Update: the Toronto team dropped out of contention on October 1, to focus on 2009.
- 1 City details
- 2 Conference venue
- 3 Media
- 4 Accommodation
- 5 Party opportunities
- 6 Transportation and visa information
- 7 TTC
- 8 Local sponsorship opportunities
- 9 Local team
- 10 Miscellaneous
- 11 Self-evaluation
- Country: Canada
- Location proposed: University of Toronto (cs | de | es | eo | fr | id | it | ja | pl | pt | ru | fi | zh)
- City proposed: Toronto (fr | af | ang | ar | frp | zh-min-nan | be | bg | ca | cs | cy | da | de | et | el | es | eo | eu | fa | fy | ga | gv | gl | ko | hr | io | id | ia | is | it | he | kw | la | lv | lt | hu | mk | ms | nl | ja | no | nn | ug | pa | pl | pt | ro | ru | sq | scn | simple en | sk | sl | sr | sh | fi | sv | ta | th | vi | tr | uk | vo | yi | zh-yue | zh)
- Proposed dates: Flexible
- Contact person(s): Zanimum
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. It is also the safest major metropolitan area in North America. Toronto ranks among the world's most multicultural cities. 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 one of the world's highest percentages of foreign-born residents, and is one of the most diverse places culturally, lingually, and religiously. Second only to Beijing in the bidding for the 2008 Olympics, Toronto has recently played host to the XVI International AIDS Conference, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2007 International Bowl, and the Steelback Grand Prix. A small selection of upcoming conferences are available.
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 one of its most notable.
Dr. Gale Moore, Director of KMDI, sounds very enthusiastic about the opportunity to host the event when contacted recently.
- For the UofT St. George Campus map, click here
|Possible Halls||Capacity||Seating Plan||Photo||Notes|
|Adel Sedra Auditorium (Bahen Centre)||278||||||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.|
|Reichmann Family Hall (Earth Sciences Centre)||400||||||pleasant and modern lecture hall|
|J. J. R. Macleod Auditorium (Medical Sciences Building)||500||||||One block west of Baden|
|Ontaio Institute of Studies in Education (OISE)||500||||||In the northern area of the UofT St. George Campus, next to the TTC St. George Subway Station|
|Convocation Hall||1550||||This facility can be rented, at reduced rates for members of the university community|
There are several other UofT halls that don't fall under OSM (The University's Office of Space Management). These include Hart House Theatre (450 seats), Sorbara Hall (400 seats), and the luxurious Isabel Bader Theatre (500 seats). We may not be able to get these ones free, if they are required/desired..
New College has several lounges, not sure about Bahen. New College ones would be licensed. In addition, many of the other UofT affiliated colleges have lounges and pubs and all are close by.
(organisation, staff, speakers, interviews/press, storage):
- Smaller seminar rooms and offices could be used for these tasks.
Contacts with conference venue (emails, bookings etc.)
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.
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 . It was used to create a multimedia archives of the OS conference 
Existing technical installations
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 email@example.com.
Wireless Network implementation
The Bahen Centre has a state of the art wireless network. Students get free access to broadband at New College, so it should not be too difficult to set up our own network, if needed.
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. Knowledge Media Design Institute also has some more limited facilities at Bahen, which we will have access to.
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.
Preliminary contact has been made with CIUT on this proposed partnership.
The Bahen Centre for Information Technology incorporates multiple "green design" elements to reduce energy use, conserve water and enhance indoor air quality. It was designed by Toronto-based Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc and has won National Post Design Exchange Bronze Award in Environmental Category.  Also the university's Mississauga campus has LEED certified buildings, and a Green Star program. They have naturalized areas of their grounds, and use sustainable practices. Composting and organic bins are present in student residences and food services. Various reduction processes and purchasing policies are in place at the food services.
Storm water management, bicycle repair facilities, the Rewire project, paper consumption change through technological and behavoural means, a Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and are retrofitting lighting and urinals at various locations, as well as studying energy consumption of vending machines, computers, etc.
The University of Toronto Student Affairs pays for the publication of Green Perspective, an environmental magazine, are active in researching and developing alternative energies, and give rebates to students with hybrid vehicles.
