Does a tree stop searching for space to spread its limbs in a crowded forest? Or does it contort its boughs toward the light and dig its roots that much deeper into the ground? Growth is part of survival, and much like a mobbed sapling, this year's agency winners are attempting to tower above the rest by sprouting new branches and exploring new spaces.

AOY Gold-taker Leo Burnett is crossing borders to conceive global creative. Data intelligence experts are arriving at DAOY winner John St., while shiny new Toronto digs are in the works for Lg2 (which tied for first place in Digital). And over in media, top winner OMD kicked off an innovation and startup community division.

Even strategy's agency competition is growing, expanding to include a public relations category, with North Strategic (an indie shop that has seen massive growth in three short years) stepping up to the plate to pick up the inaugural Gold PR award.

All of these winners, plus Silver and Bronze in each category, were crowned at an awards gala at the Ontario Science Centre on Oct. 30.

Read on to find out what it takes to emerge triumphant from the masses, and be inspired to do the same.