Wikimania 2006 : Archived Toronto bid
Wikimania 2006 cities: Boston ||   Toronto    |    Milano  |  London

Downtown Toronto with the CN Tower at centre.

City details edit

  • Country: Canada
  • City proposed: Toronto
  • Proposed dates: Flexible, so the first weekend in August, (August 3-7) might again be best.
  • Contact person(s): SimonP

Toronto, located on the shores of Lake Ontario, is the largest city in Canada, with over 6 million people in the Greater Toronto Area. It is the capital of the province of en:Ontario, and is the economic centre of Canada, and the cultural and media capital of English Canada. In 2002 The Economist listed Toronto as tied for the fourth best city in the world to live. It is also the safest major metropolitan area in North America. Toronto often bills itself as the world's most multicultural city. 43% of Toronto's population reported themselves as being part of a visible minority, and 41% of the population was born outside of Canada.

Conference venue edit

Hart House at the University of Toronto

Through an affiliation with the University of Toronto’s Knowledge Media Design Institute KMDI located in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology, a recently opened 215,000 square foot information technology centre, we will have access to space without cost. The Bahen Centre is home to "50 laboratories, 11 lecture theatres, 14 tutorial and seminar rooms, and 240 offices. Wired with 6.5 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, the building can accommodate 3,000 students." The university, located in downtown Toronto, is Canada's largest, and by many measures most prestigious, university.

Main hall

  • The Adel Sedra Auditorium at the Bahen Centre only holds 278 people, so it might be too small.(seating plan, photo) ). There are several other large lectures theatres on this corridor as well as a number of smaller rooms, that seat 100 and are ideal for break-out sesssions.
  • Across the street is the Reichmann Family Hall, at the Earth Sciences Centre. It seats 400 and is a pleasant and modern lecture hall. (seating plan,photo).
  • A block away at the Medical Sciences Building is the J. J. R. Macleod Auditorium. Well-established at the University, it holds 500. (seating plan,photo)
  • OISE also has a 500 seat hall, but it is several blocks from Bahen. (seating plan, photo)
  • Then there is Convocation Hall, which seats 1550, and is quite spectacular. This facility can be rented, at reduced rates for members of the university community (photo)
  • There are several other UofT halls that don't fall under OSM. These include, Hart House Theatre (450 seats), Sorbara Hall (400 seats), and the luxurious Isabel Bader Theatre (500 seats). We probably can't get these ones for free.

 Inside the Bahen Centre.

Other halls:

  • Smaller halls: The Bahen Centre has four smaller lecture halls that seat between 127 and 160. (seating plan,photo) There are many similar halls in other UofT buildings.
  • Seminar rooms: The Bahen Centre has over a dozen rooms that seat 20-40 people (e.g. [1],[2],[3]) Elsewhere in the university there are literally hundreds of such rooms.
  • Lounge facilities: New College has several lounges, not sure about Bahen. New College ones would be licensed.
  • Other rooms: (organisation, staff, speakers, interviews/press, storage): Smaller seminar rooms could be used for these tasks.

Contacts with conference venue

  • Rooms are booked through the Office of Space Management. Since we will be booking through a UofT institution there is no charge, but we will be held responsible for any costs incurred by OSM. These are overtime caretaking or security costs which are passed on to OSM by the Facilities and Services Department.

Technical facilities edit

  • KMDI, which is interested in collaborating with us, has extensive experience in organising events. The Institute has held an annual public lecture series since its inception in 1968 and a number of international conferences, including an open source conference in May of 2004. In addition to organisational expertise the Institute has designed ePresence Interactive Media, a streaming media application which is being taken open source [4]. It was used to create a multimedia archives of the OS conference [5]

