Montréal: The Cultural Capital of Life Sciences

Most visit for the creative charm & breathtaking views. But meeting planners? They choose Montréal for its expertise in the life sciences industry.

Every other year, the Canadian Society of Nephrology hosts its Annual General Meeting in Montréal, which is a big hit for attendees. They get to explore the city’s burgeoning life sciences community, taking advantage of local resources such as the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning at McGill University. It’s one of countless experiential learning opportunities that can easily be arranged for visitors to Montréal.

“When we have our meetings in Montréal, it is always a huge success because people and companies enjoy coming to this city,” says Filomena Picciano, Director of Operations at the Canadian Society of Nephrology.

With its strategic position and vibrant culture, the bustling city of Montréal has quickly become a sought-after destination for meeting planners worldwide. While people from across the globe come to Montréal for its creative charm and breathtaking views, the city has an especially strong pull for stakeholders in the life sciences — and it’s easy to see why: the city is a powerhouse of life sciences expertise, with subsectors such as cancer and genomics research rising to global influence.

“The sector is fueled really by the excellence in the research — the network we have here, the research ecosystem,” says Frank Béraud, CEO of Montréal InVivo, an organization which fosters the life sciences and health technologies business ecosystem in greater Montréal and Québec.

Montréal ranks sixth among North America’s 20 largest metropolitan areas in life sciences and health technologies job density, according to Montréal International. Relatively low operating costs and an infusion of government funding have also propelled developments in the life sciences.

The city is a standout in the pharmaceutical industry, and a number of blockbuster drugs have been developed in greater Montréal. It comes as little surprise that big names including Merck Canada, Novartis Canada, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are all headquartered in Québec’s biggest city.

Visitors who want to tap into Montréal’s massive knowledge base are in luck, as the city is no stranger to hosting conferences and connecting attendees to local resources. It’s been consistently named the top city for international events by the Union of International Associations and hosts more international events than any other city in North America, according to the 2018 rankings released by the International Congress and Convention Association.

“The city in general enjoys the collaboration of leaders from various sectors, who in turn can count on the experience and support by the city’s destination marketing organization, convention centre, hotels, suppliers and the people,” Picciano says.

It’s impossible to take in everything the city has to offer in one trip, but it’s certainly worth trying. Leave some time to enjoy Aura, a luminous experience in the heart of the Basilica Notre Dame, see the acclaimed Cité Memoire an outdoor cinematic experience depicting the city’s evolution, explore cobblestoned Old Montréal, and take in the many world-class retail, dining and entertainment options and you’ll see why Montréal is nicknamed the “Cultural Capital of Canada.”

One Montréal highlight meeting planners in particular appreciate: the newly renovated Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Montréal and featuring 85,000 square feet of meeting space, the luxury hotel is the perfect spot for convening large groups of people. Gather attendees in the vast convention space or break up teams in the hotel’s sleek business hubs. You’ll also be happy to know that the Queen Elizabeth Hotel uses eco-friendly practices to reduce the carbon footprint of meetings held there.

For an uncommon experience with inspiration at every turn and resources to align with your meeting content, there’s no place quite like Montréal to hold a life sciences conference.

“Montréal is unique to everywhere else in Canada,” says Picciano. “The people, places and even weather of the city all combine to make a city with a personality that is one of a kind.”

This article is brought to you by Business Events Canada. Learn more about planning your next life science event in Montreal, or reach out directly to receive our knowledge maps, designed to help you determine exactly why Montreal is the best fit for your meeting content.”