TED@DestinationCanada

Jump to section

 

TED@DestinationCanada banner

Destination Canada and TED are collaborating to create TED@DestinationCanada, producing 14 TED Talks from the brightest speakers and biggest changemakers connected to Canada. The theme of the event is O P E N.

O P E N

When we come together with open hearts and open minds, anything is possible. We see connections everywhere. We welcome all ideas, experiences and ways of life—because this is how we learn, grow and change. 

After an extensive call out for applications, and a thorough review of submissions by the team at TED, we are thrilled to announce the speakers who will take the stage at the TED Theater in New York City on February 23, 2023 to record their talks so they can be shared globally. 

These speakers and their innovative ideas represent all regions of our country, a span of generations, a wealth of backgrounds and a diversity of perspectives. We know their ideas will spark conversations that will help drive our country and our global community forward. 

The talks will be released in the spring of 2023. Please check back for any updates.

If you have any questions, please contact: TED@DestinationCanada.com

#TEDatDestinationCanada

Speakers

Dr. Kris Alexander
Kris Alexander Video game wizard

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Since the age of eight, Kris Alexander has spent two to four hours a day playing video games—while working a full-time job, being a present father and husband and running a successful business. Known as “the professor of video games,” Alexander teaches media production at Toronto Metropolitan University, where he received his BA and MA. For his PhD at Concordia University, he wrote his thesis on video game design in education. He is also a two-time globally ranked video game player.

As an educator, Alexander teaches video game design, virtual production and esports broadcasting (the core ingredients of the metaverse). He strives to show that the power of video games extends behind and beyond the controller, offering what many of the 2 billion gamers on Earth see and enjoy when playing video games: a new perspective.

Matricia Bauer
Matricia Bauer Mountain mover

Location: Jasper, Alberta

Matricia Bauer’s traditional name is: Isko-achitaw waciy / ᐃᐢᑯ ᐃᐦᒋᑕ ᐘᒋᕀ, which translates to “she who moves mountains.” She is a tour guide, singer, drummer, speaker and artist who has shared her culture in hundreds of schools across Alberta. She has also lectured at several domestic and international conferences.

Bauer leads Warrior Women Inc., a collective of Indigenous women who drum, sing and seek to educate others about the beauty of their culture. Her crafts, such as mitts, moccasins, earrings and drums, infuse traditional styles with a modern twist, and she recently also launched a herbology business, Wisakipakos Indigenous Bitters.

Paul Bloom
Paul Bloom Psychology provocateur

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Paul Bloom’s research examines how children and adults make sense of the world, with a particular focus on pleasure, morality, religion, fiction and art. Born in Montréal, he completed his undergraduate work at McGill and graduate studies at MIT. After teaching at the University of Arizona for 10 years, he spent nearly 20 years at Yale, serving as the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor Emeritus of psychology. In 2021, he returned to the University of Toronto as a professor of psychology.

Bloom has won numerous awards, including the $1 million 2017 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize. He has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science and for outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker and The Atlantic. His seventh book, Psych: The Story of the Mind, will be published in February 2023.

Cohen Bradley
Cohen Bradley Master of ceremonies

Location: Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

As a Haida cultural ambassador, traditional performer, master of ceremonies, writer and Indigenous guide, Cohen Bradley melds culture and tourism. Bradley is proud to hold the names of Taaydal (“coming in big”) and Gidin Kuns (“powerful eagle”) in his Clan and Nation.

His passion for stories told in their many forms began when he was a child in the Potlatch house, and the legends and traditions of his ancestors have guided his work ever since. Bradley began working in tourism at a young age and was given opportunities to study the oral histories and cultures of many First Nations. These experiences fuel his dedication to support the restoration of traditional practices in the modern context.

Rebecca Darwent
Rebecca Darwent Philanthropic adviser

Location: Montréal, Québec

Rebecca Darwent is a social entrepreneur who activates generosity through philanthropic advising, consulting and speaking. A proven builder of relationships and capital, Darwent has led strategy, policy, fund development and partnerships that have mobilized multimillion-dollar investments in equity, health and education. In 2020, Darwent co-founded the Foundation for Black Communities, which seeks to ensure that every Black person in Canada can flourish and that Black communities have the power to define their own future.