 The new Graduate House, designed by Pritzker
 Prize winnerThom Mayne, marks the western
 edge of campus.
  • A wide array of standard AV equipment is available. It must be ordered five days in advance from Audiovisual Equipment and Services. They list their contact as
  • New College offers free broadband Internet and access for those who are staying there. You need to have an Ethernet card and cables, and it is also required that guest's have "the latest security updates installed." There will be a computer lab with 30 computers available to guests during business hours.
  • We have yet to hear back from the Bahen Centre tech people. Their nine computer labs have "approximately 200 workstations running Linux, and about 40 X terminals (Sun workstations converted to display sessions from central compute servers)" All UofT computers use the same network, so it would be odd if we can get access at New, but not at Bahen. KMDI also has some more limited facilities at Bahen, which we will have access to.
Wireless Network implementation
The Bahen Centre has a state of the art wireless network, but we have not yet heard if we can get access to it. New College does not have one in the residences, but is working on it, though it might only be ready for September of 2006. We get free access to broadband at New, so it should not be too difficult to set up our own network, if needed.
Radio station
The University of Toronto's radio station, CIUT 89.5 FM, can be heard by 8 million people in Southern Ontario and Western New York. Wikimania could possibly use these facilities for promotion, broadcasting of Wikimania speakers, presentations and panels, and for visiting radio hosts to conduct interviews. The station has been guided by four high principles since the 1970s.[6]

Transportation edit

  • Distance from international airport: 32 km (20 miles) from Pearson International Airport
  • Distance from mainline station(s): 3 km from Union Station
  • Subway: The university is served by three subway stations
  • Distance from most accommodations: If we stay in New College, about 60 metres. There are also at least a half dozen hotels within a ten minute walk.

Airfares edit

Estimated round-trip travel costs from all continents, searching mostly American travel sites covering the first weekend in August 2006.

City USD Euros Airline
London $620 520€ Air Canada
Rome $710 600€ Northwest Airlines
Istanbul $870 730€ Air France
Paris $880 740€ Air France
Frankfurt $890 750€ Delta Air Lines
Madrid $900 750€ Northwest Airlines
Vienna $980 820€ Alitalia
Warsaw $1000 840€ Air France
Moscow $1210 1010€ Delta Air Lines
City USD Euros Airline
Tokyo $1,180 990€ United Airlines
Mumbai $1,510 1,260€ Air France
New Delhi $1,510 1,260€ Air France
Singapore $1,660 1,390€ United Airlines
Shanghai $1,690 1,420€ American Airlines
Beijing $1,780 1,490€ British Airways
South America
City USD Euros Airline
Rio de Janeiro $1,150 960€ Varig Airlines
Buenos Aires $1,320 1,105€ Aerolineas Argentinas
North America
City USD Euros Airline
Montreal $140 120€ Via Rail (train)
Chicago $300 250€ Air Canada
New York $310 260€ US Airways
Washington, DC $320 270€ US Airways
Tampa $400 330€ Air Canada
Los Angeles $440 370€ Air Canada or Delta
Seattle $540 450€ US Airways
Vancouver $550 460€ Canjet
San Francisco $590 490€ US Airways
Mexico City $600 500€ American Airlines
Havana $610 510€ Air Canada

City USD Euros Airline
Cairo $940 790€ Austrian Airlines
Johanesberg $1,650 1,380€ South African Airways
Lagos $1,730 1,450€ Air France

City USD Euros Airline
Auckland $1,720 1,440€ Air Canada
Fiji $1,840 1,540€ Air Canada/Qantas
Sydney $2,300 1,930€ Air Canada

TTC edit

The Toronto public transit system, run by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), operates buses, streetcars, and rapid transit in the city. The system also has WheelTrans, providing door-to-door services for persons with physical disabilities.

To get from Pearson to the U of T by transit, simply take the 192 Airport Rocket shuttle bus to Kipling Station on the subway system (a 20-minute ride, service every 15-minutes), taking the Bloor-Danforth line to the St. George Station. At St. George, transfer to the Yonge-University-Spadina line, and exit at Museum.

While you can pay for

  • individual fares on the Transit system: CDN$2.75 (1.80€ or 2.10 USD), or CDN$1.85 (1.20€ or 1.45 USD) for students/65+
  • individual fares in bulk: 5 for CDN$10.00 (7€ or 8.50 USD), or 5 for CDN$6.65 (4.75€ or 5.70 USD) for students/65+
  • day passes: CDN$8.00 (5.70€ or 6.80 USD) This is 0.20 USD cheaper than Boston's visitor's day pass.
  • week passes: CDN$30.00 (21€ or 26 USD)

