GTA PHP Meetup June 23, 2022

GTA PHP Meetup June 23, 2022

by Bob Bloom

category: "meet-ups"

Yesterday evening, June 23, 2022, the three Toronto area PHP groups I organize had a meet-up at 7shifts in the heart of Toronto's financial district.

[King Street at University Avenue looking east]

[King Street looking north on York Street at the Richmond-Adelaide Center]

[Food Hall on lower concourse at First Canadian Place. McCafe is closed.]

[Food Hall at FCP, most vendors closed.]

It used to be that two dozen PHP devs would attend our downtown meet-ups, which were usually held across from the Eaton Centre by a wonderful, long-time, corporate host. This is our second in-person meet-up since the Province of Ontario lifted restrictions on the first day back from March Break. We are averaging a half-dozen PHP devs for both meet-ups. 

This weekend I will be participating in the PHP Round Table podcast. The theme of the round table is PHP user groups. Topics include challenges after lockdowns. 

A stark visual of the challenge is the Food Hall on the lower concourse of First Canadian Place. Most meet-ups were on a Thursday, so I walked this route plenty of times. This is in Canada's tallest tower. This tower is built with marble. This two-tower (actually, three if you include 320 Bay Street) complex is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange. This route used to be bustling with people who were in the weekend mood on a late Thursday afternoon, especially on a sunny, not-too-hot, early summer day, and especially ahead of the weekend before the Canada Day Long Weekend. Now, it is almost empty, the vendors mostly closed. It is heart-breaking. This is two months into the post-restrictions, and it is no better than when I was last down here for the first meet-up.

The challenge is that PHP devs are not downtown. PHP devs are not working downtown, and then sticking around for pizza, presentations, and shmooze. Our downtown meet-ups are now Destination Events. Guess what? No matter where we hold our meet-ups, our meet-ups are now Destination Events. Kudos to the devs who stuck around yesterday after the meet-up, doing the "Hallway Track" which I missed greatly, for distilling the issue to its base essence: will PHP devs get off their ass to attend the meet-ups? 

I have a message to you PHP devs who are ensconed in your remote cave, and encouragement to you intrepid souls who trekked on down: the last two meet-ups were fan-fucking-tastic. We experienced this at the York Region PHP meet-ups, where we met in Aurora at the hockey arena for a while. We were a small group that got to know each other. The meet-ups were engaging, fun, and incredibly informative. 

We interrupted the hell out of each other during presentations, except when someone new got up to speak, then we were on Best Manners. Someone who spent the last month in Database Hell chimed in with exceptional points. Someone who spent the last month in Project Management Hell similarly chimed in. The guy offering "The Laravel Perspective (TM)" would get chopped into pieces (ahem). 

The glory of these two post-lockdown meet-ups is that they were like this. The PHP devs who attended made the most of it. They were actively engaged, asked Very Pointed Questions. Luke did the same presentation yesterday as he did in April, with the benefit of some extra tidbits, and the PHP devs peppered the CTO of 7shifts with questions right up to the official end of the meet-up. This is Very Rare ☺ 

So, Toronto PHP devs, this is the door you should have seen yesterday:

[7shifts main door at Richmond-Adelaide Centre]

These are the PHP devs that kept your Toronto area PHP groups vibrant and active and pressing on with all the challenges:

[Luke Galea with Toronto PHP devs ☺]

I cannot say enough of Luke and 7shifts. A generous corporate host. A lot of time went into preparing the presentation. Takes initiative behind the scenes to make the meet-ups happen. Not once complained of shitty attendence. Despite a huge commute home after a long day at the office, and after presenting, which is exhausting in itself, stays afterwards to chit-chat without ever emoting impatience. A feat that I would not achieve under the same circumstances. 

We are aspiring for a July meet-up. Get on Discord to suggest venues, topics, etc. If you are not on our Discord Server, email me or go to my contact form.

Update: PHP Round Table Podcast

I was a participant on the PHP Round Table Podcast #85. I did not say much. Hopefully quality over quantity ☺