Ideacity 13 – An Event to Remember

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By Our Correspondent

The great city of Toronto saw the usual hustle and bustle of urban life outside the Royal Conservatory of Music between June 13 to June 15.  But inside, at the Koerner Hall, it was a different story.  It was Ideacity, where some of the finest minds of our planet had come together to share their views of our world and its future. 

The brainchild of media legend, Moses Znaimer, Ideacity is now in its 13th year.  A constellation of the top talent of the world, Ideacity 13 produced a discussion of brand new thoughts, ideas that have already taken shape and works in progress. 

Firebrands produce fireworks.  All the speakers, stalwarts in their field, not only motivated the audience but also thoroughly entertained them.  They demanded debates on current and pressing issues and set pulses soaring with riveting performances and inspirational speeches. 

Be it author or astronomer, technologist or musician, scientist or illusionist – they all had one thing in common.  They were idealists.

This year’s theme was Teotwawki (The end of the world as we know it).  Ideacity's audience began at an overwhelming 81% optimists and remained so even at the end of the conference.  It was only a befitting conclusion to the idea that all new beginnings occur from the end of other new beginnings.

Ten year old singer and songwriter, Ta’Kaiya Blaney from
North Vancouver opened the three day extravaganza with a rendition of Oh Canada and then with, Amazing Grace in the Sliammon language and spoke about the significance of culture. 

Journalist and TV Host, Richard Syrett spoke about doomsday prophecies and concluded that the idea of the end of the world this year could simply be a reset. 

Jeff Rubin, the former Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets established that the single source of energy is oil; whether we travelled by air, water or on land and that all recessions were bound to have oil fingerprints on them.  He determined that we could still have the world we want if we allow the world we have known, to go away. 

Ecologist, Rex Weyler recounted an experience from the time when he was eleven and living in Oklahoma.  He had been able to catch an abundant volume of catfish from an untouched pond and spent an entire summer fishing there.  Gradually there was nothing left for him to take.  It was then that the realization struck him that along with his brother, he had fished out the pond.  He reminded us that we were destroying our real wealth, our rivers, forests and diversity for the sake of false wealth, which is money.

Jodi Emery, the wife of jailed marijuana activist, Marc Emery argued that marijuana had not caused people as much harm as the war against it. 

Comedian Derek Seguin made the audience think and laugh. 

Eric Weiner, the philosophical traveller, spoke of the importance of ‘place’ just when we had begun to think that it did not matter where we are today, since we are all so connected.  Drawing from the famous adda (intellectual exchange) sessions of the Coffee House in Kolkata in India to the Finnish test of scientific eavesdropping on cell phone users that discovered 82 % of people still asked – where are you, during conversations, he pointed out how where we were, affected who we were.  And that indeed, happiness had an address.

Composer Tod Machover created, in collaboration with stellar Canadian musicians, live on stage, the genesis of A Toronto Symphony, a work he is composing with the entire city of Toronto.

Audi Gozlan’s meditative stretch break rejuvenated the audience. 

One week job worker, Sean Aiken reminded us that finding our true life passion was possible at any age.

Neuroscientist and possibilian, David Eagleman urged us to approach science with humility, given that our knowledge is so limited.

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra took the party outside with its high energy 14 piece band while ace Ilusionist, Simon Coronel had the audience eating out of his hands as he worked wonders with cards.  

The ever charismatic author and journalist, Pico Iyer pointed out that to make sense of all thePico Iyer information reaching us today at great speed, we still need isolation and stillness. 

Sexologists Ogi Ogas & Sai Gaddam had the rapt attention of the audience with their findings from extensive research and gathered a few chuckles along the way.

David Jay narrated his story of asexuality and argued that the asexual nursed the same urge for connection as anyone else.

Belly-dancer Shivaun Corry traced the origin of many dance movements to Rajasthan in India.  Within minutes, she had the audience on their feet and sent them into shimmies of joy.

When BollyFit’s Reshmi Chetram came on stage, even the laziest in the audience began to sway to her moves.

Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, a global network dedicated to catering for the world’s water, discussed his work on ocean conservation while Dr. Mark Liponis, a global health leader provided practical tips to personalize ones healthcare.

Dignified Death Advocate Wanda Morris spoke about respecting an individual’s right to determine the nature and timing of their death.


Dedicated to the cultivation of the perfect oyster, Brent Petkau used his expertise to promote ecological harmony.
Jiri Hulcr's work focuses on symbioses between different organisms and he spoke about the efficacy of devising smart, simple projects and the involvement of citizen scientists.

Dr. Marcus Laux, a naturopathic physician spoke about how menu, movement and motivation could maximize our DNA destiny.

Michael Kaeshammer, singer, songwriter and pianist worked magic on the piano.  A master showman, he added copious doses of humour in his interaction with the audience.

Singer Jann Arden, Physicist Daniel Friedmann, Business Guru Roger Martin, Politician Preston Manning were among many other notable speakers.

The after parties at some of Toronto’s trendy venues like Spice Route, C-Lounge and Rosewater Supper Club were grand finales to the non-stop action packed days at Ideacity 13.  And if history repeats itself like it usually does, Ideacity 14 promises to be just as enthralling. 

Pictures: Sunita Nagori and Ideacity as shown on the images


Vol. 12 - No. 3


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