Banff, Alberta

Case Study: AGM and Celebration

By Sandra Eagle

Length of program: 4 nights

Attendees: 8

Goal: For Debbie van der Beek, president and chief visionary officer of Ignite, heading to the mountains with her seven-person team for a milestone event was the perfect combination of inspiration and celebration. 

“With our office being 100% remote, my goal was to use this time together as an opportunity to connect, celebrate our accomplishments and look forward to our future with planning meetings in a creative environment. As it was also our 15th anniversary as a magazine, it was a special celebration for us. Meetings were a part of this event, but team bonding was also an important component outside of business concerns, to enjoy ourselves, laugh and be together.

“I don’t think anyone who goes to Banff wants to be in a meeting room all day, so we took full advantage of our destination by getting outside to enjoy the incredible scenery and do a couple of hikes, including a wildlife sightseeing tour to capture the true essence of the park and the surroundings.”

Accommodations: Fairmont Banff Springs

Vibe of program: Experience nature in the great outdoors

Logistical challenges and solutions: Getting to Banff from Calgary is about a 1.5-hour drive. The Banff Airporter can pick delegates up at the Calgary International Airport at the arrivals level and drop them off right at their hotel door in Banff.

Planning takeaways: “I thought our time in Banff was fabulous,“ says van der Beek. ”One last-minute change for us was a change in meeting venue. Instead of being in a meeting room, we switched things up and did a walking meeting during a hike at Johnston Canyon. I didn’t want to be in a room when I could be inspired by nature.”

Ideas planners can steal: Utilize the Fairmont Banff Springs conference services coordinator to help with activities guests can do at this landmark hotel. Historic 30-minute tours of the hotel run daily (be sure to ask about Bellman Sam and the Ghost Bride stairs). Treat guests to the Fairmont Spa Banff Springs pool circuit or a spa treatment and be sure to look up at the stars from the garden terrace—if you’re lucky you might even catch the beauty of the Northern Lights.


Class Act
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has been a destination in its own right for more than 100 years, attracting guests to the magnificent scenery in the Rocky Mountains. Besides the scenery, the hotel offers a variety of experiences and activities as well as being a great base to explore the wider area.

Croissant making class
The Ignite team gathered around the Fairmont Banff Springs executive chef and pastry chef to try their hand at making three different types of croissants, using specially sourced ingredients, then eating their handiwork at lunch. This was a custom-curated class specifically for a smaller group.

Lunch in the 360° Dome
This geodesic dome can be reserved for a very special meal for up to eight guests. Ignite staffers savoured the hotel’s gourmet fare at brunch, while enjoying a panoramic view of the magnificent Bow Valley and the mountains beyond.

Wildlife Corridor Tour
The hotel is situated on a significant wildlife corridor in Banff National Park. Take a two-hour golf-cart tour to see majestic wildlife on the 18-hole Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. You’ll be hosted by senior guides with lots of natural history facts and enjoy stunning views and a charcuterie board with beverages at the golf course clubhouse.


“Banff is everything you could ask for in a rewarding group experience. The destination is a rare combination of rugged and refined, exclusive yet approachable,” says Angela Kryhul, Ignite editorial director (special projects).

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