A conference and festival about “tech for good” is about doing the right thing. And with that firmly in mind, Communitech Tuesday decided to cancel its signature event, True North Festival , out of prudent caution due to the COVID-19 virus.
“We’re all disappointed, very disappointed, that we have to do this, but it’s very important for everyone involved that we do the right thing,” said Communitech CEO and President Iain Klugman.
The True North Festival was slated to take place June 1-7 and was set to unfold along the length of the ION light rail line that winds through Kitchener and Waterloo. It was to be an expanded third incarnation of an event which got its start in 2018 at Kitchener’s Lot42 and had built significant brand awareness as a tech conference with a conscience, a gathering of thousands that tackled tough issues and pointed the way to better outcomes.
“First and foremost we need to think about people’s well-being, and any risk associated with large gatherings,” said Klugman. “We don’t want people to feel that they are required to be part of a large gathering, whether they work here, or planned on participating, or were signed aboard to be partners in True North.
“And we think at this point in time, the right thing for us to do is just to cancel for this year. We’ll make further plans when we have better visibility into what’s unfolding down the road.”
Many tech-related events throughout North America have been cancelled in recent days and weeks, including Toronto’s Collision , as concern grows among public health officials about holding large gatherings at this time.
Klugman said that the intention is for the conference to return next year.
“We see this as being something that’s going to be a major conference not just for Waterloo Region in the future, but for Canada,” he said.