Join us at the True North Festival June 1-7, 2020 to examine what it means to be human—and humane—in our tech-driven world.

From conference to festival

While True North was previously separated into a ticketed conference and a community festival, we’ve brought these elements together in 2020 under the banner of True North Festival. In our third year, the stage is set for things to be bigger and better than ever throughout the Waterloo Region. Attendees will be able to drop into a variety of events (some serious and some fun) throughout the week - such as focused, intimate discussions in our True North Centre Stage summits, thought-provoking keynote speakers and more.

Why attend?

Join us for inspiring speakers, brain-busting summits and the best of Waterloo Region eats and entertainment.

Why Waterloo Region?

True North Festival takes place in Waterloo Region – the epicentre of Canadian innovation.

The world has been shaped by innovations built in Waterloo Region - from tanneries to distilleries, vacuum tube radios, smartphones, satellite technology and smart screens. And there’s (much) more to come. Come check it out at True North Festival.

Waterloo Region is one of the fastest-growing tech ecosystems in the world, and tops in Canada. It’s a smart city, where universities and research institutes play side-by-side with global enterprises, scaling companies and a vibrant startup scene. It’s a hotbed of innovation activity with a uniquely collaborative culture that has helped the Region become renowned across Canada and around the world.

Summit locations

True North Festival takes place in unique buildings, transformed industrial spaces and on the vibrant streets of Waterloo Region. You’ll cruise along on the ION - the Region’s new light rail transit system – feed your mind at the Communitech summit sessions, and nourish your body and soul with the Festival’s coolest places, hottest music and most diverse and delicious food. 

True North summit locations

Where we've been
(and where we’re going)

In its first two years, True North Festival gathered thousands of visionary thinkers and doers at the intersection of tech and humanity to talk about tech for good. We’ve heard from speakers who have challenged our ideals and made us consider what it means to be human in a tech-driven world. In 2020, we’ll be continuing the conversation and working together (as is the Waterloo Region-way) to come up with actionable items that we can tackle to enable tech for good (for good).

Some of our past speakers include:

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Inventor of the World Wide Web

Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John

Chief Brand Officer, Uber

Charlie Brooker
Charlie Brooker

Writer, Producer and Broadcaster

Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher

Executive Editor, Recode

Rana el Kaliouby
Rana el Kaliouby

CEO & Co-Founder, Affectiva

Siyabulela Xuza
Siyabulela Xuza

Founder & Managing Director, Galactic Energy Ventures

Kate Darling
Kate Darling

Robot Ethicist, MIT Media Lab

Megan Smith
Megan Smith

CEO, shift7, 3rd US CTO

 

It'll be a blast, as usual

True North Festival will continue to celebrate the vibrant culture and best of Waterloo Region with music, art, science and business events happening all week long. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in more than 50 enriching events where they’ll be able to explore, learn something new and have fun. 

Leaders Prize: Fact or fake news?

Join us June 3 as the finalists vie for the Leaders Prize! A $1-million prize for the Canadian innovator or team that delivers a much-needed solution for countering fake news using AI. (Oh, the suspense!)