Tag Archives: team building

20170504_141123

I VISIT THE EXCITING CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK!

As an auto racing fan from waaaaaay back (and author of 4 books on auto racing), this was a dream come true for me when I joined a group of Toronto event planners for a visit to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park out near Bowmanville, about an hour East of Toronto. They’ve created a beautifully appointed multi-level corp. event & banquet centre that’s suitable for business meetings, team building activities, weddings, any sort of group gathering, and I got to experience the wonderful catering companies they use.  I was thrilled to meet racing legend & Cdn Motorsport Hall of Fame driver Ron Fellows, his wife Lynda, son Sam and their charming team of marketing, hospitality and sales staff who run the venue.

Fearing the worst weather conditions, I joined my raincoat-clad events industry colleagues on the big white courtesy bus provided by www.luxury.to and started off early on Wednesday morning. Like a bunch of big kids, we were all “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” and after about an hour, the bus pulled into the CTMP grounds.20170504_10442620170504_112702And weren’t we lucky…they were doing some testing with Porches and Ferraris when we turned up. Vrooooom!

We were officially greeted by these lovely ladies who were our personal guides for the day.20170504_112329…then on to the presentations to learn more about the facilities and how they can be used for any of our special events.20170504_114831 20170504_113044Joining me was Zev Bertini, Business Development for Arrowonics.com (a new Toronto-based tech design company that creates awesome designs and light shows using multiple mini drones). Here he is (above) chatting to events reps, doin’ the business schmooze. Then it was on to lunch and oh boy, what a deelish spread they laid on for us….20170504_114846My first stop was Shrimp Cocktail‘s catering table…. Yummmm!  www.shrimpcocktailcafe.com20170504_121129 20170504_12115220170504_121155Then on to The Garage Guy BBQ whose sliders were so tasty….I went back for seconds! www.thegarageguy.ca20170504_121319 20170504_121341 20170504_121327(yes, you need big strong muscles to carry this many sliders…haa haa!)

My next nibblies stop was Pilar’s Catering whose Korean BBQ chicken pops and empanadas were scrumptious! www.Pilarscatering.ca20170504_122635 20170504_122641 20170504_122654Next on my tasting menu (below) was the desserts table…OMG, I was in chocoholic heaven, thanks to the ladies of KCC Gourmet & Catering Inc.  www.kccgourmetcatering.com20170504_122716 20170504_122721I needed more savoury bites so I then went over to the Peter & Pauls table for some of their special lobster mac & cheese. Definitely a winner…wish I’d gone back for more (am still licking my lips from that one!) www.bypeterandpauls.com20170504_123245It was then time for a drinkies so I visited Steve (below) from REIF Estate Winery (from the Niagara wine region) who was sampling some of their tasty wines. www.reifwinery.com 20170504_124504 20170504_124514A couple of the attendees won a draw for a quick trip around the track with Ron at the wheel…dammit, I didn’t win but at least I got to snap some pics of the lucky ones who did (below)20170504_122129 20170504_122157Zev and I had fun at the photo wall…20170504_125555 20170504_125543…where I also ran into an old friend, Mark Awad (below L) from bbBlanc Audio/Visual who was attending with a colleague. www.bbblanc.com20170504_125242We were then given a tour of the various track facilities and several guests posed out front with some of the cars from the Ron Fellows Driving Experience – yes, you too can learn to drive like a race car driver!  20170504_130317 20170504_130334 20170504_130604As our big bus wound through the Grand Prix grounds, we spied some of the racers…oooo, hot men & fast cars – what more could a girl want??!!20170504_131731…and there’s the podium (below) where all race winners pose with their trophies and pit crews20170504_131614We then stopped by the karting track (below) where I spied some of the racing suits hanging up…I nearly grabbed one and took a turn on the track myself!20170504_132526 20170504_132318Zev jumped up on the kart podium (below) and struck a pose with some of the event planners…LOL20170504_132928(0)..then after one last visit to the event centre to watch more of the on-track activity (below) …..

…we bade farewell to everyone and headed back to Toronto. All this time, the monsoon-like rain that had been forecast was kept at bay until we got back into the city then down she came! Farewell, CTMP, and thanks for your warm and generous hospitality…we will all be back soon.

I encourage you to visit the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, either for business or pleasure, and you can find all the information on corporate events, weddings, race days and speed weekends on their website: www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com

 

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Walk the aisles of INCENTIVEWORKS Trade Show with me!

