So a few weeks ago I had the fantastic opportunity of presenting and the Canadian Psychological Association’s National Convention!! I presented a poster from my research last summer. The convention was in Toronto and I went all by myself, which was a really cool experience. So I thought I’d do a travel diary of my experience, more for myself in the years to come.
Also, long post ahead!! Sorry!!
June 7th: I left the morning of June 7th and arrived in Toronto in the early evening. The convention was held at the Fairmont Royal York, which is right in downtown Toronto, and there’s a train that goes from the airport to the station across the road from the hotel, so getting there was the easiest thing ever.
Once I got to the hotel and checked in, I went out for dinner since I hadn’t eaten anything since that morning. There was a Chipotle literally across the road from the hotel, so I went there. It was my first time having Chipotle, so that was exciting haha (and I totally get the hype).
I then found a grocery store and got some snacks for the next couple days. The hotel doesn’t have complimentary breakfast (even though it’s $300+ per night normally) and the breakfast’s they offered were insanely expensive (like $24 for toast and fruit???) so I bought some instant oatmeal, granola bars, and bananas to have in the mornings. The grocery store also had a frozen yogurt place, so I naturally got some for dessert.
Then I just went back to the hotel and did some work and watched some TV before going to bed.
June 8th: the convention started this morning with a first-timers breakfast, where people who had never attended could go and learn a bit about the convention. I went and met some lovely ladies from the University of Ottawa who were also all presenting posters.
Afterwards, it was the welcome and president’s address. During the welcome, they had an Indigenous leader come and say a few words and bless the space and everything. He was really funny and entertaining, so I really enjoyed that. I also think it’s important to include the Indigenous communities in things like this, considering the state of mental health in their communities, but that’s a talk for another post.
They also somehow managed to get a video welcome from our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, which was cool. You could 100% tell he was reading off a ticker, but it was still cool. The president of the CPA gave a good talk too.
For the first session, I went to a session about women and gender, which was super interesting. A transgender person gave a talk about trans representation in Canadian politics, one woman gave a talk on consenting but unpleasant sex, another woman gave a talk on the whole pick-up artist movement and consent, and the last woman talked about the disconnect between men’s expected versus actual sex life and their porn habits. It was all really interesting and related to things I’m passionate about.
After that, I went back to Chipotle for lunch (it was super handy!!). Over the lunchtime, they had speakers from Big Brother Canada talk about psychology and the show, which was really interesting. I’d never thought about a psychologist’s role in a reality TV show, but it’s super important and totally makes sense. I really enjoyed that.
In the afternoon I went to a session on psychopathy in non-criminal populations, which was really interesting. I really enjoyed it and found it super interesting. I also looked at the posters for the afternoon session, and there were some good ones.
In the evening, I went to this Italian restaurant down the street a couple blocks. I went all by myself, which was anxiety inducing but I got over it! I brought my phone and caught up on blog posts, so it was okay! The food was also really good, and I sat on the patio drinking wine. It was very sophisticated.
Afterwards, I was going to walk somewhere for ice cream, but downtown Toronto is effing M A S S I V E, so I decided against it. Instead I just went back to the hotel room and, like the night before, watched netflix while I did work.
June 9th: this morning, I was supposed to go to the Annual General Meeting, because I think it’s super interesting and wanted to see how one was run. HOWEVER I had to call my mom because I’d gotten an alarming email from my department at school the day before and had to tell her about it (it was all worked out though). So I missed most of the meeting, but that’s okay.
After I went to one of the Master Lectures who talked about motivation and cognitive control. He was really good and engaging, so I enjoyed that session. My mom’s friend was running it, so I got to talk with her. After I went to a symposium on psychometric testing for violent and sexual offenders, which was really interesting. The room was packed though, so most people had to stand at the back.
For lunch I accidentally went on a bit of an adventure. So Toronto has this thing called the Path, and it’s basically an underground mall connecting several parts of downtown. I was craving Thai food, so I found one in the Path not far from the Fairmont. I decided to walk outside instead and head into the Path at one of the entrances near the restaurant. Instead, I walked around the Path for 45 minutes, getting more and more lost. I did eventually find the Thai restaurant I wanted, but in a different location. And getting back to the hotel was fun. Literally, I only found my way there because I recognized the Chipotle. How sad is that??
On the bright side, I got to flip off the Trump hotel, so that’s good.
Once I was safely back at the hotel with my lunch, I went to my room to eat and also get my poster!!! My poster session was in the afternoon, and it was super exciting! A bunch of people came to talk to me and asked lots of good questions and gave good feedback. It was so exciting and I’m so grateful for the experience!
That evening I went to dinner with my mom’s colleague (Vina) and the Master Lecture (Todd) from earlier. We went to this super fancy, chic mediterranean restaurant which was so good. Everything was delicious. I even had truffle pizza! How fancy and hip is that!
After I went back to the hotel and caught up with Vina for a while, which was nice. Then I just went to my room to sleep, because I was tired.
June 10th: this was the last day! I treated myself to Starbucks for breakfast and went to the plenary speaker and honorary President in the morning, who was this lovely old man named Pim Cuijpers. He’s from Europe and does lots of meta-analyses of treatment for anxiety and depression, and he was super interesting!
After I went to a symposium on different tightness of cultures, which was really interesting! I love anthropology and cultural psychology, so it was really cool.
Then I had to check out 😦 I was leaving this afternoon, so I checked out of the hotel and left my bag with the hotel so I could have lunch at (you guessed it) Chipotle. I totally understand the Chipotle obsession you guys. It’s so good.
Then I went to the airport and got to go to the Air Canada lounge, because we had some free guest passes! So I sat there and ate chocolate cookies and drank a glass of wine because I’m an adult, but I also read Morning Star and didn’t stop until I finished it 4 hours later. It was so. good.
But that was everything! I had such a great time in Toronto, exploring it (accidentally and on purpose) and learning about different aspects of psychology. It was definitely a great way to start off the summer!