Talk:Wikimania 2006/Toronto

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


I can take pictures on the 14th, if that's of help. I presume the Bahen Centre and KMDI facilities are open to the public in the sense that I can walk around there aimlessly, as I've walked around other U of T buildings before. Is there anything I'd have to talk to Ms. Moore for? Would we also want pictures of the surrounding area. -- user:zanimum

Pictures would be very useful. An image of the Bahen Centre would be very useful for this page. I have also been planning on writing on article on it, so it could be used there as well. We don't yet know exactly what facilities would be used, but we are almost certain to want the main Bahen Centre auditorium, so a photo of it might be useful. The KMDI people have expertise and money, but they made clear they don't have a lot of time. U of T buildings are open and accessible during the day, so I think we can do this without bothering them.
A general picture of a key U of T building could also be useful. Our current University College image is poor and unverified. I've taken a decent image of Hart House, and we also have decent photos of Robarts and several others structures, but nothing overly arresting. An image of New College would also be good, since that it is likely the main accommodation. - SimonP 21:44, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
Sounds good. I'll try to take as many possiblities as possible. Do we want pictures of the rest of Toronto for the proposal, or should Wikipedia/Commons solve the cravings of the populus? -- user:zanimum
Having an image per section would be good. I'm sure we can find something good on Wikipedia to illustrate the Attractions and Multiculturalism sections. We also have a great picture of the Toronto skyline at Image:TorontoSkyline.jpg. - SimonP 22:57, September 7, 2005 (UTC)

Old content from Canadian bid planning page, delete whatever's outdated[edit]

    • Main theatre-style (size): Adel Sedra Auditorium (free)
  • Brief description (why?): The University of Toronto, has a wide array of halls and rooms, and a good deal of accommodation and Toronto is a pleasant and accessible city. I have also contacted KMDI. KMDI is an institute at the University of Toronto that is "is dedicated to research and graduate education in all aspects of knowledge media design (KMD)." According to their website "KMDI is a catalyst for collaborative endeavours and cross-disciplinary research. Our goal is to stimulate collaborative projects of national and international significance through the development of innovative research partnerships with other universities, the private sector, non-profit organizations and government." In the past they have hosted a number of major conferences. In May 2004 they hosted a transdisciplinary conference on open source and open access, and in the spring of 1996 hosted one of the first interdisciplinary conferences on the Internet itself. The director of the institute has replied and seems interested in helping host Wikimania, but needs to find someone at the institute willing to take on the task of working with us. - SimonP 22:04, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
  • Accommodation
    • On-site/off-site/overflow/multiple price ranges: Short term accommodation is generally at New College, in the middle of the university. See here for rates. A single room for four nights costs $30 Canadian, or about €20 per night. Double rooms cost $50 Canadian or about €33. Group rates are available. Students also get somewhat cheaper rates. Breakfast is included. These numbers do not include taxes. The university has several nicer residences, my favourite is Burwash Hall, but these are not generally used to house short term visitors during the summer.
    • Estimated, actual and forward guarantees:
  • Pros: Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities, and is well suited to a multilingual gathering such as Wikimania. It is also quite cheap in comparison to most western metropolises. The University of Toronto is huge, and has a wide array of facilities than can meet our needs. Easy and fairly cheap travel from the Northeastern United States and the rest of Eastern Canada. Also accessible, if more expensive, to travellers from Europe and Asia.

Where we are[edit]

Just an update on where we are. At the moment Christina at KMDI is looking into some of the tech issues, such as access to the wireless network and computer labs. I have sent e-mails to find out more about accommodations, but have not yet gotten any replies. These are the last major holes in the bid, and we should hopefully have more details soon. - SimonP 06:18, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Do accomodations have to be on site, or could we find Comfort Inn/Super 8/Motel 6-type (affordable, comfortable, but much better that hostels) hotels near subway stations. -- user:zanimum
The Wikimania 2006/Planning asks for accommodation at 20 euros/night. I don't think we are going to find this anywhere other than the residences. If using a residence is impossible, we might need to consider such alternatives. - SimonP 19:30, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
That seems over demanding, but okay... -- user:zanimum

