Papal tours rarely occur, so expectations for this tour were high. Because this tour intended to deliver an important message, Pope Francis intentionally wanted to visit out-of-the-way locations where people might not have had the occasion to attend a papal event. Baker’s team was tasked with the event strategy and design, building and managing all production and event technology components for distinctly different and complex locations and events. Most of the events were concentrated around the Canadian city of Edmonton. Some of the facilities selected were not event venues, and few were built to handle the number of participants expected—meaning limited to no infrastructure. The final event location was so remote that no roads existed. On top of all the logistical, strategic, creative and production challenges, Baker’s team needed to figure out how to transport heavy equipment into 10 perfectly packed and weighted pallets for an eight-hour flight with a total of 12- to 16 hours for the crew.
Besides, none of the events in the five locations being remotely the same, on some days, there was more than one event taking place. For example, on Day One, Baker’s team needed to produce a morning event for 23,000 attendees in Maskwacis and a 1,250-person event at the Sacred Heart Church in Edmonton, 60 miles away, on the same day. On Day Two, Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium would welcome 75,000 attendees in the morning. That afternoon, there would be an event for 100,000 people at Lac Ste. Anne in Stony Plain. In the tiny, remote indigenous village of Iqaluit, Nunavit, the final event of the three-day papal visit was expected to attract 5,000 people.
This is where decades of experience producing world-class events and a global team well-versed in developing and executing end-to-end event solutions help Encore to deliver on the requests. Baker, and North American location-specific teams, began with the total papal visit and journey with the end goals and location in mind. They collectively set out to meet this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with thoughtful understanding and enthusiasm.