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Québec Ontario Life Sciences Corridor

Canada’s Québec—Ontario Life Sciences Corridor Offers a Wealth of Intellectual Capital for Conference Organizers to Leverage

With the global market for Life Sciences and worldwide healthcare spending anticipated to reach $8.7[1] trillion by 2020, Canada, with its strong foundation of research, institutions and life sciences experts, continues to lead the development of new technologies, procedures and drug applications. With significant industry leadership clustered in the Québec—Ontario Life Sciences Corridor, organizations from around the world are capitalizing on Canada’s intellectual capital and dynamic, diverse destinations to host world-class events.


Québec—Ontario Life Sciences Corridor, a Hub of Innovation

Bounded by Québec City in the east, and Toronto in the west, with Montréal and Ottawa in between, the Quebec—Ontario Life Sciences corridor is the second largest Life Sciences cluster in North America, representing some 1,100 organizations and 490 graduate and undergrad programs in biological, and biomedicine sciences. That’s a lot of experts who can help conference organizers leverage local industry for B2B living lab tours, or to connect with industry leaders to enhance speaker’s and conference agendas.

“The sheer volume of expertise found in this one geographical region is quite astonishing,” says Virginie De Visscher, director of business development, economic sectors for Business Events Canada. “When global organizations choose to meet in any of the urban centres in the Life Sciences Corridor, they not only find world-class destinations with unique cultural, culinary and event attractions, but they also encounter the innovators who are shaping the future of Life Sciences. It’s those researchers and businesses who can help shape a conference agenda by providing expert speakers, or by hosting lab tours where delegates really become immersed in the work being done in Canada.”

Quebec City

Québec City

Québec City, which leads in vaccine research and development has a growing cluster of businesses focused on medical diagnostic tools. The world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies have operations in Quebec City, but the centre of Québec City’s Life Sciences sector is Laval University, one of Canada’s top ten leading research universities, with some 20 research centres and institutes. When you combine Québec City’s strengths in Life Sciences R&D with the city’s European flair and the living history that plays out on its cobblestoned streets, it’s an easy draw for international delegates to meet in Québec City.

Montreal, Quebec
Photo Credit: Eva Blu


With a critical mass of industry leaders and research institutes, Montréal is a hotbed of innovation. Ranked 6th amongst North America’s top 20 cities for Life Sciences, and 3rd largest research hub in North America (behind Boston and San Francisco), Montréal, and the Palais des congrès de Montréal host prominent Life Sciences events year ‘round.

“When over 30% of the conferences hosted at the Palais stem from the life sciences,” says Robert Mercure, president and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal. “It is clear that the health sector is of paramount importance to Montréal, making it possible for our expertise to shine on the world stage and also generate major intellectual and economic benefits for the city and Québec.”

Ottawa, Ontario


Midway between Québec City and Toronto is Ottawa, Canada’s compact, capital city with an impeccable degree in Life Sciences. A hub for discovery, development and commercialization in the Life Sciences sector, Ottawa’s proximity to federal government bodies and world-class research partners (including the National Research Council) make it an ideal location for innovation. With 35 research chairs, 20+ research institutions, 10 major hospitals, and 140 innovative life sciences businesses, it also home to some of Canada’s top talent, and a natural draw for conferences in the Life Sciences sector.

“The nation’s capital is a global leader in the Life Sciences sector, offering access to world-class hospitals, research centres and federal government departments directly responsible for health regulation, protection and promotion,” says Nina Kressler, president and CEO of Ottawa’s Shaw Centre, the region’s state-of-the-art convention centre.

Indeed, with world-leading research being done in stem cell therapies, nerve transfer, and a double-virus therapy for cancer, organizers of events such as the International Mesothelioma Interest Group and have taken note, having hosted their global conference here in 2018, while the International Society of Paediatric Oncology is planning their annual conference in Ottawa in 2020.

Toronto, Ontario


As more and more organizations choose to leverage local resources and knowledge experts to enhance their conferences, many are turning to Toronto, on the western edge of the Québec—Ontario Life Sciences Corridor. Canada’s largest city, and North America’s second largest Life Sciences cluster, this trailblazing hub of diversity is home to 50 multi-national pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and 16 of the top 25 medical device manufacturers. Acclaimed for the cutting-edge work being done in cancer research, organizations such as the IASLC 19th World Conference on Lung Cancer found hosting their conference in Toronto set records for attendance (7,433 from across the globe) and had a lasting impact on their delegates.

“The 2018 World Conference on Lung Cancer in Toronto brought together the leading experts dedicated to research and treatment of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies,” says the planner who organized the event. “While we are proud of the record setting attendance, the conference also had a tremendous impact on advancing practice in the field, and also through highlighting the leading work being done in Toronto and in Canada. We received tremendous support from the teams at Business Events Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) and local businesses that helped to drive our overall success.”

Canada is on the forefront of new technologies and innovations, and that’s a win not only for the Life Sciences industry, but for the organizations who plan events in this sector. Tourism Toronto’s Vice President, Sales and Service for Business Events, Tara Gordon, says it best:

“Our life sciences sector is thriving, and that’s why so many in the industry around the world are choosing to host events here. Being the destination for meetings and events further cements our place as a global leader for health care and innovation in this space.”