WordCamp Photos & Feedback Survey Results


First up: We’ve got photos! You’ll find them in the photo gallery. Special thanks to Mike Day from The Art of Weddings, our afterparty photobooth team at FunPhoto, and additional thanks to Shanta for contributing some great shots.

View the photo gallery.

Secondly: Feedback survey results are in! Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Venue is great, but distance from the city core is a big challenge.
  • T-shirt design was awesome.
  • Streaming is awesome.
  • Schedule timing was good.
  • Gluten-free, vegan- and diabetic-friendly food is a must for next year.
  • Bring back juice/bottled water as an alternative to fillable water bottles.
  • Provide more transparency into how sessions are chosen.
  • Get speakers to post slides in advance whenever possible.
  • Get microphones for speakers who have trouble projecting.
  • More live code examples. More prep and diversity in panels.

Read on for more details.

Location & Venue Feedback



  • A bit of a pain to get to on the bus, but not too bad. Great layout, excellent wifi accessibility. Spacious rooms with exactly what the speakers needed.
  • While the location is far (for a downtown resident) the quality of the venue trumps any inconvenience. I would have no problems with next year’s WordCamp being at Humber.
  • I don’t think you can find a better venue than this.
  • Ignore all the haters. Humber Lakeshore is a GREAT location for WCTO. Don’t let go of it, ever!
  • The traffic was just incredible at the afterparty time.
  • I live in the west end so the location was ideal for me. The facilities are excellent and no problems with the wi-fi.
  • I know this might be tough, but a venue in the downtown core would be excellent.
  • Venue location is a little out of the way but the physical venue itself is nice and clean with large windows and free parking is abundant. I think it’s a good choice to hold the camp there. I attended in 2013 where there was less rooms and it was standing room only in many talks. I do appreciate that there are more tracks that allowed for more diversity and less people per room.
  • Humber is great, but it happens to be in the far west end of the city. If WordCamp happened earlier in the fall, the after party could be a barbecue on the campus. It’s a beautiful campus. Special recognition should go to John, the IT support person from Humber, and the security personnel. To say they were helpful or supportive simply doesn’t express the extent of their cooperation and accommodation.
  • I love the venue for layout, parking, and location. You are very lucky to be having it hear.
  • Thumb up for Venue, but not location
  • The web site says the L bldg is used by the Media & IT dept… so when I saw a different building with the label “Media & IT”, I went there first. Very annoying to find nothing happening there. Why mention the other dept.? Other than that: very nice building, good facilities. In room 1017, the video lights were a bit of a nuisance: I had that bright spot within my field of view during the presentations.
  • Although accessible via public transportation, the trip is long. The session start time did allow enough time though to get to the venue via TTC so that was good.
  • Excellent location and remarkable location. Facilities at Humber A1
  • Loved that the campus was so close to the lake. Some quick walks were had to revive and take in the scenery!
  • It was difficult to connect to the wifi.
  • Used the bus and was dropped off at Humbar College Lakeshore. It took us to the West building and had to walk around for a while to find out we needed to be on the east side. It was our bad for not preparing beforehand (and being American so we had no data access), but we eventually found the place.
  • Great location.
  • Would prefer a more central location.
  • Loved the free parking. That’s HUGE for me. I came in from Oshawa. An east end location would have been more convenient personally for me, but where it was was just fine.
  • This was my second time at Humber for WordCamp. Given that my battery wasn’t dead this year when I had to leave my house, my impression has improved. I think the venue is perfect for this event, and there were wasn’t the same overcrowding in the classrooms as last year. Getting back downtown at 5:00 seemed almost as bad as last year; fortunately I skipped the Gardiner, and had I not got lost in south Kingsway, the drive along Bloor wasn’t too bad; more importantly, there was light traffic in the morning.
  • Humber College is ideal for this event. They are gracious hosts, and provide so many great amenities. The rooms are comfortable and I love that I can plug in in any room.
  • Excellent
  • Really out of the way. Something central would be better – Ryerson, George Brown or U of T.
  • Came from Woodstock, ON. Great weekend away
  • It was terrific to have FREE PARKING! Venue was very good – lots of space and washrooms!
  • Easy to get around to all the lectures.
  • It was a beautiful venue, but a little far west.
  • Hope every year is at this venue.
  • Wish it could be somewhere accessible from the subway system. I know WC needs to be at a college so that limits your choices.

