Wikimania 2009/Bids/Toronto/Q&A

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This page is for questions and answers from the Jury and the public to the Toronto bidding team.


Chapter support?[edit]

Is this bid officially supported by a local chapter (or future chapter)? Angela 03:46, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there are many discussions to start up a local chapter (Wikimedia Canada) OhanaUnitedTalk page 05:22, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Regarding Wikimania Canada, the reason (besides Canada's exaggerated geography) we've been so slow is just a general confusion over purpose-- there was no one project idea that excited everybody, until Wikimania. -- Zanimum 16:06, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
...and there are a lot of similar faces when you look at who is working on this bid and who is working on getting WMC up. I am sure that when WMC gets up and running (most likely before 2009), it will be able to help out with Wikimania as an organization. Cbrown1023 talk 18:50, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
... and there's quite a few people active in WMC, that haven't had any involvement with this bid yet, so there is untapped potential. -- Zanimum 16:06, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Number of people involved?[edit]

How many people are actively working on this bid? Has there ever been a meetup of Wikimedians in this city? If so, what is the average number of attendees? Angela 03:46, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
As for meetings of Wikimedians, there seems to be a number of workshops and meetings aimed at Greater Toronto Wikimedians. w:Wikipedia:Meetup/Toronto lists a group and meeting times for Wikipedia specific meets, but that page also lists a few other regular meetings that are wiki-focused. Historybuff 07:27, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Please indicate how many people are actually bid participants, preferably with areas of interest for the conference itself, not simply active in local meetups and more casual events. +sj | help with translation |+ 03
52, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not the main point person, but I know of 6 people with interest in various areas of the bid locally. I've talked to them in IRC at various times, and on the wikimedia canada mailing list. I was personally unaware that there were so many in-person events that were going on already -- one of the team contribs pointed that page out. Historybuff 15:56, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
There is a list of "organizing team members" on the bid page itself: Wikimania 2009/Bids/Toronto#Organizing Team Members. A glance at the history of the page shows that the main participants have been Nat, OhanaUnited, and Zanimum, they've worked on the bulk of this bid. However there has also been quite a bit of help from others. I've asked the three members of the core team to comment here with there areas of interest for the conference itself. Cbrown1023 talk 18:50, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
My main area of interest is recruiting volunteers. I have connections with various volunteer organizations and can gather some volunteers. OhanaUnitedTalk page 20:25, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm a member of ComCom, so anything like that. Also sorting through speaker proposals, booking speakers. I guess we haven't mentioned in the actual bid, we've essentially confirmed a Canadian, who's one of the top tech law people. (It's date dependent, but it's pretty certain.) But yeah, that sort of arena, mostly. -- Zanimum 15:49, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I met a few ORION folks at a conference a while back, and I am willing to work with them to get some of the sessions boardcasted/multicasted to the Internet. I am also interested in finding local sponsors -- the Greater Toronto Area has a lot of high-tech firms, including Sun, IBM, Google, AMD, HP just to name a few. Raysonho 05:27, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Expenses and budget[edit]

Rough outline of budget[edit]

I know it's way too early to make fair estimations etc, but could you give a rough outline of the expected budget? What order of magnitude do things cost, what do you expect for the exchange rates to happen, how much money do you expect to collect from local sponsors etc. Would you expect to be able to cover all local expenses with local income? Effeietsanders 21:37, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Exchange rates aren't predictable, but they've been fairly steady recently.
From various conversations I've had with potential sponsors in the past, I feel fairly confident we could fund most, if not all of the local expenses from in-country sponsors. v:User:Historybuff 16:19, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Could you (or someone else?) please elaborate a little more on the budget? I mean for example, which things do you expect to spend most of the money on, which things do you expect natural sponsors, for which do you need financial sponsors, which orders of magnitude are you thinking of? Re: exchange rate, I assume you mean ezxchange rate with USD? (ie extremely unstable against EUR? :P)Effeietsanders 19:14, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Cost of attendance[edit]

How much will it cost the average participant to attend? You can leave out travel costs, since those vary, and distinguish between lodging (with a range) and conference fee (with a range that depends on sponsorship). +sj | help with translation |+ 03:46, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

airfare[edit]

How much will airfare cost, roughly? See other bids for an example of how to present rates to Karlsruhe from major transportation hubs nearby. +sj | help with translation |+ 03:49, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, we've moved much of the information about transportation to and transportation around Toronto to a subpage. We've established the estimate airfares for 36 major hubs, with prices in USD and Euros. We used the table used in most historic bids. Also, I've just added the complete list of the 53 airlines that serve Pearson. Hopefully that helps. -- Zanimum 16:37, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Local vs international visitors[edit]