Every  August, the Canadian meetings, events and hospitality industries get together for their “high holiday” known as INCENTIVEWORKS, hosted by Meetings Canada in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Each year, I find myself amongst sales and marketing folks from across the country and around the world, representing hotels, caterers, spas, airlines, resorts and meeting venues as well as incentives companies (these are the folks who create all those logo’d merchandise or give-aways companies use to spread their brand i.d.). And I must say, this year was THE best show in a number of years. Fabulous, super tasty food samples courtesy of celebrity chefs and chi-chi poo-poo caterers and restaurants were the star attractions this year – over the past several years, all we got were dessert samples or chocolates & candies so after a couple of hours of trade show floor-walking, you’d get one hell of a sugar headache. But this year…damn! we enjoyed menu samples of meat, seafood, more meat and crisp fresh salads. Bravo, Incentiveworks exhibitors…you listened to our pleas and hit it outta the park! (all available weblinks for exhibitors at end of blog)

Accompanied by my trusty social media safari guide and photographer, Gabriella Luchetta, I first stopped in on old friend Chef Massimo who oversees several leading kitchens in the Niagara region as well as being a best selling cookbook author (although I’m “domestically challenged” I’ve actually been able to make some of his awesome recipes). Yummmm, he served such deelish and healthful treats yesterday (below)

First on my tasting hit-list was Chef Massimo, who oversees several leading kitchens in the Niagara region, who served  up deelish and healthful treats

DSC09727Next stop, Halifax! So I’ve never been able to stomach scallops before…had them once many years ago and they made me so ill. Probably undercooked, I do remember they were quite slimey. So I was a bit nervous when I was offered fresh scallops from the always-cheery Halifax reps. But oh my, the fragrance coming up from the frypan..mmmm. I couldn’t resist and I am so pleased I indulged….they were amazing. (below)

DSC09776 DSC09803 DSC09801Across the aisle was Chef Events Culinary Entertainment (below) and their great big firetruck converted into a food truck – the food was spectacular. Even their vegetarian offering, stuffed mushroom caps, was awesome.

DSC09755 DSC09750Great to see Sheena Wood of Simply the Best catering and events (below) who also fed us well with tasty hors d’oeuvres.DSC09819Next, Modus Ristorante of Toronto offered delicate prosciutto wraps and salsa salad spoons. (I really wish these blogs offered “scratch and taste” links for you to enjoy this with me…LOL)

DSC09822Here’s Nota Bene, who teased my tastebuds with crunchy salmon sandwiches and risotto balls…

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DSC09883…and Oro spoiled us all with these artful nibblies (below). Is your mouth watering yet?

DSC09896 DSC09905My Yorkville neighbours, Mistura, caught my eye and my mouth, too, with these treats (below)

DSC09920 DSC09917I was suddenly attracted to a bright shiny thing across the aisle…..oooh, a man, a god even! Caesar’s Casino Windsor really knows how to attract attention and I was like a moth to a flame. After posing with my golden boy, I enjoyed their hospitality and Gabriella and I watched their mixologist craft a cocktail brew fit for an emperor.
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Photo 2015-08-19, 12 42 32 PM

DSC09943 DSC09960Belly dancing anyone? The Berber Lounge booth (below) looked lush and exotic…and so was the mint tea, thank you.

DSC09959 DSC09996Gabriella and I took some time out for a little wacky fun playing with some silly props (below) and Instagramming our pics out for the vendor. We both won selfie sticks for our efforts (poor Gabs got home to find hers didn’t work so I guess I owe her mine as a thank you for working so hard)

Photo 2015-08-19, 1 17 22 PMThen it was over to Ripley’s Aquarium booth for a quick dip where we became shark bait!

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Photo 2015-08-19, 2 07 11 PMOkay, back to business ladies! The Welcome to Regina booth served up sweet cupcake pops (below)….DSC00154….and a big howdy to the cowgirls from Tucson, AZ (below). Thanks for the packs of cactus jellies, too.DSC00248The charming Montreal booth hosts were distributing a custom cola so both Gabs and I now have old school bottles of the elixir du Montreal.

DSC00023We strolled past the stunning Barbados booth where the lady looked a bit lonely but oh so pretty sitting in front of that giant seaside mural. Then Gabs and I listened to some great contemporary violin courtesy of this pretty, talented musician (below).

DSC00276 DSC09708Here’s Mike D’Urzo! I love this guy, one of the most charming and talented magicians and corporate entertainers in da biz. He always has a smile for everyone and his illusions are quite unbelievable…I’ve given up trying to figure out all the tricks and prestidigitation (my BIG word of the day!!).

DSC00200You can tell by the ridiculous grin on my face how thrilled I was to personally meet one of my favourite Canadian artists – Andrew King. Andrew was the special guest of the Ottawa booth where he was painting live during the show. His work is imaginative, colourful and full of life and humour….check it his currently available work via this link: http://bit.ly/1K9PLS0

DSC00039While in Ottawa (!) we enjoyed some fresh brewed tea, courtesy of Andrew Horsfield of the Lord Elgin Hotel (below). Mr. H. gave Gabs and me shiny red thermos mugs with a tea infuser inside, too. Thanks…we both really needed these.

DSC00054Daniel and Nicole (below) from the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC were 2 of the friendliest reps we met. Guess that west coast vibe works even way up north, eh? Thank you for your hospitality and I definitely hope to drop in soon to see just how wonderful Osoyoos is for myself.

DSC00133Time for more food and drinkies…..

DSC00145 DSC00166…and even more drinkies over at the Shangri La Hotel booth, this time, tho, it was refreshing Morocan iced tea infused with mint and passionfruit. Aaaaaah.

