—This post was written by Helen Luck from the Golden Key chapter at the University of Toronto—
On February 14-16, the 2014 Golden Key Canadian Regional Summit (CANCON) took place in Toronto, which is Canada’s largest city. Over 100 GK members across the nation joined us on Valentine’s Day weekend to celebrate their love for exploration, academics and Golden Key! CANCON was hosted by the chapters at York University and the University of Toronto.
The fun began on Friday afternoon for early arrivals at the chic Intercontinental Toronto Centre Hotel with the “Golden Key Unlocks Toronto” challenge. Participants explored Toronto attractions in teams of 5 or 6 with our CANCON tour guides. The object of the game was to complete a list of tasks at various, uniquely Torontonian attractions and to capture these moments with photos shared on Instagram, with the hashtag: #unlockTO. The tasks required participants to be creative, intelligent and team-spirited. The top 8 individuals with the most photos in number and creativity were awarded prizes worth a total of $3,000 in value! The attendees were also encouraged to bring canned goods and clothing donations for Fort York Food Bank as one of the challenges. After some fun around town and early registration, we made our way over to a local college pub, Einstein Café and Pub to warm up, mingle and relax before the big day.
At 9:00am on February 15th, attendees arrived at the newly built, state-of-the-art academic venue at the Rotman School of Management for a day packed with great speakers, workshops and networking sessions. Late registrations began and students received their attendee bags with lots of helpful material, including a specially made CANCON personal care package, Regional Summit guides, maps and other goodies. Attendees settled in after a sponsored continental breakfast and live music. The welcoming remarks were given by the two co-Presidents of UofT and York, Helen Luck and Mithila Kurera, followed by GK Canada Director, Ian Sankey; Student Rep, Vitaliy Chernenko; and our CANCON chair, Azin Zanganeh. Our keynote speaker was Marie Rickard, who gave a truly inspirational talk encouraging us to not only celebrate our triumphs in life, but to embrace our failures as well.
Attendees then proceeded to their first of the three panel choices over the day; this year’s panels consisted of renowned speakers in diverse fields ranging from biotechnology, medicine, and engineering to business design, law, architecture, and the fine arts. All panels revolved around the theme, “key to success”, with the idea that all attendees will be inspired by our speakers to unlock their potential. After the panel sessions commenced, attendees socialized freely with their peers and our valued sponsors, accompanied by live music and light refreshments. Shortly after the networking session, Victoria Fard and Gian Parian, the other co-presidents from UofT and York, began the chapter roundtable discussions in which chapter representatives shared their achievements for the past academic year.
Being young professionals, we work hard, but of course we play hard too. Saturday night began with an excellent dinner at Batôn Rouge and the party continued well into the night at one of Toronto’s most popular clubs, Tryst Nightclub.
We promised an entire weekend of fun, so we certainly didn’t stop with Saturday! Sunday brunch was located at the hotel’s own Azure Restaurant, followed by a deeper tour of Toronto’s most popular attractions including the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Autoshow and the Hockey Hall of Fame. For those who stayed, we ended the weekend with a bang at the CN Tower’s 360 Restaurant as the group enjoyed the sunset on a 360-degree view of the Toronto skyline.
On behalf of the organizing committee, we would like to thank all our attendees, advisors, and York University and the University of Toronto Golden Key chapters for making CANCON 2014 a huge success. We hope that CANCON 2014 has inspired you in molding your own key to success. Our planning committee and volunteers had a wonderful time putting the Summit together and we can’t wait to see you again at CANCON 2015!