If there was ever a Doors Open Toronto perfectly suited for MaRS, it was this year’s festival. With its theme of “Creators, Makers and Innovators,” the event showcased some of Toronto’s historical buildings that have been repurposed into modern spaces that inspire and support new ways of imagining, collaborating and creating.
MaRS offered the ideal venue to over 2,200 visitors—60% of whom were setting foot into the building for the first time—in search of these architectural wonders.
The first thing that struck me about the event was the diversity of people who entered 101 College Street in a steady stream over both days. Our visitors spanned a wide range of ages and cultures, and spent time wandering through the centre either independently or with friends and family members. Since the annual festival is a local event, I expected mostly Toronto natives to attend, but was surprised to meet many out-of-towners who also wanted to discover what MaRS has to offer.
The MaRS visitors chose our site for a variety of reasons. Some came to marvel at the blend of old and new architecture in our space, and to find out what MaRS “stands for” (it’s actually not an acronym—it’s just our name) and what exactly goes on in the building (to read more about what we’ve been up to, check out our annual report). Others stopped by for more personal reasons. For instance, one lady I spoke with had an emotional connection to the old Toronto General Hospital and Heritage Building (now designated the Evans Wing), where her parents had met and where she was born decades ago.
In keeping with this year’s theme, our main objective was to showcase MaRS’ clients across our key sectors through both videos and a client exhibitor showcase.
On-site exhibitors included:
Read on for a brief snapshot of the amazing work our clients are doing.
GestSure Technologies spent the weekend demoing their innovative, hands-free technology, which helps surgeons “navigate” through procedures while protecting both themselves and their patients within a sterile operating room. As a future healthcare provider, I am both excited and hopeful about the impact an innovation like this could have on people’s lives around the world.
Twenty One Toys was also on site on Sunday with their challenging puzzle exercise, which fosters teamwork, creativity and better communication within a group setting. Visitors of all ages flocked to this interactive station to give the task a try!
Visitors also browsed the MaRS Centre Phase 2 display, which offered a preview of floor plans and renderings, as well as a time-lapsed video showing the construction of the building from dirt and gravel to near completion. With the Phase 2 opening just around the corner in fall 2013, the display sparked a buzz about the soon-to-be-launched building.
Yet again, Doors Open Toronto proved to be a rewarding and enjoyable opportunity to engage with the public and share the unique MaRS story while looking ahead to an exciting future.
Thanks to the weekend’s high turnout and interest, we definitely inspired visitors to become MaRS ambassadors in their communities!
For more information about Doors Open initiatives across different cities in Ontario, please visit the Doors Open Ontario website.