DSC00158 DSC00160We met this cool guy, Stuart Brown of TSE – no, not the Toronto Stock Exchange – he’s actually from The Scotch Experience! He does special Scotch tastings and pairings…and he “paired” his samples here with dark chocolate truffles. Gabs and I left with our chubby little hands full of ’em, too. LOL!

DSC00184Sue Williamson (below) welcomed us to the Kempenfelt Conference Centre (Barrie, ON) booth. I can’t believe I haven’t visited this wonderful property yet. Gonna have to change that real soon.

DSC00002Alain Paquette and Alain Stoopen of Smash Events were offering samples of a very smooth Mexican liquor that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks, amigos, all hail the agave!

DSC00224 DSC00225I got the need…the need for speed! Woohoo, I got to hang with Maverick at the Top Swag/BrandBlvd. booth and even scored some aviator specs and dogtags. Remember those day back when Tom Cruise was such a stud? Here I am in the “danger zone” with my cardboard cut-out Tommy boy.

DSC00066 DSC00073OMG, it’s Shaun the Sheep…or not. Here we are at the Icebreaker booth (below), doing the feely-touchy with the stylish clothing made from NZ merino wool. I scored a pair of soft fuzzy socks for Gabs, too.

DSC00094 DSC00102Time for another chocolate break, this time courtesy of Succulent Chocolates and Sweets. Hand-painted custom chockies, giant logo’d bars, all sorts of sweeties and treats (below).

DSC00188 DSC00189Uncommon Canada had the cutest give-aways…blue, white or grey baby seal keychains with eyes that lit up when you pressed a wee button on their backs as well as making little seal bark sounds. Cute fluffy polar bears, too.

DSC00120Gabriella got into the selfie thing and tooks some great pics in this mirror. Photo 2015-08-19, 2 08 43 PMOkay, time for a nice rest so I sat down in the FOS Design Centre booth and enjoyed the stunning furniture and decorations. I felt like Joan Collins in Dynasty…gimme those damned padded shoulders! I was joined on the silver couch byAnna Rinomata, their event designer. Don’t we look simply maaahvelous?!DSC00202 DSC00209Almost time to say goodbye…just a few more snapshots of a great Incentiveworks. Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour. I encourage you to check out the websites listed below for information on these exhibitors.

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www.incentiveworksshow.com

Vendor weblinks:

www.massimocapra.com

www.chefevents.ca

www.simplythebestevents.ca

www.modusristorante.com

www.notabenerestaurant.com

www.orarestaurant.com

www.mistura.ca

www.lordelgin.ca

www.caesarswindsor.com

www.watermarkbeachresort.com

www.uncommoncanada.com

www.berberlounge.ca

www.thescotchexperience.com

www.kempenfelt.com

www.brandblvd.ca

www.fosdecor.com

http://www.succulentchocolates.com/

www.icebreaker.com

 

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OTTAWA’s CLAUSTROPHOBIA ESCAPE ROOM VENUE CELEBRATES GREAT OPENING WEEK

I’m excited to hear about the success of Claustrophobia’s launch week, covered by the Ottawa Citizen, KISS-FM radio hosts Carter & Sandra, and hundreds of social media and blog posts from the first players in the rooms.  Earlier this week, I spoke with Claustrophobia’s founder, Jennifer Schnare, and asked her about the game venue’s opening week and how business is growing.

Now that you’ve been open for 10 days, how has Ottawa accepted Claustrophobia?  It’s been an amazing response from the Ottawa community. Many people haven’t heard of real escape games and are just discovering it for the first time. They are falling in love with the concept, especially thanks to interviews with KISS-FM radio and the story in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper (photo of Jennifer below).

0313 escape room1.jpgHave people been spreading the word and bringing in teams of friends and family?  Yes! The word is definitely spreading in the community. People are telling their colleagues and their friends and thanks to sharing team photos and results via social media, more and more people are contacting me to ask about reservations.

SatMar21 47minslabDid you have many March break teams in?  Yes, I had quite a few families come through during March break as they found new activities to do with their ‘tweens and teens. The kids would sometimes solve the complex puzzles before their parents…we even had a mum-to-be play. Maybe her baby picked up some “escape clues” that will help on his/her actual birth day!! LOL

Sat team 1What has been the fastest escape time so far and which room?  The fastest escape time has been 40 minutes from the Hostel themed room…and without asking for any clues! The team was a group of four individuals (pictured below) who had some previous experience with escape rooms.

40 min teamWhat sort of feedback are you receiving?  People are having a lot of fun; there is amazement at some of the puzzles and clues, and many people walk out of the rooms after their 60 minutes game-play are up thinking “if only I had tried that…”

Some of the great feedback from players can be found on social media, including these:

Had an awesome time tonight! Thank you, Jennifer.  Jana K.

Awesome puzzles & great overall game. Finished the Lab, can’t wait to give the Hostel room a go.  Anthony R.

Super fun experience! Totally worth checking out.  Stephanie W.

Jennifer is now preparing a special promotion where players can make suggestions for the theme of the new 3rd room and win free gaming sessions. Make sure you follow Claustrophobia on Facebook and Twitter (linked on website).   Why not try escaping from one of Claustrophobia’s rooms yourself. Visit the website and book a session now. http://claustrophobiagame.ca/

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