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Discovery 2017 sets mark for attendance, exhibitors

May 25, 2017

Jared Cohen, Founder of Google Ideas and CEO of Jigsaw, delivered a keynote address on Day 1 of Discovery 2017.

With more than 3,600 attendees and 541 exhibitors, Discovery 2017 was the largest yet in the 12-year history of Canada’s premier innovation conference and trade show.

Held May 15-16 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Discovery 2017 kicked off with a welcome by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

Other special guests included the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, as well as the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, and the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth.

The 200,000-square-foot show floor included the popular B2B Zone, the new Business-to-Government (B2G) Zone, the Wow Zone ‘Home of the Future,’ the Accessibility Innovation Showcase, the Social Enterprise Zone, the expansive Young Entrepreneur Zone, the Meet an Investor/Ask an Expert area, and the TargetGHG Showcase, which focused on cleantech and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

“Discovery 2017 was a tremendous success,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE. “Over the past decade OCE’s Discovery has brought some of the most exciting speakers, entrepreneurs and global thought leaders from Ontario and around the globe to our two-day celebration of the innovation ecosystem.”

Attendees included investors, international delegates from China, Korea and Israel, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers, students, government, procurement representatives, regional innovation centres, and industry experts across multiple sectors.

There were also four pitch competitions focused on high-school entrepreneurs, social enterprise, accessibility and neurotechnology related to brain injury.

Day 1 keynote speaker Jared Cohen, Founder of Google Ideas and CEO of Jigsaw, delivered a dynamic address on the new digital age and how it is changing the world, especially for the five billion people expected to come online in the next decade.

That was followed by an all-star panel discussion on technology of the future featuring Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corporation; Mark Henderson, Chairman, Ericsson Canada Inc.; Dana (Keoki) Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Lockheed Martin International; P. Thomas (Tom) Jenkins, Chair of the Board, OpenText Corporation; and Geoff Smith, CEO, EllisDon Corporation and moderated by Annette Verschuren, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NRStor Inc.

On Day 2, keynote speaker Gina McCarthy, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama and currently serving as a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard and as a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, delivered a passionate address on the critical interconnectedness between public health and the environment.

“That’s what Discovery is all about,” said McCarthy. “It’s not rethinking how we regenerate and rejuvenate the jobs that are going away, it’s looking at the jobs of the future.” 

Discovery also welcomed featured presenter Marc Goodman, New York Times best-selling author, founder of the Future Crimes Institute, and global cybersecurity strategist, who spoke about how law-breakers are early adopters of technology in his session Lessons in Innovation from the Criminal Underground and the Future of Financial Crimes. 

Named Canada’s Best Trade Show in 2010, 2011, and 2016, Discovery brings together industry, academia, investors, government, students, young entrepreneurs and more to share ideas, network, invest and create business relationships that drive Ontario’s economic growth and global competitiveness.

For more information, please visit the Discovery website. For photos from Discovery 2017, please visit the Discovery Flickr page.

Discovery 2018 takes place on April 30 and May 1 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre.