September 2009

Event Staging

Attendance at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo exceeded expectations, with almost 5000 association executives and related industry partners flocking to Toronto for the three-day show. “Typically, 20 per cent of association executives who attend ASAE & The Center’s annual meeting book a meeting in the host city in the five years following the convention,” states on its website.

AVW-TELAV partnered with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), Canadian Tourism Commission, and Accucom Corporate Communications Inc. to raise that percentage by giving those association executives a show they wouldn’t soon forget. Many of the attendees manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across Canada, U.S., and in 50 countries!

Accucom Corporate Communications Inc., which specializes in producing a wide range of customized productions and multimedia, was the producer of this amazing event, which was hosted at the MTCC. The uniquely-Canadian theme of the Gala evening was “Vibrant Cities on the Edge of Nature,” with the main focal point being a 22-foot, 1800-pound Inukshuk standing at the centre of the main entrance. An Inukshuk is a traditional sculptural form made of un-worked stones and has historically been used by the Inuit people for communication and wayfinding. This Inukshuk, which was positioned onto an 18-foot diameter rotating turntable, was built by AVW-TELAV’s Set Shop out of flame-proof-coated substrate, and carved by two scenic artists using handsaws and electric chainsaws.

As the Inukshuk rotated, three Barco R8 projectors shone silhouettes of Canadian imagery on the structure. The projectors where placed strategically so that the entire statue was always covered with images and there were never any dark spots. Many of the images were carefully designed to create the impression that the Inukshuk was actually made out of real stone, wood or other natural materials. The rotation and the ever-changing images brought the structure to life.

Walls of fog flanked the Inukshuk. Images of a waterfall, representing Canada’s breathtaking natural environment, were projected from overhead into the fog leading to the “Nature” side of the room. Conversely, images of moving vehicles were projected onto the second curtain of vapour. This side represented the entrance to the “Urban” side of the room, showcasing the hustle and bustle of Canada’s metropolitan cities. The ballroom also featured four custom-made screens manufactured by our Set Shop and trimmed into unique shapes that reflected different Canadian lifestyles. These surfaces were brought to life with images of Canadian landmarks that danced across the screens.

Using two separate Meyer CQ1 sound systems, nature sounds buzzed on the nature-themed side of the room, while light jazz played on the urban side. For the grand finale, there was a breathtaking pyrotechnics display by Air Magic as the Four Canadian Tenors performed on the turntable-like stage directly in front of the giant Inukshuk. For the performance, AVW-TELAV linked the sound systems on both sides of the room so the entire audience could clearly hear the Tenors' melodic voices.

Rick Naylor, President of Accucom Corporate Communications Inc. and creative producer of the event said, “This was the ultimate team effort. Hundreds of dedicated professionals all put their heart and soul into this event. I hope it translates into new business for Toronto and Canada in the future.”

It seems that all the hard work will pay off. According to, “word on the street says that attendees were so impressed with Toronto that the ASAE Annual Meeting may be back in Toronto a lot sooner than expected.”

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