Accommodations edit

New College relative to the Bahen Centre
Location of main accommodation facilities
Short term accommodation at New College, in the middle of the university. New has two buildings, one holds 200 people the other 300. There is space for us over the first weekend in August.
Room details and price range
Accommodation will be in student residences. Each room has a bed, desk, arm chair and closet space. Each floor has several bathrooms. There are a mix of double, single, and super single rooms. Total cost for three nights is $29.50 Canadian per night (21.175€ or USD 25.43). Breakfast is included, as is broadband Internet access. To reserve 250 rooms we will need a deposit of $2200, (1573€ or USD 1892) and this will need to be done ASAP, as this is the time of year most people book for next summer. A second payment is needed 90 days before we arrive.
If one is uninterested in staying in a student residence, the university is ringed by luxury hotels including the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, and Sutton Place. For a mid range option UofT has a special agreement with a Holiday Inn for $99 (71€ or USD 85) per night for a standard room.
  • contacts with accommodation partner(s) Morgan Keating, New College Group and Conference Sales

Food/entertainment edit

Catering (one meal a day)
Breakfast included with accommodation. KMDI has numerous catering contacts covering a range of food types and price options. One of which is Rustico Fine Foods, according to their website, they have lunch packages from $7-20 Canadian (5-14€ or USD 6-17) per person. New College can provide up to three meals a day for all of us, and they charge $8.25 (5.90€ or USD 7.10) per meal for lunch and a bit more for dinner.
The university is surrounded by many restaurants with a wide variety of styles and prices. In Chinatown you can get a good meal for $6 Canadian (4.30€ or USD 5.10). North in Yorkville you find some of Toronto's best restaurants where you can get a dinner for around $20 Canadian (14€ or 17 USD), but it is also possible to find places that are much more expensive. Little Italy is similarly priced.
At the university most halls are licensed, and it is possible to have receptions with food and drink. The Bahen Centre has a large hall, as does New College. Each would hold several hundred people. For something more ornate the colleges all have large halls. The most spectacular is the Great Hall at Hart House or Burwash Hall at Victoria College, but we couldn't get them for free. See here for the product and services list from Campus Beverage Services.
Yorkville is home to a number of quite nice pubs. Pubs, or at least parts of them, can generally be reserved for free as long as we guarantee to bring a lot of people who will buy drinks. For larger clubs one would have to go to Queen Street West, which has quite a number of well known nightclubs. Most clubs hold many hundreds of people, and would cost several thousand dollars to rent.

Local sponsorship opportunities edit


KMDI is interested in collaborating with us. While there are no adminstrative staff who can be provided, there is a growing community of students participating in KMDI’s Project OS|OA who will undoubtedly be interested in participating as student volunteers or in other capacities. They will also be able to provide some sponsorship funding, and have links to other organizations that might be interested in sponsoring us. KMDI's Project Open Source|Open Access is a two and a half year project that will end in the spring of 2007. In that year they plan to hold a major conference, and it is less likely they could support Wikimania. 2006 thus could be the only date that it is possible for them to collaborate with us.
  • Contact: gmoore at - Dr. Gale Moore, Director of KMDI
Marcus Bornfreund of Creative Commons Canada has contacted me. He would be "would be very happy to pledge support on behalf of Creative Commons Canada."
  • Contact: marcus at - Marcus Bornfreund, Project Lead, Creative Commons Canada
Not really of much help to the conference, but the UofT guide to Internet resources has given some prominence to the project as a whole.


  • Educational institutions: York University, Ryerson University, and the Ontario College of Art and Design are interested. Seneca College runs an annual OS conference, and also sponsors events like ours. The University of Toronto has several departments and institutions who might be able to support us. For instance, UofT is also home to the Citizen Lab, "an interdisciplinary laboratory focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media and world civic politics."
  • Private sector: Toronto is a high tech, publishing, and media centre with many companies who might be interested in sponsoring us. KMDI has many links to potential sponsors, and got a long list of sponsors for their 2004 open source conference. For their open source conference KMDI got support from IBM, Novell, Bob Young's etc. Dr. Moore also mentioned that several law firms were interested in this.
  • Governmental: The OS conference received support from Communications and Information Technology Ontario and the City of Toronto. Seeing as we were supported by the German Library Association in 2005, we should contact the Canadian Library Association, Ontario Library Association, and Toronto Public Library.
  • Foundations: There are a number of other non-profits who we might be able to work with.
  • User:Magmagic has been contacting some members of the local tech community, and there have been several expressions of interest.

Unable to help

  • The Historica Foundation, which funds having the Canadian Encyclopedia online, not longer has a grant program. People from the foundation and perhaps from the encyclopedia would, however, be very interested in attending a Toronto conference.

