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Canada: Making Waves in Ocean Science Innovation

With the fourth largest ocean territory—including some of the world's most productive waters—and the largest Arctic Ocean territory in the world, Canada's ocean science and ocean technology sector fuels innovation and economies. 

With global corporations operating in all major sectors of the ocean economy, ocean tech companies selling to the world, and some of the world's best ocean research taking place here, there are lots of reasons why international organizations look to Canada as an ideal location to collaborate, and host international business events dedicated to ocean sciences.

Gateway to the Pacific - Victoria

With its ubiquitous natural beauty, the country's most temperate climate and a laid-back, urban feel, Victoria is undeniably among Canada's most alluring and picturesque destinations for conferences. What isn't apparent about the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest—but is even more notable—is it is a leading centre of excellence for ocean science research and innovation, and a top spot to host conferences in this sector.
 
Located on the doorstep of the Pacific Ocean, Victoria boasts more than 100 sector-related organizations, providing conference planners ready access to local innovators and thought-leaders who can help champion conferences and events. Indeed, connecting conference planners with local champions not only provides opportunities for collaboration and interesting networking opportunities for the host organization, it can also help grow membership and fuel conference attendance.
 
“We have seen the positive effects of connecting our Conference delegates with local industries and experts in our key sectors to create opportunities for collaboration and engagement,” says Miranda Ji, vice president of sales for the Victoria Conference Centre & Business Events Victoria.
 

University of Victoria's Deep Dive into Ocean Sciences

When it comes to educating, and shaping current and future generations in the sector, the University of Victoria, renowned for its Earth and Ocean Sciences program, is on the leading edge both in Canada and abroad. Globally, it ranks 39th—and first among western Canadian schools—in the field of Oceanography in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
 
Ocean Networks Canada, a University of Victoria initiative, is among the world leaders in ocean science research, innovations, and technology. ONC operates two ocean observatories—NEPTUNE and VENUS—in the northeast Pacific Ocean and the Salish Sea, collecting and providing vital data for researchers in their study of earth and marine environments.
 
With more than 250 scientists and researchers on staff, the Victoria-based Institute of Ocean Sciences marine research centre has gained international acclaim for its contributions and expertise in the field. A benefit of hosting conferences in Victoria: visiting organizations can tap into the city's vast and varied knowledge base in ocean sciences.
 
“The proximity of the Victoria Conference Centre to the University of Victoria was an important factor in selecting Victoria as the conference location,” said Jennifer Ramarui of The Oceanography Society, who was instrumental in Ocean Optics, a leading sensor tech firm, planning their recent conference here. “Faculty and students from that institution are quite active in the study of optical oceanography.”
 

Studying the Deep Ocean in St. John's

With the most coastline of any nation, Canada has a vested interest in studying the ocean. On the country's east coast, in St. John's, Newfoundland, is the Ocean Sciences Centre at Memorial University (MUN), one of Canada's largest marine laboratories and among the world's leaders in cold ocean bioscience. Here, researchers are delving into subjects as diverse as cold ocean research, North Atlantic fisheries, aquaculture, ecology and more. At MUN's Cold-Ocean Deep-Sea Research Facility (CDRF), researchers have access to state of the art infrastructure and equipment for the study of aquatic organisms, especially those from the cold waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans.
 
St. John's is also home to Canada's Ocean Supercluster, where industry, government, and academia are driving innovation in the ocean economy through the development of new technology platforms used across the ocean sciences spectrum. Fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, marine bioproduct producers, transportation, defense, marine renewables, and ocean technology businesses all benefit from the work taking place in St. John's.
 
“Gaining access to local thought leaders and industry innovators is a key benefit of hosting ocean-science conferences in St. John's,” notes Virginie De Visscher, director of business development, economic sectors, for Business Events Canada. Indeed, it was just such access that helped attract the World Aquaculture Society Conference to St. John's in 2020 for an event that is anticipated to draw 2,000 guests from over 100 countries.
 
St. John's is also the site of Business Events Canada's signature industry spotlight for 2020: Innovate Canada, an event that showcases Canada's strengths in Ocean Sciences to C-suite members whose corporation or association can meet in Canada and are mature for trade and investment. The by-invitation-only event takes place September 21–23, 2020 and will include one-on-one meetings with Canada's leading centres in ocean sciences, participation in the World Aquaculture Society Conference and curated social events.   
 

Halifax's Considerable Contribution

The Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Halifax, is only one of several eastern Canadian institutes dedicated to innovation in the ocean sciences. The city's Dalhousie University (Dal) is home to the Ocean Tracking Network, IBM's DeepSense platform which uses data-driven insights to leverage new ocean technologies, and Aquatron Laboratory—the largest of its kind in eastern Canada. The city is also home to the Ocean Frontier Institute which brings together international researchers and teams from MUN, the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and Dalhousie University to focus on understanding key aspects of ocean and ecosystem change.
 
“The wealth of intellectual capital found in Canada's ocean science community is as vast as our coastline,” says De Visscher, who is only happy to help conference organizers navigate their way through the various destinations and the benefits they offer global conferences. 
 
This article is sponsored by Business Events Canada. To learn more about Canada's Ocean Sciences sector, or about meeting in Victoria, St. John's, or Halifax, connect with Business Events Canada.

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