All posts by Andy McIlwain

About Andy McIlwain

Andy is a front-end dev and community guy (GoDaddy, Toronto's WordPress meetups, and WordCamp). Find him on Twitter and his personal blog.

Feedback Survey Results

Family Feud ImageResults are in for WordCamp Toronto 2014’s feedback survey!

We received a total of 63 feedback submissions. It’s the most we’ve had in the last four years by a wide margin.

Our key takeaways (first pass, list will be updated):

  • Humber College: Great venue, if only it was closer to transit and the city.
  • There’s too much crowding in the popular sessions. Need bigger rooms.
  • Lunch was too long – shorten it to 1.5 hours, max.
  • Vegetarian options need to be balanced with traditional fare.
  • More coffee and water.
  • Finalize and publish the schedule sooner.
  • Start later, end earlier, have the afterparty close by.
  • Live music at the afterparty shouldn’t be so darn loud.

Continue reading Feedback Survey Results

Wrapping Up #WCTO 2014

WordCamp Session

That’s a wrap! WordCamp Toronto 2014 was a smashing success, bringing together over 450 WordPress enthusiasts from around the Toronto area and far beyond.

Update: Our premium membership winners have been contacted! A big thanks to for the giveaway, plus a shoutout to RANDOM.ORG for providing the RNG.

Thank You to…

Flywheel TeamOur sponsors. We wouldn’t have been able to pull this off without your support: Bluehost, WiredTree, PlanetHoster, Code Poet, DreamHost, WPML, Carbon60 Networks, WP Engine, Lingotek, SIDEKICK, Flywheel, Muut, WP Rocket, The Genius Web Media, Trew Knowledge, WooThemes,, easyPress, ManageWP, Kobayashi Online, Zeitguys, Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, 3.7 Designs, Project Panorama, Enterprise Intelligence, artifakt,, Camp Tech, NYTO Group, Lakaye, Bentley Hoke, theNETnow, Wealthsimple, and MailPoet.

Humber College’s School of Media Studies & IT. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you for these last two years. The level of support you’ve given us has been incredible, and we know how lucky we are to have you as a venue partner.

Our speakers. Without you, there’d be no reason for anyone to attend.

WordCamp VolunteersOur volunteers. You worked your butt off throughout the entire weekend. Registration, A/V, room hosts & runners: Thank you so much for your commitment and all your hard work.

Our attendees. What good is a WordCamp without WordCampers?

Our caterers and hosts. Abokichi, for providing breakfast, lunch, coffee, refreshments, and snacks for the entire weekend; Gladstone Hotel, for being such accommodating hosts of our afterparty; and Mandarin (Queensway & Kipling) for hosting our speakers’ dinner.

Caroline Lebel, for stepping up to help with last-minute tasks, pouring hours into pulling things together with tight deadlines. (Follow Caroline on Twitter!)

You’re all awesome!

What Can We Do Better?

This year was an improvement over last year, and we want next year to be even better. Please take a few minutes to complete our feedback survey. Results will be published afterwards.

Presentation Slides

Presentations are being published to the site as we receive them from our speakers. You’ll find them linked from individual session pages and on the Presentations page.

Brian on CameraSession Videos

Videos were a big push for us this year; we’ve doubled our efforts to make sure everything is recorded properly. Videos will be published to and shared on our Videos page.

What Next?

Craving more WordPress community goodness? Check out the Toronto WordPress meetup group! Pub socials, working sessions, presentations, workshops… there’s a bit of something for everyone.

See you in 2015!

Your Organizers,

Brent Kobayashi, Tom Auger, Andy McIlwain,
Dejan Markovic, Jordan Quintal

WordCamp Toronto 2014 Organizers

Photo credits:

Miroslav Glavic on Twitter
Shanta Nathwani on Twitter
Brett on Twitter

Featured Speaker: Adrian Roselli

Adrian is a founder and partner at Algonquin Studios, responsible for bridging the gap between the worlds of design and technology. With experience in both, he brings a unique perspective to projects, allowing both design and implementation to merge seamlessly.

View Adrian’s speaker profile.

Presentation: Selfish Accessibility

“We can all pretend that we’re helping others by making web sites accessible, but we are really making the web better for our future selves. Learn some fundamentals of web accessibility and how it can benefit you (whether future you from aging or you after something else limits your abilities).”

