The Startupfest experience has always been inseparable from its venue. Over the years, we’ve moved around Montreal’s iconic Old Port. Our first event repurposed an old pier used by customs and immigration, turning the long industrial space into a pair of stages. Even then, we drew inspiration from our surroundings, turning the huge freight elevator into a literal elevator pitch (which ultimately led to the Elevator World Tour.)
In the ensuing years, set up in front of Montreals’ Science Center and the King Edward quay; stood up gigantic stages around the Terrasses Bonsecours, planned a fleet of boats to carry attendees to the promontory of Dieppe Park, brought our tent village to the unmistakable grain silos (and a floating spa!), and even created a space in the center of Montreal’s Formula One racetrack.
Lots has changed since we pushed aside conveyor belts to turn a pier into a venue. In fact, inspired by how our first space could become a destination for events, the city has completely transformed our first venue, now known as the Grand Quai. It’s been host to exhibits and international delegations (from Dali exhibits to live music to cultural exchanges.)
So it seemed only fitting that as part of this year’s Fresh Starts theme, we return to our roots, transformed just as much as the space itself. The venue offers amazing new possibilities for networking, content, and the contests and parties we’re known for.
A key focus for us in 2022 is the interactions and networking that fuels entrepreneurship. So we’re thrilled that this new site affords us so many opportunities for serendipity: The rooftop is covered with gardens and walking spaces; there’s a park near the waterfront, and of course, the Old Port itself, laid out all around this rooftop space. Great coffee shops (Micro Espresso and Cafecito come to mind) are just a short Stroll away, and of course, amazing restaurants are everywhere.
As in past years, the venue shapes the experience. We’re building on the incredible perspective this new site offers. For hundreds of years, half of North American trade flowed past this pier, carrying goods and people to and from Europe. We can’t think of a better place to launch a fresh start for the future of startups.