6 Questions with Dylan Gerard


Dylan Gerard

Executive Creative Director

ICF Olson

What’s your favourite thing about doing business out of Toronto?

Toronto is a great city. I was born and raised here. I can’t get lost, because I always know where the lake is. Toronto people can feel that, I think. My favourite thing about doing business out of here though is the incredibly talented people here that can accomplish just about anything. There’s a human who knows how to do the thing you want to do that you have no idea how to actually do and they can get done that thing you came up with (even though you didn’t know enough about that thing when you came up with it) in the time you have to get it done and it will be great. You might not know that human, but another human you know knows a human who knows that human. Toronto is the kind of town where people get excited about doing things and making things and meeting other people who do things and make things and get things done. There’s an energy here I’ll always love. That applies to many – not all – but many clients, too. Many clients in a market like Toronto are positioned to activate work from elsewhere. We all deal with it. But, so many here are receptive to pushing a little harder. Re-interpreting things to be more local, or better, or tweaking the humor so a Canadian might actually find it funny. Ah, I could go on about Toronto…

What is the one thing you’d like to see the City of Toronto accomplish for businesses in 2018?

I’d like to see Toronto come out from under the lobbies and regulations that prevent businesses from happening. Example: the food truck situation in this city is ridiculous. Numerous big chefs in other towns build empires starting from food trucks. There are areas of the waterfront that should be left alone for ecological and human/nature experiences – but the development of other areas of the waterfront has been an argument frozen in time from before I could shave. I’d like to see Toronto untangle things like those bags of snakes and open more opportunity for entrepreneurs. I suspect that those kind of policy / lobby entanglements are like mice. Sure, we can see one or two, but that means there are a hundred more fucking in the walls.

What is the one buzzword or trend you’d like to see die in 2018?

Buzzword death: “It’s the Uber of____” Trend death: jumping to the latest shit instead of developing an actual strategy and building an actual idea out of it. We need a Snapchat filter! But, you’re a funeral home! But, let’s put the fun back in funeral! Also, it drives me bonkers when I see work targeting people who are older making the assumption they want to be younger. Is there a character count limit in this box? There are so many things I would like to set on fire.

What is your favourite curse word?

This is pretty boring but FUCK is a great word. I am quite fond of “Aw, for fuck’s sake!”

Where do you go in Toronto when you need to focus and allow your mind to work through complex business challenges?

Ideally, I’ll go for a walk. Barring that, a quiet place. I tend to do a lot of pre-work in my head before I start to put stuff down and truthfully, I often only half realize that I am always doing this. Showers are good, too. I might go to bed completely flummoxed, wake up, hit the shower and the solve will hit me.

Top 3 Favourite Things to Do in Toronto
  • Playing with my kids. This town is an amazing playground. The ROM / AGO / Zoo / beach / Islands / farms / pools / etc. etc. The city never ends in the eyes of a child.
  • I like to go drink in bars that range between dodgy and dangerous or are places where I might not normally belong or even be considered welcome. And yet, I am always made welcome because this is Toronto.
  • St Lawrence Market. This is my happy place as a cook. Wandering around, talking to the various vendors that I’ve dealt with for years. The place is a jewel.