Wikimania 2011/Bids/Toronto

Wikimania 2011 candidate cities:

Haifa (Q)Montréal (Q)New York City (Q)Toronto (Q)
The City of Toronto
Downtown Toronto (Harborfront) with the CN Tower at centre.
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Location proposedUniversity of Toronto
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City proposedToronto
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Proposed datesFlexible
Contact personAndrew Leung
Location of Toronto in comparison to Ontario, Eastern Canada, and Northeastern United States.

Brief Introduction to the City of Toronto


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 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. Because of Toronto's low crime rates,[1] clean environment and generally high standard of living, Toronto is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit[2] and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.[3][4] It will host the Pan-American games in 2015.

It is also the safest major metropolitan area in North America. Toronto has one of the world's highest percentages of foreign-born residents, and is one of the most diverse places culturally, linguistically, and religiously. 43% of Toronto's population reported themselves as being part of a visible minority, and 41% of the population was born outside of Canada.

Toronto has recently played host to the XVI International AIDS Conference, The Endocrine Society, Society of Nuclear Medicine, Society of Interventional Radiology, and American Psychiatric Association. International sporting events (see list) like the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2007 International Bowl of Football, and 2006 International Dragon Boat Federation Club Crew World Championships have been held here; we hosted the 1976 Summer Paralympics, and were second in bidding for the 2008 Olympics, only to Beijing. A small selection of upcoming conferences are available.

Official tourism information is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Official Ontario tourism information is available in those languages, plus French and German.

Organizing team's vision

Money left will be used to save the rainforests

Our goal is to organize a Wikimania conference that is affordable, fun, and most importantly, green.

  • Affordable — as we get the conference venue at a low cost, the registration fees will be very affordable. The main expense will be the cost of food and freshments. Further, the accommodation provided by the university is also affordable.
  • Fun — we will be able to access many of the places that are not generally accessible, or unheard of, to tourists.
  • Green — our venue is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Our special events (and other tours) will be held at places that are accessible by public transit. Attendees will be able to enjoy Toronto's beautiful waterfront, and also visit the Important Bird Area in the city without further generating greenhouse gas.

Last but not least, our vision is to reduce the amount of Carbon dioxide produced due to this conference. We plan to spend any leftover money on buying a small piece of tropical rainforest via the World Land Trust — an acre can be bought for as little as $75 canadian dollars.[5]

Conference venue

KMDI at night

We are partnering with the University of Toronto’s Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) to secure lecture halls in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. Officially opened in 2002, Bahen Centre is a modern, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building that houses 11 lecture theatres, 14 tutorial and seminar rooms. The tentative agreement between KMDI and us is that KMDI will help us book the rooms for the conference, and we will reimburse KMDI the extra costs for holding the conference in the Bahen Centre.

Other possible locations

Computer Science and Engineering Building at York

We met with York University's VP of Research & Innovation, and York is also interested in working with us. Similar to the partnership with KMDI, York would like to recover the extra cost of holding the conference on their campus.

We also had a 1-hour meeting with Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel, and they offered us free conference rooms provided that there are enough hotel rooms booked for the conference; further the hotel rooms will be offered at a discount rate.

Internet access

Coverage map of ORION

Internet is accessable via the wireless access points located in the Bahen Centre building, and many other buildings on the University of Toronto's campus have wireless coverage.

95% of the campus at York University has wireless coverage, including many of the outdoor areas. Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel has wireless access points in most of its conference rooms.

The University of Toronto and York University are both connected to the ORION and CANARIE research and education high-speed optical networks. The high-speed network connectivity opens the possibility of multicasting the conference sessions to other universities and research institutions. (Note that this has been done before -- e.g. The XVI International AIDS Conference in 2006.)

Outside of the conference venue, Wireless Toronto and the Toronto Public Library offer free Internet access to tourists and vistors. Users can get access without going through registration.

Social areas

Stong Pond at York

Both universities have lots of public spaces, and in fact researchers from other universities and institutions can access most of the buildings without a permit. The libraries and reading rooms in both universities are accessible to the general public. Further, both universities have on-site food courts that can be used by the public.

The University of Toronto and York University have the largest and second largest university campuses in Canada, and some of the areas are green spaces.



