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September Pitch at Toronto Mini Maker Faire!

20 Sep

Tomorrow, Saturday September 21st, at 4pm, we’ll be having our September Pitch Night event, at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire! Our shortlist is:

DIY Bio – meat speciation via PCR project
3D Printing with your body – a 3D scanning system using Kinect for your body
Maker Kids – interactive project gallery
Pendulum Print Bot – an airbrush robot!

Plus potentially a dark horse candidate!

Buy tickets for the faire and come see us give away $1000 to the most awesome idea!

March Pitch Night

22 Mar

The Toronto Awesome Foundation will be at the Gladstone this coming Thursday, at 6pm, for our March Pitch Night! Five groups will be pitching our trustees for their shot at $1000. The groups will be:

Big Brother Bike Thief GPS Tracker: The Big Brother Bike Thief GPS Tracker (working title) aim to help either mitigate theft or increase your likelihood of recovery. The aim is to produce a device that you can install inside your bike frame that a user can arm via a keyfob. If the device, when armed, senses vibrations for 10 seconds assumes the bike to be stolen and immediately communicates with the Big Brother website’s API with location data and informs the cyclist via text message that their bike has been stolen.

Green Rocket: Mapping cheap TTC-accessible produce: Green Rocket (TTC’s “red rocket” + green grocers; also, it’s what British people call arugula!) is a map of low-cost fruit & vegetable markets within walking distance of Toronto subway stations.

The Salaam Scrapbook Project: We are a volunteer-based organization providing a safe forum at the 519 Community Centre for queer-identified Muslims across the GTA. Many live in fear, face rejection, and risk violent reactions from family & peers. This group works to combat Islamophobia and homophobia, whether internalized or in interactions with others. In the spirit of celebrating these courageous men and women who have joined Salaam, we would like to compile an anthology of their art works: photography, poetry, personal essays, and other submissions. Ideally, the anthology would be made available in both hard-paper and digital formats.

Sage Rising: Sage Rising is an urban herb and herbal product business that cultivates in backyard micro-farms in the heart of Toronto. The company provides its customers with ethical & healthy organically-grown culinary herbs, tea herbs, herbal condiments & sauces, & herbal body products produced on a small-scale, community-based urban farm. Sage Rising’s products are marketed to restaurants, food co-operatives, caterers, & individuals who value local, sustainable, & flavour-rich foods.

F-You: The Forgiveness Project: Our team believes that our peer group (18-35 year olds) are constantly surrounded by images and ideas of conflict. Because conflict comes in so many forms – from gang violence to bullying – we created a project that inspires dialogue about what forgiveness means and looks like. We are heartbroken by growing violence rates in the GTA, as many of our team members have lost friends and family to gun violence. As a way of healing, we started a small discussion group about turning trauma into a positive project. We are a group of young people who see the concept of forgiveness as a tangible and attainable way of seeing results, with the ultimate goal of seeing violence rates lowered. To date, we have held 19 events attracting more than 2,200 attendees, the majority of whom have been youth.

Hope to see you at the event!

August Shortlist

29 Aug

August Shortlist

The Toronto Awesome Foundation is pleased to once again support the cause of Awesome in the Universe! Come and have fun with us at the Gladstone Hotel, this Thursday August 29th, 2012, from 7-8pm as four groups present their awesome idea. The winner will take home $1000 in a paper bag, no strings attached! Get more details and RSVP here: Awesome Toronto Pitch Night August 2012.

Our shortlist this month consists of four ideas, each of which will get their time on stage:

Park Yourself Here: will transform a Toronto downtown street parking spot into a temporary urban park. Rather than a placeholder for a single car this installation will become a place for people to gather. Interacting under the floating silhouette of a car, the passerby will have a chance to escape the hustle of the urban core. This installation is to celebrate Park(ing) day, September 21st, an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists activate the metered parking space as a site for creative experimentation, political and cultural expression, and unscripted social interaction.

The Penny Project: workshops to let people make art with 2012 Canadian Pennies, before they are all gone! Potential art works include: Back to school Penny RULERS, Jewelry, ornaments and collectables, adorned with Canadian pennies, Original copper penny jewelry, Make A Wish On A Penny artwork, Lucky Penny key chains, Weight belts, decorated belt buckles, vehicle ornaments; your imagination is the limit!

Little Free Library (for Trinity Bellwoods Park): The Little Free Library idea began in Wisconsin three years ago and has spread to 9 nations worldwide. Little buildings the size of a doll’s house have a sign that says: “Take a Book-Return a Book”. They are for the public’s pleasure. We are presently a committee of three of me and two others promoting the idea by presentations, operating booths at fairs and talking to city officials, business and private groups. We also have a builder who offers attractive libraries at a reasonable cost for those with no construction prospect. We offer whatever help we can from the inception to final installation of any Little Free Library. Our target is 20 libraries operating in Toronto by year end: either privately owned or in public parks and playgrounds.

