House with a stone foundation, mansard roof, hardwood floors, twelve-foot ceilings and dormer windows. The 1200 sq.ft. space can host up to 120 people concert-style and 100 people for a meal, but it also works well for smaller groups.
11) Winnipeg Art Gallery
Tap into your group’s artistic nature at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Meet Greek and Roman gods and other classical personalities in artworks of exceedingly high quality, known for their historic, cultural and aesthetic merit. Special exhibit Olympus reflects the universal preoccupation with creation, the nature of god and humankind, the afterlife and other aspects of spirituality.
Ready now to capture all those ideas? Head to the WAG Boardroom, located on the mezzanine level. They have a table that can accommodate 20 people, AV equipment for rent and high-speed Internet access. Catering is provided by Storm Bistro.
Note: While the nature of the human condition may be timeless, Olympus is leaving the WAG on March 6, 2016. Keep posted to the WAG site for more on future exhibits.
12) Prairie Theatre Exchange
All the world’s a stage—but literally at Prairie Theatre Exchange, where you can draw out people’s inner Streep or DeNiro, under a spotlight, treading the boards.
Prairie Theatre Exchange in Portage Place has spaces ranging from a small boardroom to the dramatic main stage, with an array of mid-sized studio and rehearsal space in between.
Bonus: They have heated underground parking.
13) Children's Museum
For adult education or professional development, you can set the stage for learning as exploration and play at the Children’s Museum.
They have rooms for 50 or 100, and you can book the large Arts & Exhibition Hall. Like most of the other locations, they have AV rentals and meeting supplies available and you can bring in your own catering. But they also feature a fun cotton candy service, a hot chocolate bar and the option of a real bar for the adults.
Green perk: Their meeting package includes compostable plates, napkins, cups and utensils—thinking about the future for the kids.
Finally, if you want the vibe to be hip, new and hot then consider Chosabi Asian Eatery in the Exchange District.
The design is modern, open and casual, with floor to ceiling windows and a view out to King Street. They have licensed space for 50 people and they can arrange AV. They offer fresh, high quality, local foods and can make up a menu to suit your group.
Note: you’ll need to book your meeting before 11 am or after 3:00 pm, to avoid the lunch rush.
Do you have a unique meeting space option that we missed? Tell us in the comments below.
Up Next: Discover 10 more unforgettable Winnipeg meeting locations.