Darwent was previously the director of global partnerships at Singularity University, leading tech and education programming across five continents. She also worked in the Ontario provincial government as a senior policy advisor to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate. She is vice chair of Laidlaw Foundation, a Women Leaders for the World Fellow and a Canadian Millennium Laureate.

Cameron Davis
Cameron Davis Youth advocate

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Cameron Davis is an 18-year-old student and activist from Ontario. In 2020, he spoke at a Black Lives Matter protest, addressing the stresses he faces just trying to be a kid, and the speech later went viral. Shortly after, he co-founded BYR Youth, an organization that advocates for Black youth in the region of York, Canada, and also promotes allyship and community leadership. He has shared his message locally and globally through speaking engagements with students, police and governments. He is also a youth leader for the Children’s General Assembly, which presents an annual manifesto to the United Nations General Assembly.

Davis is currently in Ottawa, completing the first year of his political science degree, while also designing his clothing brand, 721 Merch, which raises money for disenfranchised youth. He is the recipient of several scholarships, including the Iris Malcolm Memorial Award, the JCA Dudley Laws Memorial Scholarship and the Alliance of Educators for Black Students Lesmond Scholarship.

Alona Fyshe
Alona Fyshe Neural networker

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Alona Fyshe is an associate professor in the computing science and psychology departments at the University of Alberta and a fellow at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). She is also a Canada CIFAR AI Chair and a fellow in CIFAR's Learning in Machines and Brains program. She earned her BSc and MSc where she now teaches; she did her PhD in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon.

Fyshe studies parallels between the ways that human brains and artificial neural networks learn and represent information. She aims to demystify machine learning, and enjoys helping people understand neural networks without needing to know the math behind them.

Michael Green
Michael Green Architect

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Michael Green and the ambitious team of architects and designers at MGA use new materials and technologies to spur sustainable innovation and construction in projects ranging from single-family homes to large-scale masterplans.

Since founding MGA in 2012, Green has been an advocate for change in the building industry—lecturing internationally on sustainable design and materials, leading research and education initiatives in climate, environment, disaster and global shelter needs, and authoring publications on mass timber. Over the past decade the firm has completed some of the world’s most significant timber buildings and has been recognized with more than 50 international awards for design excellence.

An avid adventurer, Green has explored remote regions of every continent—ice climbing, mountaineering, ocean kayaking and biking—and his journeys through nature are what inspire his work.

Alysa McCall
Alysa McCall Polar bear protector

Location: Whitehorse, Yukon

Alysa McCall supports Polar Bears International’s educational and scientific work across the Arctic, with a focus on collaborative Canadian projects. She’s a staff scientist and director of conservation outreach.

Growing up in British Columbia, McCall was fascinated by the local wildlife that often wandered through her backyard. While studying for her BSc degree, she worked at a wildlife park, banded birds, trapped insects, radio-collared mice and put tracking backpacks on toads. For her MSc, she moved on to the University of Alberta, where her research involved flying over remote sea ice, finding polar bears and fitting them with GPS collars to study how they use their changing habitat.

McCall currently lives in (polar bear–free) Whitehorse, Yukon.

Lori McCarthy
Lori McCarthy Food laureate

Location: Mobile, Newfoundland and Labrador

Lori McCarthy is a fiercely proud Newfoundlander. Deeply rooted in her island’s culture, she is a skilled chef and outdoorswoman, ever guided by a sense of responsibility to the place, its traditions and its stories. Resourcefulness is her birthright—hunting and foraging, working with what the land provides. Conservation and sustainability inform her every move.

For McCarthy, traditional food culture is central. She's committed to keeping the wild game and foods of Newfoundland on plates for generations to come, and passing on the pride to those who will inherit the island's bounty.

