By Vivian Moreau
The most important change Glenn Iles will make for future Wellness Weeks will be to book bigger venue rooms. More than 1,000 participants attended Whistler Wellness Week’s 70 seminars and events, making it the largest event in North America, Iles said.
“One thousand was at the high end of what I was expecting,” Iles, a former marketing director, said. “Some of the rooms were too small, but that created a very good problem.”
Organized to cultivate awareness of the economic potential of Whistler’s wellness business, events like Michael Simmons’s mediation workshop held at Westin Resort and Spa, attracted 25 local residents and visitors.
“The whole week was absolutely phenomenal and the fair was fantastic,” Iles said.
The 10-day event ran in conjunction with a one-day wellness trade fair at the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa. Close to 800 people attended the free Saturday fair that featured 39 local exhibitors.
Roxanne Chappell, of Mind Body Fitness, organized the fair and said participants and visitors alike were happy with the event. Whether it was a foot massage or a rolling stick back rub, Chappell said the message of people helping to fix themselves was well received.
“The beautiful thing about wellness fairs,” Chappell said, “is that people come and they’re open and willing to listen to new things.”
Proceeds from table rentals and raffle ticket sales will be donated to the Howe Sound Women’s Shelter Society.
Iles said not having unrealistic expectations and looking at this year’s event as a building block on which to plan future events were key to the week’s success.
“What we wanted to do was build a foundation this year and not blow our brains out trying to get people to the resort,” Iles said. “What we will work on now is to create an awareness out there that this is an event worth coming to.”
Two international corporations have already stepped forward to express interest in being involved with next year’s event.
Iles also said thanks must go to the Westin and Hilton hotels for providing space free of charge for the week and the fair, to sponsors LuluLemon Athletica, Meadow Park Sports Centre and to the many practitioners who volunteered time to give talks and present seminars.
“This really was a community effort with everybody pulling together to put this event on,” Iles said.