OCAD U opens new executive training facility on the waterfront

Opening of OCAD U CO executive training facility. Photo by Martin Iskander.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 2:45pm

OCAD University celebrated the opening of its new waterfront campus, OCAD U CO  ̶ the university’s new executive studio that uses creative problem-solving to drive innovation and change. Located at Daniel City of the Arts, the new facility is also the home of Imagination Catalyst entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, which supports companies committed to design-driven products and services.

President Sara Diamond welcomed special guests, Adam Vaughan, MP Spadina-Fort York and Chris Glover, MPP Spadina-Fort York. The Government of Canada, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, contributed $2.5 million towards this project under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).

Under the leadership of Kevin Morris, Managing Director of OCAD U CO, the facility makes the deep creative design knowledge and capabilities of OCAD University available to industry leaders and their organizations.

Kevin Morris and President Sara Diamond. Photo by Martin Iskander.
Saul Colt and Kathryn Ellis, Operations Manager, Imagination Catalyst

Imagination Catalyst Update - Cassels Brock Pitch Competition

OCAD University’s newest entrepreneurs from the Imagination Catalyst squared off at the Cassels Brock Pitch Competition on September 27, competing for $5000 in start-up funding. Abid Virani, co-founder & COO of Fable Tech Labs, took the top prize, out-pitching colleagues from OCAD U’s business incubator.

The Cassels Brock annual pitch competition was sponsored by Cassels Brock, City of Toronto, StartUp HERE Toronto and Steam Whistle.

Cassels Brock Pitch Competition

Cassels Brock Pitch Competition
Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

OCAD U CO and Imagination Catalyst would like to invite you to our new office space at Daniels Waterfront: City of the Arts to participate in our
7th annual Cassels Brock Pitch Competition.

The competition will showcase new startups founded by OCAD U alumni who will compete for $5000 in start-up funding.

The event runs from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM in our new innovation campus space at Daniels Waterfront: City of the Arts building at 130 Queens Quay East and Lower Jarvis.

RSVP HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cassels-brock-pitch-competition-tickets-48886700437

Venue & Address: 
Daniels Waterfront: City of The Arts. 130 Queens Quay East M5A 3Y5 Toronto, Ontario
416-977-6000 x4258
New Waterfront innovation campus

Student leaders recognized for contributions to OCAD U

Monday, March 26, 2018

OCAD U student leaders were celebrated on March 22 for their outstanding extracurricular leadership contributions at Campus Life’s annual recognition and awards dinner. Emcee’d by Campus Life Student Monitor Daniel Naraindas, and included remarks from President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Sara Diamond and Vice-President, Academic & Provost Gillian Siddall.

The Diversity & Equity Excellence Award for Students, supported by OCAD Student Union and Office of the Vice-Provost, Students & International, acknowledges an outstanding student whose advocacy and leadership, promoting and advancing human rights, equity and social justice.

This year’s recipient, Meghana Ravi, co-led The Kaleidoscope Project, a multi-part arts-based participatory research project that included community consultations, an interactive public arts installation, and a full-length documentary that reflected the experiences and stories of OCAD U’s international student community. “Meghana is an exemplary student leader who uses her expertise in visual communication to engage in community building, education, and advocacy on issues of race and ethno-cultural identity, the international student experience, and decolonizing design,” said Sharmina Chherawala, Programs, Outreach & Human Rights Advisor in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability Initiatives.

As an advocacy initiative, The Kaleidscope Project amplified the voices of equity-seeking communities on campus and situated all participants as experts and educators in sharing their critical analysis and lived experiences. “Meghana’s project helped build a stronger international student community on campus, and was highlighted in Now Magazine, showcasing how OCAD U community members are advancing decolonization in the curriculum and beyond. The highly anticipated documentary screening and panel discussions premiered to a packed house of students, faculty, staff, senior leadership and community members,” explained Chherawala.

Peer Mentor Awards, supported by First Generation Programs, acknowledge Peer Mentors who have made outstanding contributions to the Student Mentor Program over the past program year. This year’s recipients, Daniel Lugo Travieso and Matt McCleery, have both demonstrated an inclusive approach in sharing their wealth of knowledge and insights. They have taken initiative to help other students navigate the university, it’s systems and programs and off-campus resources, and exercised patience when responding to questions. Their commitment to keeping in touch with their mentees, and to help students connect with each other and opportunities have helped build our student community. An honourary mention was given to Becky Wu.

Special Commitment Pins were presented to Peer Mentors who have shown commitment to the Student Mentor Program. For the first time ever, a four-year pin was presented to Arashdeep Chahal, while three-year commitment pins were given to Elisabeth Chan, Jacqueline Lee and Adria Maynard.

The Student Group Leader of the Year Award, made possible by Imagination Catalyst, is presented to a student leader of a group who excels, above and beyond in their leadership role. This year it was awarded to The Grind’s Russell Chiu. The Grind is an incubator for students who want to start their own small business, with goals to encourage networking and collaboration between students, provide workshops, guest speakers, and resources to assist in the development of new skills and portfolio building.

