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Guest post by Jemima Herman, Worldwide Partner Conference lead for the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team.
I was so happy to get back to Toronto for our 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) site visit a couple of weeks ago. It’s such a beautiful city! My colleagues, Peg McNicol (U.S. WPC Event Lead), Todd Nelmes (Sr. Public Relations Manager, U.S. Partner Team) and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC, see picture below)—which will be one of the main hubs of the WPC 2012 action—is right in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of the waterfront and the city’s business, fashion, and cultural districts. I was completely charmed by the Victorian buildings, avant-garde architecture, and tree-lined streets—all set against beautiful Lake Ontario. Gorgeous.
Torontonians are some of the most positive, friendly people you’ll meet anywhere, and this provincial capital is also recognized as the most ethnically diverse city on earth. Cultures from Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific all resonate in exceptional harmony in this diverse and flourishing city.
There was a lot to take in, so I’ll just share a few highlights from each day of our trip.
Monday, November 14 We kicked off the site visit with introductions. The entire WPC 2012 planning team was assembled for the first time, which was exciting. Then we did a walk-through of the MTCC—an incredible event space. We also met with the Canada Tourism Board and had a great team dinner at the Academy of Spherical Arts—an upscale pool hall in the building that once housed the largest billiard table manufacturer in the British Empire: “Racking them up since 1905!”
Tuesday, November 15 We started day two with a breakfast meeting, doing some event brainstorming while our brains were fresh. Then we toured hotels most of the day. I was really struck by the Intercontinental Hotel, which is connected to the MTCC, the Fairmont Royal York (picture at right; only 2 blocks from the convention center) and the Sheraton Hotel, 5 blocks away from the convention center.
Wednesday, November 16 Our action-packed, 13-hour final tour was led by our onsite vendor team from Starshot Ventures, Inc., and we found some restaurants and bars that would be perfect for hosting events, meetings, and team dinners. Highlights included lunch at CN Tower (picture at left) and a walking tour of One King West—a fabulous condo hotel in the financial district, housed in the 1914 Dominion Bank Building.
Also on the tour: the Distillery District, Polson Pier, the Government Entertainment Complex, the Financial District, City Hall/Nathan Phillips Square, Eaton’s Centre, Dundas Square, Yonge Street, Yorkville, Liberty Grand, and Ontario Place. (Yeah, we were pretty tired afterward.)
The site visit was a great start to what should be the best Worldwide Partner Conference yet! Keep your eyes on this blog for continuing WPC 2012 updates and planning information.
Next post: Things to remember when planning your trip to Canada.
U.S. WPC Community
I stayed at Intercontinental on Bloor for two years working on a consulting project. I love Toronto, and I'm pumped that you guys chose TO for 2012 WPC. Thanks for the updates.
Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Cogent Company
QuickStart and IMACP SoCal are fired up about WPC 2012 in Toronto! We're going to miss not having it back at our home turf in LA, but we've heard amazing things about Toronto. Thanks for sharing your journey so far, please keep us posted!