Major Toronto tech conference Collision cancelled because of coronavirus
After a wildly successful first year in Toronto, one of North America's largest and (dare I say?) coolest tech conferences won't be returning to the city as planned.
Collision 2020 — originally scheduled to take place within Toronto's Exhibition Place from June 22-25 — is the latest casualty of coronavirus panic.
The star-studded annual summit's parent company announced the news Friday morning, writing in a blog post that, while Collision is still happening this year, it will take place entirely online.
"For now, given the evolving nature of Covid-19, we think gathering tens of thousands of people from almost every country in the world in one place this June would be irresponsible," wrote Wed Summit Intelligence Ltd. CEO Paddy Cosgrave.
"Toronto has not suffered a significant Covid-19 outbreak, and at Collision we want to ensure that remains the case."
Postponing a 30,000 person tech conference with attendees from 125 countries because of #COVIDー19 & running it online instead is the socially responsible thing to do😷— Collision Conf (@CollisionHQ) March 6, 2020
So that's what we're doing: Meet Collision from Homehttps://t.co/TSnBBaPbJt
All 30,000 expected attendees can request full refunds of their tickets or transfer them over to Collision 2021, which Cosgrove says will take place once again in "magical Toronto" next June.
They'll also have full access to something called Collision from Home, regardless of whether they opt for a refund.
"Times may be uncertain, but one thing remains true. There's a simple power in people coming together. That's why we're launching Collision from Home," reads the company's website.
"Collision from Home attendees will participate from wherever they are in the world, livestreaming talks from tech CEOs, international policymakers and global cultural figures... Sometimes incredible things happen when we get together – whether it's online or off."
Another tech conference cancelled (moved to online version): Collision in Toronto https://t.co/kB7YRGXMsc— Sandy Kemsley (@skemsley) March 6, 2020
While one of the biggest, Collision is far from the first conference to cancel or postpone in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last week, the Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify cancelled its forthcoming Unite conference in Toronto over coronavirus concerns citing the importance of protecting the health and safety of its partners and employees.
The events industry at large is said to be suffering greatly on account of coronavirus concerns, with everything from Facebook's annual F8 developers conference and the Mobile World Congress to the massive Geneva Motor Show being put on ice while public health officials try to contain the virus.
Vox estimates that coronavirus cancellations have cost tech companies alone some $666 million (and rising) in wasted event dollars already.
Organisers of the world’s biggest sporting events are counting the cost of the coronavirus outbreak, which is threatening to cancel this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo while disrupting competitions around the world https://t.co/ls5kvnkMdP— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) February 26, 2020
Fortunately, Toronto will get one more crack at Collision next year.
The now six-year-old mega-conference, originally hosted in the U.S., signed on to be hosted in Toronto for a period of three consecutive years beginning in 2019.
"I am disappointed that Collision has had to make what I know is a tremendously difficult decision – as many other conferences around the world have had to do as COVID-19 has spread and many businesses limit global travel," said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a statement Friday morning on the cancellation of this year's offline Collision conference.
"Collision is North America's fastest growing tech conference and we are proud that it calls Toronto home. I have spoken personally with Collision founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave and told him we are committed to working with Collision to help host Collision from Home – the online conference that will be taking place this year," continued Tory.
"I will be working with Collision, City staff and Exhibition Place to make sure Year Two of Collision in Toronto in 2021 will be a fantastic event."
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