A Look Back at 2019

This has been an exceptional year for Brandon First.

Many years of work on the Curling Strategy resulted in Brandon hosting the incredibly successful and well received 2019 Tim Horton’s Brier. For 10 days in March the Keystone Centre was the centre of the action for the men’s national curling title, seeing Kevin Koe literally needing to make his last shot for the win. Brandon First would like to thank all the members of the planning committee, the cochairs Nate, Ryan and Jackie, the hundreds of volunteers and the legion of curling fans that helped to make the Brier the memorable event that it was.

Following the excitement of the Brier, Brandon First wasted no time in recruiting more high level sport events by assisting to write the winning bid for the 2021 ISBHF World Ball Hockey Championships. This international championship will bring teams from all over the world in June 2021 to take part in what organizers plan to make a full sport event experience.

Applications for Accommodation Tax Event Hosting Grants were supported by the organization throughout the year, with a strong fourth quarter focus generating a record number of applications submitted with our assistance. More than 25 new events applied for funding this year, helping to ensure those events will be more successful. Brandon’s Event Hosting Grants continue to make us a competitor for events of all sizes and allow us to better present Brandon as a prime hosting destination. The room nights generated by these new events help drive economic activity in the city and the entire Westman region.

In July, Pam Reiss joined our staff as Winnipeg Regional Sales Coordinator and began meeting with relevant potential event partners in Winnipeg, including provincial sport organizations, event organizers and association executives. In September, our compliment of staff grew again, with the addition of Westman Regional Sales Coordinator, Sara Girard. The new sales team has been working hard to meet with and help event organizers choose Brandon for their event, and providing support to the process from bid through event hosting grants and liaising with venues and vendors to help organizers put on the best event possible.

Our team also met with event rights holders and executives at the CSTA (Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance) Sports Event Congress, where we were able to have 10 seven-minute ‘speed dates’ with National Sports Organizations. Our Development Coordinator, Jennifer Watson, traveled with Brandon Tourism Manager Lanny Stewart, to the City Nation Place conference in Hollywood, CA to learn how to best promote our city’s new place brand, “Brandon Brings You Back.” In October, Jenn and Pam headed West again to attend the CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives) National Conference in Vancouver. This event was excellent both for it’s networking with potential event hosts, and for the learning sessions the CSAE provided.

Moving forward, the organization is excited to support Manitoba 150 as we celebrate our province’s 150th year of confederation. In addition to working with local partners on MB 150 activities, Brandon First will be launching and facilitating the Summer of Diamonds promotion, a multi-week “event of events” lasting from May to September, during which there will be a signature event every week, and exciting promotions throughout the summer. Look for loads of event announcements and partnerships early in the new year!

Big Changes at the End of 2019

Our Executive Director since September of 2017, Graham Harvey, has resigned as of the end of December. He is planning to relocate to Montreal.

Under his leadership the organization has seen double the number of new events applying for Event Hosting Grants in 2019 compared with 2016; these events are expected to generate more than double the number of room nights generated by new events applied for in 2016. Over the last two years Graham has overseen the organization as it worked together cohesively to expand and reinvigorate of our operational committees, and a move to a brand new office space in the Dome Building. By serving on the boards of the Westman Centennial Auditorium and Travel Manitoba, Graham deepened our relationships with key partners in the event tourism industry. He was also instrumental in the expansion of the staff team in the addition of two regional Sales Coordinators, the solidification of the maximum funding under our granting model from the City, development of the 2020 Summer of Diamonds, facilitation of implementing the new Tourism Place Brand “Brandon Brings You Back” and creation of the next phase of the multi year large event strategy.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments as Brandon First embarks on the next decade.

Stakeholder Corner

We want to thank all of our Stakeholders for another year of phenomenal support. Without you, none of what we do would be possible.

Invoices will be sent out January 2, 2020 and are due by March 31, 2020. If you have any questions about your membership, or the benefits you are entitled to receive, please feel free to contact us at info@brandonfirst.com or 204-729-2156. 


We want to see YOUR BEST Brandon Event photos! Tag us on your social media or or using the hashtag #EventsBdnMB for your chance to be featured in our publications and on our social media!