The beautiful thing about TED is the ability to access a wealth of knowledge when one isn't able to attend a conference. Any of us can sit infront of a computer and watch talk after talk, being inspired by each speakers' big idea.
At TEDxToronto, we decided to take this one step further. Though TEDxToronto speakers' videos are available on our website throughout the year, we wanted to bring this type of year round engagement to the streets of Toronto.
The community committee was charged with the task of hosting a number of salons throughout the city. The mission was to bring TED to pockets of the city that may not be familar with the conference or to find opportunities to collaborate with all the great initiatives going on in our city.
We kicked off this year's salon series at The Working Group office, where we had past TEDxToronto speakers Drew Dudley and Neil Pasricha speak about their big idea. We knew that our salons would have to be more than just a one-way dialogue. We wanted our attendees to participate and share their goals for 2011. Watching individuals with similar goals and ideas meet with each other to collaborate on projects was something truly magical.
For our second salon, "The Citizen", we to partnered with the Jane's Walk in Regent Park – Regent Part Revitalized – to host the event in one of the new residential developments. We discussed at length during our committee meetings what it meant to be a citizen in Toronto, in Ontario, in Canada, and globally. We wanted to host a salon that challenged our notions of citizenship and brought together some of the city's thinkers, doers, change agents to discuss what they thought citizenship meant.
We knew that throughout all the controversy surrounding the development in Regent Park, there were a number of fantastic community building initiatives that exemplified our notion of citizenship.
Our panelist; Lancefield Morgan (TCHC), Michele Peters (Regent Park Focus), Loyal Al-Shimmary (Regent Park Focus), and Eli Malinsky (Janes Walks Board Member, Director of CSI) discussed citizenship at length. And our guest speakers; Peter Macleod, Massia One, and a past TEDxToronto speaker, Dave Meslin, presented case studies of citizenship
After the success of The Citizen, we knew the next salon would have to tackle questions that were sparked from the the concept of citizenship, specifically those regarding new immigrants and their journey to Toronto. Our third salon, "The Immigrant", presented stories of immigration and immigrant support initiatives in our city.
Speakers Councilor Adam Vaughan and Avvy Go shared their perspectives on public policy, while panelists Fabio Crespin, Leonardo Zuniga, and Teresa Toten shared stories of finding your place in a new community.
We actually managed to bring TED to the streets by hosting at the Live Open Market at the Scadding Court Community Centre. It was an outdoor presentation with music and TED mashups by DJ JoonyaT and special performances by spoken word artists Ian Kamau and Quentin Lindsay. A very big thank you to Steve Carty for capturing the event.
We had an appetite to share and discuss Toronto's big ideas, and were beyond thrilled when this need was validated by our city. Thank you to My City Lives who sponsored the salon series and made the beautiful video possible.
The community committee looks forward to meeting, discussing, and debating big ideas with the great residents of Toronto at conference viewing parties and future salons.
Thanks to all community team members: Neel Joshi, Ty Harper, Nadia Alam, Nayani Thiyagarajah, James Meers, and Arati Sharma!