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Inspiring Canada’s future innovators at Go North Youth

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is guest authored by Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua. The University of Toronto is one of 36 Actua network members across Canada annually engaging 250,000 youth in hands-on STEM learning. 

Nicole, a Grade 4 student from Kew Beach Junior Public School, was excited to visit Go North Youth today. "My favourite subject is math, so I couldn't wait to learn all about science and tech at the University of Toronto! I learned that sound can travel through two people's bodies, how to build a future city, plus a bunch of other really cool stuff."

Today, for the third year in a row, Go North Youth gathered over 1200 students from grades three to eight in the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. Students from schools across the GTA came together for Canada’s biggest and most exciting day of exploration, learning and fun with cutting-edge science and technology.

Large auditorium with students listening to a speaker

Students flocked to the University of Toronto for the third annual Go North Youth, a full day of hands-on activities, workshops and learning designed to ignite curiosity around science and technology

The day kicked off with a vibrant opening ceremony in U of T’s historic Convocation Hall that included performances by DJ Skratch, ActionPotential, and a special address from The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, who got to personally welcome students from her own riding of Etobicoke North.

Afterwards, students explored Innovate Alley, where they went hands-on with fun science and tech, from creating 3D printed objects with Inksmith and testing Google’s AI game Quick Draw to dancing to cool rhythmic light installations from U of T alumni Nanoleaf.

Students spent the remainder of the day participating in inspiring design and build workshops put on by the incredible team at U of T Engineering Outreach. As always, it is amazing to see students so engaged and excited to learn about the engineering that backs their favourite technologies.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, MInister of Science, chats with students at Go North Youth

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, MInister of Science, chats with students at Go North Youth

The lead partner, the University of Toronto, worked with Google and Actua to bring this massive event to life for the third year because we believe that it is critical for youth to experience current innovations while seeing their peers excited about STEM. Whether students want to become doctors or game developers, STEM skills and computational thinking are, and will continue to be, important tools for their future.

For more than 20 years, Actua and our 36 university and college-based network members have worked to prepare young Canadians to be innovators and leaders by engaging them in exciting and accessible STEM experiences that build critical skills and confidence.

This includes our Codemakers program, supported by Google, which has engaged over 165,000 youth in computer science and digital skill building. Canadian youth from all over the country have participated in Codemakers whether through coding throat singing in Canada’s north or printing 3-D selfies in Vancouver or participating in events like today. With a recent renewal of $1.5M in funding from and $10 million in funding from the federal government through the CanCode program, we will continue to evolve the Codemakers program to reach a quarter of a million young Canadians.

Photo of students interacting with tech in Innovate Alley, from creating mini-ziplines to building their own 3D printed objects and much more.

Students got the chance to go hands-on with tech in Innovate Alley, from creating mini-ziplines to building their own 3D printed objects and much more. 

Together we can help students gain the skills and confidence they need to use technology to solve the world’s biggest problems.