Session, Schedule, and Speaker Feedback



“Some of the Saturday sessions seemed like they might have been better suited to a different track.”

“While I didn’t go to the defeatharper.ca talk, I had no interest in attending it fearing it was going to turn into a Harper bashing session. I don’t have any affiliation to Harper but WordCamp should not be a place where this type of lecture should be – especially when the election hasn’t occurred yet.

I might have attended it only if the election was behind us and it was a talk about the site in-retrospect. I do think the speed & security themed sessions were good but there was a bit of overlap from speaker to speaker. I’m not sure I like multiple view points on the same topic.”

“All excellent.”

“Clever to have the silos. Good schedule: enough time for a presentation with focus. I assume some speakers are a bit new to that role; if they are, encourage them to rehearse. Most of the speakers clearly do lots of presentations, and projected personality as well as delivering their content.”

“More sessions like FacetWP!!! I had more ‘Eureka’ moments during that one than any other. Best session of the weekend. Schedule is great and I know there’s a lot to fit in but even 10 more minutes would be great.”

“A splendid selection of sessions catering to all types and levels of WordPress users.”

“I am 70 yo and somewhat hard of hearing. Some of the speakers really projected but some were very soft spoken, and I struggled to hear through the whole thing. I missed a lot.”

“Microphones would have been good for those who do not project. My daughter was with me. She is only 49 and she too had trouble hearing in some (not all) of the sessions.

Schedule – I was sick on Saturday and missed the whole day. On Sunday I had to choose my sessions based on the the titles, many of which meant nothing to me. I chose two sessions that were totally irrelevant to me, simply because I didn’t have sufficient info on the little card to make an informed decision. If I’d had the time I should have studied the schedule from the email that came in before the event – my bad. Lesson learned. Titles are important!”

“The speakers were fine. But the panels should have more practice and live coding. […] You just CAN’T teach code with powerpoint slides. Everybody would understand and learn something if they saw the panelist doing it live and showing how and WHY it works. Or, if possible, they should be able to follow along on their laptops.”

“The speakers were all great. A couple were over my head. They selflessly helped us and fed us lots of info. I am particularly interested in SEO and Allan Pollett was so informative – thanks for putting him last of the day cause he kept answering our questions for a long time after the lecture. All the speakers were so supportive and helpful.”

“Would really like to have links to all speakers’ slides while at the conference. Several didn’t, and didn’t know if they weren’t going to provide them, so had to write madly instead of listen. You asked speakers to upload theirs to SlideShare a couple days before — would be great to for you to have had a page on WCTO site linking to all of them by the time the conference started.”

“This was my first wordcamp and I was very impressed with the quality of the speakers. Out of everyone that I attended there was only one that seemed out of place. defeatharper.ca It was not on the building but more on how they want to defeat harper.”

“Good session length allowed for enough depth. Breaks in between kept things on track in case speakers needed set up time.”

“Great speakers, schedule, content. Would like even more advanced developer sessions. Liked seeing speakers from USA like Suzette Franck.”

“Lunch is too late and long. We don’t need that much time.”

I really enjoyed hearing Alex Sirota, Christine McGlade, Jonathan Perlman, Seth Alling, Alycia Mitchell and Meagan Hanes! They were great speakers.”

“The session were well organised and were in their schedule. Excellent speakers
If you can get the speakers to post the location of the “slides” at the beginning of the session that would help to follow along.”

“Some speakers were great, some were poor. Perhaps some more content review before choosing the speakers to make sure their content lives to the up to the title of the talk.”

