Toronto’s Greatest Hits of 2009

Without any doubt, 2009 was an exciting year for Toronto. We threw out the question: “What was your favourite moment in Toronto’s web, technology and social media scene?” Here’s what you told us:

ChangeCamp, January 24th 2009: On a cold winter day in early January, 150 citizens, policy-makers, technologists, design-thinkers, change agents and media creators gathered at MaRS to find the answer to “How do we re-imagine government and citizenship in the age of participation?”. This day-long unconference saw the creation of ChangeEngine, and also the beginnings of the Open Data initiative. (Disclosure: I was on the organizing committee for the first ChangeCamp in Toronto.)

Mesh Conference, April 8th 2009: Mayor David Miller announces that Toronto will be “open”; data from the 311 Program will be made available online within the year. True to his word, OpenTO is launched on November 2nd 2009 at the Toronto Innovation Showcase. Included in the launch are the first datasets, as well as the launch of DataTO, a site where community members can search for or request data sets, and also vote on requested data sets.

hohoto, December 16th 2009: Toronto’s technology, web, and social media descended upon the Mod Club for the 2nd year in a row to mix, mingle and help raise money for the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank. In the space of 3 weeks, hohoto raised almost $50,000 for the well-known and well-used charity. In all, the past three hohoto events have raised close to $90,000. Impressive when you think that it all started with this tweet. (Disclosure: My company, Refresh Events, was a sponsor of hohoto’s Summer 2009 Edition event.)

Twitterville, September 15th 2009: Shel Israel, co-author of “Naked Conversations” arrives in Toronto to talk about his latest book, “Twitterville“. Speaking to a sold-out crowd at Third Tuesday Toronto, Shel talks about how Twitter has been used as a tool for citizen journalism, social change and as a communications tool for brands and corporations. Some other books that were launched and featured at Toronto events were “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, “Yes We Did” by Rahaf Harfoush, and “The Whuffie Factor” by Tara Hunt.

Pay It Backward Day, September 30th 2009: In one day, all across Ontario, Second Cup customers were encouraged to Pay it Backward by buying a coffee, tea or food item for the person in line behind them. And they did – 20,287 times in fact. These small acts of kindness raised $15,000 for SickKids Foundation. Who knew that doing good could make you feel awesome, and help a notable cause at the same time? (Disclosure: Refresh Events helped organize Pay it Backward day, and was also a media partner.)

PodCampToronto, February 21st-22nd 2009: Social media experts, bloggers and podcasters convened en masse at the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson University. Attendees heard from social media experts such as David Jones and professional podcasters like Terry Fallis. (Disclosure: I spoke at this event, and have personal relationships with some of the organizers.)

What do you think? What were some of your favourite moments of 2009?