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Collision Conference Will Bring 25,000 Tech Attendees to Toronto in 2019

Prepare for an influx of conversations about how “my startup will change the world.”

Collision is one of the biggest tech conferences in North America and it will be relocating to Toronto in 2019, following a three-year stint in New Orleans. The conference is a spinoff of the huge Web Summit conference that takes place in Portugal.

The move signifies Toronto’s surge through the ranks of global tech powerhouses as more than 25,000 attendees will touch down throughout the conference. The three-day event is oriented towards startup culture and hosts some of the biggest names in technology. This year’s edition features speeches from Al Gore, Microsoft president Brad Smith, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer, the CEOs of Tinder, Vimeo, Booking.com and more. Celebrities and athletes also attend to give keynotes.

Collision has been looking for a more global home for the conference and though Toronto is not officially confirmed, the team has been hinting at a move up north.

“Canada to some extent has lived in the technology shadow of America. But that’s changing and changing fast,” Collision founder Paddy Cosgrove wrote in a LinkedIn post. “A new wave of Canadian founders are building companies not just out of Canada but all over the world. From Shopify to Cloudflare, there’s a new generation blazing a global trail. Google’s AI visionary, Geoff Hinton, is based in Toronto, not Silicon Valley.

Cosgrove went on to mention that he has met with Toronto Mayor John Tory about a potential move, and even received a letter from Prime minister Justin Trudeau. If that’s not enough, Cosgrove discussed the move to Canada with prominent CEOs and journalists from around the U.S. and went on to shout out Techstars Toronto leader and startup veteran Sunil Sharma for being the city’s ambassador.

There is currently a vote where users can choose what city they want Collision to move to, with New York City and Denver as other options—but that seems moot now, given that Toronto is all but confirmed.

Another big positive about Collision in Toronto is more transparency and less problems surrounding immigration and entering the country. Cosgrove mentioned in his post that a few entrepreneurs were turned down at the U.S. border when they tried to attend Collision 2017—an unfortunate reality for the U.S. that would almost certainly not happen in Canada.

It would take an entirely new article to explain why Toronto deserves to host a conference on the scale of Collision. From huge advances in AI (as Cosgrove mentioned) to Sidewalk Labs’ choice of Toronto for the construction of a smart neighbourhood, and even how international tech talent is flocking to the city, the real question is why the city did not have a tech event of this scale before.

No dates or locations have been announced for a potential Toronto conference, but the official announcement is expected to come soon.

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