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That’s a wrap! More than 15,000 passionate fans joined us on Saturday, May 2, as YouTube FanFest made its North American debut. Toronto welcomed a group of the biggest Canadian and international YouTube creators for a live showcase that wowed the crowd with music, comedy and interactive performances. If you missed the show or want to watch it again, now you catch the full show on the FanFest YouTube channel!

The free, public show featured YouTube superstars Jenna Marbles, Bethany Mota, Michael Stevens of Vsauce and Toronto’s own IISuperwomanII. The performances ranged from the soulful music of American star David Choi to the bhangra drumming of Jus Reign to a live science experiment between Michael Stevens and Jenna Marbles that saw Marbles blow a fireball into the air above the crowd.

Co-hosted by charismatic TV personality Jessi Cruickshank and Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time, the event closed with the world premiere performance of Lilly Singh’s online smash hit new song “IVIVI”, an ode to Toronto, that drew deafening cheers from the crowd.

Lilly Singh, ||Superwoman|| performs the world premiere of "IVIVI"

Other highlights included a fan Q&A with Bethany Mota, as well as a unique performance from Kurt Hugo Scheider, Macy Kate, Madilyn Bailey and Kina Grannis. The foursome of musicians collaborated on a song that was set to a complicated rhythm of handclaps, which they performed while blindfolded. Edmonton-born a capella singer Mike Tompkins had the fans on their feet for a high energy set, and local girl LaurDIY brought fans on the stage for a live DIY fashion challenge that saw fans create a shirt for host Jessi Cruickshank.  

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Fandemonium at the first North American YouTube FanFest in Toronto

This was a record crowd for YouTube FanFest - more than triple the attendance for previous events in Asia, India and Australia - which shows the incredible passion of Canadian YouTube fans. FanFest was also a hot topic on social media - the #YTFFTO hashtag trended across Toronto as fans took to social media to share the experience.

Thank you too all the extraordinary YouTube Creators and fans that came out for red carpet and show. Canada is hotbed of YouTube talent and fandom, and we are thrilled we were able to bring this to Canadian fans as a North American first!

Posted by Jenn Kaiser, YouTube Communications

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Cross-posted to the Google Maps Blog.

The days are getting longer in Canada’s Arctic. The sea ice is breaking up, Arctic heather is poking through the snow-covered tundra and the arrival of the migratory snow bunting is days away. Summer is right around the corner. And today, in close collaboration with Parks Canada, we’re thrilled to share a glimpse of Canada’s Northern National Parks and the high north’s breathtaking summer season through the lens of Street View and Google Maps.

These are some of Canada’s most remote National Parks. In spite of challenges posed by this vast geography, the far north also presented a unique opportunity. For example, Ivvavik National Park looks as bright and sunny as midday. But Parks Canada operators were collecting this imagery close to midnight, taking advantage of the far north’s endless summer days.

Virtual visitors can marvel at the sweeping glaciers and dramatic fjords of Auyuittuq, discover the British Mountains and the Firth River Valley in Ivvavik, and immerse themselves in Tuktut Nogait’s stunning canyons and waterfalls along the rugged Brock River.

And, not to be missed, be sure to check out the spectacular towering peaks of the Torngat Mountains, the grandeur of Canada's only salt plains and take a Street View stroll in the historic Sweetgrass bison corrals of Wood Buffalo National Park – Canada’s largest national park.


Ivvavik National Park protects a portion of the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. Some of the imagery from Ivvavik was collected as late as 11pm.


From the Inuktitut word Torngait, meaning “place of spirits,” the Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for thousands of years.


Overlooking La Roncière Falls in Tuktut Nogait National Park and the Hornaday River’s  awe-inspiring canyons and waterfalls.  


Auyuittuq National Park images were gathered primarily from the water. The Street View Trekker was positioned on a boat which sailed along the park's coastline.

Since starting work together in 2013, Parks Canada and Google have collected imagery from over a hundred of Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Our work in the north, however, is not finished and we look forward to connecting Canadians and the world to more of our country’s majestic northern national parks in the near future.

In the meantime, enjoy a trip north on Google Maps... the Arctic summer sun is not going down on these amazing Street View images anytime soon.

Posted by Aaron Brindle, Virtual Explorer and Canadian Trekker, Google Canada

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Editor Note: Today’s guest blog post is from LaToya Forever. With a combined +1,200,000 subscribers, this Canadian YouTuber is best known for her comedic videos and daily vlogs.

