Dear Scotiabank Convention Centre
Last week, the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario held its annual conference at the SCCN for the first time. We needed a facility that would be big enough to host an event of over 1000 educators and you delivered very nicely. #ECOO13 was a year in planning and the results were so well received by Ontario Educators. Over the year, many documents and many phone calls were exchanged to make the event the success that it was.
For the participant, the graphics on the screen outside the convention centre was a welcoming first sign of the high quality experience that lay ahead. The lobby was spacious and well lit with natural lighting which served to energize and excite right from the start. The centre proved to be very flexible for our needs. The Port Colborne Lounge was arranged and rearranged a number of times over the three days. The Fallsview Theatre was excellent for the morning keynote messages and the staff was quick and efficient moving the air wall to divide the theatre into two breakout rooms in the course of just half an hour. The staff ensured that all of the audio and visual needs were met.
A good conference provides great meals! All of the refreshments were created in-house by the kitchen staff and served via six serving lines. In the course of two one hour slots, the entire conference was able to get and enjoy their meal and then move on to the next event. There were no delays in refreshing the serving stations. The professional staff was constantly standing by to remove empty stations with new ones. You have to try the chef’s yogurt to appreciate how delicious it is!
The staff members at the Convention Centre were easily identified by their professional appearance and their constant smiles. No detail was too small for them to stop and lend assistance with a smile. The event coordinator was quick to provide the registration desk with coffee and refreshments so that they could continue serve the attendees. Most impressively, the Scotiabank Centre’s staff was equipped with bright red lanyards composed of recycled materials. Speaking of recycling, even the carpet walkways were created by recycled materials.
The staff was attentive to every detail. The conference organizers met with the entire team for introductions just before the event started. We had one last chance to lay out our expectations and criteria for a successful conference. We knew going in that the biggest challenges were going to be quick access to meals and snacks and reliable internet access. The Information Technology Department knew this as well and recognized that their existing infrastructure was not going to be enough. To that end, portable wireless access points were purchased and the staff moved them throughout the building to give the best chances of being connected.
When the day’s events were through, the Niagara Falls location offered all kinds of social opportunities. Conference registrants were able to participate in a banquet, join an evening Photowalk to the Falls and Clifton Hill, enjoy a fun run along the Niagara Parkway, refine their Minecraft skills, or even take in a concert with the London group Comet.
Plus, who doesn’t like a facility big enough to drive a bus into as part of the Exhibit Hall!
The success of any event is a combination of great professional learning opportunities and a supportive environment. We felt that the Scotiabank Centre went above and beyond to make the environment so conducive for learning.
Cyndie and Doug, #ECOO13 Conference Co-Chairs