Brainstorm Ahead

Unconventional business conferences across Canada.

C2 Montreal

Montreal, Quebec

C2 Montreal

May 2016 Go on a brain date of a different kind at C2 Montréal, an intellectual and experiential event held in an unconventional “Innovation Village” that is part Cirque du Soleil, part Coachella music festival. This year’s event included a tented and ingeniously designed hangout and seminar space, a Ferris wheel, gourmet food pavilions and more. Want to sell your business to a financial backer? There’s a workshop for that. Looking to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with virtual reality? There’s a collaborative activity to get you started. Your schedule will also be filled with panels, master classes and conversations hosted by CEOs, company founders and creative directors. Next year’s headliners include David Suzuki and Airbnb head of global hospitality Chip Conley.

Ottawa, Ontario

Politics and the Pen

April 2016 Imagine sharing a table with author Douglas Gibson and Senator Joyce Murray. Or with Green Party leader Elizabeth May and scribe Taras Grescoe. Politics and the Pen – a fundraising event for the Writers’ Trust of Canada, which advances and celebrates Canadian writers and the creation of new works – makes it happen. This annual Ottawa shindig at the Fairmont Château Laurier gives attendees the chance to dine with a politician and a writer for an evening of highbrow conversation.

Ignite Edmonton Festival

(Photo: Edmonton Economic Development)

Edmonton, Alberta

Ignite Edmonton Festival

September 2016 For two days in September, creatives, emerging tech builders, entrepreneurs and product developers descend on the Shaw Conference Centre for the Ignite Edmonton Festival. Sessions take place on stages and in labs where individuals and teams learn new skills such as data tracking and prototyping, solve challenges in mentor-led projects and discuss possibilities for innovation in changing markets. Even the festival’s temporary pavilions, whose designs are submitted by local multidisciplinary design teams, are a creative challenge.

Adventure Canada

No conference rooms here

Adventure Canada offers educational cruise tours to Canadian wilderness destinations led by eminent personalities. Passengers on 2015’s Northwest Passage expedition, for instance, journeyed from Nunavut to Greenland with bestselling author and conservationist Margaret Atwood, who helped guests identify the Arctic’s rare seabirds in between beluga whale and polar bear sightings.


Dylan Otto Boelte, art director of Wired (and formerly of Spin and Vogue), speaks at MoSo. (Photo:

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


June 2016 If MoSo were a movie, it would be called Ideas: Catching Fire. This is the kind of event where people come to network, to be inspired by musical performances and to hear thought-provoking speakers share insights on topics ranging from how to leverage the power of social media to how music influences creatives. There are also opportunities to pitch business ideas and rub elbows with presenters and performers at event parties. It’s professional development – with an edge.

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