Couple more updates: Christina is continuing to look into the tech issues. At minimum we will have access to some of KMDI's facilities. The person who handles group bookings at New College has been on holiday, but is returning tomorrow Sept 22, so hopefully we can firm up the accommodation possibilities soon. - SimonP 19:41, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

East London marked as official[edit]

We have our first official competitor, East London. Is there anything we can "learn" from their bid, to improve ours? -- user:zanimum

So far we seem to have the edge in most areas, price, facilities, and support, though their bid is still far from complete. So far our main disadvantage seems to be that convicted criminals won't be able to attend. - SimonP 19:30, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Photos, beginning to upload[edit]

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:University of Toronto

Sorry on the delay, I've been slow to upload these photos because of college work. Sadly I went to the U of T rather late, and only found KMDI at sunset, so all the pictures of the Bahen Centre are rather nightlike, to say the least. Hopefully there some stuff we can use. -- user:zanimum

Great, I've added one to the application. The application is due Friday, is everything in order? I'm pretty confident we will make the three city shortlist. There are after all only three official bids at this point. - SimonP 15:15, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Canadian chapter[edit]

You may be pleased to know that there will be no Vancouver bid for Wikimania 2006. In casual conversations in Frankfurt there was considerable support for the idea, but the lack of local people willing to participate in its organization was fatal to any possible bid.

I do note that the lack of a Canadian chapter is shown as a disadvantage, and it is indeed problematic. Linking to the Revenue Canada forms won't help in this; before an organization can be recognized as tax exempt it must first be an organization. I support the principle of a Canadian chapter, but I doubt the practicality of such a thing at this time. I did give some thought to this problem while I was still considering a Vancouver bid.

Ultimately, we do need a federal chapter, but it would probably take a meeting somewhere in Canada to bring enough people together from different parts of the country to organize it. Setting up an Ontario chapter under the relevant Ontario law for corporations without share capital may be a more practical approach at this stage. Similar organizations could be set up in other provinces. Once you have a chapter in place you can apply for tax exempt status. Keep in mind that they will require two-year budgets from the organization in the absence of past financial statements. Eclecticology 19:59, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Sorry to hear that you couldn't get a bid together, but Vancouver did beat Toronto to the Olympics, which is a somewhat larger prize.
If I could give you the Olympics I would. Wikimania attracts a different kind of people. :-) - Ec
I'm uncertain about financing, and have little experience in this area. How was the 2005 conference operated? Was everything funded by Wikimedia Germany? What restrictions are there on Wikimedia itself operating in Canada? Should we set up a general Wikimedia Ontario, or would it be easier to have an organization specifically for Wikimania 2006? - SimonP 21:11, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Wikimedia Germany wasn't really involved in financing Wikimania. So it's not so much a question of having a local legal entity but rather having an organized local community. -- Arne (akl) 21:22, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
That's good to hear. I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of people who signed up for the local team, so I don't think community support is a problem. - SimonP 21:58, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Wikimedia Germany was very very very little involved in financial matters ;-). As I told you before, in an English speaking country, the local local community (ie. people from Toronto) can amount to few. If you can find about 5 people who are willing to help a week before, take care of local press contacts etc. it should be enough. A core team is what is important, the volunteers for on-site work can be found easily through trusted wiki users who are coming to Wikimania. notafish }<';> 23:33, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
While much of the financing should indeed come through the parent organization it certainly helps to be able to administer some of those finances locally. A bank account that you can draw on when you need to respond quickly is certainly helpful. I absolutely agree with notafish about the core group. Without that trusted, competent and reliable group your life could be very difficult. Eclecticology 08:21, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, if I am going to be the main one organizing this we will very much need some people who understand the tech and legal issues. "200 workstations running Linux, and about 40 X terminals (Sun workstations converted to display sessions from central compute servers" sounds good, but I have not idea what it actually means. Also where did the money from sponsors go last time? KMDI has offered to provide some funding, and I have contacted several other groups. Would this go to Wikimedia? A local account? Or could we just ask to KMDI pay for things we need directly? - SimonP 13:57, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
I assume paying things from the US FOundation account is entirely feasible in the case of Canada, much easier than it was anyway in Germany. Some of the sponsor money last year went directly to the Foundation, which dispatched it to pay for necessary bills, others went directly into whatever items were sponsored. Don't worry now on that aspect of things, we'll have time to find the solution in due time, should Toronto be chosen. This said, if KMDI is ready to help financially, all the better. They can also pay for whatever seems right to them. :-). On the subject of organising team, there will be a team to organise Wikimania on the Foundation side, part volunteer, very much like last year some took care of the press, others of the program and yet others of logistics and possibly part professionnal. Whatever local team is there will be the local contact for that team, but everything will not fall on one person's shoulders. Just remember that a conference is not a wiki. ;-) notafish }<';> 01:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
I would have no idea what those technical matters mean myself, and if I were in your shoes I would make sure that there was someone on the organizing team that could make sense of it. Sun Microsystems was involved as one of the sponsors in Frankfurt. In particular they sponsored the Saturday night party, which, in my opinion, was the least pleasant part of the whole conference until I could get together with a few of the others over a nice German beer on the other floor from where the loud music was provided. :-) I think that sponshorship arrangements can be quite variable. It can depend on what you are getting from them, but I can't see any major sponsor wanting to micromanage your cash flow. They're providing the money, not the work. A lot of the smaller expenses are probably best managed from a local account; one of your team should have some understanding of basic bookkeeping sufficient to keep track of all this. As a starting point for incorporating go to http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/AttachDocsPublish/007-07109~1/$File/07109E.pdf for a general idea of what to do. For the name, get the required NUANS search done based on something like "Wikimedia (Ontario) Society". Depending on what that report says, and what agreement may be required with Jimbo regarding trademarks. That matter may need to be reviewed later, and a second search done. Also, find out what Ontario means by "charitable" corporation. Again, there may be someone on the team who may be more comfortable with this kind of thing; don't be afraid to delegate. Does this help or confuse? Eclecticology 23:46, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
As for outside sponsors, they might be happy if you gave them a specific chunk of things to pay for and support. At Harvard, Berkman is mainly talking about direct support, such as allocating people/machines/spaces to the conference for a week; that is [bureaucratically] easy for them. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+ 19:08, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Actually, back on the matter of the list, I'm personally surprised there wasn't more. I suppose most think that if they list they're names on the page, they'll be roped into arduous slave labour. -- user:Zanimum

