The Vision and hard work of generations of trailblazers have led Canada to become an internationally known destination for tech. The Canadian government stands fully behind its researchers and innovators, and today they’re leading the pack. Canada now has ownership of the global AI race and is the first country to have a national AI strategy. With no fewer than 500 global AI firms making their home there, artificial intelligence is only one aspect of Canada’s new tech dominance. Last year, the government launched a supercluster initiative, setting aside hundreds of millions for five industry clusters in areas as diverse as augmented reality and advanced manufacturing. This has created an environment in which experts, businesses, universities, and nonprofits have come together in the service of international problem-solving. As a result, Canada has fully emerged onto the tech stage.
More than 39,000 IT companies have sprouted up throughout the country to bring in $181 billion annually. The country’s culture and government foster and support the kind of research and collaboration that attract innovators to multiple regions and industries. For all these reasons, top execs are coming to think of Canada as a world leader in all that technology can mean, now and into the future.
the fastest-growing tech conference in North America, which for the first time will be heading to Torontofor three years, with the first event starting May 20th.
Canada’s welcoming immigration policies, the city’s leadership in all aspects of digital technologies, and an organically inclusive mindset made it the perfect choice to host the conference. More than 90,000 people from around the world are expected to attend in the coming years.
Industry leadership and leading-edge research are just two of the reasons event planners and C-level execs are choosing to hold business events here more than ever. With more tech giants living, working, and starting labs here every day, there’s a wealth of local talent to draw from.
With so much going on in Canadian cities, we took a deep dive into a few key regions, starting with Ontario’s “Innovation Corridor,” where growth is said to exceed that of some of the leading tech cities in the U.S.
Toronto and Waterloo
Part of the third-largest tech cluster in North America, Toronto has an annual gross domestic product of $52 billion, with some 14,000 tech companies and more than 65 incubators.
It also has the world’s highest concentration of AI startups, and this “Silicon Valley of the North” has earned a reputation for dynamic local innovators in the emerging areas of digital, nano, and flexible electronics manufacturing.
Toronto’s research institutes focus on several pieces of the technology puzzle. The nonprofit Vector Institute, helmed by “the godfather of AI,” Geoffrey Hinton, is devoted to deep learning, with famous corporate partners collaborating to solve problems both domestic and worldwide in scope.
Toronto boasts a driverless vehicle research hub funded by the world’s best-known ride-sharing company. There’s also the MaRS Discovery District, North America’s largest innovation hub, and one of Canada’s leading tech accelerators. MaRS supports some 1,200 Canadian science and tech businesses from startup to scale-up across cleantech, health, fintech and enterprise software.
In addition to a bustling tech scene, cosmopolitan Toronto has everything from MLB, NHL, and NBA sports to outstanding culinary choices. It’s a very diverse city by any standards; an estimated 200 languages may be heard on the streets. And it’s convenient: Toronto Pearson is the second-most connected airport in North America (after O’Hare), and a short flight from New York or Boston.
About 70 miles east of Toronto is Waterloo. Home to an exploding entrepreneurial scene, including the Stephen Hawking’s Institute of Quantum Computing, the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Catalyst137, two universities, and many multinational tech companies,
Waterloo has become a destination for cybersecurity, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and robotics. All of which adds up to 30,000 tech pros in 400 companies, and it holds the unique distinction of being home to the first-ever smartphone.
Coming up this June in Waterloo is the second edition ofTrue North, where 2,500 tech pros will gather to tackle the big questions of the digital age and “choose to do good” together. Fifty-six speakers are expected, including some of the boldest and best-known figures in the history of tech, including the inventor of the web.
Home to many of Canada’s largest research centers, Montréal has come to be recognized by innovators for its long commitment to tech, business, and AI, demonstrated by the 120,000 IT jobs in the city right now. All the best-known multinational computing and social-networking companies have AI labs here.Most recently, Montréal’s Yoshua Bengio won the Turing Award, along with Canadians Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun. The laureates also received a $1 million prize, taking their work on artificial neural networks out of the science section and onto the front page.What’s more, beautiful Montréal is the perfect blend of French/European and English/North American culture, which adds a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere to any business conference.
It’s also a UNESCO City of Design and a world festival capital with a captivating street-art scene and an incredible food scene. For these reasons, and its strong academic infrastructure, the city is a natural choice for organizers of tech events, including the recently announced World Summit AI Americas conference, a huge event that brings together bright minds in business, tech, and science to Montréal in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
meanwhile has established itself as an emerging tech powerhouse as well. All the best-known computing and electronics brands have established offices there. In particular, Canada’s capital is distinguishing itself for technology—there are about 1,000 IT firms—and spearheading 5G: more than 90 percent of Canada’s telecom research happens in the city.
But that’s not all. As the proud location of the first trial run in Canada for a self-driving car, Ottawa has automotive expertise that’s globally recognized. A certain Detroit-based automaker just committed $337 million towards a new center there, taking advantage of this momentum.
Ranked the third greenest city in the world, Vancouver is a cleantech knowledge base, and its natural beauty makes it an ideal location for delegates. Because of the density of clean-economy companies with cross-sectoral expertise in Vancouver—including in transportation, natural-gas engine manufacturing, and hydrogen fuel cell—there are many opportunities for sight tours and knowledge transfers for visiting conference guests.
example of a conference that recognizes and enjoys the benefits of being based in Vancouver is the GLOBE Forum, where 2,000 business, government, and civil society leaders from 50 countries meet to share insights, find inspiration, make connections, and identify new opportunities for the clean economy.
One of the world’s most important thought-leadership events in the cleantech space, this flagship conference has been hosted in Vancouver every two years for the past 25, bringing together some 170,000 delegates to address the world’s most pressing issues related to climate change.
Business Events Canada
Canada is clearly primed to share its intellectual capital with visiting conference-goers in these centers of technologyleadership, including: Winnipeg, Québec City, Edmonton, and Calgary. Connecting conference organizers with Canadian thought leaders, industry, academia, and government bodies is the work of Business Events Canada, the nation’s leading advocate for international business events seeking to host in Canada. By collaborating with federal, provincial, and municipal government and economic development agencies, as well as foreign affairs bodies, Business Events Canada can help decision-makers understand the benefit of hosting their events in Canada. Curious about what Canada can offer your next tech event?
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