Canada Event Centre: Inside the GTA East’s Newest Premium Event Centre

Canada Event Centre: Inside the GTA East’s Newest Premium Event Centre

By Matt Bauer

 Located in Canada Christian College, Canada Event Centre is the GTA East’s newest premium event centre. Located at 300 Water St. in Whitby, the Canada Event Centre has the flexibility to host all types of events including: corporate conference, product unveiling, presentations, banquets, live recording and live streams, concerts, dance and theatre, weddings and special events, and more.

What makes the event space truly unique is its flexibility in capacity. The grand lobby and movable partition walls in the auditorium allow the venue to host anywhere from 50 to 3500+ people. The space can be completely transformed with its numerous seating and dining configurations. The Event Space features Canada’s largest installed auditorium LED Presentation Display while also featuring a world class line-array system and more than 100 moving light fixtures.

Tasked with the installation was Production Designer Colin Moore of Hamilton-based Soundbox Productions which has provided audio-visual services for customers in Hamilton, Niagara and the Greater Toronto Area for over 20 years. Soundbox’s long list of clients includes Brett Kissel, Billy Talent, the CBC, the CFL, the Town of Ajax and the Hamilton Convention Centre.

Moore’s route into sound design started in his church which led to an eventual acceptance to Ryerson’s (now Toronto Metropolitan University) Radio and Television Arts Program.

“I was accepted to Ryerson but I got offered a tour at the same time,” he says. “So I deferred my acceptance to Ryerson. Because at that point, I wasn't sure whether I was going to go into the live world or television. I volunteered at Global and CTV in high school to try and figure out what I wanted to do. And so I said, ‘I'll defer my acceptance a year.’ I remember my dad saying, ‘Yeah sure, you are never coming back’ (laughs). So I ended up going on tour and kind of just learned from the school of hard knocks. I was taking weeks off school because I went to a very private academic school, so they didn't really have any practical cooperation. I said, ‘Hey, can I take time off and go do my own Co Op?’ So I was already kind of established at that point. [I knew] kind of what the industry looked like and how it was laid out and what I needed to be successful. I felt like going to school was helpful if you want to learn and if you wanted to gain connections in this industry. Soundbox, they’ve hired a lot of people from Sheridan and different places around the world and there's nothing wrong with having academic training. But I felt that if I already had the connections and the experience no schooling was necessary.”

 “I've always had one foot in that area,” Moore says of his work in the church world.  “I worked with a church called Elevation Church which is a pretty monster church in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. It's kind of a leading edge in that world as far as worship music goes, especially in the last five years. I went to Bramalea Baptist Church as a kid and as our church started to grow we were looking for folks to partner with alongside individuals and companies. So we’ve been working with Elevation for the last 12 years. They started as a mobile campus and expanded into the location that they’re at right now. So I got to work with the Charlotte team to integrate kind and come together with some of the designers. The Canada Event Centre, they're involved with those folks, and they saw what I and what Soundbox did in that space and were really impressed so I got a call in February 2020 to go meet with them just before the world shut down. We had a vision of what the space was going to look like and what it was going to be.”

With stints as a lighting technician on Prince’s “Welcome 2 Canada” Tour, Moore joined Soundbox in 2010. “We were with a fairly well-known promoter called Unite Productions,” he explains. Having worked on tours by venerable Contemporary Christian artists such as Toby Mac, Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith, Moore says his work at the Canada Event Centre has brought him full circle.

“I was brought into Soundbox to work on those tours and The Canada Event Centre was looking for the perfect candidate for those tours to land there. So that was part of the conversation with Project Manager and [Canada Christian College Professor] Pastor Ryan McVety throughout the process. [He] really wanted the venue to be suitable to housing not just Christian tours, but secular too. The goal was to really make a space to work for them as well. When touring acts look at it they say, ‘Yes, this has everything I need.’”

Moore says that the installation process which started in 2020 and which took one year with the centre being branded and  opened to the public in January 2023 was a start and stop routine. “It was an interesting process that way since it gave us the ability to ease into it and not rush through it. [In] a normal year I would be on the road touring 10 to 11 months of the year. It allowed me to actually be there every day, making sure it was happening as per the design as to how I want it to be. It was also was a great time to buy gear. We found some really good deals on stuff. A lot of the success and a lot of the wow factor of that room and based on the fact that we didn’t have to make pressing decisions or choose lower quality gear.”

In terms of his collaboration with McVety, Moore was deeply impressed with his knowledge. “Ryan, he's a nerd,” Moore says with affection. “He loves gear. He loves researching. He's the kind of dude that goes home at the end of the day and reads your magazine to see what the latest thing is going on. So it was kind of cool to collaborate with him on what he was looking for and what he wanted to achieve. The Digico SD12 96 V12 with Touchscreen Processing Console— there's no question as far as I was looking at that choice and that's primarily driven by the fact that it’s again rider friendly. Artist X comes in and wants to do a show they want to be able to offer a console that their engineer will be happy with the firewall. So that was a big part of that. There wasn't much earlier discussion there, it was about what service was going best fit the budget. Our rental inventory was sitting idle, so it was an opportunity to liquidate some of our assets to free up some cash to keep the doors open in the Rental Division at the same time. If the Canada Event Centre were looking at buying something new they would have gone home with a lesser parcel so that was where the digital stuff came in.”

With the flexibility of the venue in mind Adamson 1S10 Line Array, Adamson IS219 Dual and Adamson Point Series were chosen for the line array System. “The goal was we obviously wanted it to be scalable to whatever the event is,” explains Moore. “So if they had 1000 people come in, they didn't it to appear that they were missing people. We essentially have the ability to cut the room in thirds and whether the room is full size or scaled down the audio is just as good. Not that Adamson is the right thing for every project. I think there's elements and certain features of manufacturers that make certain things that could maybe be better suited in other environments. They wanted a line array system so that's fairly generic anyway and we also have it in our rental inventory. [Adamson] was also fairly hands on in the design and came down to make sure it was tuned and commissioned right.”

Moore notes that the overall scope of the project posed the biggest challenge since it involved the conversion of a warehouse into N EVENT VENUE . “It was essentially an open warehouse and obviously open warehouses are not designed for concerts,” he says. “They have polls and posts and all sorts of stuff. So they actually paid to have these three brand new beams put in and to support the roof. Six of the columns that were kind of right in the middle [that would obstruct the audience’s view] were dug out. I think the biggest challenge is probably just the timeline and how all that went down. To do an integration of this size not just  for us but  the whole full front to back project cost a ton of money and a ton of people, a lot of trades and contractors so it was hard to kind of have the normal flow of operations and  I've done things a lot more efficiently. Luckily from our end, we had the time and the team available to make it happen fairly easily for sure.”

“I think it worked out really well,” Moore says of the finished result.” I think everyone's really happy about how it turned out.”

Matt Bauer is a free lance writer based in Niagara Falls, ON.

He can be reached at