—This post was written by Alyssa Wiseman, Co-Chair at McGill University’s Golden Key chapter—
January 25-27, 2013 marked Golden Key’s Canadian Regional Summit, also known as CANCON, in freezing but always “cool” Montreal, Quebec! This fun-filled weekend was co-hosted by Concordia and McGill University Golden Key chapters. The conference kicked off around 1 PM on Friday with the Amazing Race. Golden Key members who were already in Montreal were divided into teams and given clues that required them to perform tasks as a group at different locations throughout Montreal. These hilarious tasks were immortalized in pictures that served as proof of the team’s efforts. Registration followed. Registrants received their awesome programs and swag bags, filled with gifts from our sponsors, as well as Golden Key t-shirts and hats. Everyone then made their way to Peel Pub to hang out and try the local delicacy: poutine! We topped off the night with a trip to Igloofest, an outdoor techno dance party in the Old Port featuring great beats, tug-o-war, ice slides and roasted marshmallows. What a way to spend the first day!
On Saturday, we began bright and early with our keynote speaker, Chris Wynn, a film director whose most recent work is entitled “Forgetful Not Forgotten”. He discussed his film and the community of caregivers of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s that was born from his work and its accompanying website. His talk was interactive, inspirational and representative of the fact that Golden Key’s three pillars can be implemented and accessed in a number of different ways. This was the theme for the day.
What followed was a series of panels; each of which considered the three pillars from another perspective. The topics included Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Engineering, Embracing Diversity, Balancing Academics and Wellness, Human Rights, and Making Hospitals a Better Place. The speakers were dynamic, informative and fun (Ms. Adonna Greaves of the panel that focused on wellness made the audience do squats!). Panelists were given an opportunity provide some context to their work in the form of a 15 minute introduction but the bulk of the panels were formatted as a question and answer period. This allowed moderators to guide the discussions appropriately and audience members to contribute to the talk. Around 4 PM, sponsors were invited to set up booths and discuss community service, course and job opportunities with the opportunities with the attendees. Coffee and cookies kept us going!
The event wrapped up with representatives from each chapter sharing their chapter initiatives with each other. These round-table discussions proved fruitful last year when CANCON was held in Vancouver and this year did not disappoint! It never ceases to amaze me how different our initiatives are, despite our values being the same! Because the party never stops in Montreal, attendees then went out for a night on the town, which began with dinner at Weinstein and Gavino’s and ended with some crazy partying at Club Entourage!
On Sunday, those who weren’t too exhausted from the night before went for brunch at Eggspectations. After that, for those who opted for the Biodome/Insectarium/Botanical Gardens and Snow Village Sunday Funday events were escorted to their destination but for others, it was sadly time to say goodbye!
As an organizer of the event, words cannot describe my gratitude to the McGill and Concordia University chapters, as well as the Canadian attendees! You made CANCON an unbelievable success! Good luck with the rest of your school year and catch you at CANCON 2014!