Media edit

Toronto is Canada's media capital. It is the home of the two national newspapers, as well as the Toronto Star, which has the highest circulation of any Canadian paper. It is also home to the major television networks and publishing industry. It is a bit early to be arranging media coverage, but the early planning has already attracted some interest:

  • The University of Toronto alumni magazine wants to interview me (User:SimonP), but more as a UofT grad doing something interesting than about the conference.
  • The tech reporter for the Washington Post, Ariana Eunjung Cha, also contacted me about an interview, though I haven't heard back from her in a bit.

Local team edit

  • SimonP 16:02, 6 September 2005 (UTC) (I have experience organizing events at the University of Toronto and am willing to do much of the work, but I am currently in Ottawa)[reply]
  • Adam Bishop (I assume I might be a little busy for the next couple of years, but I'm in Toronto so I could help out as much as I can)
  • Nick "Zanimum" Moreau, have some experience organizing events in Brampton
  • madmagic Count me in! I have a dozen+ years of recent non-profit experience (board, paid staff & volunteer) and several years of practice organizing university sports tournaments back in the day. I can do on-site hands-on work and also help with pre-event planning, online coordination, general PR and media relations. Pretty well-connected to the local Toronto geek community too, if that helps. :)
  • Dhodges 22:31, 6 September 2005 (UTC) - Sounds nifty! As soon as you get things rolling, you know where to find me. note copied from my user page SimonP[reply]
  • Shanel 00:33, 11 September 2005 (UTC) I'm not sure what I could do, but I would love to help in any way possible.[reply]
  • DoubleBlue (Talk) 21:47, 14 September 2005 (UTC) I live an hour outside the city but I can help out some. I have a little experience with organising local charity events.[reply]
  • Captmondo 02:41, 18 September 2005 (UTC) I work as a lecturer at the U. of T., and *may* be of some help in organizing some of the proposed events/venues. Am willing to help in whatever capacity is of the most assistance.[reply]
  • Deathphoenix 14:13, 21 September 2005 (UTC). My wife attended U of T, so maybe I can trick her into helping. If not, I'm still available and willing to help (and I'm also somewhat familiar with U of T and the surrounding area). I could probably help with creating printed or online content, but I'm also willing to help in other ways.[reply]
  • Bearcat
  • Paradiso Count me in. I've lived in the Greater Toronto Area most of my life and I'm a UofT grad so I know my way around. I've done a lot of volunteer organizing for events and can assist with planning, PR, and printed materials.
  • Radagast - Willing to help any way possible; I live out of town but I know the city quite well.
  • Sunir Shah -- I'd like to be on the program committee. Here's my micro-campaign: I live in Toronto. I'm well-known in the Greater Wiki Community as Founder/Editor of MeatballWiki. I am a member of KMDI/UofToronto, which is a potential sponsoring/hosting organization. I'm on the program committee for Wiki Symposium. I work for Socialtext, one of the wiki enterprise companies, with whom I organize the monthly Wiki Wednesdays in Toronto. I was also at the first Wikimania. I am not a Wikipedian and I don't have a user page to explain who I am, so I'll just list some occasional contributions e.g. I switched Wikipedia to the double-bracket FreeLink syntax, introduced Erik Moeller to wikis, created the BarnStar and inadvertently encouraged labelling Jimbo Wales a GodKing (heh). I think I can bring some resources, people, experience, and enthusiasm to the table.

Miscellaneous edit

 The Eaton Centre shopping plaza

Attractions edit

Communities and Toronto's multiculturalism edit

 Multicultural Kensington Market lies just to the
 southwest of the university

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with 1 in 3 or about (36%) comprised of visible minorities, meaning that 63% of the population is of European origin, chiefly of English, Scottish, Italian, and Portuguese descent. Chinese and East Indians are each about 10% of the population. Half of all African-Canadians live in Toronto, and they constitute around 6.6% of the population. By 2017, those of European origin are expected to be a minority in the city. Approximately half the city's population was born in a country other than Canada.

  • The six Chinatowns in Toronto create the largest in the world. The main downtown one is just to the southwest of U of T.
  • The university also neighbours Little Italy, Koreatown, the higly diverse Kensington Market (including Jewish, Portuguese, Caribbean, East Asian, Iranian, African), and also the posh Yorkville.
  • Queen Street West, a centre for Canadian music, performance, fashion, and the visual arts is a short walk to the south.

