CP24 - Toronto News | Breaking News Headlines | Weather, Traffic, Sports
Collision cancels June tech conference at Exhibition Place, citing COVID-19
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Friday, March 6, 2020 9:15AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 6, 2020 5:51PM EST
Collision says they are cancelling their annual conference scheduled for this June at Exhibition Place, citing the global spread of the novel coronavirus.
“For now, given the evolving nature of Covid-19, we think gathering tens of thousands of people from almost every country in the world in one place this June would be irresponsible,” organizers wrote in an online statement. “Toronto has not suffered a significant Covid-19 outbreak, and at Collision we want to ensure that remains the case.”
Instead, organizers say they will hold the conference, which anticipated 30,000 attendees, in a virtual format.
“Crises like Covid-19 demand responsibility and creativity. We want to do our part and we hope others will too. We hope you’ll join us for Collision from Home.”
All ticket holders will be offered refunds or transfers to the scheduled 2021 iteration of the conference.
The organizers say the 2021 conference will also be in Toronto.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was disappointed the Collision conference was cancelled.
"I have spoken personally with Collision founder and CEO Paddy Musgrave and told him we are committed to working with Collision to help host Collision from Home – the online conference that will be taking place this year. And I will be working with Collision, City staff and Exhibition Place to make sure Year Two of Collision in Toronto in 2021 will be a fantastic event."
Exhibition Place Board Chair Mark Grimes said Friday the decision to postpone the conference must have been “difficult,” and said he was looking forward to next year.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Collision and I'm confident that the 2021 conference here in Toronto will be spectacular and build on the success of last year's conference and this year's online Collision from Home conference.”
He said the Exhibition Place grounds are adding hand sanitizer bottles in high traffic area, more signage about hand washing and extended janitorial service.
Andrew Weir of Tourism Toronto said about 30,000 visitors were expected to spend approximately $70 million during the conference.
"Collision is not only important from a hospitality standpoint but very important to our tech and start up community," Weir said. "It's a big part of the visitory economy."
Last year’s conference included speeches by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hip-hop artist Will.i.am, singer Jessie Reyez and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.