Creative Mornings (Toronto)
Creative Mornings is an inspirational-speaker morning series which started several years ago and has grown around the world since then. The Toronto Chapter was held across various locations across the city partnering for a truly unique Friday-morning experience.
The original location was the Design Exchange, followed by 401 Richmond, Shopify, as well as Second City, and now back to their original DX space - a full circle. Although each venue adds its own charm and vibe, we felt the Shopify office was the most engaging, creative, bright, and inviting. Design Exchange’s historic trade floor adds a positive and exciting vibe to kick off your Friday morning too.
Entering the building through the heavy, intricate iron door with a beaux-arts style streetlight, we were guided by a simple sheet of paper, acting as a wayfinding clue. The museum and other floor are closed, so we walked straight into the trading floor. The wayfinding felt quite ad-hoc, but, perhaps, that was the point - to create an urgency of getting up and going fast, a sense that anything is possible. Smiling faces of volunteers helped guide any confused souls.
Upon entry, more volunteers, armed with tablets, asked for our names - this is a no drop-in event, tickets are free and distributed through a lottery model. The approach sounds very exclusive and is meant to be based on luck; there have been several occasions when only one of us got accepted, and sometimes both. It all used to be a first come, first serve signing up before. One consistent part of the experience over the past little while has been fill-in name-tags in a creatively-titled blank space, in addition to participant’s name. These notes were connected to the events’ theme. Every month, these themes are set on a global level. This name-tag activity was a great first impression to spark interaction between the attendees.
Looking around, there is usually at least one more table, helping to add an engaging part to the event, either a portrait photographer, videographer, sheets to connect those, interested to work on projects together, and even ones looking for work. You never know what would be there for a particular event!
Another consistent and significant part of every event is a large array of pastries to choose from (scones, muffins, biscuits, and the like) and plenty of coffee. Non-coffee drinkers, beware - there is surprisingly no hot water or tea, as an option, but, sometimes, several types of caffeinated coffee blends instead.
We settled down along the neatly-packed row of white chairs by the large projector screen, and engaged a fellow patron in a conversation right away.
The event usually begins with the Toronto Host (Christina) introducing the event as well as sponsors. Watch out for some great deals and freebies up for grabs. The speaker is introduced right after. That week it was Irwin Adam, the founder of Future Food Studio, a truly entrepreneurial artist with a scientific background. Under the topic Pioneer, he spoke about many events, exhibitions, and projects he had worked on with his creative formulas and ideas about the multi-sensory experiences. It was quite an inspiring talk with many timbits to ponder on, however, the creative morning experience did not end there.
Christina came to the stage once again, as asked all of the attendees to turn to the side, or around, to strike a conversation, and think about the questions to ask the speaker, before moving to the Q&A part. This is a great networking opportunity and we consistently meet curious people from all walks of life. Although initially awkward, this 5/10-minute exercise is always hard to interrupt, as everyone gets invested in getting to know fellow the Torontonians.
We see many people leave at this point, but we recommend that you do make an effort to stay until the end for the “your-turn part” of the event. This amazing initiative allows anybody from the audience to come up to the stage and give a 30-second pitch or idea. It is an amazing way to connect with lively people in our city, doing great and curious things. Some are straight-up job offers, others are about new events, projects, and ideas.
Creative Mornings is an amazing event we always try to attend. It is well curated and organized, and leaves us energized and inspired on a Friday morning, ready to conquer the world. Highly recommended!