- For the list of media in Toronto, please see Media of Toronto
As can be seen below, Toronto is Canada's media capital. Aside from the French-language channel SRC, all major national newspapers and television news channels are based in Toronto. (Radio-Canada/SRC maintain a bureau at the Toronto headquarters of their parent network, the CBC.)
The city is home to ten broadcast television stations (home to many national broadcasters), dozens of cable stations, and 33 radio stations. Television programs produced in town range from French to Chinese, Afghan to Urdu, Italian to Somali.
|Toronto's major media/news sources|
Both local stations and national stations based out of Toronto, with news programming.
|Name||Language||VHF/UHF||Has covered Wikimedia/Wikipedia in the past in their programming||Website|
|CBC Television (CBLT), and CBC Newsworld||English||05 (VHF)||Yes|||
|CBC Newsworld||English||Basic cable||Yes|||
|CTV (CFTO) and CTV Newsnet||English||09 (VHF)||Yes|||
|Citytv Toronto||English||57 (UHF)||Yes|||
|Global Toronto (licensed to Paris, Ontario)||English||41 (UHF)||Yes|||
|Radio-Canada (CBLFT)||French||25 (UHF)||Unknown|||
|ATN NDTV 24x7||Indian languages||Digital cable||Unknown|||
|Fairchild TV News||Cantonese||Digital cable||Unknown|||
|Other stations and programs in Canada that do news reporting in Toronto include the A Channel family, APTN National News (aboriginal), and CHCH.|
|Name||Language||Known Coverage of Wikipedia in their articles||Website|
|Toronto Star (local with national readership)||English||Yes|||
|The Globe and Mail (national)||English||Yes|||
|National Post (national)||English||Yes|||
|Toronto Sun (local)||English||Yes|||
|Sing Tao Daily (local with national readership)||Chinese|||
|Ming Pao Daily (local with national readership)||Chinese|||
|24 Hours (free local daily)||English||Yes|||
|Metro (free local daily)||English||Yes|||
|NOW (free alt weekly)||English||Yes|||
|eye weekly (free alt weekly)||English||Yes|||
|eye weekly (free alt weekly)||English||Yes|||
|Xtra (free LGBT weekly)||English||unknown|||
|Women's Post (free monthly)||English||unknown|||
|L'Express (free weekly)||French||unknown|||
|Catholic Register (weekly)||English||unknown|||
|At least twelve regular neighbourhood-specific newspapers exist in Toronto.
Toronto is home to daily foreign language newspapers in Italian (Corriere Canadese), Spanish (El Popular and Correo Canadiense), Korean (Korea Times), and Traditional Chinese dailies, both Mandarin and Cantonese (Ming Pao Daily News, Sing Tao Daily, Today Daily News, World Journal). Weekly and monthly papers exist for other languages and cultures, including the Caribbean and Black Canadians (Share), Chinese (C C Times and New Star Times), and Jews (Canadian Jewish News). In the suburbs of Toronto Arabic, German, Filipino, Indian, Inuktitut, Lithuanian, Nepalese, Portugese, Punjabi, Romanian.
It is home to many magazines, like Maclean's, The Walrus. The LGBT community reads homegrown content like Fab, Xtra!, and Siren. The U of T itself has an array of newspapers (The Varsity), magazines (idea&s), and academic journals.
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 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.
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.
Some of the "it" restaurants were listed in a recent issue of NOW Magazine, recommending "eats" near various universities in the city.
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 or the Entertainment District, each of which have dozens of clubs. Most clubs hold many hundreds of people, and would cost several thousand dollars to rent.
NOW also lists various area locales for live music.
contacts with accommodation partner(s)
(have you contacted the proposed locations, exchange of emails, price quotes etc.)
- morgan.keating[@]utoronto/./ca Morgan Keating, New College Group and Conference Sales
Wikimania traditionally hosts two parties, one for attendees (capacity of 250-350) and one for sponsors and VIPs (capacity 40-60).
- Attendees party: Being a world class city, Toronto has literally dozens of trendy bars and nightclubs which could vie for the opportunity to host an event. We want a spot that is close and fun. Potential spots include places such as The Devil's Martini and Crocodile Rock, both of which are close and fun.
- VIP/Sponsor party: Party at Casa Loma -- Toronto's only castle; when created it was the country's largest residence. With a medieval-meets-Victorian feel, this nearly 100-year-old spot has great character, and is a great location to hold a party.