“I only went Saturday. I thought the schedule was good. Glad it doesn’t start till 10. Lunch break was the appropriate length. Of the sessions I went to, I thought Jessica Gardner was the best presenter — really learned a lot in a short, concise talk. I also found Ben Martin and Seth Alling to be good presenters, and I learned things I needed to know in their talks. Found it hard to see all of the screen in Alycia Mitchell’s Google Analytics talk; she was also a good presenter though.
On Saturday the speaker for the A/B testing was great.”

“I thought the sessions were good. In some cases it would be really great to be more hands on and code along with the presenter. I loved the fact that there was a live stream this year.”

“There is a wide range of skill level with speakers. The unfortunate result is that some speakers with excellent content aren’t heard; that’s too bad. The sessions could be longer, but I think there is value in having the large number and variety of presentations. I think the shorter sessions encourage people to take action precisely because it leaves them with questions.”

“Can we make checklists for the room volunteers? This might help to ensure equipment is well tracked, speakers get the maximum support, and attendees are best served. For example, a checklist that includes a bag for all the camera equipment. Another checklist for room hosts that includes advice to ensure speakers take everything with them when they leave. WordCamp Toronto has reached a level of success at which the details are becoming the defining features.
Almost all of the speakers were excellent.”

“I wish that Shayda Torabi’s had been on the first day. It would have helped more first-time attendees. Other than that, everything and everyone was amazing.”

“I think it would be beneficial for Wordcamp to be transparent about the reason they choose certain speakers and certain topics. Otherwise, it can come off very politically driven.”

“In one session, the speaker couldn’t get presenter view to work until well into the presentation. Best to brief speakers about equipment etc. beforehand. Digital Marketing session was geared to beginners and should have been on the beginners track.”

“Really learned a lot from the newbie to core contributor talk on Sunday.”

Food & After Party Feedback



“Loved the food. But would prefer gluten-free snacks to go with the coffee.”

“Cafeteria food was ok. Afterparty was great.”

“Couldn’t go. However got caught up in the middle of crazy Nuit Blanche traffic. Not sure if that will be a problem in future as Scotiabank has pulled out of Nuit Blanche.”

“I think there’s a need for a sponsor/sponsors for water and other liquid refreshments. This is not a complaint, just a suggestion. The (water) bottle refill station worked very well …with thanks to GoDaddy for the plastic tumbler I used.”

“After party location wayyy to far from venue. Suggest within a few blocks of venue.”

“I enjoyed the food. Thanks for all the coffee too.”

“Food was amazing. I did not realize that it was included in the price. I thought I would have to go to the Tim Horton’s to purchase some lunch, boy was I surprised to see that lunch was provided and the quality of the food was amazing.”

“As a vegan, I was disappointed with the snacks and lunch. In Toronto, there are tons of places that cater sweets and desserts like what was available for breakfast, and they taste the exact same. Also, the lunch option for me on Saturday was horrible: pasta and tomato sauce, where the server offered me a spoonful of meat sauce after I explained I’m vegan, and there was a chunk of meat that cross-contaminated the noodles. Lunch on Sunday was much better, though, with an option that contained protein (tofu) and was quite tasty. Thanks 🙂 ”

“The location was out of the way in the core of Toronto which made it hard to get to. While I understand why it chosen so that attendees could be close to Nuit Blanche but it would have drawn a bigger group if it were located closer to the venue.”

“I know Sunday isn’t ideal for the afterparty, but it’s a little tricky to speak/turn up to the Sunday events after such a late night 🙂 ”

“Lasagna ROCKED”

“Food was fine. Didn’t attend after party (mostly due to travel constraints). Saturday’s cookies were better than Sunday’s cakes 🙂 ”

“Food: Surprisingly good this year. No triangle-gate 😀 After Party: simply announce that there’ll be food – half the people came late cause they were eating, only to find food there. Urg!
Too much sugar at breakfast and breaks. Some fruit, breads, etc. would have been better than cookies and cake. Lunches were excellent.”

