PyCascades Welcome Wagon


We’re your Welcome Wagon, and we’re glad you’re coming to the 2018 PyCascades conference! Feel free to tweet at us. You can also email us at if we can help make your first time at the conference easier. Join us on PyCascades Slack. When you get to the conference, come say hello.

We’ve gathered important stuff here that will help you navigate the conference like a pro, make you feel more at home, and help you to manage the constant flow of information. Strategies and pro tips provide ways you can make the most of the conference. The FAQs strive to answer questions before you even have them.


We welcome your contribution to the Welcome Wagon. Propose a PR on our GitHub repo.

Pro Tips

  • You don’t need to go to every talk. Look through the schedule of events before you arrive or while you are eating or taking a break. Figure out which talks you want to see the most. Spread out your time between talks, networking, and breaks.
  • Speaking of breaks–conferences are exhilarating, but can also be exhausting. Give your brain a break! Grab a quiet spot in the Backstage Lounge or take a quick walk. Play a board game on your lunch break. Come back invigorated.
  • Eat! You can use the energy.
  • Are you looking for a job or is there an opening at your company? Check out the job board in ??.


Where is everything?

The pre-registration event takes place at #420 725 Granville Street on Sunday, January 21st, 2018 at 6 PM. More details to come.

The main conference takes place in Granville Island Stage at 1585 Johnston Street.

The sprints on Wednesday, January 24th, is at a different venue: #400 - 455 Granville Street.

How should I get around?

Vancouver has a very useful public transit system. The majority of the must-see places are in its reach. There are buses, trains, and ferries available. There are also two private companies that operate small ferries across False Creek.

At the moment, there is no ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft in Vancouver. We highly recommend using public transit. Taking public transit requires a Compass Card.

Car sharing services are available, though you will need to sign up ahead of time and verify your driver’s license.

A bike share program with a day pass option is also available:

If you are driving, free parking on Granville Island is limited between 1 to 3 hours depending on the location. A number of paid lots are nearby with all-day parking.

How should I dress?

  • Vancouver is a casual-dress town and so is the PyCascades conference. You’ll be meeting business colleagues at this conference, though, so neat and comfortable are good dress guidelines.
  • This time of year, the Pacific Northwest tends to be muddy or raining with occasional swaths of blue skies. Layering is usually the way to go.

What’s the weather like?

  • The weather is mosty mild. You can expect temperatures in the mid 40’s Fahrenheit (0º to 5º Celsius) during the conference dates. It gets fairly wet, but snow is not usually a problem. Read more.

What will I eat?

  • Drinks and snacks are provided for you on conference days, so you can focus on the talks and meeting people and don’t have to worry about where to get your morning coffee.
  • Coffee, tea, and water are always available in the Backstage Lounge. Bring a water bottle to make it easier for you to stay hydrated.
  • Lunch is not provided. It will be a great opportunity to try out a variety of food options at Granville Island Public Market.
  • In the evening, explore Vancouver’s amazing food scene. Invite someone you just met to join you! If you are invited to dinner, say yes! Making connections over dinner is a great way to get to know more people.
  • If you need grocery items, there is ??

Places to eat

Where should I sit?

  • Some seats in the front row are reserved accessibility seating. These will be clearly marked. If you have accessibility requirements, feel free to take up one of these seats.
  • All other seats are unreserved; feel free to sit anywhere.
  • If you can, show up early to the conference each morning to grab a seat inside the theatre. Introducing yourself to your neighbors is one of the easiest way to meet people.

What should I do during the talks?

Talks schedule.

  • The time between talks is for meeting your colleagues or taking a break. During the talks, listen and take in as much as you can.
  • There is a lot of great information at this conference, but don’t worry if you miss something! All talks are videotaped, so you can review them later.
  • If you have a question during a talk, make a note of it and use it as a conversation starter with the speaker.
  • After a talk, feel free to tweet about it with the hashtag #pycascades. Try not to “watch” the conference through Twitter and other social media, though. You are attending the conference, so live in it as much as you can!

What are lightning talks, and should I give one?

  • Lightning talks will take place on both main conference days, right after lunch, from 1:50PM to 2:20 PM.
  • A lightning talk is a five-minute talk where you quickly share a concept or bit of info you find interesting.
  • Lightning talks are a great way to practice public speaking, get people excited about your personal projects, and test interest in a conference proposal idea.
  • Do you have an idea, want to talk about a new tool you are learning, or review a process? Then, yes! Sign up for a lightning talk. There will be a sign-up sheet at registration.
  • If you are interested in giving a lightning talk, be prepared! There is a great guide here.

How do I make the most out of this conference?

Make connections with other first-time attendees and get advice from seasoned pros.

The most important part of this conference (and any conference) is the people you meet. Set a goal for yourself to meet a few, new people. Here are some tips:

  • Find out who is attending the conference before you get there. Join the PyCascades Slack, follow PyCascades on Twitter, and review the list of talks.
  • Figure out which companies will be represented at the conference. If you see a job post you’re interested in, you might want to ask them a few questions. This might be a great time to better understand what it’s like to work at certain companies.
  • Make a list of a few people you would like to meet, and write down some questions for them. If you can find contact information, email them before the conference and let them know you are looking forward to chatting.
  • Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to meet everyone. In fact, you shouldn’t. You should plan to make a few, meaningful connections. That is what the PyCascades conference is about, so go for it! Introduce yourself.

Sample strategy for my first PyCascades conference

  • Join the PyCascades Slack, to start making conference connections.
  • Make a list of two people who are attending with some notes about them and questions for them. Either reach out by email before the conference to set up a meeting onsite or find them at the conference.
  • Attend the sprints and volunteer to help on one of the projects being worked on.
  • Check out the talk schedule in advance and make note of the talks you don’t want to miss.
  • Check out the lightning talks, and get excited about presenting one at next year’s conference.

Sample strategy for a second or higher conference

  • Reach out to some first-time attendees and tell them about your first conference.
  • Attend the sprints with your own project. Ask for help!
  • Check out the talk schedule in advance and make note of the talks you don’t want to miss.
  • Sign up for a lightning talk.

Say hello

We’d love to say hi when you’re at the conference. Come find us and ask any questions, or just chat about the conference!


This document was inspired by other conferences doing great work in this area. In particular, these three documents were heavily used as a reference: