Interesting weekend.  I participated in the Ourtopias conference at the Design Exchange in Toronto. The conference was definitely among the very best that I’ve ever attended — exceptionally well run, perfectly timed, and the presentations were decadent and thought-provoking. The Design Exchange is a fabulous institution, and the engine that both helps to drive Canadian design and innovation, as well as provides a fertile meeting ground for the literal exchange of ideas between Canadian designers (and.. the U.S. should take a cue, get on the dime and conjure up something similar, before the lower 48 miss the boat altogether.) I have to send out a big thank you to Sam, Paola, Daniella, Catherine, and the entire crew at the Design Exchange for an exceptional conference, and a job very well done. You can find a blurb about my presentation here.

While I was there, I met some amazing people.

One fellow, Walter Derzko, presented on “smart” technologies, which was incredibly interesting — according to Walter’s research, there is quite a bit of incredible opportunities emerging for designers and interdisciplinary endeavors.  You can check out Walter’s blog at Smart Economy. 

David Topping, the fellow that edits the Torontoist rather impressed me. He’s energetic and truly well-spoken when it comes to urban issues — doubly amazing because he’s relatively young. 

Likewise, Toronto City Councillor Adam Giambrone really impressed me. Adam is 28, and the youngest member of the Toronto City Council. He’s an archeologist by training, and speaks fluent Arabic, French, and English. On top of all of that, he was instrumental in securing C$17.5 Billion in funding for public transit initiatives in and around the Greater Toronto Area (or the GTA — to use the ‘above the border lingo’.) You can read all the details of the Transit City plan here. You can also check out all the new streetcar designs here.All really great stuff.

I also had the opportunity to grab a quick dinner at the new hotspot (which has only been open for 4 days) Cucina on Adelaide. Check it out (it’s so new that the new location isn’t on their website yet) but the food is amazing, the ambiance and interior design are perfect, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. Check it out before it becomes too busy to enjoy (because I’m sure it will become super busy, super fast.)

All in all, a wonderful weekend.

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