Highlights from WordCamp Toronto 2016

A Torontonian’s take

WordCamp Toronto holds a special place in my heart. I helped organize the event from 2011 through 2015, and did the same with the local WordPress meetup group during that time. So for the last six years, it’s played a big role in my life, and it’s been a core part of how I introduce myself to others.

Many — if not most — of my professional relationships have come from this community. So when I show up at a local event like WordCamp Toronto 2016, it feels like a reunion. For a good chunk of attendees, we’re beyond being contacts or colleagues or connections; we’re friends. And that adds a whole other dimension to the WordCamp experience.

As a Torontonian, I was happy to see WordCamp Toronto 2016 move into the downtown core. There’s a lot to love about our city, but out-of-town visitors haven’t experienced much of it during the last few WordCamps.

This time, attendees were steps from all of the major tourist attractions, and most everything else was a quick transit ride or cab ride away.

I was happy that the event moved into August. It’s the best possible weather you’ll get in Toronto. A number of attendees even planned mini-vacations around #WCTO16 this year so they could squeeze in some recreation and relaxation time. (You don’t see much of that in the middle of November!)

And I was also happy to see so many new speakers coming to Toronto, some coming all the way from eastern Europe, or from the southwestern United States. (We often have folks coming up from the midwest, upstate New York, and New England, but they’re practically family at this point.)
Overheard at WordCamp Toronto 2016
So, with Toronto pride out of the way … here’s a bit of what we overheard this year.

Shawn Hooper got some well-deserved praise from our friends at SiteLock.



Tom Auger shared insights about user empathy and crafting brilliant UX.



Michelle Ames showed off the surprise speaker gift: pannier messenger bags!



Meanwhile, Tracy Apps reminded everyone that designers aren’t “pixel pushers.”



Billy Gregory touched on user experience, too — specifically what we can do to make the web more accessible for all.



There were even ukulele jam sessions!


Many thanks to the organizers, volunteers, and speakers for making WordCamp Toronto 2016 happen.

And if you’re reading this and didn’t make it to Toronto this year: see you in 2017! Drop me a line and we’ll grab a Timmies.

Also published on Medium.