McGill Student Group Gears Up for Largest Hackathon Ever in Canada

The student organizers at HackMcgill, a student group at McGill University, are ready to throw the McHacks Hackathon, February 23-24. With 500 developers it’s set to be the largest hackathon ever in Canada. An anticipated $30,000 is up for grabs in prizes.

Vasu Nadella, one of the event’s coorganizers with HackMcGill, said it’s open to any undergraduate student at any university, which should attract a diverse mix of developer talent. Typically schools tend to restrict the events to their own student bodies, so the inclusive nature of McHacks is a nice touch. The organizers are also saying that high school students or grad students are welcome to email them and request access, which will be decided through a “case-by-case basis”.

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Admission is free and the organizers are willing to pitch $200 for travel costs per student, but not hotels. If more than 50 students from one school register they’ll likely send a bus though. Bus info will be made public soon.

Teams will be capped at four people and single coders will be placed on a team. Newer or beginner coders are most welcome at the event. “This is a great oppurtunity for you to learn how to hack! We’ll have lots of evangelists walking around and some fantastic tech talks lined up,” wrote the organizers.

As for the format, all hacks are welcome, including web, desktop, mobile, and hardware projects (but they must be computer-related).

Participants can’t work on a past project and must start fresh, but the website said that “if you do decide to skirt this rule, let us know so we can judge your work fairly.”

Students should remember to bring their student id’s.

While the complete $30,000 hasn’t fully been raised yet, HackMcGill anticipates that the full amount should be raised from several sponsors, mainly technology companies eager to make a presence at an event that should feature some seriously talented students. The student group is still actively courting sponsorship and any interested company should email them at

Nadella told us that HackMcGill started this summer “with the aim to enable McGill people to attend hackathons throughout north America. We’ve expanded our mission to include not just going to hackathons but getting people involved in projects, strengthening their resumes and working for the companies they want to work for.” The group also provides guidance and resources for student coders to complete projects.

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk previously has written for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.