Report on Toronto PDAC trip. Friday March 1 to Thursday March 7th
Attendance seemed as high as it has been in previous years (when you get to 25,000, you might as well quit counting) and my general impressions were:
* More foreigners
* Less people attending the trade show side
* A lot more people attending the country days (eg: Peru day, Colombia day, Chile day, etc)
Took Canada Line to the airport - so convenient and cheap. Arrived in Toronto at 7 p.m. and took an airport limo to my Airbnb apartment at 300 West Front Street. That's a better location than most hotels as far as accessing the convention center. 140 steps outside.
Big building (40 + floors) and it seemed like a lot of it was being used by airbnb. Typical travelers young. Almost like a millennial hostel.
Didn't recognize anybody who was attending the pdac.
Friday night: Unpacked and went to the library bar. A couple of waiters recognized me even though I hadn't been there for three years.
Started with serious excellent conversations with some people (all Vancouverites) and then ended up closing down the bar with Frank Callaghan and crew.
Saturday was day one of the Metals Investor Forum. Held in the Delta, which is connected to the convention center by a walkway and is ideal for smaller conferences. On the way to it I stopped in the convention center and got my pdac registration done. Really easy.
There were 32 companies presenting, which is about twice the normal number. There was a large crowd watching the presentations but I I couldn't help notice that there were also a lot of non-investors from Vancouver who were there for the lunch and free drinks.
Companies' projects generally appeared quite impressive. Also there was a lot of networking that got done.
Good day capped off by going for drinks and dinner with Pete Bernier (TSXV:PGX) and friends.
Sunday was day two of the Metals Investor Forum. The morning was quite active but in the afternoon a lot of people were going over to register at pdac.
Everything was in full swing by evening. The CPM Group (Jeff Christian) threw a heck of a party in the Imperial ballroom at the Royal York.
Only problem for them was that several people asked me "what's the CPM Group?"
Had to leave that party early as I was invited to the President's Reception also held in the Royal York. Glenn Mullan (a good friend and the outgoing president) gave an excellent speech. Networking was good too.
Circulated to a couple of other parties and then ended up in the Library Bar though I went home comparatively early.
Monday was the first full day of the PDAC. There had been a lot of speculation and grumbling in the previous two days because by surprise they were charging $25 per day to attend the investor side of the exhibition. Exhibitors were concerned that a lot of people would not show up.
It looked to me like those fears were unfounded because there were a ton of people on the investor side. Even with 600 booths, the place looked extremely active. Considering the number of booths, the average quality seemed consistently quite high and the presentations were good.
Lots of would-be investors talking to people. I'd say the bloom is off the cannabis plant and attention is now being paid to exploration because there are cannabis profits that have to go somewhere.
Lots of socializing from the Keg to the Library Bar. Lots of Torontonians at this point.
Tuesday was a repeat of Monday. Only thing noteworthy was that the CSE hosted a luncheon that featured terrible presentations by them and the participating companies. Ouch.
Wednesday was a waste of time as far as the formal PDAC went. Very few investors and people started taking their booths down early. The whole place was almost deserted by 1 p.m.
By this time I had a lot of connections to follow up with and ended up with a good lunch, afternoon, and evening as far as networking goes.
Thursday I packed up and got out to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Caught an Air Canada flight (Airbus, not Boeing 737!) and arrived in Vancouver late afternoon.
To sum up, the trip was satisfactorily productive. It appears that exploration financing is quite possible these days although it appears to be focused on higher-quality projects. We have not reached the stage of a rising tide floating all boats.