5 mind-altering corporate team retreats in Ottawa Valley
Take team-building to new heights (literally), with a variety of activities at these five relaxing spots.
Written by Dave Gordon
Zip around the racetrack in a Mustang at high speeds, ride the high waves in a kayak, and take in some beach volleyball – a rough day at the office (well, sort of). Sure beats Flonkerton to boost company morale.
They come, whether CEO or intern, sales or administrative assistant, comptroller or IT guy, to the Ottawa Valley, the latest ‘it’ place for laid-back tie-loosening corporate gatherings. They seek a true opportunity to disconnect from the nine-to-five urban hustle, and reconnect in a quiet wilderness setting. The area is also well-poised for a variety of the not-so-typical team-building experiences such as rafting, low-ropes courses, climbing wall, hiking, cycling, bungeeing, zip lining, glamping and on and on.
Calabogie Motorsports Park
Pop on your helmet, grab the wheel and channel your inner-Will Farrell in Talladega Nights, while at Calabogie Motorsports Park – home to the longest race track in Canada, 5 km in length.
Touting itself as a “world class facility”, the track has twenty turns, at forty feet wide. Since its opening in 2006, North American motorsports devotees have delighted in the high-speed driving they couldn’t do on public roads or closed driving courses.
The out-of-the-comfort-zone experience allows for all those corporate types to indulge in a little friendly competition outside the cubicle. It’s also a sweet way to treat prospects. Business Development Manager Greg van Dalen says with confidence: “Your clients will get their hearts racing.” Ooh, how good it’ll feel to zoom right by the boss. Yeah, I’m the boss now.
Calabogie Peaks Resort
Not to be confused with the aforementioned racetrack, Calabogie Peaks Resort boasts it is “Eastern Ontario’s largest mountain resort.” About fifty minutes away from Ottawa, it’s an all-in-one location for corporate retreats, accommodations and activities. Begin the stay in one of the condo suites (one to three bedrooms), enjoy the onsite restaurant and bar, and dip into the indoor pool.
Play on the private beach, perhaps on a canoe or kayak. Take it up a step with a game of tennis or competitive nine-hole golf, build some group cohesiveness by biking or hiking, then polish off the day with an inter-departmental beach volleyball game. During the winter season, there’s also skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and skating. More than seven thousand square feet of what they refer to as “flexible meeting space” allows for break-out sessions, seminars and concurrent lectures.
Chutes Coulonge Adventure Park
Whitewater rafting, kayaking, and bungee at Wilderness Tours can be the foreplay, or the reward, to the git-down-to-serious meetings and seminars, which the venue has plenty of space for. Meanwhile, Chutes Coulonge Adventure Park (Mansfield Pontefrac, Québec) has got you covered with zip lines, obstacle courses, and hiking trails. Climbing along the canyon’s rock face using cables and anchor points has been a “great team-building adventure used by the military, Scouts and corporate groups,” notes Cyndy Phillips, General Manager.
Elements Luxury Tented Camp and Nature Spa
Escape from the concrete jungle and the stuffy four walls, and indulge in glamping (short for glamorous camping.) At Elements Luxury Tented Camp and Nature Spa, in Renfrew, Ontario, it’s the wilderness, baby, but with pampering. In the natural outdoors, sleep in canvas tents containing king size beds with Egyptian cotton sheets. Inside’s designed with hotel style furnishing, including gilt mirrors that once graced Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier. Upping the chic level, they toss in the complimentary butler service, fresh towels, meals, outdoor fire pit, and firewood. Elements can also provide exclusive venue rentals of the full 89 acres, giving corporations the privacy they need to break out a powerful mastermind session.
Bonding over Homeland in the lunch room will never be the same.