Whether you’re into 3-D printing, cryptocurrencies, or gaming, this summer offers plenty of opportunities to geek out. So leave the laptop at home—or, if you must, take it with you—and check out the fun stuff happening in Vancouver’s technology community.
Crypto Block Party
Sunday (June 15) on Main Street between East 13th and East 14th avenues
Andrew Wagner loves Bitcoin, and he thinks you should too. That’s why he’s throwing the Crypto Block Party as part of Car Free Day Vancouver’s Main Street festival. “Anyone who’s interested in learning about Bitcoin should come to our block party,” Wagner, a director of the Bitcoin Co-op, told the Georgia Straight by phone from East Vancouver. “We’ll have lots of cool stuff to show off.” For the curious, there will be cryptocurrency mining equipment, a few Bitcoin ATMs, and maybe even a Dogecoin ATM. Bex.io and Quadriga CX are among the local Bitcoin businesses slated to participate. The Main Street festival will run from noon to 7 p.m. The block party’s location is no accident: Vera’s Burger Shack (2922 Main Street) accepts bitcoins.
Northwest Fan Fest
June 27 to 29 at the University of British Columbia
What happens when you combine three events—Anime Evolution, Cos & Effect, and the Vancouver Gaming Expo? “You get the latest and greatest summer con in Vancouver,” Gregory Neher, director of communications for Northwest Fan Fest, told the Straight by phone from his East Vancouver workplace. Neher expects 6,000 to 8,000 people to come to the collaborative convention at UBC’s Student Union Building and Student Recreation Centre. The fest will host Vancouver’s largest costume contest, featuring a $1,000 grand prize; Cosplay Idol; and the Gauntlet, a multigenre, multigame competition with a gold-painted Nintendo Power Glove trophy. There’ll be tons of board, card, console, LAN, role-playing, and tabletop games to try. Special guests include Sailor Moon voice actors Linda Ballantyne and Toby Proctor.
Admission: $30 to $35 for a day pass, $55 for a weekend pass.
WordCamp Vancouver Dev 2014
July 26 at the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s downtown campus
Admission: $20 until June 25, $25 thereafter.
August 10 to 14 at the Vancouver Convention Centre
When the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques brought its annual conference to Vancouver in 2011, it was heralded as the largest convention the city had ever seen. Dave Shreiner, conference chair for SIGGRAPH 2014, hopes this year’s event will be even bigger, with 17,000 to 18,000 attendees. “If you have interest in colouring pixels on a screen, SIGGRAPH is a great place to go,” Shreiner told the Straight by phone from San Jose. Technical papers and courses constitute the core of the conference, but there will also be an art gallery, a computer animation festival, an exhibition, and a job fair. Shreiner said 3-D printing and augmented reality will be among the “cutting edge” technologies in the spotlight.
Admission: $50 to $75 for an exhibits-plus pass, $1,320 to $1,445 for nonmembers for the full conference.
August 11 to 14 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre (postponed)
Are you intrigued by 3-D printing, biohacking, cryptocurrencies, the Internet of Things, robotics, and wearable tech? Vancouver’s inaugural Hacked: Festival promises to cover these subjects and more. The “disruptive innovation festival” will feature a conference, an arcade, exhibits, a film night, hackerspaces, a market, parties, and workshops. Plus, a tech crawl will highlight the city’s “revolutionary” companies. “The Roundhouse is going to be turned into a visually stimulating experience unlike what anyone’s seen before,” festival producer Anne-Marie Enns told the Straight during an interview at the community centre in Yaletown. “So we’re pretty excited about it.” Enns hopes to draw 500 to 1,000 people. The final day will feature $10 talks that are open to the public. Day passes will be made available if festival passes don’t sell out.
Admission: $200 for a festival pass until June 30, $500 thereafter.