Monday, March 17, 2014

TED in Canada

Well, I finally made it to TED after yesterday's fiasco at the airport. What a pleasure to arrive at Vancouver's spectacularly beautiful airport. Made me proud as a Canadian that all these TEDsters would be greeted with this beauty, and grateful their first impression of Canada didn't come from the Toronto airport.

The traditional TED banners on the street outside the convention centre have a maple leaf on them - no coincidence that TED's colours are red?

The main theatre is magnificent. I took a peak this afternoon and was in awe.  Specially architected for TED, the entire edifice was built in just a week. It feels very Canadian and very TED.  I heard people mentioning it felt more like the intimacy of Monterey (original home of TED) than Long Beach (where it was held for the last several years). As Chris Anderson said, having a totally empty space was both intimidating and inspiring, and the architects did a beautiful job.  I don't have a camera to give a full panoramic view, but here is the lovely space from several angles. There are comfortable and diverse seating areas all around, with a real feeling of openness and intimacy.

The entire space is built of wood, as you can see from this shot of the stairs, and you can smell the fresh wood! The interior stairs are equally interesting, covered in some sort of soft spongy carpeting that looks, and feels, like a forest floor.

The infamous TED clock that so thoroughly intimidates speakers is there, and bigger than ever. See it there reading 00 under the big screen?

Canadiana continued as Chris Hadfield earned a standing ovation with his lyrical description of the sense of wonder and fulfilment as he achieved his childhood dream of going into space, his fear when he went blind in one eye (and then two) on a space walk and  overcoming that fear because of training and relentless practice. That Canadian flag on his space suit was pretty special to Canadians in the audience, I'm sure.

He ended with a snippet of the Bowie song he made famous on YouTube here.

The decor theme for the party was very Canadian too.

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