Transportation and visa information
Estimated round-trip travel costs from all continents, searching mostly American travel sites covering the first weekend in August 2006. Note that this list must be updated to reflect 2008.
Toronto Pearson International Airport is served by over 50 domestic and international airlines, and features modern facilities, especially for international and transborder flights, with a terminal opened in 2004, and significantly expanded in 2007. It is the 29th busiest airport in the world, allowing it to have the amenities of many of the other airports (such as a museum, artwork, sculptures, plentiful shops and restaurants, and an interterminal shuttle), while being slightly less harried than the other facilities. The airport also has US Border Pre-clearance, allowing many Wikimedians to deal with Customs before arriving home.
|Frankfurt||$890||750€||Delta Air Lines|
|New Delhi||$1,510||1,260€||Air France|
|Hong Kong||$1100||794€||Japan Airlines (includes stops in Chicago and Tokyo)|
|Rio de Janeiro||$1,150||960€||Varig Airlines|
|Buenos Aires||$1,320||1,105€||Aerolineas Argentinas|
|Montreal||$140||120€||Via Rail (train)|
|New York||$310||260€||US Airways|
|Washington, DC||$320||270€||US Airways|
|Los Angeles||$440||370€||Air Canada or Delta|
|San Francisco||$590||490€||US Airways|
|Mexico City||$600||500€||American Airlines|
|Johanesberg||$1,650||1,380€||South African Airways|
|Fiji||$1,745||1,260€||Air New Zealand (1 stop in LA)|
Does this answer "Visa issues (who needs a visa, how easy is it to obtain it)"? Can we make this into smaller paragraphs?
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 would all need to apply for visas to enter the United States...but can freely travel to Canada without any formalities.
For those who do require a visa, it is still typically much easier to acquire a Canadian visa - for example, while the United States rejects 40 to 50% of student visa applications, Canada rejects only about 10%. 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.
Visa Requirements and Exemptions
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada/Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada - http://www.cic.gc.ca
|Countries and territories whose citizens require visas in order to enter Canada as visitors|
|Citizens of the following countries and territories require a Visa to VISIT or TRANSIT Canada:|
|C||Cambodia||Cameroon||Cape Verde||Central African Rep.||Chad||Chile||China, P.R.|
|Colombia||Comoros||Congo, D.R.||Congo||Costa Rica||Croatia||Cuba|
|E||East Timor||Ecuador||Egypt||El Salvador||Equatorial Guinea||Eritrea||Ethiopia|
|M||Macao S.A.R.||Macedonia||Madagascar||Malawi||Malaysia||Maldives Islands||Mali|
|S||Sao Tomé e Principe||Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of||Senegal||Serbia||Seychelles||Sierra Leone||Slovak Rep.|
|Somalia||South Africa||Sri Lanka||Sudan||Surinam||Syria|
|T||Taiwan (Republic of China)||Tajikistan||Tanzania||Thailand||Togo||Tonga||Trinidad and Tobago|
|U||Uganda||Ukraine||United Arab Emirates||Uruguay||Uzbekistan|
|Footnotes||1only Israeli citizens holding valid Israeli “Travel Document in lieu of National Passport”|
|Countries and territories whose citizens do not require visas in order to enter Canada as visitors|
|Many people do not require a visa to visit Canada. These include:|
Getting from the airport
- Distance from international airport: 32 km (20 miles) from Pearson International Airport
- Distance from mainline station(s): 3 km from Union Station (direct connections to the subway). GO Transit (public) and Pacific Western Bus Lines (private) run trips to Union Station.
- Subway: The university is served by four subway stations: Spadina, St. George, Museum, Queen's Park
- 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, and many affordable hotels within walking distance of the subway.
Blue22 is being considered as direct rail-based line, however it is unlikely that the service will be operational by the initial launch date of 2008, as having only recently received government funding.
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 Airport to the UofT (New College) 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 Spadina Station. At Spadina, go up the flight of stairs to the underground streetcar station. Get on the 510 Streetcar (it would either say KING or UNION STATION after 510, but don't worry because they both make stops at New College). Get off at Willcocks Street. As this stop is only about 250 m south of the Spadina station, walking is also an option.