From our past experience in organizing large events (with over 600 attendees in 2010) using university facilities, the amount spent in reimbursement to help recover the extra cost to the institute is insignificant compared to the amount we spent in food and freshment.





University of Toronto offers very affordable summer residences to its students and the public. Rooms starts from $22 per night up to around $60. All of the summer residences are within walking distance to the Bahen Centre.

York University has an on-site hotel located in the Schulich School of Business building.

There are also many hotels within walking distance of the University of Toronto. For York University, a number of hotels are reachable by public transit (for example, Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel, which offered us a discounted group rate -- see above).

General location

University of Toronto is accessible by streetcars
Bus stops at York

The Toronto public transit (TTC) runs a special bus route that connects the airport to its subway line. The University of Toronto is within walking distance from its nearby subway stations. While York University is further away from the subway line, an express bus route that connects the subway to the campus is free with the subway trip. The cost of going to or from the airport to the either university is very low ($2.5, as of March 2010).

Toronto China Town

Restaurants and many other stores are also within walking distance from the University of Toronto. In fact, the Toronto China Town is within 10 minutes walking distance from University of Toronto's campus.

Local laws and culture


Toronto is one of the safest cities in North America. The homicide and robbery rates are far below those of US cities of similar size. [6]

Visas/immigration information


Travellers from the United States now require a passport to visit Canada. Similarly, many countries in Europe and other regions have mutual agreements with the Canadian government that would allow residents to enter Canada without a visa (for example, holders of Hong Kong's SAR passport).

Local support


Core organizing team

Username Wikimedia participation Real name Related experience Residence
(municipality, province)
OhanaUnited en.wp (sysop), zh.wp, commons, species (bureaucrat) Andrew Leung
  • Volunteer recruitment and management (over 100 volunteers)
  • Introduced how to edit Wikipedia in university presentations
  • Have media contacts and being interviewed by media in the past
  • English Wikipedia administrator and Wikispecies bureaucrat, active member in Chinese Wikipedia and other WMF projects
    • Haver interactions with scientists that support and edit Wikipedia & Wikispecies
    • Knowledgeable in dealing with open-source scientific journals and uploading newly described biological species
Richmond Hill, ON
Raysonho en.wp, zh.wp, commons, it.wp, ja.wp, de.wp, fr.wp, Rayson Ho
  • Organized a 1-day event with over 600 attendees
  • Active member of Wikipedia, contributed to over 100 different Wikipedia language projects
  • Media contributions are used by many websites and presentations
  • Active member of the open-source community
Markham, ON

Other team members

Username Wikimedia participation Real name (optional) Residence
(municipality, province)
Ktsquare en.wp (sysop), zh.wp, commons Richmond Hill, ON
Captmondo en.wp, commons Keith Schengili-Roberts Toronto, ON
MelSkunk en.wp Melissa Smith Toronto, ON
Phil-hong en.wp Phillip Hong Woodbridge, ON

Support from our politicians


Cost/ease of attendance


General cost


Since all of the possible locations we worked with offered us very affordable venues (as they mainly would like to recover the extra costs of hosting the event) we expect we are going to require a relatively low budget for this conference.

In terms of catering, the prices are affordable in Toronto. The cost of a large coffee is currently $1.38 (tax free) at Tim Hortons, and the cost of an extra large (XL, 16-inch) pizza is $10 (with plus taxes = $11.3) at Pizza Pizza.

The cost for a general attendee would be in the range of $200 to $300 Canadian Dollars. This includes one-week of accommodation ($160, already includes $15 of "dining dollars"), food ($6 per meal in Chinatown), getting to and from the airport ($5), and other costs including use of phone, etc. Those that have a really tight budget can only stay in the student residence for 2 nights at the cost of $39 per night, but they would be missing our exciting pre- and post conference events (see below).



We have talked to several IT companies in Toronto, and those that have responded mentioned that they are interested in sponsoring the conference, but would like to be certain that the conference will take place in Toronto before they can factor in the sponsorship dollar amount into their operating budget.

