It's been a whole year since Kickstarter went live in Canada! In that time, over $24 million CAD was pledged to more than 3,700 projects. We wanted to round up a few (okay, twelve — one for each month) of our favourites from the north. Read below for a list of projects that are sometimes wonderful, sometimes weird, and well-built all around.
Most Socially Conscious: The Tar Sands Reporting Project
An award-winning team of journalists from the Vancouver Observer set out to tell the story of the men and women working in the dangerous Canadian tar sands. The project is much more than news: it’s a story about people, their daily lives, and the often difficult relationship they have with the oil industry. The project found success with 741 backers, and now encompasses a digital platform as well as a film.
Most Likely to Spit Rhymes at the Canadian Prime Minister: Shane Koyczan
Shane Koyczan is a poetry superstar. He’s given a moving TED talk on bullying that inspired thousands of people, and some of his fans have even tattooed his words onto their bodies. In February, Koyczan brought his new book A Bruise On Light to Kickstarter, and now he holds the record for highest-funded poetry project ever on the site.
Most Likely to Replace “Late Night Poutine”: Kanga
Three words: Aussie Meat Pies. In Toronto. Ok, that was five, but you get the gist! Thanks to their 289 backers, the ladies from Kanga have set up shop in the heart of Downtown Toronto, and as of May 23rd, they’re serving classic Aussie fare to the masses. Watch your back, poutine.
Most Likely to Perpetrate an Internet Hoax: Half-Cat
In Half-Cat, famed (and possibly nonexistent) scientist Erwin Hobbes takes on the phenomenon of rare bipedal cats. The book’s a collection of apocrypha on the subject: anecdotes, rare photos, and scientific diagrams of two-legged felines, all bound together into a slim fabric-covered volume. We’re not quite sure what’s true and what isn’t here, but we love it.
Most Likely to Be a Heritage Moment: Rhythm of the Hayes
Jennifer Ford is following in her father’s footsteps north up the Hayes River in Manitoba. She’s paddling 380 miles over 25 days, retracing the route he took four decades ago from Lake Winnipeg to Hudson’s Bay, and filming the whole experience. Straight up Canadian Wilderness.
Most Impressive Canadian Comeback: Spaceteam Admiral's Club
His first time on Kickstarter, developer Henry Smith of Spaceteam Admiral’s Club raised 81% of his goal with the help of 1403 backers. It was impressive, but not quite enough to send him over the edge. His second time, however, 613 new backers joined the Spaceteam team to help Smith continue making his games free and available to everyone.
Most Anticipated Film Adaptation: Corner Gas: the Movie
During its run from 2004-2009, Corner Gas was one of the most successful Canadian TV shows ever. Following in the footsteps of Veronica Mars, the Canuck fan favourite ran a very successful campaign to bring Dog River’s quirkiest characters back, and to the big screen, with the help of 2,526 fans. All right!
Tastiest Thing You Didn’t Know You Needed: Castor Toothpicks
As a tool, the toothpick predates modern humanity; despite its long stay as a personal necessity, it’s never really been revamped. Enter the Castor, a toothpick covered with flavour powder, to be used for presenting hors d’oeuvres and imparting them with flavour combinations such as Wasabi & Raspberry, Marshmallow & Smoke, and Maple & Bacon (classic!). We didn’t even know we were missing this, but we totally were.
Biggest Fashion Revolution: Mia Melon
Who says raincoats have to be dumpy? Mia Melon debuted their fashion-forward weatherproof coat line in 2011, and since then, they've been in high demand. They ran this project to do a full production run and focus on what they do best.
Most Likely To Pop a Really Fancy Wheelie: Vanhawks Valour Bikes
The people behind Vanhawks Valour made a connected bike. What does that mean? Well, it tracks your fitness stats and keeps you safe by alerting you of things in your blind spot with haptic feedback. It also syncs with your phone, all while looking pretty darn cool. (Bonus: it’s well worth it to read their blog, where they’ve been detailing everything from the making of the handlebars to the UI/UX design of the app).
Speediest: Eta, the World's Fastest Bike
Last year, these two-time creators built a human-powered helicopter and conquered the air. Now, they've got another impressive goal: to build the world’s fastest human-powered land vehicle to surpass the current speed record of 83.1 MPH. The fastest bike in the world will be built by a team of student designers to reach highway speeds, and it’s sure to be a feat of efficient engineering. Like us, the 221 backers are excited about watching it come together.
Most Caffeinated: Kaffeeklatsch
Calgary’s Kaffeeklatsch is more than a place to get a coffee fix: it’s a popup mobile coffee station in a 25-square-foot pantry in CommunityWise Resource Centre, a building with a solid history of social justice work.