The time has finally arrived for me to spill the beans on the SheBlogs LINK 2013 conference I went to a month ago in Toronto. I’ve been wanting to write this post ever since I got back, but for one reason or another it’s taken a bit longer than I expected.
SheBlogs is the ad network I use here on the blog (meaning they are the ones that place the ads here on my site) so when I found out they were putting together a blog conference I was really excited to go!
I flew into Toronto on September 30th
and grabbed my town car to the hotel 😉
Funny story – my driver asked me why I was in Toronto and I said for a blogging conference. I’m so use to people not knowing what that means I was pleasantly surprised when he actually knew! So we were talking about technology. This was right after the new iOS was released for iPhone and he told me that his 80 year old father had recently purchased an iPhone and while all of his friends were telling him how much trouble they were having upgrading to the new iOS his father had upgraded the day it came out without any problem!
When I got to the hotel there were a bunch of bloggers in the lobby, they grabbed me and took me with them for supper which was great because it gave me a chance to meet some of them before the conference started. I was texted my friends and told them I was following a bunch of strangers to an undisclosed location in downtown Toronto – but it was okay, I recognized most of them from Twitter 😉
We ended up at Red Lobster where I ate my face off
Then it was back to the hotel to check in and go to bed. We were staying at the King Edward hotel where the conference was taking place
And it was without a doubt one of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever stayed in! I had heard others talk about the size of their rooms while at supper but didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.
My room was enormous! When I talked to J I told him I could do a whole gymnastics routine in there!
After unpacking and having a bath I checked out the itinerary for the next day while watching TV and then hit the hay.
I started off Tuesday morning with some flavoured water
under the most amazing chandeliers while I tried to devise a plan to steal one of the chandeliers and bring it home with me.
I mean seriously that chandelier is A-MAZ-ING!
After yoga I headed back to my room and changed then headed down for breakfast and the start of the conference! The first speaker of the day was Jeanne Beker!
Jeanne is someone I’ve seen on TV for pretty much my whole life so it was really amazing to hear her speak and find out the story behind the Canadian fashion icon. And of course as bloggers we were all tweeting our was through the sessions and I won a copy of Jeanne’s book! Of course I got the book signed and had my picture taken with her!
Next up was Marc Saltzman who you might recognize from “Tech Talk” in the Cineplex pre-show or one of his many other tech related gigs.
And the last speaker before lunch was Bob Blumer who I knew from “The World’s Weirdest Restaurants” and “Glutton for Punishment” on the Food Network.
Bob even gave us a cooking demonstration – check out these fishcakes!
Lunch was provided by the great cooks at the King Edward hotel and was so good! That pasta was awesome!
and dessert? Come on. Taste city!
And have I mentioned how fantastic the rooms at the King Edward are?
After lunch we listened to a expert discussion panel on creating great content, communities and working with brands and then
broke up into different sessions, I had a hard time choosing what to go to but ended up at a session with Geoffrey Roche called:
“Practising the 3 B’s. Speech is about being successful by being Yourself.”
The biggest take-away from his session?
I adored it.
Next up were sessions about Bringing Offline Conversations Online Through the Social Loyalty Network with Trevor Newell, and How to Attract the Influence of Celebrities to Your Brand Social Media Content with Debbie Horovitch.
An interesting note about Debbie, she spent a few months researching online porn and discovering why people would pay for subscriptions to websites when you can get so much for free. True story!
After the day’s sessions were over there was a social mixer before supper and during the mixer I got the chance to go up and tour the Crystal Ballroom in the King Edward, which has been closed since 1977 and the general public isn’t allowed up there. They said we were probably the last people to tour it before they start renovations to re-open the ballroom that is anticipated to cost in the ballpark of 7 million dollars (!!).
There is no heat or power in the Crystal Ballroom, and I can only imagine what the views from the windows were back when the ballroom was open. Here is the view today
still not too shabby!
The mouldings are all original and are more beautiful than my photos can depict.
It was really cool to be able to go up and take a look around. You may or may not know that I’m bit obsessed with books, shows, movies, buildings from 100+ years ago so this was totally up my alley!
After the Crystal Ballroom we went down to tour one of the floors of the hotel that have been recently remodelled.
I’m pretty sure anyone staying in one of these rooms is going to have a great stay!
During our tour we asked why our hotel rooms were so big. We were told that the floors we were staying on used to be women’s only floors, and back then when they came they would bring all of their ball gowns (to party in the Crystal Ballroom I’m sure) so would need lots of room to store all of their trunks in their rooms.
Pity. I left all my ball gowns at home 😉
That evening we were invited to Hot House for supper
Where I once again ate my face off
I know a bunch of the others then headed out for a night on the town. I headed to my room for a night in my bed 😉
It wasn’t hard to tell who had been out partying when I went to yoga the next morning
we were a pretty small group!
I really enjoyed both days of yoga, but the second was really awesome. I had pulled a muscle in my back the week before and it wasn’t until after this class where we got into some nice juicy stretches that my back finally felt better. Yay for yoga!
Wednesday morning was dedicated to “business” (meaning SheBlogs stuff) but then we hoped on a SheBlogs bus and headed out for a movie!
Nothing like a private movie screening to finish off a great conference!
Sadly I had to bail out about halfway through the movie to get back to the hotel to catch my car to the airport
What trip to Toronto is complete without a shot of the CN Tower (I totally almost wrote Eiffel Tower. hahahaha)
See ya later T Dot. It was fun!
(I really wanted to stick my long old legs up there on the arm rests of the business class people in front of me!)
I went to BlogHer in NYC in 2012 and while I enjoyed my trip, I found the conference itself to be a waste. The value I got from that trip was in the connections I made at the outside events I was invited to, not at the conference itself. Link2013 was amazing. I left feeling so inspired and fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living (blogging and being a fitness instructor). It was without a doubt 100x more informative and inspiring than BlogHer.
I found myself ashamed of being a blogger while in NYC seeing an hearing all of the things that went on at BLogHer. This was not the case at LINK2013. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to be a blogger.
Considering it was SheBlogs first conference, I really think they hit it out of the park and I am really hoping this becomes an annual conference!
Disclaimer: I was able to attend the conference at no cost to me (including room and board) as a member of the SheBlogs publishing network. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.