A behind-the-scenes look at Toronto’s booming technology scene
As one of the world’s fastest growing technology hubs, Toronto is at the forefront of embracing novel technologies to reimagine the way we live. Along with being a magnet for top talent and tech giants, Canada’s largest city also attracts some of the most prestigious technology-focused business events and conferences — including Collision.
Billed as “North America’s fastest growing tech conference,” Collision brought together Fortune 500 companies, disruptive startups and renowned speakers from June 20-23, 2022. More than 35,000 people from 130 countries flocked to Toronto to forge new connections and hear from the industry’s brightest minds.
The Destination Canada Business Events team attended this year’s conference — but our involvement didn’t stop there. With the support of Marriott Group and Destination Toronto, we also hosted an exclusive technology sector focused familiarization tour for a select group of international association and corporate clients. Its goal was to showcase the city’s thriving technology sector, while also highlighting how meeting planners can harness this local knowledge capital to take their events to the next level.
Over the course of two days, clients from around the world were taken behind-the-scenes of leading technology firms and organizations. They toured LinkedIn’s Toronto offices, gaining insight into how the city’s flourishing tech sector made it a natural choice for their company. They also took part in an insightful discussion on the return to work, which looked at how many technology corporations are meeting in-person to re-connect and engage their teams.
Attendees learned about the cutting-edge research and innovation taking place at the MaRS Discovery District, a not-for-profit corporation that helps entrepreneurs grow innovative companies that are shaping the future. With the support of Toronto Global, they visited the University of Toronto. While there, they saw first-hand how post-secondary institutions are training the next generation of skilled tech experts and contributing to the rapid growth of the industry. All told, approximately 290,000 people are now employed in tech-related jobs in Toronto.
“Toronto is quickly becoming a formidable hub for technology and innovation,” says Michelle Cornish, Manager, Global Travel & Expense at Databricks, who attended the FAM. “Today, some of the biggest names in tech have a presence in the city, along with scores of smaller disrupters. As we saw, this stems in part from a strong university program that’s cultivating top-tier talent within the country.”
Beyond local knowledge capital, the FAM showed attendees the infrastructure that makes Toronto a great place to host technology-focused business events. Clients were taken on several tours of the unique offsite venues available to meet in, including the Westin Harbour Castle and Sheraton Centre.
“The FAM opened my eyes to the diversity of unique, inviting event spaces and activities to enjoy in Toronto,” says Cornish. “There’s a strong emphasis on sprinkling the local flavour of the city into agendas — so that attendees not only get the event experience, but are also immersed in the city’s vibrant culture. You can’t find that everywhere.”
“The mix of Canadian hospitality crossed with a multicultural metropolis like Toronto makes for an interesting combination for hosting a business event,” adds Keith Whelan, Event Director of Electronomous. “Great restaurants along with a thriving tech scene and plenty of activities within short distances from the city make it an attractive place to host events. This coupled with on-the-ground support from the awesome team at Destination Canada means it should be on every agency's must-do list!”
While at Collision, Invest in Canada and Destination Canada hosted a presentation for clients on the technology sector in Canada. Clients also attended a dinner with 10 Team Canada partners from across the country. In addition to creating meaningful connections, the evening allowed them to better understand what the country’s diverse cities have to offer from a technology and meeting perspective.
“With its world-class talent, acclaimed research institutions and visionary companies, Canada’s technology centres of excellence are a top choice for international technology conferences,” adds Virginie De Visscher, Senior Director of Business Development, Economic Sectors, Destination Canada Business Events. “We’re thrilled that we had the opportunity to take clients on a virtual journey across our vast country to see exactly that.”