World-class R&D and leadership in AI, fintech and digital media helps attract international business events with organisers keen on tapping into Canadian ingenuity to attract and engage audiences to their global events. Credit: Hiroaki Fukuda / Tourism Toronto
From the software and platforms we rely on day-to-day, to the ones that go unseen yet keep us safe, Canada’s Information and Communications Technology reach and influence is wide and deep. And technology leaders from around the world are discovering how Canada’s expertise can foster events that leverage local expertise, promote engaging conversations and drive the technology industry forward.
Canada’s technology sector remains a major economic driver outperforming much of the rest of the country’s economy in output, employment and innovation growth since 2012. In 2019, the technology sector contributed CAD$89.4bn to Canada’s GDP1. Of the world’s top 10 largest tech companies, nine have Canadian headquarters in the Greater Toronto Area and one in Montreal.
The defining characteristic of Canada’s technology sector is the rapidly increasing rate of innovation and productivity that continually occurs — not only in the industries that produce hardware, software, components, content and services used in technology applications, but also in the sectors that benefit from the adoption and use of these technologies. As Canada focuses on strengthening the economy, the technology sector is continuing to grow in prominence and is emerging as an industry that can make a significant impact.
Further, the impact of business events on this innovation growth is clear, with hubs of innovation and collaboration across the country. Technology business events facilitate world-changing conversations. Hosting business events in Canadian technology centres aligned with an organiser’s own technology objectives or mandate provides access to local thought leaders, hands-on learning and the experiences needed to leave a lasting impact not just on the host organisation, but the community, attendees and the industry as a whole.
Canada is leading with world in:
- Canada has become a leader in AI with Montréal and Toronto taking the lead as exceptional hubs for research and startup activity, closely followed by Edmonton and its Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute.
- A consortium of 100+ private entities, research centres, academia and high-potential startups, the Montréal-based Scale AI supercluster, is the central pillar of Canada’s AI ecosystem which identifies cross-sector collaborative projects, and provides funding and expert guidance to strengthen and improve the productivity of supply chains through the integration and responsible use of AI. Members include: Air Canada, COVEO, Creative Destruction Lab, Element AI, Majik Systems, McGill University, Mindbridge, Shopify, University of Alberta.
Digital Media and Entertainment
- With more than 230 immersive technology companies in 2019, Vancouver is home to the world’s second largest VR/AR sector and the largest cluster of the world’s top VFX and animation studios. Meanwhile, Montreal is the world’s fifth largest video game hub and home to Esports Central Arena—Canada’s first esports entertainment complex.
Montréal is the 5th largest video game hub and hosts a number of major esports events each year at Esports Central Arena, Canada’s first esports entertainment complex. Credit: Patrick Beaudry – evenko
- Wealthsimple, a leading Canadian online investment platform with growing UK operations, combines AI capabilities and user-friendly digital tools and personal financial advice to make smart, automated investing more readily available.
- Canada is also emerging as a leading crypto nation, ranking third behind the United States and the United Kingdom when it comes to embracing blockchain technology.
- Canada is the fifth largest cybersecurity innovation hub in the world by venture capital deals and the R&D intensity was more than three times that of the total Canadian ICT industry average in 20182. Toronto’s Herjavec Group has been ranked as the most innovative cybersecurity company three years running by responding to a changing threat landscape that goes beyond hackers to include state actors and organised crime.
- Kraken Robotics landed a CAD$40m deal to provide sonar for the Royal Danish Navy – the biggest contract to date for the company, which has offices in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Ciena became the second-largest supplier in the world of optical technology after purchasing Canadian capital Ottawa’s former technology giant Nortel Networks’ carrier ethernet and optical networking division in 2010. It has then gone to grow and do most of their global R&D in the capital city.
Meet with purpose
As Canadian trailblazers and their emerging technologies shape the future of work, health care, culture and society, Destination Canada invite conference-goers to meet in their tech hubs. With world-class expertise across the spectrum of innovation industries, Canadian tech hubs are a natural draw for conferences across a wide range of sub-sectors. Across Canada organisations can tap into Canada’s brain trust, connect with some of our brightest minds and thought leaders, as well as explore Canadian technologies powering the future during tech festivals, B2B exchanges, technical tours and more.
When combined with Canada’s vast landscapes, diverse cities and culture, dynamic culinary and nightlife experiences, and unique opportunities to explore groundbreaking ideas, it’s easy to understand why organisations around the world are choosing Canadian locations to host their global tech events. When top performers are recognised and rewarded with Canada’s unparalleled destinations and distinctive experiences, they’ll return home refreshed and inspired, ready to perform.
Edmonton, the capital of the Rocky Mountain province of Alberta, is home to one of the top five AI research institutions in the world Alberta Institute of Machine Intelligence. Credit: Tourism Edmonton / Sameer Ahmed @Sameer.design
Toronto’s distinct mix of culture, educational opportunities, diversity and talent draws the world’s best creators and thinkers, and some of the globe’s most prestigious tech events.
Thanks to Canada’s conference-friendly visa requirements and direct flights from many destinations, and depth of intellectual capital, organisations are looking to Canadian cities as ideal host destinations for their future conferences, congresses, and symposia. The Destination Canada Business Events team can help you meet with purpose in Canada when restrictions ease.
- Source: Quarterly Monitor, Information and Communications Technology Council, 2019 Q2.
- Source: Canadian Defence, Aerospace, Marine and Cybersecurity Industries Survey (2018), 2018 survey, released in 2020