I’m Lost: housands of business cards would be distributed around the city. Left in coffee shops, handed to random strangers, left sitting on seats on transit, etc. The card would say the following “I’m Lost! Please return me to _______! Reward upon safe return”. The card would state a specific address. A cool coffee shop, or interesting location found in the city. Upon returning the card to the shop. The cashier or employee would then hand the person a new card, with a new address! The participant has now been entered into an exciting adventure. Trekking around the city the participant would visit many exciting niche locations around the city. Upon completing the whole adventure, the participants receive prizes and praise galore. Not to mention knowledge of many cool places in Toronto, and a memory they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Good luck and see you all soon!

The May Shortlist

5 Jun

The Kenwood Lane Art Initiative: Countering the graffiti & tagging with “urban art”, two neighbours offer to paint resident’s garages with art. 21 garages were painted in 21 days last year, with more to come this year. $1000 buys better paint and helps expand the effort to other nearby alleys.

Proud, the play: Proud is the third in a trilogy of award-winning plays about Canadian values by Michael Healey. Proud is about what we actually want out of our politics, and our politicians. One man devotes his entire life to moving the country several millimetres to the right on the political spectrum. Will he succeed? At what cost? A Pygmalion for a country that, until Stephen Harper came along, had no need for one.

Small Change For Big Change: We started Small Change for Big Change three years ago to help provide quality food to Toronto foodbanks. It evolved into a few things; we now provide fresh produce to Toronto’s only weekly youth foodbank/dinner as well as run the actual operation of the foodbank. Now that we have created relationships with these kids, and build trust, we will be launching a blog in the fall where we interview the youth who use the foodbank, how they came to need support, where they came from and how they feel they can get out of it. Knowledge is power and anonymity creates stereotypes. We feel that by having Toronto’s blog reading, and influential circles read these stories, it will spark ideas to create change.

Nomadesk: The Nomadesk Writer’s Residency is an inclusive publishing experiment that uses a nomadic desk/typewriter apparatus to bring the private act of writing into public space. This project has existed in past incarnations, but what I propose to the Awesome Foundation is: A Cycle-Driven, Toronto- Specific, Writer’s Residency Open to the Public!

Dr. CvM’s Spectastic Tent of Fantacular Novelties: You’re walking through Trinity-Bellwoods Park one day when you happen upon an unusual sight. Off in the distance sits a small, colourful tent with a man (dressed like a circus barker) standing out front, gesturing widely and speaking to a ramshackle gathering of bystanders. He introduces himself as Dr. Cornelius von Martleh and says that he has traveled to the 5 and 3/4th corners of the earth to find stupefying experiences for his novelty tent. Now that his voyage is complete, he has arrived in Toronto to share his discoveries free-of-charge. With no pressing plans for the afternoon, you decide to give in to your growing curiosity. So you step up to the tent’s entrance, go inside, and find…

The April Shortlist

30 Apr

The Love Lettering Project creates far better love poems than the self-indulgent one above, based on things that Torontonians love about Toronto. Then these bite-size love letters are left throughout our city for inquisitive others to find. The next time you see an airmail envelope dangling from a tree…you just might want to open it.

Sean Martindale had seen enough sad, decrepit, unloved concrete planter boxes enslaving Toronto’s urban trees. Beginning last year, he recruited other lovers of built form to shine a love light on the cement cubes that line our streets. With Outside the Planter Boxes 2012, Sean and his rag tag band of planter box saviors intend to make a planter box near you more interesting, more curious, and more awesome.

There are far too many charities whose missions don’t appear enticing to would be donors. Great organizations that need a little help. I Dare You to Care Cards are a way to bring much needed attention and resources to a few of these unsexy charities. By creating challenges (for you and your friends!) that challenge you to create fun events to raise money and awareness for these organizations, these cards give everyone permission to help and great ways to care.

Rear-View Art Space will add depth and whimsy to your favorite alley way or other hidden space. By placing strategic peepholes in places that look onto other worlds, passersby will be rewarded for being nosy with a peep into a world reinterpreted by artists. Remaking the places around us to provoke inspiration

The Kenwood Lane Art took a hodge podge of garagery and made it a beautiful laneway. By combining community spirit and some really great painting skills, Elly Dowson and Christine Liber created a wonderful public gallery and are looking to expand the beautifying by other neighborhoods.

The February Short List

23 Feb

Toronto, it’s been a tough month. Even though there’s been no snow, our vision seems to be clouded. We had many worthy projects, but nothing that popped. So we’re not giving out a grant this month. What does this mean? It means that you need to double down and submit your best ideas. And it means that we’re going to give out more money later in the year.

