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TED moves into T.O.
By Rebecca Morier
Toronto will host the much-hyped TEDCity this weekend, a three-ply conference drawing together today's leaders in technology, entertainment and design.
TEDCity is the brainchild of Richard Saul Wurman, an impressario who has been organizing international gatherings since 1984. For the current TED event, Wurman will team up with media mogul and City TV president Moses Znaimer to give TEDCity more of a cocktail party feel.
"It's unlike anything that's been held in Canada before," said conference manager, Jennifer Mondoux. "Speakers are asked not to do a typical speech there won't even be a podium."
Instead, there will be informal discussion sessions where select speakers can talk about whatever is on their minds, with scheduled 'conversation breaks' in between, Mondoux said. "There is a strong shmooze element."
With three large areas of focus, TEDCity will differ from traditional conferences. "Most are always uniquely on one subject, but this conference is on the fields of technology, entertainment and design, which are arguably fields that have been merging and converging for the past 15 years," Mondoux said. "With only 550 total registrants and speakers, it won't have a trade show or convention feel."
TEDCity will have a strong Canadian content as it features many Canadian speakers. They include filmmakers Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Norman Jewison, Don McKellar; authors Douglas Coupland and William Gibson, astronaut Julie Payette and Greenpeace co-founder Robert Hunter.
Also guest speaking will be Western alumnus, Kevin Newman, who is now a news correspondent for the American Broadcasting
Corporation. Newman said he thinks TEDCity is a unique opportunity for people in different areas of media to unite.
"I know others who have been [to past TED events] and they've found it a little respite of dreaming," Newman said. "Sometimes, in the daily grind of things, you don't have a chance to sort of stand above it and take a look at what kind of forces are actually going on. This is an opportunity for that."
Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the Western's faculty of information and media studies, noted a similar problem with the pricey registration fee "At $3000 a pop, only the select few can attend this conference."