Dollars or dollars?[edit]

Hiho, could you please be very precise as to which dollars you use for price quotes? Some are 'translated', but others aren't. Using a USD or EUR conversion would help a lot and tagging CAD as such would help also. Thanks! notafish }<';> 23:21, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Done. - SimonP 23:35, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanx :) You can drop the cents ;-) notafish }<';> 01:05, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Boston comes from no where[edit]

Where did the Boston bid come from? I find that rather interesting that they hid their bid until the day before. They've listed non-Wikimedians as supporters. Do we want to support this kind of sillyness? Great that there is support from outside the project, but I could list about 5 people just from my advert/graphic class at Humber. -- user:zanimum

Sorry about that. I wasn't trying to hide the bid; it just wasn't much of a bid until we had definite support from the law school, which only solidified after Jimbo's visit to the law school last week. Even renting the law school buildings as an outside group (which was an option) would have been wicked expensive, and there would have been no place for people to stay.
As for outside support, I'm not sure what to do with it... that's why I made a separate section for them. Those are people from the Boston Wikimeet group who signed up, but who don't edit any of the projects, or who only edit anonymously. They still come every other week to talk about WP and wikis, and try to hack on wikis for their orgs... they're not just, say, classmates or friends. Some of them could be helpful -- David Weinberger attracts attention in his own right. Above some basic threshhold, I don't think quantity of local support makes a big difference (unless it is very specific, as in "my team of artists/carpenters/sound techs is at your disposal"), since you can also just ask outsiders to arrive a week early to help out. I'm sure Toronto could get a dozen people from Boston to come up and help, for instance, if you had a crazy project that needed doing. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+ 18:51, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
I would be curious to see an estimate of the # of wiki-fanatics of different stripes from around Toronto who would be drawn to a conference, though. That can be useful for figuring out how big the event would be if it were free... and for grassroots PR, reaching hundreds of smaller local papers and calendars and stations, &c. +Sj+