But we’re here to help! Check out this post highlighting our 9 Principles of Awesome. And message any of our Trustees. We’re eager to give you advice on what makes for a great application.


JourneyAmerica: To share and highlight the stories of extraordinary individuals making a positive impact in communities across the Americas by riding two horses from Canada to Brazil.

Let’s Pick Fruit With Our Computers: Roughly 1.5 million pounds of fruit grows from Toronto’s trees every year. 11% of our total urban canopy makes stuff we can eat. We’re living with an abundance and we barely know what to do with it all – or that it exists in the first place.  Looking for your local fruit tree?  Not Far From The Tree wants to build a web site to make it easy to find.

Scientific Poster Meets Street Art: Art meets science meets graffiti through alleyway poster installations detailing the research of our city’s leading graduate students.

Solar Fire Haiti: No, it’s not an evil mission to burn Haiti or some freaky solar eclipse. Solar Fire Haiti is the invention of a man with a mission… an open-source design for a thermal energy stove that can be used for cooking in a range of developing countries, without the need for electricity of firewood. Awesome for moresome.

Walkable Planets Toronto: Ever felt like you’re on another planet? Ever had moments where you’re lost in space? Well, the Walkable Planets community art project now gives you official permission to go and explore your inner galaxy through durable works of art in public parks around Toronto. The project will include the creation of ten art installations in public park spaces throughout the city at a scale of one to five billion. The project will be centered in Christie Pits Park with a sculpture representing “the Sun”, whilst the remaining planet installations will be placed at other parks like Trinity Bellwoods, Dufferin Grove and High Park.

ZED.TO: ZED.TO is an immersive online and live theatre experience that asks Torontonians to participate in a story about the end of the world, brought about by a fictional biotech company called ByoLogyc.  The experience will unfold over an 8 month period, linking major arts festivals across the city such as Fringe and Nuit Blanche.

The January Short List

30 Jan

Bellwood’s Push Mower Society: Now Salt n Pepa may not have thought pushing it was for everybody, but that is NOT the case for Bellwood’s Push Mower Society who aim to challenge all those fly mowers to get on out there and… hmmm…. push.  Mechanical lawn mowers are coming back baby and this initiative aims to get a bunch of us out there keeping Toronto’s fringes impeccably groomed… the natural(ish) way. NOT ONLY is this a green initiative, NOT ONLY is it a community initiative, but you get to strut your stuff up and down the grassy catwalks of Toronto, head high, chest out and wiggling your bottom like a sexy mower-cutter.

Cyclopede – The Walking Bicycle: They say you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel, but nobody said anything about reinventing two wheels, aka… the bicycle. Three engineers from UoT and Site3 (yay that rhymes) have got together to reassemble the humble push bike as… erm…. as…erm….a giant pair of legs. Or something. Actually, they mentioned a horse. A bike that moves forward like a horse. Yes. We like the idea, especially if they could evolve the bike to move like a cheetah, fly like a winged unicorn and roar like a lion at rude drivers. We’re watching your space chaps.

Occupy NL: Ain’t no stopping them Newfies, so much so that they are back on our shortlist for January. Here’s the recap from last month….

“Occupy NL is the last Occupy camp in Canada, which we thought was pretty hardcore given they must be freezing their nuts off up there. Their mayor has said he won’t shut them down because he sees no need to, therefore these outdoor Awesomists are sticking it out through the winter. Brrrrrggghhh! The $1000 will be used for workshops, rallies, speakers, and supplies to get through this harsh season. Immediate plans include starting a community kitchen and pushing for electoral reform, first in this province and then in our entire country.” We love ya crazy Newfies.

Parkdale Pirate Radio: Ahoy there and shiver your timbers, for here we have a Parkdate pirate keen to unite the creative castaways of Parkdale through the power of radio. We don’t know if they have parrots and we don’t know if they’ll make us walk the plank, but PPR (say it with a gggrrrrrr and a wink of the eye) plans to make sure residents of Parkdale can have an underground signal to showcase local overground culture. Plenty of treasure here me hearties!

Solar Fire Haiti: No, it’s not an evil mission to burn Haiti or some freaky solar eclipse. Solar Fire Haiti is the invention of a man with a mission… an open-source design for a thermal energy stove that can be used for cooking in a range of developing countries, without the need for electricity of firewood. Awesome for moresome.

Walkable Planets Toronto: Ever felt like you’re on another planet? Ever had moments where you’re lost in space? Well, the Walkable Planets community art project now gives you official permission to go and explore your inner galaxy through durable works of art in public parks around Toronto. The project will include the creation of ten art installations in public park spaces throughout the city at a scale of one to five billion. The project will be centred in Christie Pits Park with a sculpture representing “the Sun”, whilst the remaining planet installations will be placed at other parks like Trinity Bellwoods, Dufferin Grove and High Park.

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