Food Bloggers of Canada Conference {Day 1}

by byn on April 15, 2013

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FBC 2013 Conference

I just got back from a whirlwind weekend at Hockley Valley for the 1st annual Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. Over the past few years, I’ve read about food blogging conferences in the US and always thought it would be something I’d like to go to, but I wasn’t sure if it was really for me.  I waffled a bit on this one too, but ultimately decided that I didn’t want to miss out. It was 100% the right decision. It’s one thing to comment on other blogs, and tweet back and forth with other bloggers, but until I spent this entire weekend connecting with bloggers in real life, talking about why I love blogging, and why I love food and baking, I didn’t really realize what I was missing out on. The sense of community was unreal, and I came home with so many new friends and blogs to follow. I’m inspired, motivated and energized, but first need to recap the conference in detail so I won’t forget everything I learned, and to record some action items and goals for my blog.

One other thing before I get going.  I’ve also been at a bit of a crossroads here on Planet Byn. I’ve just moved off, had a re-design, and am currently trying to decide what direction I want my blog to go in. Do I want to run ads? Work with brands? Write sponsored posts? How does all that work? Or do I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, which is essentially use my blog as my online recipe book, and document my various baking projects. All of this stuff was floating around in my head as I packed for the conference after work last Thursday.

Alright, so first a shout out to the lovely Sandra from Dairy Farmers of Canada, who gave me a ride up to Hockley Valley, as I wasn’t interested in driving in the aftermath of an ice storm. We had a great discussion on the way up north regarding brands working with bloggers, a hot topic that would be the first panel of Day 2. But we’ll get there.

Dinner on Friday night was sponsored by Canada Beef, with matched wine pairings from Wine Country Ontario. It’s pretty hilarious to have dinner with a table of food bloggers – nobody takes a bite before a picture is taken, tweeted or instagramed. We were assigned tables, so I met an amazing group of bloggers from all across Canada: Redawna (Grande Prairie, Alberta), Marlene (London, Ontario), Jen (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Helene (Victoria, BC), Christelle (Montreal, Quebec), Kathryne (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and FBC co-founder Ethan.

Our keynote speaker was David Leite (just check out his blog for more on him), and he gave an insightful and inspiring keynote address on blogging. We’re gonna go at this bullet style, because I was taking notes on my phone, and I couldn’t type fast enough to capture every great piece of advice:

  • Be authentic – no one can tell your particular story – through this, you’ll find your voice
  • You have to let people in
  • You have to be ethical to each other – don’t rip off others (this got a big round of applause)
  • Be ethical to the people you write about, especially kids
  • Unshackle yourself from your desk and your stove – something magical happens when you’re not trying to be a blogger
  • Travel!
  • Find your community
  • Get a point of view and don’t waver – find out what you stand for
  • Think long-term – what do you want to be known for in 5 years
  • Don’t be afraid to belly flop
  • Never put out a recipe that doesn’t work
  • Keep your eyes on your own paper – the better and further down your OWN path you’ll go
  • Never stop learning

I love these points, in particular focusing on what you’re doing, and not worrying about everyone else (although obviously it’s hard not to compare yourself to other bloggers).

After dinner, the ballroom was turned into a movie theatre sponsored by KitchenAid (check out these cookies), with made-to-order milk shakes. We watched Back to the Future…well tried to…I made it until 11:30pm where there were about 7 people left, and then headed up to bed to rest up for Day 2, which was insane. Get ready!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlene May 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for the shoutout, Robyn! We had a great table at dinner, and I hope to continue the discussions!


Sandra April 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for the shout out, Robyn! I thoroughly enjoyed our ride to and from Orangeville. Hope we can do it again soon!


SandraM April 21, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Great post. I have been intrigued with attending a conference. I look forward to reading about the rest of the conference. Thanks for sharing your experience.


Redawna April 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Robyn what a great post! I didn’t take notes at the dinner the first evening so I am very pleased to see your recap of what David had said.

It was fantastic meeting you and I enjoyed our conversations over the weekend!
I look forward to staying in touch and seeing where your blog goes to next. I think many of us have been inspired to make changes and improve upon what we all have started.

I too am very aware of how many exclamation points I use. As I am sure many of us are!!! lol


SoberJulie April 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

What a perfect time for you to have attended an event such as Food Bloggers! I look forward to seeing where you take your blog.


Christine (@chancesmommy) April 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I love this post! I left FBC2013 feeling inspired and uplifted. The conference really made me want to take my blog into a new direction. Thankful for Mardi, Ethan and Melissa…and everyone involved in FBC2013 coming to fruition.


A Canadian Foodie April 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Being at a crossroads is the perfect place to be when coming to a Food Blogger’s Conference! I was at one, too… and if I wasn’t, I would have been afterward, for sure. Great recap!


byn April 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Thanks Valerie!


Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) April 16, 2013 at 6:44 am

Robyn it was so nice to see you at FBC2013. So so pleased that you enjoyed yourself, learned and met so many great people. That was our ultimate goal :)


byn April 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm

It was awesome! I learned so, so much! Whoops…two exclamation marks


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