Last month I spent just under two weeks in Toronto. Canada is a country that I’ve wanted to visit for some years now so I decided to leave attending the European events for this year and instead funnel the money saved into travelling to Toronto.
Needless to say this was an absolutely fantastic experience. I did the usual tourist things (CN Tower, Casa Loma, Niagara Falls etc) along with meeting some older freinds from the area and making plenty of new ones. Below is a slideshow reel of my diary, detaling the time spent there. After that there is a selection of some of the (450 odd!) images and videos that were taken over those days as well.
I think my absolute personal highlight however was the conversation I had with my first opponent of the Friday Tournament, Mihrab Samad. We sat down and started with a standard greeting, a “where are you from” kind of discussion.
A brief pause, then Mihrab asked “I think I recognise your voice, what’s your online username?” A little more discussion, then he added “Was it you who created those hand-animated team report videos a few years ago?“.
“I started playing the videogame competitively because of those animations”
That was one of the few times in my life that I’ve been genuinely speechless. Mihrab explained that he had been playing the videogame casually, had only heard of the competitive scene and was interested in trying it out. He said that the visuals from my animations broke down the thought processes for team building and tournament play that meant everything was much easier to follow than the daunting lists of stats that often make up team analysis.
Mihrab went on to get 2nd place in that tournament and clearly had a large group of friends there (similar to myself at European events). That animations I’d created had inspired someone to go on and have those life experiences is something I found really inspiring. There have been similar moments for me previously where content I’ve worked on has visibly impacted strangers (the 2014 video collaboration created about modern slave trade caused tears during its exhibition) but this was really unexpected. This has definitely inspired me to make animating more a priority than it has been for me these last few years.
As previously said, below is a slideshow reel of my diary for the trip if you are interesting in reading my full account. A selection of photos are below that.
(Below) These are a small selection of the photos I took whilst visiting. These are in reverse order from when I took them (so reverse to the above diary entries). The selection was made based on what I felt was more relevant to the website here; these focus upon the landscapes, artworks, graffiti and structures I encountered.