Thursday, May 19, 2011

Information for Gaia Gathering Attendees

If you have registered for Gaia Gathering this weekend, and you provided us with your e-mail address, you should have received an e-mail yesterday with information about arriving in Montreal and at the conference site. If you didn't, please contact us at .

If you're not registered yet, you can always show up and register at the door.

Here is the information from yesterday's e-mail.


Hello Gaia Gathering Attendees!

We're less than 48 hours way from the opening circle and workshops. We're so excited!

Here are some instructions to help get you from the airport, bus depot or train station to our official accomodations at the YWCA, as well as what to do when first arrive at the conference, plus some other handy information.


* Arriving in Montreal

* Getting around the city by metro and bus

* Arriving at Gaia Gathering

* Main opening ritual

* Volunteering

* Gaia Gathering programme

* Sunday night banquet and open-mic

* Special information for Monday activities

* Gaia Gathering Visioning and AGM

* More Information


From the airport, you can take a taxi into Montreal for about $35-40.

From the airport, you can also take the 747 express bus that leaves from near the Internation arrivals area every 15-30 minutes. The bus stops at the corner of Rene-Levesque and Drummond which is one and half quick blocks from thour official YWCA accomodation. (Once the bus drops you off, cross Rene-Levesque and double-back.) The fare is $8 (coins only), which includes 24-hour access to the entire city of Montreal bus and metro system. You can also buy a 3-day transit pass ($16) that provides access to the 747 bus.

Both the train and bus arrive downtown at separate stations. A taxi from either station to the YWCA, Concordia University downtown, or any other downtown hotel should be under $10. Both the train and bus stations are attached through underground tunnels to our metro system.


The Montreal transit system was voted the best in North America in 2010. We also have a public bicycle system and have been consistently voted one of the top five best cities for cycling in the world!

You can find public transit information here. Single tickets are $3, however you can buy books of tickets that reduce the fare, as well as 24-hour passes ($8), 3-day passes ($16) and evening pass for after 6pm ($4). The passes give you unlimited access to bus and metro during the specified period.

Montreal is easy to get around by metro. Some buses, however, have windy routes that aren't always intuitive. On the plus side, there are public transit system maps in all metro stations. Montreal transit (STM) is also on googlemaps if you have a smart phone.

Our public bike system is called BIXI. There are bixi kiosks and bike paths all over the city. Information on bixi rental fares can be found here.

The closest metro stop to the Gaia Gathering Conference site is Guy-Concordia on the Green Line. There are two exits to this metro at either end of the station. Make sure you take the "Guy Street" exit. After the turnstiles, underground tunnels connect the metro station to Concordia University. The tunnel starts to the right of the Asian pastry store, Harmonie. Follow the signs to the LB or H building, then when the tunnel comes to a "T" turn left into the Hall building, which is 1455 de Maisonneuve W (the conference site).

Two metros are close to the YWCA. From Guy Concordia metro (green line), walk south to Ste-Catherine street and turn left, then turn right on Crescent street and left on Rene-Levesque. The YWCA is on the corner. From Lucien Lallier metro (orange line), walk up the hill from the main exit on de la Montagne, cross Rene-Levesque and turn left. The YWCA is right there (1355 Rene Levesque W)

The 427 and 535 buses also run in front of the YWCA.


You can walk to the conference site (Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve W) from the YWCA by walking up Crescent, and turning left on de Maisonneuve and going for a few more blocks. It's about 5 minutes. You can also get their via Guy Concordia metro (directions above)

Once you arrive at the conference site, take the elevators (or escalators) to the 7th floor.

Our registration desk will be open from 11am on Friday and 8am on Saturday and Sunday.

Please go immediately to the registration desk on the 7th floor and give them your name so we can give you a conference badge, printed programmed, some swag, and tickets to any special events like the Sunday banquet and the Saturday night concert. It's a good idea to bring your ticket or confirmation e-mail with you in case of glitches (they do happen), but it's not neccessary.

At the registration desk, you'll also be signing a waiver form, and we will have sign-up sheets for various tasks that we need help with over the weekend. (Helping out is completely optional but we appreciate it.)

Your conference badge must be worn at all times to access the panels and workshops.


Our main ritual to open the conference will be held Friday night at 8pm. This will be followed by a meet and greet. You must have gone through registration desk process before coming into the ritual.

Come as you are or dress up, it's up to you.

After the ritual there will be a meet and greet.


Over the course of the conference, we will need volunteers to help sit at the registration desk, supervise the hospitality room, time-keep the panels and workshops, do whisper translation and more.

If you wish to volunteer or would like more information, contact our volunteer coordinator Hesser Garcia at

We are working on a way to compensate volunteers for the time invested in the conference by offering a retroactive discount on the registration fee. This discount is being paid for through funds raised by the local Montreal community.


The final programme is now available to download as a pdf. You can access it here:


On Sunday night, we have our traditional closing banquet. The cost of the banquet is *not included* in the registration fee. It's an extra $35, which includes 4 courses, taxes and tip. (Beverages extra.) Because this is a catered meal and space is limited, banquet tickets *must* be purchased in advance.

The banquet will be held at Hurley's Irish Pub, which is just around the corner from our official accommodations at the YWCA. We also have a (completely optional) steam punk theme for the evening.

More information, including the menu, is available on our blog.

If you want to buy tickets, you can purchase them online until Thursday. They will also be a limited number available at the registration desk on Friday and Saturday.


Please note: All activities on Monday will be held at the YWCA, 1355 Rene Levesque W. This is also our official accomodations, so if you're staying at the Y, all you have to do is stumble out of the elevator in the morning.

We've had to do this because Monday is a holiday in Quebec and Concordia University is completely closed on that day.


This year we are looking for community input into the future of Gaia Gathering. On Sunday afternoon, we invite you to join members of the National Board as we discuss if the current formula that we developed for Gaia Gathering over seven year ago is still working. We will also collectively envision what future conferences might look like, then brainstorm ways to help achieve this vision, as well as identifying and suggesting ways to overcome current obstacles.

This is your opportunity to get involved in the vision of the Canadian National Pagan Conference, and to share your thoughts and observations on the Montreal conference as well as any past ones that you have attended. The results of this visioning session will be presented at the AGM on Monday as suggestions to the incoming board of directors.

At the AGM on Monday, we will decide where the next Gaia Gathering will be held, elect new officers for our national board of directors, and review the reports from our out-going board of directors and local conference committee.

Everyone is welcome to attend both the AGM, however only those who have paid the full conference registration rates are considered members with voting rights.

Tea, coffee and morning snacks will be available at the start of the meeting. We will take a brief break for a buffet-style lunch around 11:30.


For more information, please visit our website, blog or Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter. The Gaia Gathering 2011 hashtag is #GG2011.

If you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks!

The Gaia Gathering National Board of Directors and Local Host Committee.

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