“Absolutely no snacks for diabetics. I was starving mid-morning and could only find sweets that would have put me in a diabetic coma. Please provide fruit/veggies/crackers/cheese, etc for snacks in future. Bottled water or juices would have been nice for taking into the sessions (in addition to what was provided.)”

“Great lunches… please pass that along to the caterer. Great to have coffee & snacks available nearly all day; although a hot decaf option would have been good. Didn’t attend the afterparty.
Couldn’t attend again this year. Wish location was close to the Wordcamp venue itself.
Lunch on Saturday was great. I was not there on Sunday so I can not comment on that. I am kicking myself for not making it to the after party 🙁 ”

“Love the photobooth. Kind of hard to find the venue for the after-party, but wonderful once we found it.”

“Cookies and butter tarts are not great breakfast foods. Muffins, fresh fruit and cheese would be far healthier. Many of us were looking for something more sensible to eat and those with issues (like diabetes) had to go offsite to find something safe to eat. Lunch, on the other hand, was fabulous both days.”

“Didn`t eat lunch Saturday but Sunday’s lunch was Sisco bad!”

“The lunch on Sat. was ok. Lunch on Sunday with the chicken was great. Appreciated all of the salad avail. The after party was a smashing hit – I had so much fun, met more people, connected with some i knew and had some fun pics taken in the Photo Booth – that was a great add-on. Food in the pub was really great – good variety for all. I love the Wordcamp Partyers – they know how to work and play.”

“After party always good with free drinks! Yay”

“Food was good (although I was one of the people who actually liked last year’s seaweed.) I didn’t make it to the After Party.”

“What happens at WordCamp stays at WordCamp. Made it home around 5 am after a robust breakfast of steak and eggs at Fran’s. So much for attending on Sunday!”

“Things can certainly be done differently, but I don’t think you can do better.”

“Good food and well organised.”

“Food was good and the after party was an excellent event. I had a lot of fun catching up with fellow attendees in the social atmosphere of the after party.”

“Didn’t go to After Party — too intimidated by TO traffic to attempt it (I don’t live in Toronto) plus was very unsure about parking and safety in garages, especially since it was a festival weekend. I hope everyone had a good time though!”

Overall Feedback

wcto15-saturday wcto15-sunday

“Keep up the great work !!!!”

“AMAZING organizers – Tom and the rest of the crew really blew me away”

“I take an XL or XXL size t-shirt. The largest you had left on Sunday was M – and you had lots of them left. I sell t-shirts for my business and have always found this to be the situation. I end up with lots of smalls and mediums left over – never have enough of the larger sizes. Perhaps more larger sizes next year?”

“The whole of WordCamp is a good experience. Live streaming one room is very smart. It gives people a taste of WordCamp. Having some of the more popular content presented in that room also provides maximum benefit to viewers.

In terms of making WordCamp “larger” or “better,” perhaps speakers can be encouraged to provide Resource Pages. These can be provided as a template that is added to the session description on the site, and possibly provided in hard copy at the session (although I recommend against that expense and effort).

It may also be useful to recommend presenters create a more detailed course for their content. This assists in monetisation for the speaker. It’s also possible to arrange training, or provide a course, for speakers on monetisation. Then those who are interested can avail themselves of the opportunity. I didn’t realise each WordCamp is intended to focus on local talent. It certainly makes sense. Within WP Toronto, how can we encourage people to step forward as presenters.”

“This was my first time presenting at WordCamp, and it was a decidedly positive experience. I make this point even in view of knowing that I did a poor job during my presentation. For all intents and purposes, I crashed and burned during my presentation. Yet the people in the room received me well, were supportive, and have agreed to help me develop the content so it is useful to them.

So how do we communicate the types of things that can be presented, and the tremendously positive experience of presenting? That seems a straightforward proposition, but will it translate into more people willing to present?

