TEDaholics rock Toronto!

Idea sharing from leading edge thinkers & doers in Toronto? Check.

Peak neuronal activity & surge in inspiration? Check.

ODing on the best chocolate in town & amazing after-party? Check.

Bonding with like-minded TED addicts & forging amazing connections? Invaluable!

As one of the select 100 attendees, I’m still riding the high from the first ever TEDxToronto event, held on Sep 10, 2009 at the Theatre Passe Muraille. It was a privilege and delight!

The masterminds behind the show, Paul Crowe and Tyler Turnbull (with the help of an awesome organizing committee) pulled off what we’re all hoping is an annual celebration of ideas and ode to the TED Conference.

For those who might be new to it, TED talks provide a platform for the greatest visionaries and thinkers across disciplines to come together and share brilliant insights that are literally shaping our collective futures. Driving this amazing gathering is the belief that “there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea”.

 The theme for TEDxToronto “What’s Next?” elicited a whole spectrum of responses as diverse as the speaker list.

Some highlights:

  • The most emotionally visceral answer to the theme came from dub poet D’bi Young as she made a haunting, soul stirring and lyrically brilliant case for: Love. Every mind and heart in the audience moved to her beat, drinking in the passionate call for a little less fear, a little more courage, compassion and love, love, love.
  • Did you know North America’s greenest hotel is right here in Toronto? Retrofitted with geothermal pipes & soaking in solar mojo that allows for a 80% cut in carbon emissions, Planet Traveler is a brilliant testament to the win-win case made by its co-developer and intrepid Cleantech venture capitalist Tom Rand.
  • Architect Michael McClelland took the case further exposing the “invisible” parts of the city of Toronto, based on its towers of concrete – the distinct city skyline peppered with high rise apartments. Retrofitting these faceless dinosaur edifices – and fast – has the potential to add both green and community to their presently stark and energy guzzling avatars.
  • Filmmaker and Eclipse Chaser David Makepeace drummed up an other-worldly video and talk mash-up.
  • Director Min Sook Lee gave a heartfelt rendition of the concept behind her new documentary My Toxic Baby, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival. I had the chance to speak to her at dinner and exchange notes on what she describes as the “baby industrial complex” challenging new parents, and the Cradle to Cradle philosophy of product design & elimination of toxins.
  • Gavin Sheppard’s raw energy and sincerity were clearly evident as he spoke about his brainchild The Remix Project: a creative education model that steers clear of traditional schooling ideas and leverages the power of urban entertainment and culture for empowering youth.
  • Business, technology and social media gurus Don Tapscott, Mathew Ingram and Steven Woods balanced the mix with their insights while success analyst Richard St. John reminded us to focus on “what’s next” rather than getting stuck in the past.

For more photos from the event and after-party check out the TEDxTO Flickr stream.

I’m lucky to be part of a wonderful TED community that feeds my curiosity for new ideas and inspiration. 

How do you nurture your creativity? What communities do your participate in? If you don’t fit into any that presently exist, have you considered creating one?

Take a page from Paul Crowe and Tyler Turnbull’s book – you may be surprised at the result!