by Kelly Smith

I just returned from Ryerson University in Toronto and want to take a moment to update the GCEA membership with a sneak peak of what is to expect for the 2017 annual conference. Abhay Sharma and Rich Adams played excellent hosts this weekend and have been working hard to put together an innovative and progressive conference program for us.


I flew Porter Airlines to Toronto. Porter flies from eight US locations (Boston, Burlington, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, New York, Orlando, Pittsburg, and Washington) straight into a small island airport off the coast of Toronto. The flight was inexpensive, the service was excellent (complimentary refreshments and snacks in the lounge, a choice of snacks in flight, and complimentary refreshments including alcohol in flight), and the airport was small and easy to navigate.


Using public transportation, I was able to travel to Ryerson University in about 20 minutes. The school is located in the heart of Toronto. Buildings marked with RU are found throughout the city. The university even holds classes in a cinematic theater during the day! But even more impressive is Ryerson’s athletic facility that is housed in the historic Maple Leaf Gardens Hockey Arena. This summer we will have the opportunity to tour the facility and view the original red dot puck drop (which is now located in aisle 25 of the grocery store, ironically next to canned tuna fish which looks just like a hockey puck).


Abhay and I had the opportunity to travel with The International Association of Research Organizations for the Information, Media and Graphic Arts Industries (IARIGAI) to the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum and Niagara Falls. The Mackenzie Printery is a hands on museum in the restored home of rebel publisher William Lyon Mackenzie. The museum holds one of the few original wooden presses remaining in the world, a linotype machine, and eight operating heritage presses. I printed a bookmark on a letterpress and we learned the strict rules of a printing apprentice. After the museum, we boarded the Hornblower cruise ship and experienced the awesome power, thundering roar, and amazing mist of the mighty Niagara Falls! Both of these experiences will be offered at the GCEA Annual Conference.

print museum

This was my first time visiting Toronto and I can assure you, there will be no lack of activities for the unscheduled free evening that Abhay and Rich have planned in the conference agenda. The downtown is lively especially Dundas Square. The CN tower has a rotating restaurant 1150 feet in the air. And a quick ferry ride will bring you to the Toronto Islands where you can wine and dine, relax on the beach, swim in Lake Ontario, kayak between the islands, bike ride around the islands, or even catch an interactive Pirate ship cruise.


I’d like to give Abhay and Rich a huge thank you for being such gracious hosts this past weekend and I am anxiously awaiting this year’s conference at Ryerson University!