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)
Local sponsorship opportunities
- 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 att kmdi.utoronto.ca - Dr. Gale Moore, Director of KMDI
Some sponsorships were arranged for our 2006 bid, but have not yet been reconfirmed.
Creative Commons Canada
- 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 creativecommons.ca - 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 were interested, as of our 2006 bid. 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 Lulu.com etc. Dr. Moore also mentioned that several law firms were interested in this. Besides KMDI's partners, many large companies have either their head office, Canadian branch office or regional head office in Toronto. Firms that should be approached include Rogers, Bell, RIM, Nortel, and the big 5 banks.
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.
Other: There is interest among the local tech community.
Unable to help
The Historica Foundation: The Historica Foundation, which funds having the Canadian Encyclopedia online, no longer has a grant program. People from the foundation and perhaps from the encyclopedia would, however, be very interested in attending a Toronto conference.
Note that we have purposely avoided titles as much as possible, to not stifle creativity and collaboration this early in the project. While formally assigning roles will be done later, in order to make sure goals are met, we feel it would only be a hindrance currently. There are many other Toronto-area, Ontario, and Canadian Wikimedians, that would be willing to help, but the following are our core team.
Rest of the Team
- SimonP, Simon Pulsifer, Toronto, ON.
- Nat, Nathaniel Tang, Toronto ON.
- Ktsquare, Kevin T, Toronto, ON.
- Shanel, Shanel Kalicharan, Mississauga, ON.
- Timbits, Emil Jabbarli, Mississauga, ON.
Note that Brampton and Mississauga are suburbs of Toronto.
Toronto is in the midst of experiencing a cultural renaissance, as only hinted to in our city's previous bid.
Quite literally a ten minute walk from the proposed building at the U of T, the world-renowned Royal Ontario Museum houses a collection of both natural history and civilizations. Architect Daniel Libeskind's major renovation and redesign has been completed, allowing the museum to gradually phase in bold new exhibits, doubling the amount of the collection on display, increasing accessibility, etc.
The Art Gallery of Ontario is the tenth-largest art museum in North America, with a collection of more than 38,000 works spanning the 11th century to the present-day. It is undergoing a $254 million redevelopment plan, which includes new exhibit areas and a new front fascade by architect Frank Gehry; it is set to be complete by spring 2008. The AGO is home to the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, which houses the largest public collection of works by this British sculptor.
Also part of this Renaissance are various new large-scale cultural festivals, a renovation of the Gardiner Museum of ceramic arts (within walking distance), and recently opened Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (within walking distance, the permanent home of the Canadian Opera Company and National Ballet of Canada). The National Ballet's school and the Royal Conservatory of Music have both greatly expanded and modernized their facilities.
There are also many established performing arts facilities and galleries across town. Within the theatre range, the city features many comedy clubs (Second City, Yuk Yuks), theatres for original (CanStage) and touring productions (Massey Hall, the Hummingbird Centre, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Royal Alexandra Theatre, to name a few). Some smaller stages focus on fringe productions (The Poor Alex) or specialties, like the queer-focused Buddies in Bad Times.
On campus is the Robarts Library, one of the world's largest university libraries (9,755,704 volumes), and the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library. Multiple smaller library facilities are scattered around campus. Off-campus (within minutes by transit) is the research-centred atmosphere of the Toronto Reference Library, which features various specialised collections, and shops like the World's Biggest Bookstore, Chapters, Indigo, and specialty bookstores like Swipe Books on Advertising & Design.
Other attractions in town include the nearby Bata Shoe Museum, CN Tower (which will have maintained the title of "world's largest freestanding structure" for over 30 years, before being dethroned in a few weeks from now), the Ontario Science Centre, and Hockey Hall of Fame.
Professional sports facilities including the Air Canada Centre (Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, Toronto Rock lacrosse), Rogers Centre (Blue Jays baseball, Toronto Argonauts football) and BMO Field (Toronto FC football/soccer) are all downtown.
The Canadian National Exhibition, the largest annual fair in Canada and the fourth largest in North America runs during the final two weeks of August. Caribana Caribbean parade, Pride Week (one of the largest in the world), Toronto International Film Festival (second largest in the world), Hot Docs (largest in North America), multi-genre arts festival Luminato, music festivals like North by Northeast and Beaches International Jazz Festival, the Cavalcade of Lights Festival, and Toronto's Festival of Beer.