Self-evaluation edit

  • Weaknesses of the proposed location ...and how to overcome those weaknesses
  1. There is no Canadian Wikimedia Foundation, and Toronto Wikimedians are not as well organized as in other cities.
    Solution: We do have a large number of Wikipedians in and around Toronto, and it should be possible to build up the local community over the next several months. If need be a Canadian chapter could be created. Here is the Revenue Canada form to get tax exempt status.
    Solution: Holding Wikimania in Toronto would encourage the creation of a Canadian Wikimedia Foundation. This could be a scheduled topic of discussion during the event.
  2. Concern has been expressed that those with criminal records may be barred from entering Canada.
    Solution: This is unfortunate, but it should only cover a fairly small group of people. As a whole Canada is far easier to enter than the United States. The rule only applies to indictable offences, known as felonies in the United States. Also if a crime was committed over ten years ago the person can be considered rehabilitated and admitted, if it was committed over five years ago a person must may make a special application to be admitted. This rule does not seem to be a concern to any of the other thousands of international conferences that are held each year in Canada.
    It could be noted the same concern (AFAIK) applies to Canadians with criminal records entering the United States. In addition, the heightened US security levels of recent years are more likely to present barriers to Canadians than our comparatively-relaxed border security. Admittedly, there are likely ten US Wikians for every Canadian Wikian -- but the current border-crossing rules can be considered slightly less of a disadvantage when travelling north.
  3. There is not a hall of ideal size. While there are several 500 seat theatres the next largest in Con Hall at 1550.
    Solution: Con Hall is actually a very flexible space. It has 4 tiers, so if we have 800 people we simply close the top two tiers and we get as intimate space as you can have for a group of 800. The university does this routinely, as many classes of this size are held there.
  4. You can't beat Harvard for prestige
    UofT sometimes likes to think of itself as comprable to the top American schools, but while it is a very good school, the Harvard name is peerless. For the facilities we need, however, UofT can match Harvard in every respect, for about half the price.
  • Strengths of the proposed location
  1. Collaboration with KMDI gives us free facilities, expertise in holding conventions, and links to other groups who might be willing to sponsor us. The University of Toronto has some 60,000 students and a vast array of facilities to meet our needs.
  2. Toronto is well located in the heart of the most densely populated section of North America. New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Montreal, and Ottawa are all easy trips. This year's Wikimania was in Europe, and the main 2004 get together was in London, so holding the event in North America will allow a considerable number of people to attend who missed previous events.
  3. Canada is a far easier country to travel to than the United States. Canada allows far more people to visit without a visa. Citizens of nations such as Greece, Mexico, South Korea, Israel, Botswana, and Hong Kong all need to apply for visas to enter the United States, but can freely travel to Canada. For those who need to apply for a visa to visit both countries, getting one for Canada tends to be easier. For instance, while the United States rejects 40 to 50% of student visa applications, Canada rejects only about 10%.[9] In part because of the travel difficulties there has recently been a steady procession of American organizations holding conferences in Canada. For instance, the American Psychological Association, American Library Association, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, American Philatelic Society have all recently elected to hold conventions in Toronto.
  4. Toronto is one of the world's most multilingual and multicultural cities, and Canada as a whole is English/French bilingual, so multiple languages can easily be catered to.
  5. The university has extensive and state of the art facilities. The campus itself is one if the nicest areas of Toronto with large amounts of green space, most notably Queen's Park. For an excursion we could take the ferry to the en:Toronto Islands.
  6. It is highly likely that the city's media (local publications/TV) would be very interested in this event and would help to raise its profile. For example, the city has many university and college newspapers and radio stations. Citytv runs the ideaCity conference annually, and the Toronto Star's Sunday "ideas" section frequently sources us, and has printed a long excerpt of "Wikipedia" and a NYT article on Wikinews.
  7. For the libertarians out there, we Torontonians have allowed same-sex marriage for several years. Smoking marijuana is de facto legal, with the Hot Box Cafe only a few blocks from campus. The legal drinking age is 19, as opposed to 21 in the United States. Toronto also has an extremely low crime rate for a city of its size. For the leftists, a conference in Toronto will not boost George Bush's economic figures, and Toronto is the only candidate city from a nation without troops in Iraq. For the conservatives, Canada has been fiscally responsible for several years, not having had a federal budget deficit since the late 1990s.

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