Multilingual?[edit]

I presume voting on Wikimania itself is multilingual, so I'd imagine it would be in our favour to create a shortened summary on the proposal, in as many major languages as possible. -- user:zanimum

Not really, since the final decision will be made by the jury, not by the community. But translating a "summary" of the bid so that everyone can have access to it sounds like a great idea :-) notafish }<';> 01:05, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
Oh... too true, too true. The Wikimedia Quarto article should be enough when its updated and published, announcing either winner. -- user:zanimum

Trillium Foundation[edit]

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is a possible sponsor, provided we found Wikimedia Canada. I'm sure there's tech/information/education specific grants too. -- user:zanimum

A set of questions from the jury[edit]

Section for questions from the members of the jury.

Wireless[edit]

Has this been cleared, if yes, please advise. If not, can a feasibility study be done as to how we could create our own network be started. Do not hesitate to ask questions here, I will pass them along to those who can answer them. notafish }<';> 01:03, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

This shouldn't be a problem. While we haven't heard from Bahen, New College, who seems quite eager to get our money, states that we can get access to wireless. It is a campus wide network, so permission to use it at one place should be good everywhere. The one concern is that New College does not expect to have wireless in the rooms by August 2006. There will be an Ethernet hookup in every room, which should be enough for most people. If not I don't think it would be too difficult to hook up some routers and have our own temporary network, but I know little about these matters. - SimonP 04:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Transportation[edit]

Can you please try and update international travel costs? List airlines etc? Also give an idea of what costs of public transportation is? notafish }<';> 01:03, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Done. - SimonP 04:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Accommodation[edit]

An idea of what prices and possibilities for dinner in surrounding restaurants would be good, since the conference will only provide one meal a day. notafish }<';> 01:03, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

I've added some information on this area. Many good restaurants around that part of town. - SimonP 04:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Local sponsorships opportunities[edit]

Are those ideas or have those institutions etc. been contacted? notafish }<';> 01:03, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

The second group haven't been contacted in any formal way, but Dr. Moore has spoken with various representatives and they are interested. - SimonP 04:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Visa question[edit]

Although you claim entering Canada is easier than entering the US ;-), you have to be aware that we do not have a representation there. For some countries, an invitation from a local organisation is obligatory to obtain a visa, could you ask KMDI if they are ready to help us with issuing invitations for people who might need them? notafish }<';> 01:03, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

I shall ask, but I assume they will want to know what we will do verify that all those invited are here only for the conference. - SimonP 04:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
Not a problem, we have experience in that field. ;-) notafish }<';> 11:44, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
In some cases having a round trip ticket helps as evidence that you intend to go home. for a list of those countries whose citizens are exempt from having visas see http://www.immigration.ca/tempent-mnu.asp See also http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/guides/5256E.PDF Some of the visitors may want to take advantage of the fact that they are in North America to do a little ordinary tourism before or after the conference. Some may even want to visit in the USA, and should be made aware of what is needed. Those who need visas should make sure that the visa allows them to come back into Canada to take the plane home. Eclecticology 07:19, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

VIP dinner and party possibilities[edit]

This wasn't really in the bid application form, but can you try and get a few ideas as to where we could hold a party for Wikipedians and possibly a VIP dinner/cocktail?

I've added some material to the bid. - SimonP 04:14, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Strengths of the Boston bid?[edit]

People working on a bid are usually talking about their city. Let's turn the tables: What do you think are the five biggest advantages of the Boston bid? -- Arne (akl) 21:29, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

  1. Unquestionably the top advantage is the prestige of Harvard, one of the world's top universities. This could serve to increase Wikimania's prestige and reputation, and perhaps bring more attention to the conference.
  2. The Berkman Centre is offering to jointly run Wikimania, while KMDI is only interested in a more limited collaboration. KMDI can give us facilities, money, and contacts, but the conference will largely be left to us to plan and organize.
  3. The Boston Wikian community is better organized, though in raw numbers Toronto and Boston seem similar.
  4. Flights from within the United States are cheaper, and Americans are the largest pool of potential attendees for a North American event.
  5. We don't have a hall of the ideal size. If we get 600 people interested we can either allow only ~550 to attend, or bring them to the overly massive Con Hall. Any number between about 600 and 800 will have this awkwardness. - SimonP 22:37, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

