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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Maker Festival Toronto 2015!

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Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto.

The Toronto Mini Maker Faire leveled up this year to the Maker Festival, a week long maker celebration with events around the city that wrapped up with exhibits and workshops at the Toronto Reference Library over the weekend. Here are a few pictures I took from the event:

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The giant cardboard Preying Mantis greets visitors near the Maker Festival entrance.
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“Monsters in the Lake” is a workshop where kids race their own hand-built boats in the Toronto Reference Library’s entrance water feature.
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R2D2 greets visitors at the entrance to the Maker Festival.
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The “Glowatorium”.
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Cool LED dresses in the Glowatorium.
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The Metro Marine Modellers of Toronto had some of their incredibly detailed models on display.
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Humber College makers showing off some of their creations, including what appears to be a giant Lite Brite (nostalgia!).
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There were plenty of robots on hand at the Maker Festival. They varied in size, from table-top Lego robots, to this metal mobile robot that could pick up tennis balls off the floor.

See you next year, Maker Festival!

Toronto Mini Maker Faire 2014

Over the weekend, I was at Maker Faire at the Toronto Reference Library teaching people how to solder. It was such a great experience that I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year! Here are a few pictures I took:1I didn’t know there were Maker Faires in Toronto until last year, and that was after the event was over when I saw it on the news. I made sure to note when this one was happening and immediately jumped on the opportunity to volunteer when registration opened (again, can’t wait to do it again next year). This was the largest venue they’ve had for the Faire in Toronto and I hope it gets even bigger next year.2As you’ll see in these next few pictures, there was a good emphasis on 3D printing at the Faire. I still haven’t gotten into 3D printing yet so it was great to see all of these on display.3This shelf of Makerbot 3D printers was used for a workshop where people were taught how to design and print little flower pots. In hindsight, I probably should have signed up for this. Maybe next year!4The Toronto Reference Library has a dedicated area for creation tools called the Digital Innovation Hub which includes 3D printers. I find this type of 3D printer (“delta” I think it’s called?) to be very… elegant. Cool stuff.5Moving along, there were some exhibitors that had laser cutters. This was something I’ve never seen in person so it was cool to see a couple of them doing it’s thing.6Some very neat remote controlled robots were at the Faire…
7… including R2-D2. It’s so cool to see something this big just casually rolling about.

8A large LED cube on display.9Battlegrounds is a laser tag system built with open source stuff like 3d printed parts, Arduino, and Xbee. It just goes to show that if you’re dedicated enough, there are tools readily available for anyone to build pretty much anything.
10You feel like a kid at this event with all of the playthings on display, so you can only imagine how exciting is it to be an actual kid there. There were many things for kids to get hands-on with, from building boats and rockets, to soldering with me! Watching young kids get all excited when they see the solder flow is so awesome.

I cannot wait for next year’s Maker Faire! A huge thanks and congrats to everyone who made this event a success!