It’s a whole new groove: Canada meets Estonia to share innovations in tech and music

A rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the brightest and most ingenious minds in Estonian technology and music is set to be launched in Toronto from 14-17 November.

Latitude 44 (L44), a conference aimed at bringing together key players in the technology world from Estonia and Canada is being combined with the Estonian Music Week (EMW) in Toronto this year – a double-bill of creativity and innovation.

The conference takes place from 14-15 November at the WE Global Learning Centre in downtown Toronto and the Estonian Music Week is happening from 14-17 November at various venues throughout the city. 

The L44 conference takes place from 14-15 November at the WE Global Learning Centre in downtown Toronto. Photo: Facebook.

Digital collaboration

The co-founder and director of Latitude 44, Eric Morrison, a former vice president of CTV News and a past president of the Canadian Press, has been working non-stop with a team of other volunteers – and a network of presenters from Estonia and beyond – to bring these singular minds to Toronto. 

Morrison said both countries are well-kept secrets from one another and there are many advantages to encouraging ties between the two. Estonian startups and established companies can grow their businesses with new investments. Delegates who work in digital government initiatives will learn about how to better digitise public services.

“We can learn a lot from Estonia, which is the ‘eco-friendliest’ country in Europe for technology startups,” Morrison said. “Their digital government is an example to all of us and is the way the world should be going.”

Canada, on the other hand, has an advanced expertise in artificial intelligence, financial and blockchain technology.

The team behind L44 and Estonian Music Week launching the event in Toronto, spring 2019. Photo courtesy of Piret Noorhani.

Morrison is excited about how L44 is unfolding, and offers a glimpse into what will be happening, and what makes these presenters tick.

“There are some amazing things going on in Estonia, and the products and services that have been developed reflect remarkable ingenuity,” he said. “For example, we’ll be seeing some fascinating Estonian inventions in robotics: robotic delivery devices, robotic printing through a service called Spray Printer that allows you to spray paint the side of a building via your smart phone; and even a robot snowplough!”

Other Estonian inventions are a hydroponic kitchen garden designed for restaurants – where they can literally grow food on the wall – and a personal recognition system that identifies users by the way they type on their keyboard.

Connection between technology and music

The focus for the Estonian Music Week is the connection between technology and music and will feature electropop, ethno and jazz.

Toomas Treumuth, the artistic director of the Estonian Music Week, has a reputation for discovering and championing music from all around the world. A long-time advocate for what he calls Estonia’s “quirky, highly innovative artists,” Treumuth believes Estonia is ready to step onto the world stage.

Piret Noorhani, the Chief Archivist for the Museum of Estonians Abroad and the Estonian Studies Centre (the main sponsor and organiser for the events), shares Treumuth’s passion for Estonian culture. Noorhani both catalogues the country’s rich cultural heritage for the museum collections and connects cultural communities in Estonia and diaspora through lively and diverse museum programs.

Some of the line-up at the Estonian Music Week in Toronto.

Kicking off the Estonian Music Week is Estonia’s Ensemble U – a rare opportunity to experience an art form in which music and virtual reality are united into an unusual audio-visual experience. Participants will be fully immersed – surrounded by the musicians and virtually transported to the beautiful Marimetsa bog in Estonia.

Other artists include neo-folk duo Puuluup, electro alt-pop icon NOËP, Vaiko Eplik (all from Estonia), Mari Sild Muusika ja Mõtted of Montreal and Kaili Kinnon and Tiina Kiik of Toronto.

Cover: Toronto sign in Estonian tricolour colours on the occasion of Estonia’s centennial celebration on 24 February 2018.

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