Featured Speaker: Linn Øyen Farley

“I’m a designer and developer based in Toronto, working primarily with WordPress. I have a degree in technical theatre, I teach with Camp Tech and Ladies Learning Code, and I share my office with a very rambunctious cat.”

View Linn’s speaker profile.

Presentation: Don’t Fear the Custom Theme

“Commercial WordPress themes have to be ready to handle thousands of use-cases, but your custom theme doesn’t. Reducing a theme to its essential components – index.php, style.css, and functions.php – gets your design into the browser as quickly as possible and allows for rapid prototyping based on client feedback. It’s also an easy way for beginners to start developing with WordPress, without getting lost in dozens of files.”

Featured Speaker: Aaron Campbell

“I have more than fourteen years of web development experience, have been a regular contributor to WordPress for the last seven years, and even co-lead the WordPress 3.6 release. I have experience writing quality code that is both fast and scalable, and have a knack for translating ideas and goals into functional sites.”

View Aaron’s speaker profile.

Presentation: Community: Getting Involved

“You love WordPress? Want to pitch in and help out? Not sure how? It doesn’t matter if you’re a designer, a developer, a translator, or just someone that uses WordPress on your own site, you can help make WordPress better and I’ll show you how. From helping answer people’s simple questions to landing your first patch in core (c’mon, who doesn’t want that!?!)”

Featured Speaker: Marc Benzakein

Marc Benzakein has been working online since the mid 90s, starting as a Network Administrator for a small, independent ISP in Southern California and has been involved in almost all aspects of technology. In 2009, he started developing in WordPress, first for his own purposes and then for clients. In early 2013, he got involved with ServerPress, LLC, makers of DesktopServer, a local development tool created for WordPress designers and developers.

View Marc’s speaker profile.

Presentation: How to Rock a WordCamp Even if You’re a n00b

In this talk I would cover 12 steps on how to get the most out of your WordCamp as well as how to start giving back to the Community on Day One. If you are new to WordPress or WordCamps, set yourself up for success by making sure you don’t miss this great kick-off to our two-day event!

Featured Speaker: Patrick Dunphy

Hello, I’m Patrick Dunphy. I’m a Senior UI Architect & Accessibility Specialist at CBC. I’m also co-lead for Accessibility Camp Toronto as well as the Toronto Accessibility & Inclusive Design meetup group (the largest of it’s kind globally with almost 450 members).

Though I’d consider myself a WordPress newbie, Accessibility is not unique to any one platform.

View Patrick’s speaker profile.

Presentation: The 5 W’s of Accessibility Testing

Intended for people new to accessibility testing, this session details freely available testing tools and how they relate to identifying different user issues.

Featured Speaker: Adam Silverstein

“I am a contributing developer to WordPress and was recognized as a “Rockstar” for my role in the revisions rewrite for WordPress 3.6. I am currently the revisions component maintainer. I work as a Senior Web Engineer at 10up. I love long rafting trips, playing mbira, travel, taking walks and tending my over sized garden.”

View Adam’s speaker profile.

Presentation: Put a little Backbone in your WordPress!

Backbone (and Underscore!) are bundled with WordPress – explore how you can leverage their power to deliver complex user experiences while keeping your code organized and maintainable. When and why should you use Backbone? How can WordPress help?

Featured Speaker: Kathryn Presner

Kathryn thrives on helping people get the most out of WordPress. After a career designing and building websites for clients, she joined Automattic as a Happiness Engineer in 2012 and is a member with theTheme Team, where she help folks with all types of theme-related issues on both and self-hosted sites.

View Kathryn’s speaker profile.

Presentation: Getting Comfortable With Child Themes

Child themes are a simple but powerful way to customize a pre-made theme. Learning how to use them properly means you’ll never risk losing all your modifications when the developer releases a new version and you update the theme. Using easy-to-follow language, I’ll walk you through the steps to set up a child theme and we’ll get started making some tweaks – from CSS look-and-feel adjustments to more substantial changes in functionality.

Featured Speaker: Jordan Quintal

Jordan Quintal is a successful Online Multipreneur, a seasoned Web Developer, as well as a WordPress Contributor and Community Member. Jordan is the current President at The Genius Web Media Inc. that was founded in 2007, and he has over 15 years of web development experience.

View Jordan’s speaker profile.

Presentation: Organizing fully accessible communities

Most of us have discovered that has made efforts into making the WordPress platform more web accessible to those with physical and mental challenges, as a website publishing platform, but what about WordPress communities?