I don't go to APA every year by any means; I last went in NYC two years ago.
So here is my take on it:
It was too cold in Toronto, especially on Monday.
As of Tuesday, there were 17,000 people registered. In NYC, I believe there were 26,000 registered (I always ask). It seemed like there was less of everything, though maybe it's similar to how the playground slide gets smaller as one gets older. Some sessions were still extremely crowded, and I went to hear Glen Gabbard talk-- he was terrific, but it was like hearing a talk on crowded NYC subway with the body parts of assorted strangers being jammed into me. The quality of the sessions varied, but that isn't new.
It seemed there were many more non-members than usual, and what felt like huge numbers of people from other countries around the world. While this is always the case, it was more striking, and a drug rep told me that 40% of attendees were from other countries (by 'other' I mean not Canada or the US). Lots of folks from Turkey and the Netherlands.
Most notably: the toys were not good. The freebie drug company giveaways (pens, squishy brains) were all but absent; apparently the laws in Canada are stricter about such things, though I wondered if part of it was also due to all the fuss in the press here about drug companies influencing docs. The lack of toys meant the Exhibit Halls-- where I often bump into long lost people from my past lives-- were fairly empty.
Fun things: I made it to Steve Sharfstein's Presidential farewell bash and had dinner at Susur-- an event in its own right. Susur does only a tasting menu, probably the most interesting meal I've ever eaten out, definately the most expensive...the food was delicious. We flew into Buffalo and pit stopped enroute for Buffalo Wings and to see Niagra Falls.
Funniest moment: leaving the country, I handed my passport and boarding pass to the Immigration officer. He asked why I was in Canada and Was I a Psychiatrist. When I said I was, he moaned and said, "At least your not as disorganized as the rest of them."