Toronto occupied not only one of the largest square-footage areas of the giant Web Summit tech conference last week in Lisbon, our city also commanded attention throughout the event as a highly visible presence across all aspects of the conference. A strong Toronto delegation, rising global relevance and the fact that Toronto hosts Collision, North America’s Web Summit event, all created an ideal opportunity for Toronto.

The Toronto Inc partnership of Destination Toronto, the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Toronto Global and the City of Toronto was formed to elevate Toronto’s profile and presence, particularly when a combined effort is more impactful. Web Summit is a perfect example of this theory put into practice. 

Web Summit Booth

Toronto’s booth on the show floor was large and packed with delegates throughout the entire conference. Toronto Global led an engaging panel discussion on talent attraction in the booth and it was a constant beehive of activity with many European tech companies thoughtfully approaching to discuss Toronto as a potential North American gateway for their business, and looking to Collision as the opportunity to connect with North American companies and investors.   

What made the Toronto presence even stronger was the active participation of a wide range of additional Toronto regional partners, including York University, University of Toronto, The One Eleven and regional economic development partners from York Region, Markham, Vaughan and Burlington. 

Beyond the strong Toronto delegation, Team Canada included some 300 total delegates including economic development teams as well as a range of Canadian tech companies. It was also encouraging to see such a strong and enthusiastic return for major tech events. As we saw when Collision returned to its live form in Toronto in June with 39,000 delegates, far surpassing initial expectations, Web Summit likely saw more than 70,000 delegates last week. 

As Toronto looks ahead to Collision and other key events in the tech sector in the coming years, the Toronto Inc partnership will continue to play a catalyst role in raising Toronto’s profile and global connectivity in tech and other key sectors to position the city for key meetings and investment.