The Quebec Convention Centre's first event-an 1,800-person dinner attended by the likes of Canada's Prime Minister Jean Cretien and Quebec's Premier Lucien Bouchard-was a test the center and its staff passed with ease.

The August gala celebration marked the end of ten years of planning and more than two years of construction. To thank Quebec City residents for their patience and support, the center hosted an open house weekend. Local attractions set up booths-many of them interactive-in the 75,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and visitors got to take a peek at the center's abundant meeting space: the 34,000-square-foot ballroom, accommodating up to 3,000 persons and divisible by three; 30 breakout rooms, which can be configured to seat up to 370; and the glassed-in foyer, with a breathtaking view of the city and the Laurentian Mountains. Overall, the center can accommodate 4,000 delegates or two groups of 1,600.

The 120 video monitors located in prefunction areas and function room entrances can be used for signage, messaging, or advertisements by exhibitors. A videoconferencing network services all meeting rooms, and there is a simultaneous translation system (up to eight languages) in the convention hall. The facility meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

More than 3,000 hotel rooms are within walking distance of the new convention center, including the 565-room Quebec Hilton and the 377-room Radisson Gouverneurs Quebec, both connected to the center by an underground passageway. Loews Le Concorde, with its 200-seat, revolving rooftop restaurant, has 422 rooms. The 613-room Chateau Frontenac, built in 1893, is where FDR and Winston Churchill formulated D-Day-and left the plans, recovered by a member of the hotel staff.

At Jean-Lesage International Airport, a $9 million project to construct a new tower and rebuild runways is set for a June 1997 completion.