If you have spent any time in Canada, you will probably be aware that Canadians are extremely hospitable. Therefore, when hosting a Canadian delegation in your country, you should endeavour to make your guests’ stay as pleasant as possible. This should include an enjoyable supporting programme; after all, your Canadian business partners will want to see more than just your company’s conference room.
Arrival and accommodation
Needless to say, your guests could simply take a taxi from the airport. However, it is probably much more convenient if you or one of your colleagues can pick them up in person and drive them to the hotel. Therefore, demonstrate the high esteem in which you hold your guests by welcoming them directly at the airport.
Ideally, you should select a hotel of a good international standard. As hierarchies in Canadian companies tend to be flat, you may book the same room category for all members of the delegation.
The leisure programme
When putting a leisure programme together, you might like to consider sightseeing in your home town as well as trips to explore the surrounding area or cultural events. However, your guests will not expect to be looked after every minute of the day. For example, at the weekend, you could suggest that your Canadian guests go shopping on their own on Saturday and get together for an outing on Sunday.
Why not take your visitors from Canada to a restaurant that serves regional specialities? They will probably not expect to be invited to your home.
An informal atmosphere
The general rule is to make your Canadian guests feel at home. Keep the atmosphere informal and do not hesitate to discuss more personal topics.
On the whole, Canadians are relatively relaxed in private conversations. Just like Americans, they are skilled at small talk. As cosmopolitans, they will most likely find their stay in your country extremely interesting and be happy to hear what you can tell them about it.
Should you run out of things to talk about, you can simply ask them about Canadian national sports. No other sport in Canada trumps ice hockey. Canada is even reputed to be the home of ice hockey. The Canadian Wayne Gretzky has been called the greatest hockey player ever. However, if you really want to shine, you can also ask about Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe and Mario LeMieux.
Curling is also very popular in winter, particularly in western Canada. Ever since curling has been an Olympic sport, its fame has spread beyond Canada’s national borders.
Moreover, football (the American variety), basketball and baseball have legions of fans in Canada. Toronto and Vancouver play in the professional basketball league NBA in North America, while Toronto has a baseball team in the American League.
The Canadian Football League deserves a special mention. It is a Canadian version of American football, but with slightly different rules. Every year, the teams battle for the trophy in the Grey Cup championship. This trophy has been awarded since 1909.
A typical present from Canada is the famous maple syrup, of course. Incidentally, the province of Québec produces three-quarters of the global demand for maple syrup. Given the long, hard Canadian winters, it is hardly surprising that Canada is also the leading producer of ice wine. Perhaps you will be in luck and your Canadian guests will bring you a bottle of maple syrup or ice wine?
Should you wish to return the favour, try presenting them with a typical local speciality. Canadians appreciate gifts such as these very much. In any case, your present should be small and compact enough for your guests to easily fit it into their luggage. Moreover, it should not be excessively expensive; this would only embarrass your guests.