A weekend in Ottawa… (Maker Faire Ottawa)

Parliament Hill

I traveled to Ottawa specifically for Maker Faire but I wanted to take a walk around Parliament Hill. In hindsight, I should have centered the trip around Parliament but I suppose Ottawa isn’t too far to do that in the future.

I spotted the projectors for the Northern Lights show which is a 3D projection show on Parliament Hill. Unfortunately it ended for the year last month so I didn’t get to see it.

To the side of Parliament is the Ottawa Locks. The whole area around it is so pleasant, especially with the leaves changing color for the fall.

Continuing my walk across the Locks and up a hill, I got this great view.

The OC Transpo Incident

With a Maker Faire ticket, the local transit agency, OC Transpo, was free. Naturally, I tried to take advantage.

Going from Parliament Hill to Maker Faire, the bus I was travelling on hit a pedestrian. Thankfully I did not directly witness it as I’d probably be more traumatized by it than I already am. Even more thankfully, I believe the pedestrian will be OK as I saw him helped up onto a stretcher by the paramedics as I looked on waiting at the next bus stop down the street.

At this point, I felt like ditching the rest of the day and camping out in the hotel room. But that wasn’t going to happen.

Maker Faire Ottawa

So after what unfolded just 20 minutes ago, I was eager to get myself inside the Aberdeen Pavilion to take my mind off of what happened.

These guys from Montreal are doing great things with 3D printers! They had a prize draw for a 3D printer or filament. All you had to do was add a piece to a 3D printer they were building.

I love LEDs so I was drawn to the Inventors Dads booth. They had this neat game with a sea-saw thing that would control the horizontal LED strip above.

More LEDs! These were reacting to the music that was playing.

One of the many impressive Lego creations on display at one booth.

I remember some of the sculptures from these guys on display here in Toronto but it seems like they had even more here. Very cool looking stuff!

Robotgrrl was driving around the robot from her Robot Missions project, one of the handful of mobile robots roaming around the Pavilion this weekend.

They set up a food court outside that consisted of three food trucks.

Summing things up

If I’m going to be honest, I found that Maker Festival in Toronto (which was formerly a mini-Maker Faire) to be grander than Maker Faire Ottawa, which is surprising considering this was a full-fledged Maker Faire. But that’s not to take away from the awesome things on display. I’m inspired by the creative and intelligent minds at the Faire, and that gives me inspiration to work on my own things. That’s something I always look to take away from these events.

More pictures

You can view all of my pictures from the weekend on the photo gallery.

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Field Trip: Rotblott’s Discount Warehouse

Ever since the closing of Active Surplus on Queen, I never really know where to go for certain things. There are always big-box hardware stores like Lowe’s and Canadian Tire but the selection and variety can’t come anywhere close. It was a rainy day in the beautiful city of Toronto, but I was determined to check out Rotblott’s Discount Warehouse, a hardware store I found while searching Google Maps.

Just west of Spadina on Adelaide, you’ll find this brightly colored place. Appropriately colored because I felt like I hit a goldmine for certain things I could use.

With the project I’m currently drafting up, I was happy to see that I just found myself a supplier for wheels! There are a few different types and many sizes. I ended up walking away with a few small ones to get started with.

I was on the look out for are swivel ball-bearing joints. (Not sure what the actual technical name is.) These higher quality wheels had some swivel bases with excellent ball bearings but I’m looking for just the base without the wheel. If anything, I’ll probably edit my original plans so that I won’t need that since I don’t really want to shop for something like that online. I want to be able to handle and test it out in person.

They have tubing which I can use for my fountains, whenever I get back to that project.

They’ve got a nice selection of metal hardware, including pulley wheels which I will need for my project. The scale of the project is still up in the air, but with some of those wheels in hand, I hope to get some plans worked out so I can figure out what size of pulleys, among other things, that I’ll need.

Some rope to go along with those pulleys.

Since I was in the area, I decided to check out Lee Valley which I also saw on Google Maps. I didn’t find anything in there for me since they seem to mostly do with actual home and garden projects and didn’t carry any materials that I could use. It seems like a very high quality place though!

I left the city happy with my new discovery of Rotblott’s. I also left realizing that I don’t care much for Pokemon Go anymore, considering where this photo was taken is Toronto’s goldmine for PokeStops and I didn’t bother taking advantage…

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed taking this virtual field trip with me.