Besides sponsoring cash, we have also asked companies for prizes for the raffle (lucky draw). We have already received USB flash drives, water bottles, T-shirts, and flashlight pens from various companies in Toronto. Our goal is to have at least 1 in 10 wins for the raffle.

Budget breakdown

Item Cost Note
Food/Refreshments $8 per attendee per day This is the cost of a lunch box from an outside cater, we can get cheaper if we go for pizzas ($5 per attendee per day). But $8 is the cost that we will use for budgeting purposes.
AV technician $400 per day This is the amount we will spend on hiring a senor AV technician to shoot video.
Insurance $1000 per day Mainly to cover the liability.
Parties $1000 each From our experience, if the attendees buy enough drinks, there is no cost to the organizer. However, if we are going to have an open bar, then the cost will be at least $15 per drink.
Venue $1000 Any extra costs to KMDI will be covered by this line item.

Excluding the cost of food and refreshments, which is proportional to the number of attendees, there is an overhead of $7200. Assuming that we have 600 attendees, the cost per person is $24 (food) + $12 (overhead).

Note that we will are not factoring in the cost of inviting VIPs and scholarships, because we view those as optional. We will determine the number of VIPs we want to invite based on the amount of sponsorship we get; a typical 1-day IT conference in Toronto can get over $10,000 dollars from various IT companies. [7]

Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints — we will be very clear to our attendees in the very beginning that they will not get physical swags, and thus not contribute to global warming. What they will get is an online webpage that lists their names, and the location of the rainforest bought by the money saved.



While the cost of airfare in 2011 is unknown at this point, here are some of the prices (including taxes, fees, fuel surcharges, and other charge) of getting a round-trip, direct-flight ticket in the summer of 2010 for some of the major cities. The main purpose of this table is to provide an estimate for the travel costs to and from Toronto:

City CDN Airline
London $2115 Air Canada
Paris $2385 Air Canada
Berlin $2679 Air Canada
City CDN Airline
Tokyo $1992 Air Canada
Singapore $2449 Air Canada
Shanghai $1862 Air Canada
Beijing $1862 Air Canada
Hong Kong $1947 Air Canada
City CDN Airline
Auckland $2507 Air Canada
Sydney $2356 Air Canada
South America
City CDN Airline
Rio de Janeiro $1481 Air Canada
Buenos Aires $1533 Air Canada
North America
City CDN Airline
Montreal $368 Air Canada
Chicago $369 Air Canada
New York $332 Air Canada
Washington, DC $476 Air Canada
Vancouver $728 Air Canada

Note: 1 CDN = 0.97362 USD or 0.72707 EUR.

Pre- and post-conference events

Redpath Sugar Museum
York University Observatory
Don Valley Brickworks
PATH's entrance

We have contacted a number of tourist attractions. If Wikimania 2011 is to be organized in Toronto, we will be able to visit places that are not opened to the public or tourists, or get discounts as a group:

Further, we plan to organize extra social events and guided tours at:

  • Unionville, Ontario (tour of the historic village)
  • Chinatown (one of the largest Chinatowns in North America)
  • PATH (largest underground shopping complex in the world)

City wildness


Last but not least, the City of Toronto gave us 10 copies of "Birds of Toronto - A Guide to Their Remarkable World". If we can gather enough interest, we will organize a birds-watching tour at Leslie Street Spit, which is an Important Bird Area located in the city of Toronto.


  1. Statistics Canada, The Daily (2006-07-21). "Crime statistics". Retrieved 2007-03-05.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. "Vancouver is 'best city to live'". CNN. 2005-10-05. Retrieved 2007-03-05.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Mercer Human Resource Consulting (2006). "Mercer 2006 Quality of Living Survey" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  4. According to Mercer Group's rankings in 2007 of the most livable cities worldwide [1], Toronto is 15th place, Brisbane is 32, Singapore is 34, London is 39, Chicago is 44, Seattle is 49, Budapest is 74, Buenos Aires is 79, Cape Town is 85. Surpassing Toronto are Zurich, Geneva, Vancouver, Vienna, Auckland, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Bern, Sydney, Copenhagen, Wellington, Amsterdam, and Brussels.
  5. Save an Acre of Rainforest or another threatened habitat
  6. []
  7. Contributors