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Renovating the City...one conversation at a time

by - Sunday, May 27, 2007

I know I started this blog as a way of documenting my and HandyMan's foray into the land of home renovation, but I've come to realize that sometimes you need to renovate your life, just like you renovate your home.

HandyMan and I had a stellar weekend. We hosted a huge event...for 500 strangers. We hosted "Pecha Kucha Toronto vol.1", an event which celebrated the launch of our new book Design City Toronto and the launch of the Toronto Doors Open 2007 weekend. "Pecha Kucha" is a Japanese term which translates into 'the sound of conversation'. And that's what we intended to do -- start a conversation. We wanted Torontonians from all walks of life to explore their city, to be curious about it, to explore its Open Doors, to form an opinion about the buildings they work and play in. I think we accomplished that.

I've always found that architecture is an elitest subject... many in the industry feel you are only qualified to discuss architecture if you have studied it or are a practicing architect or designer. I think this is bunk :) You don't need to be a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture to "know a good building when you see one". So like a mason tearing down a brick wall, we tried in some small way to tear down the barriers and democratize the subject of architecture. Call it a renovation of thinking.

Will our little event have long-lasting impacts? Only time will tell. I do know though that many people left our Pecha Kucha prouder of Toronto than when they walked in. And for my mom, who probably has never discussed architecture or design in her life, to say "I really enjoyed the presentations. I wasn't bored at all" - heck, maybe we really can make a difference. We just have to start, one brick at a time.

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