x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Alchemy

This event occurred on
October 26, 2012
8:30am - 6:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Toronto, ON

TEDxToronto 2012 explores the theme of Alchemy, the seemingly magical process of taking ordinary, common elements, usually of little value, and combining them to make something extraordinary of great value.

Toronto, ON, M5E 1B2
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Steven Page

Singer, songwriter, and Canadian icon Steven Page has made an indelible impression on our country’s bustling music scene as well as its cultural landscape. With 3 solo albums under his belt The Vanity Project, Page One and A Singer Must Die (with the Art of Time Ensemble) as well as the 2012 EP release A Different Sort of Solitude. The co-founder and former lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies is busy – entertaining audiences, touring with his new band, writing songs and composing for film and theatre.

Jon Dwyer

Jon Dwyer holds an Honours B.A. in Political Science from McMaster University and studied International Economics & Finance at Ryerson University. During his time at Ryerson, Jon created a thesis investigating agricultural solutions to the food vs. fuel dilemma, which yield multiple revenue streams that are not impacted by the price volatility of food-grade feedstocks such as soy and canola. This research resulted in the Flax Energy Food, Fuel & Feed model. Jon is Chairman & CEO of Flax Energy.

Stefan Danis

Stéfan is Chief Talent Officer & CEO at Mandrake and Danis perry Partners. Stéfan has over 25 years of experience in executive recruiting, and has influenced the growth of one of Canada’s largest privately-held search firm. Stéfan has been very active in driving social responsibility and has run across the Gobi and Atacama deserts to raise funds for unemployed and distressed executives. He has helped raise more than $100,000 to date. Stéfan is married and proud parent of two young daughters and an avid sports enthusiast.

Angie Draskovic

An unabashed idealist, Angie founded ZOË Alliance with the vision of creating a movement that would leverage routine economic activity as a tool in the alleviation of poverty and exclusion. Her 25 years in business reinforced the truth that the economy has incredible power and that consumers hold the lever. Now, through ZOË Alliance companies can “socially source” promotional & merchandise items from village producer groups, building lasting capacity in developing communities globally

Laura Reinsborough

Laura Reinsborough is the Founder and Director of Not Far From The Tree, Toronto’s very own fruit picking project. She comes equipped with a Master’s degree in Community Arts through Environmental Studies from York University. Laura has won numerous awards and accolades, including the Gaea Environment Award and a Women of the Earth Award, for her fun and creative approach that enables a joyful environmentalism.

Marcelo da Luz

Marcelo da Luz has a passion for giving life to his ideas. He is the driving force behind the Power of One (XOF1) solar car project. The first electric vehicle to reach the Arctic, and cross the longest ice road in the world, driving 36,200 km using sunshine as fuel. Forbidden to drive his solar car in Ontario. Marcelo pulled it by hand 160km to inspire positive changes. In May 2012, he pulled XOF1 by hand 503km during the “Pull for the Environment” event challenging everyone to change something, anything, for 28 days to help the environment

Vass Bednar

An aggressive debater and playful inquisitor,Vass works at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy & Governance while enjoying an Action Canada fellowship. For fun (and so she can finally play), she’s designing a Canadian board game that simulates policy-making in the federation that will highlight the joys of contemporary governance. When she’s not playing basketball, reading Maclean’s, or blogging, the McMaster Arts & Science graduate spends a lot of time thinking about why things are the way they are and how they can be better.

Susur Lee

From inauspicious beginnings as a 16-year-old apprentice at Hong Kong’s elegant Peninsula Hotel to his Atlas stride atop the fickle world of celebrity chefdom, Susur Lee has never strayed from his consuming passion: to create tantalizing dishes that blend textures and flavors in glorious harmony. Balancing the epicurean traditions of China with the classical techniques of French cuisine, Lee improvises a daring and original culinary aesthetic.

Isha Datar

Isha Datar is the author of “Possibilities for an in vitro meat production system”, Canada’s only scientific investigation into cultured meat. Isha’s work has contributed to the development of Canada’s first in vitro meat lab at the University of Alberta, and has been featured in several articles in Canada and abroad. Her advocacy for the responsible use of science to contribute to food security has led to multiple speaking engagements on in vitro meat and agrobiotechnology patent reform.

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is the Director of Arrowsmith School and Arrowsmith Program. She holds a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). Arrowsmith-Young is recognized as the creator of one of the first practical applications of the principles of neuroplasticity to the treatment of learning disorders. Her program is implemented in 40 schools internationally.

Ryan Henson Creighton

Ryan Henson Creighton is the President and founder of Untold Entertainment Inc., a boutique game development studio in downtown Toronto. Cassandra Creighton is a grade one student who likes building furniture forts, catching bugs, and putting her swimsuit on the cat. Together, they are both father and daughter, and a game design duo who created an endearing video game that has charmed fans the world over (Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure). Cassandra is the model for her father’s conviction that kids should be taught to use technology from a young age to create, entertain and inspire.

Shawn Micallef

Shawn Micallef is the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto and Full Frontal TO, a columnist at the Toronto Star, and a senior editor and co-owner of the independent, Jane Jacobs Prize–winning magazine Spacing. Shawn teaches at the University of Toronto and OCAD University and was a 2011-2012 Canadian Journalism Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College. He has returned to Massey as a Visiting Scholar for 2012-2013. In 2002, while a resident at the Canadian Film Centre’s – Media Lab, he co-founded [murmur], the location-based mobile phone documentary project that has spread to over 20 cities globally.

Sonya JF Barnett

Over the years, Sonya JF Barnett has been championing women’s sexual rights in a variety of ways. In 2009, she founded The Keyhole Sessions as a safe and welcoming community for artists to experience the marriage between sex and art. In early 2011, she coined the term SlutWalk and became Co-founder of SlutWalk Toronto as a way to combat victim-blaming, slut-shaming and sexual profiling. An activist and advocate for sex positivity, she’s got a clean conscience, but a filthy mind.

Heather Jarvis

Heather Jarvis is a queer, sex- and body-positive feminist. With experience in gender studies, social work and community activism she has spent several years supporting and initiating projects around gender equality, sexual education, supporting marginalized communities and safer spaces for support. She co-founded SlutWalk in early 2011, a small idea that began in Toronto to fight sexual violence and has since spread across the world. Described as an eternal optimist by some who know her, Heather refuses to believe things cannot change.

Ronald J Deibert

Ron Deibert is professor of Political Science, and Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary research and development “hothouse” working at the intersection of the Internet, global security, and human rights. He is a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects. Deibert was one of the founders and (former) VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon.

Dr. Joseph Cafazzo

Dr. Cafazzo is a biomedical engineer who has spent his entire career in a hospital setting. By observing healthcare delivery from the inside, he works on ways to keep people out of hospital by creating technologies that allow for self-care at home. At the same time, Joe and his team are the biggest critics of poorly designed health technologies and their ineffectiveness. He surrounds himself with whip-smart, and passionate engineers and designers who are creating technologies that are spirited, modern, people-focused, and hopefully, suck less.

Organizing team


Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Toronto, Canada
  • Darius Bashar
    Co Chair / Director of Programming
  • Jodi Brown
    Director of Marketing
  • Arati Sharma
    Director of Logistics
  • James Gen Meers
    Director of Community
  • Melody Khodaverdian
    Director of Sponsorship
  • Satish Kanwar
    Advisor / Co Organizer