Entries in Charity (3)


A Day at the Geek Bazaar

A sale

You’re a geek with some money to spend.  Thing is, you’re maybe looking for some steampunk accessories. Maybe you might even like a Tardis cookie jar for your counter.  The problem is you have no idea where to look.  Luckily the Ottawa Geek Market has you covered.

The Geek market is now into its second year.  You can still find all the great vendors of all things geeky that you could find last year only now everything is bigger.

Tuscan Raiders on the attack. Photo courtesy Jodi Peterson.Last year’s venue was barely able to hold the 2000 plus people that came through their doors.  So now it’s taking place at Carleton University’s Fieldhouse over the weekend of Oct. 19th-20th. Even the costumes people are wearing seem more elaborate.

“That’s really the best part about this,” says Elizabeth Howell, Ottawa Geek Market’s media coordinator at the mere mention of the costumes people are wearing. 

The event has always wanted to spread the good around.  Last year the Geek Market raised $2448 for the Make-a-Wish foundation.  Now they’ve brought their attention to three organizations that are trying to put a stop to bullying across all age groups.  The money raised this year will go to the Kids Help Phone, Jer’s Vision and the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region.

Kale the dragon takes a break from shopping. Photo coutesy Jodi PetersonThe organizers have always felt that the geek community is one that celebrates diversity. Fans of anime can mingle with horror fans.  Sci-fi fans will hang out with fantasy aficionados.  So they felt that the market is one of the best ways for geeks to show their support for the community.

“If we can take this little microcosm and make it a little bit bigger to include the wider world I think we’ll be living in a better spot,” says Howell.

The geeks of Ottawa did not disappoint.  Yesterday’s rainy weather didn’t hold anyone back from attending.  A line up had formed around the Fieldhouse even before the doors opened for the event.  The excitement never let up.  All the vendors noticed a steady stream of nerd shoppers coming by their tables.

“People are having a good time,” says Howell.  “I hear good things when they come by! Look at these smiles!”

 Everyone was smiling today! Phot courtesy Jodi Peterson


Gamers Saving the Day

Justin Tessier and Carla de Ciccio, the duo behind E-Sports North. Photo courtesy Nyree Costello

The typical video game plot revolves around saving the world. The hero is meant to come in, save the day and brighten the world. This Saturday June 1st, gamers across Ottawa will be coming together to save the day and brighten the world for sick kids at the first ever Ottawa’s Got Game Tournament.

Held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, the tournament will bring together StarCraft and Call of Duty players from around the region to raise money for the Child’s Play Charity.

With all the attention that the Ottawa International Game Conference is bringing to game development in the city, Justin Tessier, one half of the E-Sports North duo putting on the tournament, saw an opportunity to leverage that attention to bring gamers together for the event.

From there it’s been a crazy rush putting everything together.  Building on the relationships that the team behind RocketOwl built when they tried something similar, they immediately got the museum on board with the event.  The fact that the Star Wars exhibit would be opening up this summer was a very happy coincidence for them.

Now, they’re just putting the final touches and coordinating those final details with their volunteers.  They’ve even managed to get sponsors ranging from Red Bull to Twitch.tv.

Along with the tournament there will be some non-competitive games for those not participating in the tournament. 

You can purchase tickets here.  For those wishing to donate toys and games directly, there will be a donation box set up.


Shopping for the nerd at heart


Geeks of Ottawa may have noticed there being a woeful lack of a geek bazaar. With geek culture gaining mainstream appeal, it’s a wonder one hasn’t come into existence yet. That’s being rectified October 14th with the first ever Ottawa Geek Market at the Nepean Sportsplex.

The event was thought up by Stacey Young, the proprietor of Geek etc., when she realized that there was no geek themed convention here in Ottawa in the fall.

“I thought that’s silly. Someone should really organize something,” said Young to a friend that was holding a geeky garage sale. It was then that her friend, rather jokingly suggested that she should run the event. However, Young took that as a challenge.

The idea took shape as a way to help the local community and highlight the cool vendors in the area. To that end, not only will there be things like Lego Star Wars jewellery but the proceeds from the admission sales and raffle will go to the Make a Wish foundation of Eastern Ontario.

This commitment to helping kids didn’t come from out of nowhere. A chance encounter with a small child changed everything for her. She was at a doctor’s appointment due to her chemical sensitivity when she saw a small child who was suffering from a disability look up at his mother. The next words from his mouth broke Young’s heart.

“Mommy, when do I get to be normal like all the other kids for a day,” he said.

From that point on a commitment to helping kids and to keeping the market fragrance free was born. In fact, Young takes great pride in her fragrance free policy. Those who want to attend but may be worried due to the fragrances normally associated with the make up that can go into some costumes can breathe a sigh of relief.

That said, expect to see a lot of people in costume. Even the chief of security will be in full Klingon gear. Even though there will be no masquerade due to this being mainly a marketplace, attendees are more than encouraged to come in costume.

In the end, Young expects there to be a healthy turn out. She originally thought that there would only be about 100 or so people attending. Due to the power of the internet, however, she’s now expecting somewhere between 1000 to 2000 people in attendance.

“The geeky community is tight in a good way,” said Young.