Koerner Hall
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  • Final Talks Released From TEDxToronto 2013

    We are thrilled to share with you three more illuminating talks and a notable performance from TEDxToronto 2013 – all talks from the event are now live on our site and can be viewed here.


    Darrell Bricker
    In the past 40 years, great global migrations have changed the demographic, socioeconomic and cultural landscapes of Canada. The Central and Eastern Canadian influences that once drove the politics of our country have changed. And the many Canadians who are unaware that this has happened are at risk of being left behind if they fail to recognize and respond to the new normal. Watch as Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, uses research and statistics to help show how Canada is in flux, and how we must alter our perceptions about this shift.


    Gabrielle Scrimshaw
    Watch as Aboriginal young professional Gabrielle Scrimshaw discusses her personal journey, moving from the Hatchet Lake First Nation community in Northern Saskatchewan to Toronto, and the resultant challenges she struggled with and the hurdles she overcame. She discusses, at length, the issues that Aboriginal youth currently face, in Canada and elsewhere. She articulates how Aboriginal Canadian youth currently stand on a precipice, and that their fates may lie in either direction contingent on the action or inaction of Canadian citizens and government.


    Mark Bowden
    Within seconds of Mark Bowden walking on stage to close out the day’s Talks, he announced to the audience that they had already decided whether he was “friend or foe”. In his Talk, Mark argues that whether we’re aware of it or not, this kind of judgment is a direct result of the instantaneous evaluations of our primitive brains. Every day, our brain weighs the people we meet and places each person into one of four categories: friend, enemy, potential sexual partner, or indifferent. However, he argues one can employ specific behaviours to change another’s perceptions and in fact, challenges us to be “more inauthentic.”


    Wes “Maestro” Williams
    In course of this combination performance and Talk, Canada’s “Godfather of Hip Hop” gets over 900 hands waving in the air, including those of both teenagers and grandparents alike. Watch as Wes Williams AKA Maestro Fresh Wes discusses his continued journey as a musical artist whose songwriting has been very much inspired and defined by the city in which we live. He speaks to his lyrics as reflections of his values system, sticking to your vision, and music as a component of civic engagement. Moreover, listen to the audience react to the songs that, over the past 25 years, have become part of the soundtrack of our urban landscape.


    -The TEDxToronto Organizing Committee

  • Relaunch of Steve Mann’s TEDxToronto Talk

    It is with great pleasure that we announce the re-release of Dr. Steve Mann’s TEDxToronto Talk. As part of the first round of videos made available from this year’s TEDxToronto conference, we released Dr. Mann’s talk to the public. Unfortunately, we were advised shortly thereafter by TED that due to the length of Dr. Mann’s talk, we were required to provide an edited version for the Official TEDxTalks YouTube channel that better conformed to the standard 18-minute TEDxTalk format.

    In this edited version of the talk, the thesis and core content of Dr. Mann’s talk remains:

    However, we’re thrilled to also offer the unedited 32 minute version for those who would like to see the original talk in its entirety:

    We hope that you will watch one or both of the above versions of Dr. Mann’s Talk. In his Talk, he addresses the digital capture and recording of our everyday lives, the social, political and legal implications of this shift, and what he calls “The Veillance Contract: An integrity protocol for the cyborg age.”

    Since his delivery of the Talk, there has been much discussion in our community about its subject matter. Our hope is that with its relaunch, the conversation will continue.



    The TEDxToronto Organizing Committee

  • 4 More Inspiring Talks & A Moving Performance From Our 2013 Conference

    We are thrilled to share four more powerful talks and a memorable performance from our 5th annual TEDxToronto conference.


    Michael Stone

    In Buddhist teachings, a focus is often placed on transcendence and enlightenment. In his TEDxTalk, Michael Stone speaks about his struggle with this focus, discussing his concern with how this takes attention away from the material world. He expresses how he wants to be OF the material world, engaged in and embracing of both urban life and natural environments, arguing, “we need to be more materialistic.” He postulates that the road to reconciling transcendence with the material world is not through the old model of “vertical transcendence,” but rather through “horizontal transcendence,” or transcendence through relationships with one another and the material world.


    Dr. Mendez

    Specializing in functional neurosurgery, brain repair, stem cells and robotics, Dr. Mendez’s technical demonstration addresses the use of remote-presence robots for medical care in neurosurgery. He confronts the idea that quality medical care should not be the sole purvey of those who live in big cities; many people live in areas of the world that are remote, if not inaccessible, at certain times of year. These people face the reality that medical care may not be available when they need it. And in this technical demonstration in which Dr. Mendez takes us to Labrador, Saskatchewan and California, he shows how long distance telementoring neurosurgery is changing this harsh reality — and could continue to better the lives of rural inhabitants all over the world in the near future.


    Ti-Anna Wang

    As the first talk of our day, Ti-Anna Wang set the stage for a thoughtful TEDx defined by personal stories abstracted into greater theses imbued with meaning.  Speaking about the Chinese arrest and imprisonment of her father, Wang Bingzhang, this reluctant activitst challenges us all to do what is right instead of what is easy, and asks us to rethink our respective persectives on politics, human rights, and civic engagement.


