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C2MTL: A Griffintown Design Mecca 5 Years Running

Discover the world of design behind C2MTL, a series of conferences, workshops and networking created by Sid Lee
C2MTL 2015 - @catmart 12

First conceived with the idea of joining the business community and creative community, C2MTL has quickly become a destination of choice for the business elite, both nationally and internationally. Innovation through inventiveness is a conversation that is becoming increasingly relevant, especially to stand out from the masses. With the fifth edition all behind us, let’s go back in time to watch the evolution of this unique event and the influence of its avant-garde design on the neighborhood.

2012: Year One

The first event, which welcomed such dignified guests as Arianna Huffington and Francis Ford Coppola, was hosted at New City Gas, a former factory now converted into a multifunctional space and nightclub. Up until the day before the opening, the building remained without electricity and functional bathrooms. Already offering a very raw environment for this kind of rally, with its cathedral roofs and brick walls, the theatrical and playful aspect of the event probably took some business people out of their comfort zone. To enhance their moods, participants were treated to a bombardment of lights and sounds in the reset chamber, as well as a space for business meetings under clouds of smoke.

La premiere edition avait lieu au New City Gas
First edition at New City Gas – Photo Credit: CBC


2013: Focus on Arsenal

The resounding success of the first edition was responsible for moving the event to the Arsenal, an art gallery that could accommodate a larger number of people; which was fortunate, because some 2000 available tickets sold like hot cakes. With more space to create an immersive atmosphere, the organizers hosted, among others, many influential local merchants, putting a spotlight on the city and its products and services. For this second edition, C2 also decided to focus the design around the logo, which was plastered all over the room, from the lighting to the furniture. The food side of the conference has also grown with the introduction of Food Trucks, including Lucille’s, known for its delicious oysters and fabulous lobster rolls.

La deuxieme edition prit place dans la galerie d art l Arsenal
Second edition at L’Arsenal – Photo Credit:
Un environnement design misant sur la géométrie du logo
Photo Credit:
Cette edition accueillat de nombreux commercant montrealais
Photo Credit:

2014: Expansion of Design

At its third edition, the most important pillars of C2MTL were creating an inspiring environment by offering a cutting-edge, even shocking, design. The atypical furniture and far fewer seats than people resulted in much more conversation among participants. The outdoor area was also redesigned to accommodate more people, thanks to the garage and covered reading lounge. Honourable mention to the first bubble bath and the giant Lite Brite!

Mention au Lite Brite Géant de C2MTL
Giant Lite Brite!
Citation celebre de John Donne introduisant la conference sur la valeur des communautés
Photo Credit: Kristina Velan – Sparksheet


2015: The Brainstorm

The 2015 conference brought together more than 4000 industry professionals from 27 different countries. Also at the Arsenal, the event seemed to prioritize destabilizing business meetings forcing participants to drop all preconceived ideas. Brainstorming in the fog, where people meet without seeing each other, and Brainstorming in the sky, where they meet suspended in mid-air, are perfect examples. The interior had to be completely redone to accommodate no fewer than 90 activities promoting conversation. And what a success! At C2MTL, one in four signed a business agreement with others. There were also ultra-colorful exterior spaces with thousands of ribbons and a giant ferris wheel.

Les espaces exterieurs ultras colorés du C2
Photo Credit: @catmart
A C2MTL c est une entreprise sur quatre qui conclue une entente d’affaires
Photo Credit: @djess01

2016: Surrounded by Nature

The 2016 edition, all dressed in green, offered a very different atmosphere from that of past events. Bringing a fresh spirit, without violating the purpose of the event, the many business agreements hashed out were a huge success. This year, armed with an umbrella and sent through a cold passage through artificial snow, or in a bubble bath 2.0, and aboard a boat, was where industry leaders could discuss business. The dining experience also reached unprecedented levels for its 5th anniversary; the leaders of the restaurant Park, Buonanotte and Joe Beef gathered to offer the best food Montreal has to offer. We also saw several food trucks outside for food on the go. We loved the outdoor facilities, including bars and shops in well-designed shipping containers.

So, will you be at the sixth edition?

L environnement verdoyant de l edition 2016
Photo Credit: @sidleemtl
les foodtrucks du jardin exterieur de C2MTL
Photo Credit: @c2montreal
ballade en parapluie sur chemin glacé du C2MTL
Photo Credit: @c2montreal

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