What visitors ratio do you aim for and/or do you expect with regard to whether they are coming from "local" (please answer for various definitions of local if appropriate, ie your province, country, continent) vs "interlocal" visitors? Do you plan to focus in your program (partially) on the local visitors, for instance with language, speakers, subjects? Effeietsanders 21:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

While it's always hard to estimate, I would say we'd expect more then 60% of attendees to be from out of Canada. Many would be from the US, but I would expect a good proportion (30%+ of overall total) to be from Europe and South America, as Toronto isn't a wildly expensive or distant spot. From the roughly 40% coming from inside Canada, I'd say half (20% of overall total) will be truly local, in the sense that they can drive less then 2-3 hours and be in Toronto. The rest would be distributed across the country, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
As for focus, we expect to mainly present in English. That said, Toronto is really the heart of multicultural Canada, and we would be overjoyed to offer tracks in French (our other official language), as well as a variety of others. We would certainly be open in our call for proposals to a variety of subjects and speakers in a multitude of languages. We could support this by gauging interest during booking, so that we could tailor our program to fit attendees preferences. v:User:Historybuff 16:55, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I'd be a bit more conservative, and say that 30% of our attendees would be from Canada. It's hard to judge really; there's likely to be ample interest from non-contributor locals, especially in the area university/tech/open source communities. I'd like to reemphasise the key advantage to Toronto, geography-wise, that we're a manageable distance from the big American population centres.
Agreed with Historybuff's last point there, much of the specialty programming would be determined through the booking process. We'd definitely be open to any such concepts, if they were presented during our call for participation, when we'd better know what local issues are worth discussing. -- Zanimum 18:15, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Travel scholarships[edit]

In the past, Wikimania has offered a number of travel scholarships to community members from around the world. Have you thought about how this would ideally work for a Wikimania in Toronto? Have you made efforts to identify sources for similar scholarships for this event, particularly from local and national organizations? +sj | help with translation |+ 22:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Due to legal restrictions, Canadian Sponsors probably won't be able to offer funding for travel scholarships directly. That said, I feel quite confident that we will have formed a Canadian Chapter sometime in 2008, and that any kind of Travel scholarships we might offer can be channelled through them Internationally. We will have access to wide array of sponsorship opportunities, both in Toronto itself and Nationally across Canada. Naturally, any International funding not needed for local costs can be used to provide additional sponsorships. v:User:Historybuff 16:30, 14 February 2008
Just to add on, an honest assessment of progress in Wikimedia Canada looks like we should be up and running as a registered non-profit organization in a few months. -- Zanimum 17:17, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Rough timeline[edit]

What elements of the preparation and setup do you already know have a timeline component, and what is this timeline? What are the first things that will have to be settled? How far out will you need room counts, deposits for any reservation or rooms, &c? What other major events do you expect to be taking place around the same time as Wikimania? +sj | help with translation |+ 22:34, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Due to the way in which space is booked at our preferred venue, we would be looking at September 2008 for room ideas. I would assume that this situation would be similar for booking various accommodation rooms (usually book a maximum of 1 year in advance). We would try to make some sort of arrangement so that people can pre-book during WM2008, if it is possible.
As the dates are somewhat flexible, we can see what is coming up; as the conference is over a year and a half away, the information on other events is a bit sketchy at this point. Toronto has lots of venues and hosts many conferences, so I don't expect there to be any unmanageable conflicts.
The first thing to be settled would be committing sponsors, so that we can get firm ideas of what we can commit to budget wise. v:User:Historybuff 16:11, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Toronto has a ton of stuff going on in the summer, but there are only two events that really strain the hotels. In 2008, Pride Week will be June 20 to 29, and the parade for the Caribana cultural festival is set for August 2. They're pretty much the same time every year, and since we were hoping for June or early July, there's no worries with either. Any weeks within that range, there should be easy access to hotel rooms at all price levels. -- Zanimum 17:11, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Also beneficial to us is that the Indy car race is canceled this year, due to the merger of two racing leagues. That provides us with another weekend with little distraction. -- Zanimum 18:28, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Visas[edit]

For those countries that do require a visa for traveling to Canada, what can you tell us about the process? How expensive is this, how long does it take, how does one go about getting the visa? To what extent does this vary by country of origin? --Michael Snow 17:06, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, at least part of that is answered by this page. Based on the trend, I'm starting to see that splitting the bidpage wasn't our best idea.
Does this answer the question? I'll honestly say I know next to nothing about the topic, but I'd be glad to research further. -- Zanimum 20:17, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
http://ci.gc.ca/english/visit/index.asp is the official site for Canadian visa information. --66.102.80.212 23:35, 9 March 2008 (UTC)