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Find out what Ottawa’s making at Makerspace North’s Open House

By Jared Davidson on August 18, 2015

Makerspace North will be marking its official opening this Saturday with what can only be described as a carnival for crafty-type people. Its open house will be a showcase for many of the multi-talented individuals that call Ottawa home and will feature activities and amusements for all ages. It’s a chance to see what cool companies will soon be causing a buzz in our city.

From 10am to 4pm on the 22nd, the city’s maker community will be out in full force, filling the 19,000 square foot space within City Centre that is Markerspace North with laser cutting machines, drone demonstrations, photo booths, and even something called an LED throwie wall. There will even be food by Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream and Spread Delivers.

Makerspace North is a shared workspace. It offers small companies, and specifically startups, the opportunity to get their projects off the ground without getting involved with expensive rental agreements or leases. Though it hasn’t yet officially opened, the idea has already attracted plenty of tenants. Local projects like the Ottawa Tool Library, Brew Donkey, and Ottawa City Woodshop call Makerspace North home. This Saturday’s open house will feature all of Maker Space’s tenants, as well as many makers and maker-fans from the local community, such as IoT613, Fuel Industries and Maker Junior. If it’s not abundantly clear, the Maker Space warehouse will be packed with stuff to see, and plenty to try your hand at making as well.

The idea for Markerspace was concocted by John Criswick, owner of Mercury Lounge and founder of Magmic Games, and Kyle McInnes of Smoke Labs and Open Yew. Criswick and McInnes wanted to create a place that new tech companies could flourish and could participate in the growing maker movement. When Wallack’s scaled back its commercial framing business, pulling out of City Centre, Makerspace found its home.

“It was exactly what we had spent a few months looking for,” said McInnes. “And it was downtown too.”

Since then, Makerspace North has established itself as one of the most exciting new event venues in the city, hosting numerous dance parties, musical performances, and even the Ottawa International Music Conference. And all this in addition to the main purpose of the space: creativity.

“This city will have a place where it can build any project and get access to the latest tools,” said McInnes. “This will have a meaningful and positive impact on the city.”

Makerspace North is providing a place for many local projects that would be otherwise placeless. When last we wrote about the Ottawa Tool Library, they were struggling to find a space that met their needs. But that was before Makerspace stepped in.

Makerspace North is in such a great location,” said Bettina Vollmerhausen, co-founder of the Ottawa Tool Library. “It’s centrally located, easy access via bike, public transport and car. We wanted all these features for our tool library and the addition to other makers in the same space is a wonderful bonus.”

And that bonus is really the draw of Makerspace. McInnes’s vision is to create a place where the creatives, makers, and tech entrepreneurs of Ottawa can share ideas, resources, and help shape the culture together. He calls what he and the rest of the team behind Makerspace are creating an “ecosystem.”

So that’s what you’ll really see this Saturday: an ecosystem in action. You’ll see the tip of the iceberg that is Ottawa’s sharing economy. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel inspired to take part.

The Makerspace North Open House runs this Saturday the 22nd from 10am to 4pm at Makerspace North, 250 City Centre Ave. Tickets are free and are available at Eventbrite.

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