Get ready Canada, this Saturday we kick off YouTube FanFest live in Toronto! Some of the biggest global YouTube stars will be getting up close and personal with thousands of fans at Yonge-Dundas Square and I’m thrilled to announce that I’m going to be the Official YouTube FanFest Correspondent. Follow me as I chat with my fellow performers and give you a sneak peek into all the behind-the-scenes action.

The YT Fan Fest is all about interacting with awesome people like yourself so let me know what questions should I ask everyone on the red carpet? Share your questions with me in social with #AskLaToya and I might pose your question to the YouTube performers!


Come on down and join us in person, red carpet arrivals start at 5:00 p.m. on the north side of the Dundas Square. Come and see your favourites, like Bethany Mota, Superwoman, David Choi, Mike Tompkins and Jenna Marbles - they’ll be signing autographs, taking selfies and blowing kisses! And don’t forget to share your pics with #YTFFTO and you might catch them live on the big screen.

I can’t wait for the big show which starts at 8:00 p.m. and it’s going to be a mashup of comedy, music, interactive performances, collaborations… everything you love about YouTube, live on stage. You won’t want to miss it! And if you can’t make it in person, check out the YouTube FanFest YouTube Channel to catch the entire show afterwards.

See ya there crazies!


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Canadians are constantly connected. Whether we’re streaming a new playlist, sharing a photo with family, or checking in with friends, the web plays an integral role in our daily lives. With a multicultural population and a culture that encourages Canadians to embrace their global connections, we also have the right conditions in place for our businesses to grow beyond our geographic borders.
For Canadian businesses, the web is a powerful tool to reach potential customers both at home and abroad. Thanks to the Internet and the emergence of new business platforms, even the smallest company can now adopt and afford technology that would have been the envy of a large corporation 15 years ago. More and more, the evidence shows that the Internet will contribute a growing share of Canada’s economic growth and that businesses that embrace online tools do better.

Take Manitobah Mukluks for example, an Aboriginal-owned company that’s been selling its traditional mukluks and moccasins in Canada for more than 15 years. In 2012, it began experimenting with online marketing through Google AdWords and launched an e-commerce site using Shopify to broaden its reach. Today, Manitobah Mukluks sells to over 45 countries through its online store and over one third of website visits come from abroad.
Rosa at Manitobah Mukluks shows off her finished product


Currently in Canada, one in 10 small businesses are exporters, but many more businesses could use the web to reach a wider pool of customers and markets.

That’s why today we’re launching a Canadian Export Map to help raise awareness of the export opportunities available to our home-grown businesses. Available at g.co/exportcanada, this map compiles data from the top 10 export countries for Canadian businesses to help them market their goods and services more effectively. The map includes the most important holidays and events in each country and insights into the web and mobile usage in each market. Our export site also shares stories of Canadian businesses, including Vancouver Film School, Manitobah Mukluks, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK, that have successfully expanded their customer base to global markets using the web.




A sample page from the new Google Canada Export Map, available at g.co/exportcanada

“Toronto’s entrepreneurs are truly global - they are exporting to markets all over the world and that’s why we are helping to secure market access for their goods and services,” said Minister of State Maxime Bernier. “Our government is opening the European and South Korean markets and we will continue to give Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises a priority on trade missions abroad.”

“Toronto has become a global leader in technology development, and as mayor, I am committed to growing the industry, which provides jobs of the future. Companies like Google Canada choose to locate themselves in Toronto because of our diverse and talented workforce, and today, we are seeing the expansion of an exciting new program that will help businesses market themselves internationally,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “As one of North America’s great cities, I want Toronto to lead from the front of the pack as a future-ready and globally integrated city.”

A recent study from Boston Consulting revealed that small businesses that embrace the web are almost 50 per cent more likely to sell their products and services outside their region. All kinds of businesses, from the largest e-commerce sites to the smallest local businesses, are using the web to power their sales to markets around the world. Today, every business can be a digital business that takes advantage of the 2.5 billion consumers online.

At Google Canada, we’re working to help small businesses to make the most of the digital single market opportunity. And we can’t wait to see how Canadian businesses make the web work for them, and where their export journey takes them.

Posted by Sam Sebastian, Country Manager, Google Canada

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Cross-posted at the Google for Education blog.

Every day students are learning in new ways, with technology and tools we could only dream of back when we were in school. But with more educational apps available than ever before, a busy teacher or admin can use some help choosing the right digital resources for their students. That’s why today, we’re launching Google Play for Education along with Android tablets to Canadian schools.

Built just for schools and educators, Google Play for Education is a “one-stop shop” for engaging, educator-approved and instantly shareable content for classrooms, offering access to thousands of curated, teacher-approved apps as well as hundreds of free classic books. Canadian schools will also be able to choose from five classroom-ready Android tablets that come with access to Google Play for Education for students of all ages.

