Meeting MPI Toronto - July/August 2016 - (Page 19)

TAMING THE BEAST: PLANNING OUTDOOR Virginia Ludy EVENTS Canadian National Exhibition O rganizing the logistics of a large outdoor event, such as the Canadian National Exhibition, is a year-round endeavour. A series of permits must be secured each season including building permits, notice of project permits, street closure permits and special occasion permits for licensed facilities. As the framework for the site design is finalized and all permits are secured, work begins with a battalion of safety engineers, security consultants, microbiologists, health, fire, building, electrical and midway ride inspectors to ensure the event is a fun but, more importantly, safe experience for hundreds of thousands of guests. CHALLENGES Annual move-in of the event is a "phased-in" operation. If the event site hosts numerous events throughout the year, the event planner must schedule the move-in around those other events. Even when you have officially taken over the site and have restricted certain areas on the grounds as designated construction zones (i.e. where the rides are being assembled), the general public may still be attending events on the site as they do during CNE's move-in. Weather is another wild card that can wreak havoc on the setup of any outdoor event. Nothing slows down the movein and move-out process like bad weather. It is important to factor the potential for "weather-related" delays into the overall move-in schedule. SAFETY Safety should always come first at large events, and it is important to develop a robust program that embraces safety on numerous fronts including food safety, structural safety, environmental, fire and electrical safety, as well as the overall personal safety of guests. At the CNE, a full medical centre, staffed by members of Toronto Paramedic Services (TPS), operates on-site throughout the entire event. TPS also maintains a crew of paramedics that move throughout the grounds by bicycle. Toronto Fire Services is also on-site all 18 days of the fair. Two Lost and Found Centres are set up for the event, which are staffed by fully screened attendants who are trained in initiating searches for missing individuals. SECURITY The team also connects regularly with various government agencies in an effort to identify, and proactively respond to any threats to the community. It is imperative to have an Emergency Preparedness Plan. As the fair approaches, CNE staff, consultants and stakeholders, meet routinely to exercise Emergency Preparedness Plans in order to be ready for potential large scale emergency situations. Leading up to and during the event, staff work with four external security firms in addition to its own security consultants. A close working relationship with Toronto Police Services is also in place and the police maintain an office on-site throughout the fair, with uniformed and plain clothes officers patrolling the grounds. SPONTANEOUS SERENDIPITY At the end of the day, all the set-up logistics and safety measures should be back-of-house endeavours, invisible to guests who are there to enjoy the summer at a large outdoor community celebration. How do you make them invisible? That's where the "magic" comes in! ● Virginia Ludy is the CEO of the Canadian National Exhibition. For more information, please visit | | | MEETING * 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - July/August 2016

President’s Message
Editor’s Word
Welcome, New Members!
Upcoming Events
Boutique Experiences & Emerging Incentive Destinations
How You Can Benefit from the MPI Foundation
Cruising to Event Success
Destination: Toronto
Chapter Speaks: What Are You Reading or Listening to This Summer?
Community Volunteerism: How to Incorporate a Hands-On Charity Component at Your Event
Taming the Beast: Planning Outdoor Events
Building Custom Experiences
Maximizing Your Downtime: Reflect, Revise, Plan
Activate Your Event with Experiential Marketing
Beyond the Annual Barbecue – Incorporating Family at Events
iSpy MPI
Advertiser Index

Meeting MPI Toronto - July/August 2016