What, if not?[edit]

In case Toronto didn't win the Wikimania 2006 city contest, do you have any idea how the established contacts and gathered information can be used to pay off for Wikimedia in another way? -- Arne (akl) 21:29, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

There is always the chance of another bid at a later time, though KMDI can't help in 2007, and it seems quite likely, and desirable, that Wikimania will return to Europe that year. We have increased local interest in Wikimedia, and I'm sure some people are now interested enough to attend a conference even if it is not held locally. Canadian groups and foundations tend to be reluctant to fund activities outside of Canada, so I question if sponsors can be convinced to back an event elsewhere. The momentum for this bid could be translated into setting up a Canadian Wikimedia chapter, perhaps some of the funding that would have gone to a Toronto Wikimania could be redirected there. - SimonP 22:37, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Interesting article[edit]

In an odd coincidence this week's New Yorker has an article that contrasts Harvard and UofT. It focuses on admissions, and is somewhat anti-Harvard, but it does give an interesting perspective on some of the differences between the two schools. - SimonP 02:06, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I guess it does compare the two, though it focuses on Harvard's admission process more than anything. Certainly interesting perspectives, though. -- user:zanimum
His retrospective on admissions is excellent; though he paints a bit of a caricature at the start. He passed over the former admissions-cabals that would gather to divvy up the applicants they liked, so that for a time each applicant was accepted by exactly one Ivy... Another interesting bit he didn't mention is how fast these admissions policies have changed, across the Ivies, over the past 15 years; towards diversity and purer meritocracy. I'd like to see why he thinks that has happened, in the 'luxury good' model of the unis. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+

Room rates?[edit]

The rates for New College - are these for any guests, regardless of student status? Are they for doubles or singles or a mix? Do they include accommodation tax? +sj | Translate the Quarto |+ 19:04, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

These rates are a group rate that applies to anybody. They are a mix of single and double rooms, but they mostly have singles. Essentially we are giving them a lump of cash for 250 rooms, and it's up to us to decide how we will charge people for them. The rates do not include taxes, so you need to add the 5% Ontario Accommodation Tax, and the Goods and Services Tax of 7%. Some tips would also be required. If we get some sort of aknowledgement of our non-profit status, even if only after the event, we should be able to get at least the GST refunded. - SimonP 23:07, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Previous experience and visa information[edit]

As someone who quite likes Toronto, I don't mean to rain on the parade, but my partner works for BMG, which was a part of the annual music conference that was held in Toronto a year ago. Apparently there were infinite travel difficulties, as many Americans were barred entry at the border. Furthermore, getting around the city proved difficult. Flights are significantly more expensive to go to Toronto than into Boston, because Toronto is mostly served by AirCanada for international flights.

While it is true that a few more countries can travel without a visa into Canada than into the United States, I highly doubt that the conference will have a high Botswanan population. Furthermore, Immigration Canada states that its visa processing time is longer than the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Toronto is a great city, I just think there're some problems with some of the arguments put forward in the candidate bid. -PZFUN.

"Toronto is mostly served by AirCanada for international flights"... Oh? The list of airlines served by Terminal 3 seems to differ from your friend's experiences.
Just to clarify on the Botswana comment, I tend to agree, however the no-visa required policies extend to Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Western Samoa and Zimbabwe, and the United States of America and most (if not all) of the British Commonwealth.
As for the time lack, the locale will be decided in the next few days, giving many months to apply for whatever visa is needed. -- user:zanimum
I'm especially surprised to here they were turned back at the US-Canada border. According to this page, in the last year 94.9 million people were allowed to cross the border while 94,024 were rejected. That's a rejection rate of less than 1/1000. - SimonP 02:59, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Nice go at it[edit]

Congratulations to Boston on their win of Wikimania 2006. We put in a great bid, we should all be very proud. -- user:zanimum

Definitely. Yours was a super bid. It was noted at our last meeting that we would have been excited to go to Toronto, as well. I hope we can start having smaller regular events on this continent, as they do in Europe. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+ 20:14, 23 October 2005 (UTC)


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