Exploring Innovate Canada 2019
Innovate Canada – where Business Events, Trade, Investment Collide
With a focus on Canada’s life sciences, medtech and pharma ecosystem, Innovate Canada 2019 introduced global C-suite executives to the possibilities for trade, investment, expansion, and hosting international business events in Canada.
The four-day event was hosted in Toronto, Canada’s largest, and North America’s second largest life sciences centre. An opportunity to showcase the innovation taking place in Toronto’s health tech ecosystem, Innovate Canada spotlighted the work being done across Canada as life sciences and destination marketing experts from Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, Halifax and Invest in Canada took part in this signature event to attract global meetings and investment to Canada.
“Canada is a destination of choice to host international business events,” says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director of Destination Canada’s Business Events team who notes that aligning Innovate Canada with the country’s leading innovation sectors such as life sciences, Business Events Canada is helping organizations connect with Canadian thought leaders, industry innovators and others who can help champion or augment conferences hosted here.
“We call that meeting with purpose,” says Sturk-Nadeau. “Today’s business event organizers and C-suite executives are choosing destinations that align with their organization’s mission or knowledge sector. By spotlighting the industries in which Canada excels, Business Events Canada leverages the intellectual capital organizers are seeking in their host destinations.”
Part of Business Events Canada’s multi-pronged approach to cultivate new business includes hosting ground-breaking events such as Innovate Canada. While in Toronto, high-valued prospects for trade, investment, business expansion and business events enjoyed curated living lab tours, an opportunity to experience the Collision Conference, and one-on-one presentations by life sciences and destination experts with a goal to entice new business events, or investment opportunities to their cities.
What’s impossible today won’t be tomorrow. We aimed to showcase that concept through living lab tours focused on emerging technologies that will impact the next generation of medical imaging, brain health research, regenerative medicine and more.
A visit to J-labs innovation hub revealed a new approach to charting that will consolidate data for patient care teams. A visit to STARR (Spatio-temporal Targeting and Amplification of Radiation Response) revealed how their medical imaging innovations at UHN's Teaching Institute are impacting cancer, Alzheimers, HIV and cardiac care therapies.
Vast volumes of brain health research are now available, thanks to Interaxon and their ground-breaking EEG headbands designed to teach meditation. Pioneers in surgical planning and navigation, robotic digital microscopy and data platforms, Synaptive presented their approach to making medical imaging more readily available beyond large hospital centres.
BlueRock presented their CEL_GENE platform which is being used to develop an entirely new generation of authentic engineered cell therapies in neurology, cardiology and immunology.
Attendees of Innovate Canada were provided with a VIP pass to one day of the Collision Conference. The event (the first of a three-year commitment to Toronto) welcomed over 27,000 delegates from 120 countries and featured a HealthConf track where scientists, patient advocates and CEOs discussed the use of AI in drug discovery, the need for clinical evidence to support the efficacy of medical cannabis, and the challenges presented by neurodegenerative diseases, and how data-driven solutions will redefine the future of healthcare.
“This is not a FAM,” notes Virginie De Visscher, director of business development, economic sectors for Business Events Canada. “Innovate Canada is an opportunity for high-valued global prospects to take a deep dive into our industry ecosystems. But, by aligning the event with a high-profile conference such as Collision, we can demonstrate that we not only have Canadian talent but it’s just that talent that helps attract a global audience to events hosted here.”
Before, After, In-Between – Exploring Toronto, Canada’s Downtown
Of course no conference is complete without an opportunity to explore beyond the innovation environment. Host partners, the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and Business Events Toronto, treated Innovate Canada guests to an array of delectable experiences, including a taste of Canada welcome reception, lakeside, and a night out in Toronto’s entertainment district with a reception and dinner at Barro. Our final evening was co-hosted by Business Events Canada and Invest in Canada and featured a mad scientist’s lab, complete with molecular gastronomy, taste bud altering experiments, and a dynamic laser light/dance performance.
The Future of Innovate Canada
Innovate Canada 2020 will focus on Canada’s ocean sciences technologies and will be hosted in St. John’s, Newfoundland in alignment with the much anticipated World Aquaculture Conference.