The Emergence of the Montreal Space Symposium

Some of the Montreal Space Symposium organizers. From left to right: Adam Targui, McGill, Sandro Papais, McGill, Matias Rittatore, Concordia, Aliénor Lougerstay, Concordia, Hannah Jack Halcro, Concordia, Jan Clarence Dee, Concordia, Raymond Pai, Concordia. Credit: Montreal Space Symposium.

Young, motivated and ambitious. That’s how I would describe three of the organizers of the Montreal Space Symposium I had chance to interview. 

Changing Perceptions

Montreal is known as an aerospace bub, with an emphasis on the aviation segment.

According to Montreal International, there are over 200 companies in the greater Montreal area which employ over 39,000 people. You’ve heard of some of the big names, Bombardier, Bell Helicopter CAE and Pratt & Whitney.

For the organizers of the Montreal Space Symposium, in particular Sandro Papais, Aliénor Lougerstay and Jan Clarence Dee whom I sat down to interview, they want Montrealers and Quebecers to recognize the growing space segment of the aerospace community.

That’s why they brought together the various space associations from local Montreal universities to form the Montreal Student Space Associations, and created the first Montreal Space Symposium.

It’s going to take some time and dedication, but if the Montreal Student Space Associations continue to grow this conference, they just might succeed in changing perceptions.

A Head Start

It helps that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is located on Montreal’s south shore in Saint-Hubert.

The close proximity allowed the CSA to send nine speakers to the conference including president Sylvain Laporte. And it was Laporte that garnered the largest audience with over 300 people, mostly students, listening to every word in search of inspiration and guidance as they look to start their careers.

The CSA must be pleased that this grassroots students initiative has taken root right in their backyard. It’s good for them and the space community.

Problems, What Problems?

The student organizers didn’t seem fazed at the prospect of organizing a conference in just over two months.

They secured funding from a couple of key associations including the McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE), and the Institut D’ Innovation et de Conception Aérospatial de Polytechnique (IICAP) and they then went about putting together a program. The conference program included the aforementioned speakers from the CSA, student research and their professors work along with some local industry leader such as MDA and ABB. And the organizers have told SpaceQ that some of the presentations will be online in the near future for those interested.

But rarely does a conference happen without some glitches. But in this case the glitches were minor. A little lack of organization during the first days registration and a few lost badges.

Next Year, Even Bigger

Fresh off the success of this conference, the organizers are enthusiastically already talking about next year and how the conference will be bigger and better.

I don’t doubt it.

Podcast Episode 17: The Montreal Space Symposium

Conference Video

Day 1 – Morning


Day 1 – Afternoon


Day 2 – Morning

Day 2 – Afternoon

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

Leave a Reply