Azim Shariff
Azim Shariff Morality mapper

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Azim Shariff is a Canada 150 Research Chair and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he applies the insights of moral psychology to matters of social interest. He has conducted research on religion, climate change, economic mobility, free will and punishment, privacy, and driverless cars. His work investigates how our often-ancient moral intuitions shape and respond to the cultural institutions and technologies of the modern world.

A graduate of the Universities of Toronto and British Columbia, Shariff taught in Oregon, California and Abu Dhabi before returning to Canada. He teaches a massive open online course on the science of religion that is free to the public through edX.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith Coastal explorer

Location: Victoria, British Columbia

A geographer by training, Kevin Smith has explored the British Columbia coast by boat since before he could ride a bike. While a backcountry and marine park ranger, often alone on his patrol boat, he witnessed the incredible power and beauty of nature and wanted to share it with others. As president of Maple Leaf Adventures, he shows that to truly explore the landscapes, wildlife and culture of the coast, you need to go by water, where roads can’t reach—and in small groups that won’t damage the ecosystem.

When the pandemic halted tourism, Smith joined forces with his competitors in the Small Ship Tour Operators Association on a large-scale environmental cleanup—undertaken with the blessing of the Indigenous governments in the area. It was a great example of respectful community building, and also saved their industry.

Normand Voyer
Normand Voyer Molecular prospector

Location: Neuville, Québec

Born north of Montréal, Normand Voyer sparked his passion for chemistry while making (and testing!) gunpowder. He’s now a chemist and professor of chemistry at Université Laval, where his research into new natural products has led to discoveries of potential therapeutics. His work also demonstrates the molecular richness of the Canadian Great White North and the importance of stewarding its fragile ecosystems.

When he’s not in his laboratory or harvesting plants in Nunavik, Voyer promotes science to the general public, particularly teens. He has presented his lecture "The chemistry of love" hundreds of times, to some 65,000 people. As a radio and television commentator, he has made more than 400 appearances, speaking on myriad subjects, including rust, mosquitos and snowflakes. He has received several science teaching awards.

Jiaying Zhao
Jiaying Zhao Behavioural scientist

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Jiaying Zhao’s research tackles critical social and environmental challenges with behavioural solutions in order to promote sustainability. She has pioneered behavioural interventions to encourage climate action, recycling, composting and biodiversity conservation. An early immigrant from Hangzhou, China, she ventured to Dublin, Ireland, to pursue her BA and MA in cognitive science and completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at Princeton University. She currently serves as an associate professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, in the department of psychology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability.

Zhao is a Killam Research Prize recipient and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action at University of California, Berkeley. She has advised a dozen government organizations, including the Privy Council Office, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and Policy Horizons Canada.

Performers

Melissa Laveaux
Mélissa Laveaux Musical alchemist

Mélissa Laveaux is a Canadian singer, songwriter and guitarist who sings in both English and Haitian Creole, the language of her parents. She began her career in Ottawa's feminist riot grrrl punk community, releasing her first album, Camphor & Copper, in 2008. She now lives in Paris—which inspired her second album, Dying is a Wild Night.

Laveaux’s work often explores the ethnomusicology of Haiti, including songs of rebellion she heard as a child (Radyo Siwèl, 2018). On her fourth studio album, Mama Forgot Her Name was Miracle (2022), Laveaux dives into the poetic, therapeutic and spiritual aspects of music, conjuring grown-up lullabies and nursery rhymes while invoking influential voices from the past. For her, music is a tool of political resistance.

Silla
Silla Urgent voices

Silla is an Inuit duo blending divergent styles of traditional and contemporary katajjaq (throat singing) across a wide range of genres. Performing together since 2005, Silla members Charlotte Qamaniq and Cynthia Pitsiulak hail from Iglulik and Kimmirut Nunavut, respectively.

Their moniker comes from the Inuktitut word Sila, which encompasses concepts of weather, land, spirit of the atmosphere, cunning and intelligence. The name evokes the rich musical texture and nuance throat singing creates, and acknowledges the powerful spirituality and traditions that have kept it alive through the historical and modern threats posed by colonialism.

Silla has been twice nominated at the Juno Awards and has won two Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards.

 

 

UPDATED January 16, 2023