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I’ve been a proud resident of the lovely Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville for 15 years!  It’s a town undergoing rapid change. Between 2006 and 2011 our population grew by 54.3%. This makes us the 3rd fastest growing community in the country. We now boast a population around 40,000 strong.

There are so many things I love about our growing community. I love its history and its people. I love knowing many of the pillars of our town – like Dr. John Button who was born in the house beside ours almost 100 years ago! And he still lives on our street just a couple blocks to the south. I love the fact that so many new Canadians have made this town their home. I love the fact that when you drop into one of our great local shops or cafés (like the Red Bulb Espresso Bar) you almost always run into someone you know.

Even in a friendly town like this, there never seems to be enough time to gather as a community and talk about how we are growing together. That’s one reason I’m proud to be a co-curator of TEDxStouffville. TEDx events are an outgrowth of the set of conferences that have become famous for their TED talks devoted to “ideas worth spreading”. TEDx events are organized locally to feature live speakers and TED videos.

This is the 2nd year we’ve hosted a TEDx event in Stouffville. We discussed our theme for this year, bearing in mind that the event would be held on June 21 – the summer solstice. The day of the year that boasts the greatest amount of daylight hours seems like a good time to talk about shining a light. The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville seems like a good place to talk about changing communities. So our theme this year is “Shining a light on changing communities”.

You can see the diverse lineup of speakers on our website. It will be a fascinating sold-out event. But behind the scenes, it’s got us talking already. The organizing committee started with a couple of doctors at Markham Stouffville Hospital. We were looking for a way to capture on video some excellent talks about healthy communities.  My friend and co-curator, Dr. Eileen Nicolle, suggested we try to get a TEDx license. Here we are two years later – about to enjoy our second presentation of TEDxStouffville. In the meantime our planning committee has grown in wonderful ways. There’s an eclectic bunch of contributors from both Markham Stouffville Hospital and the University of Toronto with which we are affiliated. Last year we had great participation from the Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library as well as the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum. This year we’ve added folks to our committee from Stouffville’s dynamic business community. The town councillors and the mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville have enthusiastically supported the initiative. People really want to talk about our changing community and how to keep it healthy.

That’s the charm of the TEDx. Yes, the program itself will be excellent and we’ll capture those great talks to enjoy for years to come. Yes, the event will gather people of diverse backgrounds from a wide geographic radius to mingle together and talk about the important theme. Yes, it will be an event to make our town proud. But even before the curtain rises on June 21, TEDxStouffville has already accomplished a big part of our mandate. We’re spreading ideas about what it takes to be a healthy community in the 21st century. TEDxStouffville has got us talking.

Apply now to participate in TEDxStouffville 2013 to be held on June 21, 2013. You can see below a sample of one of the talks from TEDxStouffville 2012.

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