    Brendan Frey

    One of the last and greatest mysteries of our world lies buried within the walls of our own cells. Along with his team of researchers at the University of Toronto, Dr. Brendan Frey seeks to reveal how the genetic codes within our DNA determine the fates, sometimes good and sometimes bad, of the cells in our bodies. Watch as Dr. Frey takes us on a journey into this uncharted territory, explaining how he and his research group are beginning to decipher these genetic “recipes” and how they are responsible for diversity between cells, individuals and species. Moreover, listen as he describes how the potential decoding of this information may lead to treatments for genetic diseases, piquing our curiosity about how far science should go.


    Matt Good

    Closing the show, Canadian rock icon Matt Good took the stage for a combined TEDxTalk and memorable performance. Watch as Matt speaks about the subject of mental health through a personal lens. His Talk recognizes the idea that our society wants to foster creativity, but at the same time, artistic genius can sometimes be accompanied by illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Unless we recognize that gifted performers may be facing struggles, we may fail to recognize these talents altogether. Finally, listen as Matt closes the show with a haunting and echoing performance of “Strange Days,” in which his voice and guitar alone captivate and stir the audience.


    Stay tuned – additional TEDxToronto 2013 talks will be posted up on our site soon.

    -The TEDxToronto Organizing Committee

  • More Talks Released from Our 2013 Conference


    We are thrilled to announce the release of more incredible TEDxTalks from our September 26, 2013 Conference.

    Rodolphe el-Khoury: More than ever before, the line between the digital and real worlds is increasingly blurred. Historically, computers and devices have functioned as a separate layer within our lives. Watch as architect Rodolphe el-Khoury describes a not-too-distant future in which “the internet of things” will become a reality. In this world, our homes, workplaces, and the objects within them will all be digitally connected, intelligent, and responsive.


    Debbie Berlin-Romalis: As a clinical social worker at SickKids Hospital and a facilitator at Sheena’s Place, Debbie’s work is fraught with emotional challenges. In this talk, Debbie talks about the importance of honesty. She draws upon examples that show how honesty can be transformative for families faced with difficult realities. As well, she uncovers her own truth to the audience, demonstrating how critical self-honesty is to leading an authentic life.


    Joel MacCharles: We live in a time and culture in which dialogue about food is more complex than ever before; food is at once accessible, disposable, commoditized, and fetishized. Watch as Joel MacCharles dispels myths about canning and preserving, helping us to understand how the traditional techniques of our forebears can be easier than we think as well as a time and money saver. At the same time, he exposes some unpleasant truths about the ingredients lists on the backs of food products at the supermarket. Steel yourself: you’re about to find out what “cochineal” and “castoreum” mean.


    Red Sky: Opening the show, Canada’s leading company of world Indigenous performance in dance, theatre and music graced the Koerner Hall stage. Watch as two dancers create an emotional and spiritual narrative through motion. The athleticism, grace, and beauty of this polished performance, “Horse Dreaming Excerpt,” set the tone for the day and opened our minds to inspiration and possibility.


    Thalmic Labs: As technology increasingly becomes an extension of us, Thalmic Labs has developed the gesture-based MYO band, a form of wearable computing that harnesses “electromyography sensors.” These sensors detect the electrical activity generated by muscle contraction, combining it with an axis-motion sensor that tracks the movement and orientation of a person’s arm. Watch the awe-inspiring, ground-breaking demonstration of this technology, wherein one of the company founders controls a helicopter onstage with only his arm.



    Stay tuned as more TEDxToronto Talk videos will become available in the coming weeks.


    The TEDxToronto Organizing Committee

  • TEDxToronto Releases the First Round of 2013 Talks


    Photograph by Andrew Williamson

    We are thrilled to announce the release of the first round of videos from our September 26, 2013 Conference held at the Royal Conservatory of Music. With twelve diverse and passionate speakers it was a day full of ‘ideas worth spreading’, we hope that you will be as inspired as we were from these incredible talks.

    Mark Henick: Over the course of Mark’s talk, a deep and resonant silence slowly descended over the room, culminating in an audience brought to tears – and a standing ovation. Listen and watch as Mark Henick broadens our perceptions on the subject of suicide. His TEDxTalk helps us to understand not only the point of someone who has made the decision to die by suicide, but also how we must re-frame our conversations around the subject in order to make change in the world.

    Steph Guthrie: In social media, the contemporary adage “don’t feed the trolls” is the guiding and golden rule of conversation. Steph Guthrie turns the tables on the commonly accepted “rules of engagement” of the internet and delivers a TEDxTalk arguing misogynistic behaviour in social media should be no more acceptable online than its offline equivalent. In fact, she theorizes that social misogyny is not just deserving of a response, but rather demands one, and at the same time articulates how social media has made it much easier to unmask those responsible for it.

    Dr. Steve Mann: Once the stuff of science fiction, in the past several years the digital capture and recording of our everyday lives has evolved from fantasy to novelty to norm. Watch as Dr. Steve Mann, the “father of wearable computing” delivers a TEDxTalk on the social, political and legal implications of this shift, making the case for what he calls “The Veillance Contract: An integrity protocol for the cyborg age,” a principle encouraging the recording of one’s environment in a bid to protect society from corruption from above.


    Stay tuned for more talks from TEDxToronto 2013, which will be going up on our site in the coming days.


    -The TEDxToronto Team