WP Engine made a stop in Toronto over the weekend to hang out in the city with the huge WordPress Community in the GTO (Canadian for “Greater Toronto Area”). I flew in on Thursday and got to spend a few hours walking around the city. It was my first visit to Canada, so I made a point of getting settled at my hotel, checking in on email and then I put a jacket on to go walk the city. It’s incredibly beautiful.
One of the goals for the trip was to connect with the WordPress Community in Canada, many of whom we’ve spoken to over email or met at other WordCamps, but in general this was our first chance to connect with that part of the WordPress world. As close as Toronto is to the United States, and as much as I’ve always considered Canada a neighbor, make no mistake, Canada has a very unique culture and WP Engine was still a relatively new company in Toronto.
We experienced some of Toronto’s pub culture at the speaker dinner, where we feasted on pub food and local cider and I got recommendations about where to eat the rest of the weekend. We were also lucky to be in Toronto during their annual city-wide art festival Nuit Blanche. The city sponsors art exhibits for free across town and everyone gets out on foot to walk from exhibit to exhibit until about 5AM. Imagine the fine art version of SXSW in Austin, Texas, and you’re close.
Thanks for the espresso
When Ben and I arrived at the WordCamp for registration that morning, we were met by Al Davis who was keeping the WordCamp organized like a finely tuned machine. Ben and I started setting our booth up right next to the fine folks from Brave New Code. Once we had our tshirts and stickers well organized, I went off in search of some coffee. Turns out, the organizers are descendant from Mother Teresa herself, and had chartered a local coffee shop to hang out with an espresso maker pulling shots all day. That’s reason enough for all of you to attend WordCamp Toronto 2013.
As registration started, and people started filing in, we found out that the community had heard of WP Engine, but most folks didn’t have first hand experience on our platform yet. It was great to chat with all the local developers about the projects they are working on and how their customers are using WordPress. Of course we gave out free hosting accounts for all the attendees.
I got to speak in Toronto, which wasn’t originally on the schedule. Ben unfortunately was a bit under the weather that day and needed to rest up. That meant he was unable to give his excellent talk on Optimizing WordPress. I spoke to Al and offered to stand in and deliver the talk I gave at WC NYC about how to design and develop a social strategy using WordPress. The audience was very kind to me, despite having prepared for a vastly different talk than I was about to give.
Here’s the link where all the slides and presentation notes from the WordCamp can be found.
The organizers have done something interesting this year. Rather than split the WordCamp into 2 days, they’ve split it into 2 weekends. The weekend we attended was the WordCamp part, and in November they’re hosting a full weekend for developers. That’s going to be an awesome weekend to get in and geek out with the rest of the community, and we’re recommending that you attend if you’re able. The details are hosted on the Toronoto Dev site.
Once again, thanks to the Toronto Community for making us feel so welcome. I keep falling in love with the cities we visit, and Toronto is another one of those places that I now love. I can’t wait to get back again.
See you all at the next WordCamp!