This fall, bring your ideas to life with 1,000 new friends

September 2017 @ University of Waterloo

Waterloo Engineering works with us year after year, to engineer epic experiences at Hack the North.

The University of Waterloo Engineering is home to Canada’s largest engineering school — a pipeline for engineering talent for the world’s leading companies. Ranked among the top 50 engineering schools in the world, the school’s reputation for excellence is built on the foundation of co-op education and a bold history of innovation.

"There is an undeniable reputation throughout tech of the kind of engineering talent that comes out of the University of Waterloo. The students here are probably going to be the business leaders of this century."

Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder, Reddit

Canada’s biggest hackathon

We bring over 1000 students from around the world to the University of Waterloo to collaborate and create something extraordinary in 36 hours.

This is an event for hackers who choose to learn because they can, and build because they love it. Let us take care of the details — just bring your creativity and watch your ideas come to life this September.


Mentorship at Hack the North

Last year, we had over 300 mentors dedicate their time to helping new hackers get the ball rolling and push through obstacles in their way. This year, we’re introducing drop-in office hours and the option to request for help through our mobile app, so you’ll get the help you need from someone with the appropriate expertise.


Showcase your project to industry leaders

At Hack the North 2015, Tony Wu and his team from the University of Waterloo built an app for Pebble Watch. It detects handshakes between two people to send a Facebook friend request from one person to the other. Tony got the chance to chat with and show his project off to Pebble's founder and UW alumni, Eric Migicovsky.

Hacker Stories

Here's what some hackers had to say about Hack the North



Hack the North was my first (and second) hackathon, and the experience is still unforgettable! Everything Hack the North provided – inspiring speakers, mentors, workshops, food, coffee and free swag – contributed to an awesome supportive environment that made it really fun to hack away for those 36 hours.

Be inspired by leaders

"You have the power to enact positive change right here right now"
— Justin Trudeau at Hack the North 2017

Judges & Speakers (2017)

Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister, Canada
Balaji Srinivasan
Charlie Cheever
Founder, Expo
Tracy Chou
Founding Advisor, Project Include
Michael Gibson
General Partner, 1517 Fund
Dylan Field
CEO, Figma
Jennifer Dewalt
Founder, Zube
Tracy Young
CEO, PlanGrid
Patrick Hannigan
Founder, Hive
Johnny Chin
CEO, Bannerman
Ellen Chisa
Founder, Project Dark
Cat Noone
Founder, Iris
Jay Shah
Director, Velocity
Tyler Campaigne
VP Engineering, Vidyard
Tiffani Ashley Bell
Founder, The Human Utility
Laura Smith
Co-founder, Pout
Mike Kirkup
CTO, Encircle
Aaron Glazer
CEO, Taplytics
Ethan Wilding
Strategy, Ledger Labs
Joey Krug
Founder, Augur
Jeff Coleman
Founder, Ledger Labs

Sponsor a special weekend

Each year, our sponsors help us unite 1,000 emerging developers and designers. Our sponsors empower our hackers to build something they're proud of.

The Hack the North sponsorship team can be reached at:

Our partners


Frequently asked questions


What is Hack the North?

Hack the North is Canada’s premier hackathon, where 1,000 students of different skill levels come together from across the world to experiment and create unique software or hardware projects from scratch. We enable teams to make something great in only 36 hours by providing an abundance of hacking resources like mentors, sponsors, and hardware components. Sleeping is optional, but trying to make awesome things is not.

Who can participate?

Students of any education level from across the world are eligible to apply for Hack the North! Once applications have been reviewed, all students will be notified by email regarding the status of their application.

How much does it cost to attend Hack the North?

Admission to Hack the North is completely free. We’ll also be providing food and accommodation for the entire event and helping out as much as we can with transportation!

How do I get to Hack the North?

We will be providing several buses from schools within driving distance of the University of Waterloo, as well as from nearby airports. For students who need to fly to Hack the North, we are working hard to subsidize as much of your plane ticket as possible (assuming you don’t try to fly first-class on us!). More details on this once acceptances start rolling out!

How many people can be on a team?

You can form teams of up to 4 people. There are no restrictions for team members, so you can team up with hackers of any school, country, or experience level! You can also apply together as a team once you've started an individual application. Sign in to your Hacker Dashboard at and navigate to the Team tab to apply!


What if I've never been to a hackathon before?

No worries! It’s helpful to have some programming or technical experience, but it’s not a requirement. We’ll have talks, mentors and workshops to help you with your project; hackathons can be a great place to learn new skills in a short amount of time. Just come eager to learn, excited to meet lots of awesome people, and most importantly, come ready to build.

Can I start working on my hack before the event?

No. In the interest of fairness, students should not be working on their projects before Hack the North begins and we do not allow participants to work on pre-existing projects. However, you can familiarize yourself with all the tools and technologies you intend to use beforehand!

What kind of workshops, talks, and activities will there be?

Previously, we’ve run iOS 101, Android 101, Hardware 101, and Javascript 101 workshops. We’ve also had introductory workshops to various APIs, databases and platforms, plus a team formation session. In addition, whether it’s for relaxation or health, novelty or competition, our user experience team has something prepared for you!

What about hardware?

If you have specific hardware in mind, bring it with you. We will be doing our best to lend hardware at the event and enable you to work on your dream hack. More details about this will be provided closer to the event.

How does judging work?

A panel of some of the biggest names in tech will evaluate hacks based on creativity, technical difficulty, design, and usefulness. The top 10 overall projects will demo what they have built in front of all of Hack the North during our closing ceremonies. New judges will be announced on a rolling basis on Twitter and Facebook, so make sure to follow us!

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I have a question that is not listed here. Who should I ask?

Feel free to email us at or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter!