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Continued from PEI M&I

Great George boutique hotel

The 420 AIC delegates stayed at other hotels besides the Delta. "Our members liked having other price point alternatives like the Best Western," says Charlebois.

"Some brought their families and rented seaside cottages 20 minutes away. Others stayed at The Great George, a boutique Victorian hotel near the Delta. It treats guests royally, with wonderful breakfasts in the lobby and fresh-baked cookies!"

Avonlea Village fiddler, spoon-player and guitarist
Avonlea Village fiddler, spoon-player and guitarist
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Covering roughly a city block, the complex of colourful restored heritage buildings dates back to 1811. Deluxe rooms feature antiques, double-Jacuzzis and fireplaces. The Great George also has standard rooms and one- to four-bedroom efficiencies. Two conference rooms accommodate five to 75 people.

"We have 54 rooms total," says Kelley Keefe, director of sales and marketing for The Great George. "VIPs and board members often stay here. Three or four budget-conscious couples can share an entire house."

Thomsen, at PEI Convention Partnership, says the average group size, for Charlottetown, is 150. "While 400 to 600 is nice, we can handle groups as large as 1,000." The Historic Seaport Events Centre in Charlottetown handles groups of up to 1,480 people for a reception. This facility was built in a former potato warehouse in Charlottetown's cruise port.

University of Prince Edward Island Conference Services

Planners should also consider the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) for accommodation or meeting space, says Mark Carr-Rollitt, assistant manager at UPEI Conference Services. "We have more than 50 meeting spaces including the Sports Centre, which holds 2,800 people. There are 576 beds in three residences, available from early-May through August. We have 67 double suites, with two private bedrooms and kitchenettes."

Carr-Rollitt's biggest challenge is banishing the cafeteria food image. "We can dress up the dining room and serve lobster, or an $80-per-person banquet." The major advantage is cost, he says. "We don't charge gratuities on food."

Even groups at high-end hotels will find Prince Edward Island economical, according to Charlebois. "Our conference expenses in Vancouver next year will be nearly double what we spent in PEI."

The warm and fuzzy feeling creates a hospitable vibe in PEI. "I've been in every convention centre across the country," says Plaskett, "and one of my best experiences was Charlottetown. They really make you feel at home."

Peter Jansons makes pottery, The Dunes Studio
Peter Jansons makes pottery,
The Dunes Studio
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Summerside meetings and conferences

PEI's second-largest city is Summerside. Located 50 minutes west of Charlottetown, it has 780 guest rooms. A new $26 million state-of-the-art Wellness & Convention Centre has meeting space for 500 and two multi-purpose arenas.

The Conference Centre at the 118-room Slemon Park Hotel has five meeting spaces, a 350-person ballroom and a 200-seat lecture theatre. Downtown, The Loyalist Lakeview Resort & Conference Centre offers 103 rooms and meeting space for 300.

Road rallies

Because PEI is only 280 kilometres tip-to-tip, it's easy to arrange off-site events and dinners. Prince Edward Tours arranges scavenger hunts, teambuilding exercises in rental cars and Amazing Race Road Rallies. Day-trips bring delegates to Anne of Green Gables house and Avonlea Village.

Jeff MacNeill, in North Lake, runs full-day tuna-fishing charters during the August and September season. His company, PEI Tuna Charters, and other companies, bring groups on three-hour mackerel fishing, whale- and seal-watching trips.

For corporate bonding activities like paddling beside red cliffs, pedalling along oceanside roads and guided walks, North Rustico's Outside Expeditions provides transportation, equipment, food and guides.

Lobster feasts

The Dunes Studio Gallery & Café, in Brackley Beach, 18 kilometres north of Charlottetown, offers reception facilities for 300 and sit-down dining for up to 140. Surrounded by exquisite art and gardens, guests can watch owner Peter Jansons create pottery, or shop for one-of-a-kind jewellery, clothing and sculptures collected by Jansons in Indonesia.

New Glasgow and Fisherman's Wharf offer traditional lobster suppers for up to 500. Seafood chowder, steamed mussels, salads, homemade rolls and desserts leave no one hungry.

Winter meetings and incentives

Outside Charlottetown and Summerside, many hotels, restaurants and attractions close between late October and May. At the 90-room Mill River Resort, in Woodstock, 90 minutes northwest of Charlottetown, groups enjoy a lighted toboggan and tubing hill, bonfires, marshmallow roasts, snow golf and indoor pools, a waterslide, sauna and fitness centre.

Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a National Historic Site in Prince Edward Island National Park
Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a National Historic Site in Prince Edward Island National Park
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

"We offer three lighted, groomed cross-country ski trails on our 18-hole golf course," says general manager, Louise Arsenault. "We close in November and December, but we'll open if a group books 20 or more rooms."

The Inn at Spry Point
The Inn at Spry Point
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Historic and picturesque inns

Within one hour of Charlottetown, charming inns offer award-winning cuisine, corporate functions and takeovers.

Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a National Historic Site in Prince Edward Island National Park, is ideal for period costume historical dinners for up to 100. (Not available during the mid-June to mid-September peak season.) The 1895 building has 26 unique rooms and meeting space for 50 in the main lodge. Eight new three-bedroom cottages each have meeting space for 10 to 15.

At the 18-room Inn at Bay Fortune, in Souris, Chef Michael Smith dazzles diners with a fire-cooked feast.

Ten minutes southwest, the 15-room Inn at Spry Point offers seaside dining for 60 and two cottages for two to six guests.

Also ideal for upscale board meetings and incentives is the 16-room Inn at St. Peters, which overlooks postcard gardens and a white gazebo by St. Peters Bay. The dining room seats 65. Meeting rooms accommodate 60.

Undoubtedly, Prince Edward Island offers meeting and incentive planners numerous hotels, conference venues, restaurants and bonding activities for corporate and association groups.


Meetings and Conventions PEI

More things to see and do in PEI:

PEI Lobster Season, Suppers and Seafood Shipping Outlets

Prince Edward Island Tour for Anne of Green Gables Fans