The White Whale team posing for a socially distanced photo in Crescent Heights


White Whale Takes on Collision

What is Collision?

Collision is a multinational tech conference that welcomes more than 35,000 people over a three and a half day stretch each year. The conference has been hosted in Toronto during both 2019, and 2022. Collision is essentially the North American equivalent to the Web Summit conference, which hosts over 70,000 people each year in Lisbon, Portugal. Collision was also founded by the same individuals behind the Web Summit conferences. After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, this was the first time that Collision has been in person since 2019. The goal of the conference is to introduce tech entrepreneurs to investors, peers, and new ideas from individuals across the globe. 

The Conference

Day 1

After being stuck at Pearson the team managed to make it in time to grab a quick bite at the famed Terroni restaurant on Queen Street West. Afterwards we partook in a brisk walk through the beautiful neighbourhoods in Toronto just west of the financial district down to the location of the conference, the Enercare centre. From there we experienced a truly amazing networking event located at the Grand Bizarre Supper Club. We were all extremely impressed, and grateful for the opportunity to meet in person after the prolonged absence caused by the pandemic. Shortly thereafter we made our way home in preparation for the first full day of the conference. 

The Princes’ Gates at the entrance to the conference
The Grand Bizarre

Day 2

We made our way down to the Enercare Centre on a beautiful, albeit humid morning to complete registration and get exposed to all that the conference had to offer. As I had never attended a conference of this size, whether the reality of the situation would live up to the hype generated within the various marketing campaigns created by the organization was up in the air. That being said, any doubts were quickly dispelled the moment that we entered the main exhibition floor. Far and wide as far as they eye could see individuals were speaking to crowds large and small, networking, demonstrating products, and most were as wide eyed as myself simply taking in the experience. The energy in the room was almost indescribable. There were multiple stages with thousands of people in the audience, alongside custom booths showing off the full suite of companies looking to bring their goods and services to the world. After finding our bearings at the entryway the team split up and headed off to talk with our fellow attendees. At the conference finale Peter and James set off to explore the city, while Cole attended a startup event hosted at the Mother Tongue restaurant located just to the west of the financial district. Later in the day the team reconvened for the second after hours event at the conference, a reception and DJ at the world famous Distillery District. Set against the backdrop of a gorgeous sunset this event was the perfect way to unwind and follow up on conversations had during the first day and a half. After spending some hours there the team decided to head home and get some sleep before doing it all again the next day.

One of the main stages at Collision
The Distillery District 

Day 3

After only a few hours of sleep the team made their way back to the Enercare Centre for the second full day of the conference. While the floor was laid out in a similar manner than the day prior, the conversation’s were completely different. What’s extremely refreshing about Collision is that the majority of startup booths rotate each and every day. Meaning that when working the floor no experience is the exact same. This gave the team incentives to explore the conference offerings, in order to experience the suite of new companies, and the offerings of companies of those who we had met outside of their booths during the first day and a half.  At the end of the working day, the team split up to attend different pre after hours functions in the lead up to the main events put on by Collison, hosted at Stackt Market, an extremely innovative market and outdoors area created from repurposed shipping containers. Peter and James headed off to the high seas for a yacht party hosted by our friends at Goodlawyer, at the historic and beautiful Queens Quay (pronounced key) docks. While Peter and James were aboard the yacht, Cole started off the evening's festivities by attending an AWS hosted event at the RealSports bar and grill, located next to the Scotiabank Arena. After some amazing appetizers and great conversations it was time to head to the rooftop restaurant Lavelle for another social reception. After our respective events concluded the team decided to head home a bit earlier than usual to recover, and recoup for the final day of the conference.

Outside of the Real Sports Bar and Grill
The view from Lavelle’s Patio

Day 4

On our final day of the conference the team decided to split up and each experienced a different slew of events. After a morning spent touring the floor or listening to speakers, the team reconvened for an early lunch at one of the conference’s lounges. As the afternoon progressed the crowd became thinner and thinner, however we were determined to soak up all the conference had to offer up until the last minutes. After splitting up at the conference conclusion, the team each went home to decompress, and collect notes from the conference. Later that evening we met up for one final team dinner at the Gabby’s on King Street, and closed an extremely exciting chapter in the White Whale experience.

The Team Talks Toronto

Favourite Dish From the Trip:
Tonkotsu Ramen

Favourite Speaker:
Timothy Morey
Anthony Scaramucci
Honorable Mention:
Mayor Gondak

Favourite Restaurant or Food Truck:

Biggest Surprise From the Trip:
The amount of things going on in Toronto
How many people were at the conference

Favourite Toronto Experience:
Visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario
Taking the subway and streetcar to the conference

Favourite Area of Toronto:
Chinatown. Tons of great restaurants, very interesting aesthetic, nearby to quite a few great places.
The financial district. The stark contrast between Lake Ontario and the towering skyscrapers, made up of modern, and pre-war architecture that populate downtown Toronto is stunning.

What Were you Most Looking Forward To Before the Conference:
Learning more about the business side of the tech industry.
Experiencing a large conference for the first time, while being able to reconnect with some old friends in the process. 

Would You Go Back To Toronto:
Absolutely. There is a lot more to explore, and I’ve only scratched the surface so far. I’d be thrilled to visit again.
In a heartbeat, I love Calgary for everything that it offers from close access to beautiful nature, to the amazing mountain views, all the way to the Stampede, however there’s nothing like Toronto’s hustle and bustle.

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