5 Reasons We're Excited About Maker Festival 2016

June 30, 2016 | Ab. Velasco

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Drone making, augmented reality, blacksmith demo, and a BB-8 droid are just some of the amazing things you will see at the Maker Festival at Toronto Reference Library on Saturday, July 9 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, July 10 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

This year's event is expected to welcome over 10,000 visitors who will enjoy a wide array of exhibitors, workshops, talks, installations and other activities that celebrate Toronto’s amazing and diverse community of makers, tinkerers, artists and inventors.

Like last year’s festival, this year’s show will transform the first three floors of the Reference Library and Asquith Avenue outside into spaces that will engage and thrill the imagination of visitors, young and old.

To whet your appetite for this year’s event, I asked the festival team to share a preview of things that they’re looking forward to.


Over 100+ Makers

A BB-8 droid builder is one of many exhibitors at this year's festival (Photo: Guardian)

“Maker Festival is so happy again this year to host a lot of very talented makers and their projects, including a gigantic four-person dinosaur puppet, a huge ornithopter, a world-record breaking enclosed bicycle, and a BB-8 builder with his droids!” says Eric Boyd, Director of Festival Programming. “We'll also have a full complement of workshops including soldering, lock-picking, and laser cutting!”


The Maker Forest

TRL Atrium
The Reference Library atrium (seen above from the 2014 festival) will be transformed into a "Maker Forest."

“As a huge fan of the Reference Library building, I am especially excited that we’re putting some big new installations in the atrium,” says Jen Dodd, Executive Director. “Expect to see something dramatic with thousands of feet of streamers and hanging paper art. Plus you’ll have the chance to contribute to the installation with laser cutting and paper folding stations.”


The Glowatorium

The Glowatorium returns with a project with the ROM. (Photo: University of Toronto)

“We're bringing back our low-light room again this year: the Glowatorium!” says Ceda Verbakel, Creative Director. “This time, we’re collaborating with the Royal Ontario Museum to do a collaborative installation inspired by the art of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. Look for a magical glowy cave and come make your own contribution to the experience.”


Outdoor Make It Market

Outdoor Make It Market
Former TPL Innovator in Residence Derek Quenneville hosts a 3D printing outdoor booth in 2015. He's back this year with a 3D printing fossil activity.

“Nothing says summer like an outdoor festival and market! Now what if we add some DIY technology and crafting into that mix?” says Vicki Long, Outdoor Co-ordinator. “The Maker Festival Outdoor Market is a place where people can get a hands-on and behind-the-scenes look at how tech and handcrafted products are made. Dig up some 3D printed fossils, check out a blacksmith’s forge, get an expert to help repair your bike, find out how to light up an LED light, or get behind the wheel of a solar panel race car. All this and more at the Make It Market!”


Nurturing Young Makers

Water Fountain
Mayor John Tory observes STEAMLabs' popular boat-racing competition at the library fountain in Maker Festival 2015.

Turning to the library perspective, one of my favourite things about Maker Festival is there is a wonderful effort to nurture a spirit of creativity and collaboration amongst the young. For kids and parents, I'm excited that STEAMLabs is back to host their popular boat-making workshop and boat-racing competition in the entrance-way fountain. It’s a great way to welcome visitors to the Reference Library and a wonderful segueway into a weekend of fun, discovery, and making!

 We hope to see you at the Maker Festival!