by Dr. Jonathan Niavis, Student Engagement Coordinator and Toronto-area native

Before we get started, I sincerely apologize for that Buzzfeed-style clickbait title–I’m just so excited that COVD’s 50th Annual Meeting will be so close to my home!

Anyone you speak to who attended the 2019 Annual Meeting in Kansas City can attest to the fact that it was an unforgettable event! We’re still talking about the interdisciplinary impact of Dr. Eric Singman’s lecture and the adorable (but also educational) collection of baby videos presented by Dr. Brandon Begotka. Students and residents also got to hang out with Dr. Daniel Bowersox and experience the benefits of yoked prism first-hand!

Now it’s time to start thinking about next year! In case you’re not already aware, next year’s COVD meeting is going to be in Toronto, Ontario (i.e., not within the US border). Canadians studying in the US can rejoice for a chance to eat better poutine again, and Waterloo students don’t have to get on a plane! Everyone else, it’s time to get your passports ready, because  here’s your chance to visit Canada!

Admittedly, I’m pretty biased, because not only am I Canadian myself, but I actually grew up in the Toronto area. If you’re not so lucky to be a local, you should get your passport renewed in time for COVD 2020. Here are some reasons why:

Canadians are really nice, eh?

First of all, the rumours* are true, we are a lot nicer than other city folk you might encounter abroad. All the “pleases” and “thank-yous” may do your heads in initially, but you may find yourself bumping into people and saying “sorry” by the end of it. And would that really be so bad?

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Food ain’t too bad either, eh?

Although I made a point earlier about poutine being the food to be excited for, native Torontonians know that our international cuisine is among the best. Toronto is a huge melting pot for ethnic diversity, and that’s reflected in the impressive variety of quality restaurants. Name any cuisine and there will likely be several great options to choose from. If you just want poutine though, that’s fine too. You will definitely find tons of it. (A perfect late-night snack after the student/doctor Mixer!)

Side Note: The best poutine is over in our French-speaking province, Quebec, so if you really want to chase authenticity, you can take a 5 hour road trip to Montreal!

It’s cheaper too, eh?

This is an unfortunate one for those of us earning/loaning Canadian dollars, but the US dollar will go a lot further when you come to Canada. The exchange rate at the time of this article is 0.75 cents to the US dollar, meaning a meal that costs $15 in Toronto is worth $11.25 USD. So even if your flight costs a little bit more to cross an international border (though it may not because Toronto is a big hub for flights), you’re likely not going to be spending any more than you would in any other US city.  You also get to see what money could look like if it wasn’t gross crinkly green paper

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You, visiting Toronto next April with 25% more of our beautiful money.

It’s got a lot of stuff to do and see too, eh?

There are so many cool places to go to in Toronto! The typical tourist thing to do is see the CN Tower. And why wouldn’t you? Before the Burj Khalifa was built in Dubai, the CN Tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world. And if getting a view of the entire city from the observation deck isn’t enough for you, you can actually walk on the building on a 1.5m (5ft) wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod.

If you want a more grounded experience, head to the Kensington Market, a unique neighbourhood* with different restaurants, vendors, clothing stores, cafes and all.

But it’s always cold there, eh?

If you’re wondering what the weather will be like around COVD 2020 next year, I have to admit that April is notorious for sneaking back into winter after spring-like temperatures. On the same dates in 2019, though, we had no snow on the ground with high temperature ranges of 12-16°C (54-60°F) and lows of 2-6°C (35-43°F), if that’s any indication for you. For the record, that’s pretty much the same as Kansas City was during the 2019 conference, so bring a jacket for the evenings and you’ll be set!

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It probably won’t look like this when you visit in April… Probably.

There is so much more to love about Toronto, so I hope you will look into it yourselves and get excited. If I haven’t pumped you up enough, listen to any Drake song that mentions “the 6ix”–that’s Toronto, if you haven’t already guessed. And don’t forget about your passport! US citizens can stay in Canada up to about 6 months, so your passport needs to be valid through 6 months after the day you cross the border to avoid issues. Check your expiry* dates now and get prepared for COVD 2020! See you up north next April 21-25!

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* Yeah, we’re Canadian, our spelling is different… get used to it!