“Our student group leaders embody the entrepreneurial qualities of creativity, innovation, risk-taking and independence,” said Ahmed ElBedaway of the Imagination Catalyst. “Russell works consistently on bringing The Grind team together to curate a variety of inclusive entrepreneurship and creative business events on campus through encouraging open-floor discussion of ideas, while ensuring the core team members are on the right path of growing the group, supporting personal growth of each individual member, and making sure that he is able to help others achieve their goals as well as his own.”

Deanne Fisher, Vice-Provost, Students & International, acknowledged the commitment and leadership of OCAD Student Union executive and student participants in Board of Governors and OCAD U Senate.

Andre De Freitas, Manager, Financial Aid & Awards, presented a special Excellence in Student Services Award to Michelle Pereza, who, since 2016, has served students with expertise, empathy, enthusiasm and excellence. “An extraordinary student services representative, Michelle’s skills and dedication have helped to break down financial barriers for her student peers,” said De Freitas.

Special interest, student-run clubs and the six-year old Intramural Program at OCAD U allow interaction among students, support faith and culture, and create an atmosphere of diversity while encouraging self-development, entrepreneurship, social responsibility, environmental awareness, and fitness and well-being. Brent Everett James, Campus Life Coordinator, acknowledged student group leaders and intramural team captains for their leadership and contribution to community.

Thank you to Financial Aid & Awards, First Generation Program, Office of the President, OCAD Student Union, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students & International, Imagination Catalyst and Campus Life for making this evening possible. 

Group photo of student winners with OCAD U staff


Supported by OCAD U Imagination Catalyst

Entrepreneur BootCamp Deadline to Apply Feb 4th!

Open to students of all levels of experience the Entrepreneur Bootcamp runs 4 consecutive days, February 20th to 23rd from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

If you’ve ever thought of starting a business this workshop is a great place explore. It’s especially helpful if you’re thinking about applying to the Imagination Catalyst incubator to commercialize your thesis project after graduation - or take a business you’re working on to the next level.

Study Week BootCamp

Kathryn Ellis Wins HotBlack Coffee Prize!

Many thanks to all who submitted their Best Eats recommendations! Kathryn Ellis, Community & Events Coordinator, Imagination Catalyst, has won a HotBlack gift card. 

OCAD University participates in Innovate TO150

Katherine Roos, OCAD University
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 11:30am

OCAD University’s business incubator, Imagination Catalyst, participated in InnovateTO150 on Friday, November 3. More than 50 of Toronto’s best innovation-minded startups and entrepreneurs were featured at the event  ̶  a startup showcase and pitch competition organized by the City of Toronto and the four Toronto-based universities.

InnovateTO150 represents a new collaborative partnership between the City of Toronto, OCAD University, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, and York University. This collaboration aims to deliver the innovation and showcase initiative with a local and national impact.

Companies selected from incubators at OCAD University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and York University, exhibited their creative ideas, services, technologies and products, with the top ten entering a pitch competition for $50,000 in awards.

Imagination Catalyst, showcased six incubator companies: Aviv, Gaia, Thousand Stars Studio, Primo, U-Dimensions and PurPicks, of which five were led by OCAD University graduates. Katherine Roos, Executive Director, Imagination Catalyst, also participated in a panel discussion with representatives from each of the partner organizations.

The event was held in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday as an opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs to demonstrate how their ideas will help shape the next 150 years for Toronto and Canada. The program featured a keynote speech from Ann Makosinki, 20-year-old serial inventor and student at UBC, who was introduced by Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada.

left to right: Sabid Ali and Kathryn Ellis, Imagination Catalyst and Karen Kwon, Executive Education, OCAD U


Friday, November 3, 2017 - 2:00pm to 9:00pm

InnovateTO150 invites you and fellow innovation-minded entrepreneurs and changemakers to learn and engage with successful startups in Toronto and other experienced entrepreneurs. These enterprises and startup companies will demonstrate how their ideas, services, technologies, and products will shape the next 150 years for Toronto, Ontario and beyond. The InnovateTO150 Showcase will feature the best startups and entrepreneurs from Toronto, GTA and across Canada. Many of the showcased ventures are part of the 24 on-campus incubators and accelerators – components of existing academic entrepreneurship programming. These are the innovative entrepreneurship ecosystems currently serving students.


Keynote speaker: ANN MAKOSINSKI

Forbes 30 Under 30, TIME 30 Under 30, Google Science Fair Winner, Intel Science & Engineering Fair Winner, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Differentist


Visit innovateto150.ca for event schedule and registration information.

Venue & Address: 
Design Exchange 234 Bay Street Toronto, ON M5K 1B2
Free - Register to skip the line!
Innovate T. O. 150 poster showing keynote speaker Ann Makosinski, $50,000 worth of awards, and event information.