[Travels] TOKAY does Canada

As some of you may have noticed, Robin spent the start of April in Canada. He was there for a short two week trip. During week 1 he had the distinct pleasure of attending a cultural exchange workshop in Québec for entrepreneurs. He extended his stay for a week 2 during which he spent some time getting to know the Ultimate community in Québec and Montréal. To find out more about his Canadian travels, read on!

Bootcamp Basics

Back at home, TOKAY is part of a start-up village (we even have a mayor and town square). Four members of our start-up village were given the opportunity to attend a bootcamp with four members of a somewhat larger start-up city in Québec.

The primary goal of this bootcamp was to discover and learn from the possible cultural differences between Europe and North America: an interesting set-up for a global start-up such as ourselves. But the impact of the bootcamp went beyond even that and Robin has been bouncing off of the walls with enthusiasm since his return.

Group picture of the bootcamp participants and a sneak-a-peek at one of their sessions

Bootcamp Blow by Blow

The cultural exchange was composed of 4 days involving 8 entrepreneurs (4 from france and 4 from Quebec) and 2 mentors. The bootcamp was an unusual but effective experience. Robin came back refreshed and determined, with a lot of new ideas. I will describe the day by day schedule below, but Robin tells me that to understand the profound impact of this experience you had to be there… hopefully you will glean some insight from this write-up regardless!

Day one focused on the human participants. Each participant presented themselves in a very personal way and spoke of their dreams and values. Naturally this enabled the participants to get to know each other very well. Within a few short hours Robin got to know his fellow french villagers much better than he had over the course of a few months at the same office space.

On the second and third day, each project was presented in detail. Concerns and questions each participant had were discussed at length within the small bootcamp community. The knowledge that everyone had built of each other and their projects proved to be a very efficient way to build smart solutions; the experiences other people had had could be used to provide insight into another participant’s situation. These discussions were further enhanced by bits of theory given by the mentors.

The fourth and final day of the bootcamp focused on mentor input with a few touching stories on their successes and failures and finished off with some final tips to wrap up the bootcamp.

One of the things that Robin brought back in his luggage is the power of meditation, a method Robin is finding very effective in order to concentrate on that which is most important and get rid of the negative emotions we can encounter when trying to build a company.

Guided meditation is very easy to implement, you just need to allow yourself some time, find a quiet place, and listen to someone guiding you. Some nice guided meditations can be found on this app : Insight Timer.

Maple Syrup Saturday

On the Saturday after the Bootcamp everyone was invited by the grandparents of one of the entrepreneurs to visit their farm, and (grandparents being the same all around the world) eat and eat and eat. Robin overindulged in the local specialties which, given the time of year, were  maple syrup, maple syrup in bean soup, maple syrup with eggs and ham, or maple syrup poured on snow and rolled with a fork to form some delicious maple syrup candy.

(left) a look at the scale up brewery within the Québec start-up city
(right) a blissful Saturday at the farm

Thank you again Philippe for the invitation! Since life without maple syrup would be pale by comparison, Robin stuffed his suitcase full of little maple syrup bottles. But enough about maple syrup, onto the Ultimate!

Sunday in Québec

Robin had the pleasure to rock up to Expocité on Sunday the 8th of April to attend Ultimate Québec’s weekly league event, a 4 vs 4 indoor event on turf.

Cleats and shoes galore at Expocité

We want to thank all the people who dropped by and tried our shoes on. The atmosphere was incredibly welcoming and motivating and our cleats were thoroughly tested. Congratulations to Gabriel Amendola for winning our Québec cleat giveaway!

While in Québec, Robin was happy for the opportunity to meet Antoine Turgeon of Ultimate Québec and Franck Vallée to chat about Ultimate and Ultimate in Québec.

Meetings in Montréal

After some travelling and trying to catch up on emails, Robin arrived in Montréal. Here he attended two nights of Montréal’s first week of 5 vs 5 outdoor league. Although the weather was initially sunny on Tuesday, the sun soon confirmed that spring had not yet sprung. The sun disappeared and Robin started to freeze. Thanks again to Marie, the timekeeper from Ultimate Grand Montréal, for throwing with Robin to prevent you both from freezing over. Despite the cold, players were out in force and Robin got to meet two of our backers, a few French players, and some players from Iris.

Wednesday was a little less cold, and Robin enjoyed the excellent company of Quentin Bonnaud who furthermore proved to be an excellent throwing partner (who could have guessed?!).

Despite the cold, a lot of people came by to test our TOKAY’s. Thank you all and congratulations to Frédérique Gagnon and Malik Auger for winning the Tuesday and Wednesday cleat giveaway contest!

After a great meeting with Christian D’Auteuil of Ultimate Grand Montréal, Robin’s time in Canada was up. Canada, it was all awesome to meet (a part of) you. The bootcamp was an incredible experience. Much like real camp, Robin left with a lot of close new friends and ready to take on the world. On the Ultimate side of the trip, talking with players in Québec and Montréal provided an invaluable insight into these two Canadian Ultimate communities. It was also great to put faces to the email addresses at last!

As mentioned previously, Robin is very excited to bring back to TOKAY all that Canada has taught him, especially where maple syrup is concerned.

A huge thanks to Digiub for hosting a fantastic bootcamp, and also to Maud and Roland for making it possible! Thanks also to Chambéry Grand Lac for enabling TOKAY to attend such an incredible and formative event. A huge thanks to Québec Ultimate, Ultimate Grand Montréal and Specifik Ultimate for hosting us and enabling us to present our cleats to the fine people of Québec and Montréal. And an additional thanks to all the people that stopped to give our Ultimate specific cleats a try! Canada, it was a pleasure!

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