Last suggestion: I’d like to find a way of saying thank you to the organisers in particular. Maybe a big greeting card in the registration area that attendees can sign. Something that lets organisers see the appreciation of attendees. Although I don’t think it should be presented that way. It could be presented as a WordCamp Year Book. Maybe add a few photos throughout each day, and suggest people write what they enjoyed about WordCamp. This sounds a little corny, I know, but physical representations and group activities are generally good things.”

“Individual session evaluations are a good idea especially if the reports are real-time. In general, this was an excellent WordCamp and the organizers are to be complimented.”

“LOVE the streaming this year! i hope it doesn’t affect attendance in the future with people opting to watch at home rather than coming down. There is a lot of WP video/instruction online, this is word camps’ competition now. In the future your differentiation might be the community / mentoring / hands on help… that you can’t get from a lecture. Just some thoughts. Great job though! Thanks so much to all who spent time putting on such an amazing event!”

“Kickass job!!! Awesome!!!”

“Volunteering on registration was fun as well – good to help get people in the door and meet some more new folks Registration was seamless – lots of people to move the registrants along.”

“Love the t=shirts this year – great design. I got so much value out of this weekend – this is such a gift for $40 – we sure get 100X more value for our money! Thank you Brent and Andy and Shanta and Dejan and all the other organizers for all their work – you made this a very successful event.”

11 thoughts on “WordCamp Photos & Feedback Survey Results

  1. Alfred Ayache

    I’m sorry I didn’t fill out the survey this year. But I am moved to comment by the request for bottled water.

    I think the refillable bottles and tumblers were a GREAT idea. Plastic bottled water is terrible for the environment and I commend you for not using it this year.

    Love the venue. Keep using it. There’s SO MUCH to love about it: free parking, and not a lot of congestion; the WiFi is great; love the layout, and the rooms are good as well; though, yes, some of the sessions were overfull. But you can’t predict that.

    After party: could be closer to the venue, and not so late. But I didn’t go, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Thanks again for the great WordCamp. You’re doing G-d’s work. 😉

    1. Andy McIlwain Post author

      Hey Alfred! I agree that the refillable water bottles were a great idea. We love Humber as well — the venue itself is awesome, free parking is tres bien — but the location becomes a recurring issue for folks who aren’t driving in. There’s also an unfortunate lack of afterparty venues in the area. We’ll see what happens for 2016. 🙂

      1. Alfred Ayache

        I have to admit tl:dr (full survey results), but I think I saw several comments about how the location is not ideal, but it’s the best we have seen. Also, I see an opportunity for car pooling.

        As for afterparty venues, there is a local bar, popular, I’m told, with the students attending Humber. https://www.facebook.com/Refinery-Public-House-1584050658510243/timeline/ and http://refinerypublichouse.com/. Full disclosure: I’ve known one of the owners since he was a wee little one. His mother is one of our longest standing friends.

  2. erinkkenny

    One more comment: the tshirts are VERY small for their sizes. I got a L (I can fit M-L) and it’s *really* tight. Larger sizes were really scarce.

    1. Andy McIlwain Post author

      We switched t-shirt vendors this year. I think these ones were more “true to size”. In the past the shirts were a bit bigger than what they said on the label.

  3. Mary-Kay Perris

    I agree re refillable water bottles = great idea – mention it in pre-chat before WordCamp 2016 so people are aware and bring their bottles – let’s get more environmentally friendly!

  4. Christine Forber

    I didn’t see surveys, so didn’t fill one out, sorry. I really liked the venue and free parking, but then I come from west of Toronto, so it worked well for me. I didn’t get to the after-party – intimidated by the thought of Nuit Blanche traffic and parking (again, I come from west of Toronto so TTC would be a pain). I brought my own refillable water bottle, but think that those were a great idea. It was a great experience. I met some awesome people and most of the presentations I went to were helpful (to me) and interesting.

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