See also the Visiting Toronto website.
Communities and Toronto's multiculturalism
One in three residents (36%) of Torontonians are visible minorities, and approximately half of the population was born outside of Canada. Around 63% of Torontonians are of varied European ancestry (prominently English, Scottish, Italian, and Portuguese); by 2017, the demographic is expected to be a minority in the city. For all three levels of government, most successful candidates have taken to making select campaign material available in multiple languages.
Chinese, collectively Mandarin and Cantonese, is the third most spoken language in Canada; 10% of Torontonians are Chinese. The city's main Chinatown is just southwest of the U of T; the collective area of Toronto's six “Chinatowns” is the largest in the world.
South Asians are a rapidly expanding demographic, making up 10% of Toronto's population; they are represented in even greater numbers in the western suburbs, where many hold federal and provincial office. Half of all African-Canadians live in Toronto, and they constitute around 6.6% of the population.
Chinatown is only the tip of the iceberg for Toronto's cultural communities. The university also neighbours Little Italy, Koreatown, and the highly diverse Kensington Market (including Jewish, Portuguese, Caribbean, East Asian, Iranian, African). Other distinct communities near the downtown, such as the Danforth (also known as "Greektown"), Corso Italia, Little India, Portugal Village and Church and Wellesley (LGBT), can be accessed within minutes by subway.
Other neighbourhoods within walking distance of the campus is the posh Yorkville shopping district to the west, and to the south is both the Fashion District and Queen Street West, a hub for music, performance, fashion, and the visual arts.
Toronto actively twins with cities through its International Alliance Program, in order to foster further business and cultural relationships. Among the “Partnership Cities” are Chicago, Chongqing (China), Milan, São Paulo, and former Wikimania host Frankfurt, Germany. Seven other cities are also linked to Toronto.
While Toronto experiences its share of crime, it is rarely to those visiting the city, and the University of Toronto is a stable, secure environment.
Weaknesses, and overcoming these weaknesses
- As of September 2007, we lack a Wikimedia chapter in Canada.
- Solution: Interest in a Canadian chapter has been increasing over the past few months, and there is significant amounts of area Wikimedians who are likely to join and help. Wikimedia Canada/Wikimédia Canada will be a bilingual, nationally tax-exempt charitable organization. Work in this area is in progress and it is very possible that we will have the chapter registered well before Wikimania 2008.
- In our 2006 bid, some Wikimedians expressed concern that those with criminal records may be barred from entering the country.
- Solution: While this is unfortunate, this segment of the attendees is very minimal. It is unknown if the US-based contributors that raised this concern actually attended Wikimania when it was held in Boston. 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 would apply 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 Wikimedians for every Canadian Wikimedian—but the current border-crossing rules can be considered slightly less of a disadvantage when travelling north.
- 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.
Strengths of Toronto
- 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.
- 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. Wikimania was held in Boston in 2006, but this year's (2007) Wikimania was in Asia ; Wikimania was held in Europe in 2005 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.
- 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%. 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.
- 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.
- 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 Toronto Islands.
- As mentioned, Toronto is a media hub.
- Toronto and Canada are very progressive in their laws. Officially recognized same-sex marriages are regularly performed in the city, marijuana is de facto legal, and legal drinking age is 19. August 2007 stats show that the city has a lower crime rate per capita than any other area of the country, and much lower than similarly-sized world cities. Since the end of WWII Canada has pursued peacekeeping missions, and the country has not had a federal budget deficit since the late 1990s.
- The province of Ontario makes a minimum of 40 hours of community service a prerequiste for high school graduation. This provides us with an easily-tapable pool of volunteers to help with less critical organizatonal and set-up chores.
- Our province's Lieutenant Govenor David Onley has said he'll make accessibility a key issue in his office, which started September 5, as Onley himself is a polio survivor. (Onley is a former science and technology reporter, as well as a Wikipedia fan.) All locations at the University of Toronto are wheelchair accessible, as are most, if not all of the area hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions. The only forseeable exceptions are some of the cultural neighbourhood, which have generally not been retrofitted.