Bill MacKenzie and a student from Upper Grand District School Board team up with Google Play for Education


The teachers of Ontario’s Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) were among the first in Canada to use Google Play for Education. UGDSB subscribes to the philosophy called universal design for learning, which aims to give each student an equal opportunity to succeed and empowers teachers to reduce barriers to learning in order to meet the individual learning needs of students. The district realized the potential for technology to enable students to access learning, express their ideas, and demonstrate their understanding in new ways.

Bill MacKenzie, IT Liaison for UGDSB, says that introducing the Android tablets to staff and students has been seamless: “Teachers noticed that the students felt comfortable using the devices and that it made the classroom more interactive. The technology and breadth of resources has accommodated the different learning styles of our students.”

Each tablet holds up to five student log-ins, so students have control and ownership over all the content in their own accounts. The tablets also come loaded with an additional selection of Google apps like Docs, Chrome, Gmail and Earth.

Google Play for Education has apps for both Android tablets and Chromebooks, for students in grades from K-12. In addition to a wide range of flexible digital tools, schools can find subject-specific apps ranging from English Language Arts and Mathematics to World Languages and Science. Teachers can browse content by grade, subject or educational goal, and read tips from other teachers to get new ideas for classroom activities. Once selected, teachers can purchase using a school PO, then instantly distribute apps to student devices.


According to Bill, the tablets have provided UGDSB students with new ways to enjoy learning: “Students love sharing their photos and documents in Google Drive across devices by bumping one device to another, what students call ‘high fiving.’”

Canadian schools already using managed Chromebooks can turn on Google Play for Education by visiting play.google.com/edu. To talk to an expert about setting up Android tablets and Google Play for Education for your school, visit the Google for Education website.
 

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By any measure, it’s obvious that Canadians love using digital technology, especially to access the internet. We spend 36.7 hours per month online on our desktops alone – and today, nearly half the total time we spend online is on mobile devices.

We use the internet for entertainment, whether to watch sports or read novels. We rely on it to build communities among our friends, families, neighbours and fellow nerds. And when we have a question, we turn to online sources for news, anagrams, even university courses.

It can be a struggle to fully understand this rapidly changing environment, especially for parents, teachers and counsellors.
At Google, we work with partners across the country to help Canadians bridge this digital divide. Last week, we joined Actua in Iqaluit for the first session of their new Codemakers program, which will be rolling out to camps across Canada this summer.

This week, we’re welcoming a new digital literacy literature and curriculum review prepared by our partners at MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy.

In Mapping Digital Literacy Policy and Practice in the Canadian Landscape, Michael Hoechsmann and Helen DeWaard of Lakehead University have developed a concise and detail-rich guide to digital literacy resources for educational specialists.

As they observe, digital literacy skills are not limited to the classroom: 

"Digital literacy is not a technical category that describes a minimum functional level of technological skills, but rather it is the broader capacity to participate in a society that uses digital communication technology in workplaces, government, education, cultural domains, civic spaces, homes, and leisure spheres."

There are many approaches to helping Canadians develop the digital literacy to succeed in the modern economy. We’re happy to support efforts by dedicated not-for-profits like MediaSmarts, Actua and many others.

 

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Mark your calendars... YouTube FanFest is coming to Canada!


On Saturday, May 2nd, some of the biggest Canadian and international YouTube stars will take over Dundas Square in Toronto… for the first time ever! You’ll get the opportunity to meet some of your favourite internet heroes in person, including superstars like Jenna Marbles, Bethany Mota and Toronto’s very own Lilly Singh, a.k.a. IISuperwomanII.

Co-hosted by TV personality Jessi Cruickshank and Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time, YouTube FanFest is free and features a mashup of music, comedy, fashion, education, and beauty all together on one stage. This wildly popular event is a first for North America - previous FanFests have been held in India, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Australia and Japan.
Are you ready to get up close and personal with some of your favourite YouTube stars? With a combined reach of 59.9 million subscribers and 6.8 billion cumulative views, here’s the full Toronto lineup:
You’ll want to get there early to see your favourite YouTube creators answer questions on the Red Carpet starting at 5:00 p.m. ET. We 'press play' on the main event at 8 p.m. ET.

Canadian YouTube Star Lily Singh, //Superwoman//, at YouTube FanFest Mumbai in 2014.

For more details, visit www.youtubefanfest.com. Don’t forget to follow the conversation with the official hashtag #YTFFTO on YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We’re excited to bring you an evening of laughter, music, mashups and more!

Posted by Sam Sebastian, Managing Director, Google Canada