Bring your ideas to life!

Hacking Health and YuKonstruct

If you didn’t know already, YuKonstruct is hosting Hacking Health from May 9-11, 2014 (more details here). YuKonstruct chose to host this event because it aligns well with a part of our mission to help empower Yukoners to bring their ideas to life!

While we work to get our makerspace underway, this hackathon style event is essentially a portable hackerspace / makerspace. It all comes down to creative makers coming together and create solutions and prototypes with the tools they have available!

It is going to be an exciting event and we are looking forward to having you there! Both observers and participants are suggested to REGISTER IN ADVANCE to ensure we have enough food over the weekend! Participants registering before May 4, 2014 can use the code yukonstruct10 to take $10 of the price of their ticket! Come for a weekend of food, fun, collaboration (and fast internet)!

Hacking Health & YuKonstruct


Did we mention there will be an astronaut?! Yes! Canadian Space Agency astronaut Dr. David Saint-Jacques will be presenting on Sunday May 11 at 4pm in the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre following the conclusion of the Hacking Health event. This special event will be free to the public so please stop by and bring your mum (it will be Mother’s Day)!

Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques
Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques presenting May 11 @ 4pm KDCC


We’re curious – what are your health ideas?!

Would you like to see an app developed to keep track of your children’s vaccination records? Or one that tells you when your UV exposure is getting high? Are you looking for a means to better communicate with out of town specialists? Something to help you smoke less? Eat better? Get outside and enjoy the trails? Ideas may be inspired by traditional healthcare, alternative health, social health, mental health, or preventative approaches to health and those that promote physical activity or a healthy mindset!

Whatever you can think of to improve health and wellness – share your ideas here on the Sparkboard!

We want to get as many ideas as possible, from as many people as possible. It is the best way to create change!

Bring your ideas - let's turn them into reality!
Bring your ideas to Hacking Health – together we can make them come to life!



Do you have an idea for a 3D prototype? Check out this event!

Or maybe your idea for Hacking Health needs a physical prototype? Perhaps you want to 3D print a better prosthesis like this. Or maybe you have just have an idea that you want to bring to life with a CNC mill or laser-cutter!

Can we suggest you head to the Yukon Trade Show this weekend (May 2-4) at the Canada Games Centre for a chance to win Design and CAD services from the Yukon Research Centre and a 3D prototype (3D printed, CNC milled or laser cut) from Arctic Automate to help you on your way to making your ideas a reality!

When: May 2-4, 2014
What: Yukon Trade Show
Where: Canada Games Centre, Whitehorse YT
Booth: YRC – Mid Arctic Booth
Contact: [email protected]

We thought you makers and inventors out there would be excited about this opportunity and wanted to share!

Hacking Health North – May 9 – 11, 2014

Mark May 9 – 11, 2014 in your calendars!

YuKonstruct is teaming up with Hacking Health to host a weekend hackathon. Here’s a little video about the concept:

If you think there are inefficiencies in the healthcare space and want to be part of the solution then REGISTER HERE

(Tickets cover the cost of food for the weekend and participants can get $10 off before April 30 with discount code yukonstruct10)

YuKonstruct and Hacking Health would like to invite healthcare professionals and patients who have ideas for health tech solutions to collaborate with developers, designers, researchers, administrators, managers and other creative minds to develop realistic solutions to healthcare problems. This weekend-long hackathon (May 9 – 11, 2014) allows those with ideas, who are unsure how to make them happen, to connect with talented technology experts and designers. In these small teams, these ideas can be further refined and materialize into working prototypes. Take a look at the projects from the last Hacking Health event in Montreal.

A team working at Hacking Health to develop rapid prosthetics prototyping
A team working at Hacking Health to develop rapid prosthetics prototyping

What is Hacking Health?

Hacking Health is an international movement with a goal to improve healthcare by connecting technology experts and healthcare professionals to collaboratively develop real solutions. Learn more about Hacking Health here.

Event Info

Goal: To provide an opportunity to make a difference in healthcare through co-operative participation and rapid creation/testing of ideas.
Patients, healthcare professionals, technology focused developers, designers, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers.
When: May 9-11, 2014
Where: Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on 1st Avenue, Whitehorse*
*Remote participation will also be possible from Yellowknife, Iqaluit and various communities across the Yukon.
Cost: $40 to participate; Free to observe (Friday and/or Sunday attendance)**
**This is to cover food costs for the weekend (healthy options available)

How can I participate?

  1. Registration is now open! Register here or below and select the participant group which suits you best. Participants who register before May 4th can get a $10 discount by using this code: yukonstruct10

  2. Visit our Sparkboard and post your idea, comment on other ideas and begin to build teams before the hackathon. (This is a quick and easy process and we would love to hear your ideas even if you can’t join us for the weekend!)

Prefer to just be an observer?

No problem! You can attend to see all the idea pitches (Friday May 9 @ 6pm) and final prototypes (Sunday May 11 @ 2pm).
Register here and select the Observer category (Cost: FREE).

A team presenting their idea at Hacking Health
A team demonstrating their prototype app at Hacking Health

Can’t attend in Whitehorse? Join us remotely!

You can still participate remotely! You can provide a 1-minute video of your idea and / or contribute to developing solutions to ideas all through live streaming and remote collaboration. We hope to extend participation across the communities in the Yukon, to Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

Remote participants can sign up for free registration – (registering will allow us to send the details you need to let you participate from afar.)


Want to meet an Astronaut?

Come to the free public event directly after Hacking Health – Sunday May 11 at 4pm at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. More details in this post.

If you’re interested in learning more, or volunteering to help make Hacking Health a success, please email [email protected]

Survey Results – What a response!

Thanks for taking the survey!  All one hundred and one of you!

Now the Core Team has lots of useful information on membership pricing, hours, and people to contact for specific volunteer tasks. People who indicated they want to volunteer Event Coordination will be contacted soon, as Hacking Health North (May 9-11, 2014) is our next big event. Stay tuned for details!

This survey also gives us the proof we need to show funders that we have an engaged community of makers, 84% of you volunteered to help make the space happen faster! Amazing!

For those of you who asked specific questions at the end of the survey, I will be responding over the next few days. In the meantime check out this infographic which summarizes the results.


As for what you want to learn – check out this word cloud:

What you want to learn
What you want to learn

Here’s what you said you can teach:

What can you teach?
What can you teach?

We need YOUR input – take our 5 minute survey

Hey everyone!

I’m Amelia and I have been excited to work with the core team to develop this important survey. Before I talk about that, I wanted to give you a little update.

YuKonstruct has come so far since January 14 when we had the Kick-Off Open House and asked the Yukon community if they would want a makerspace. The answer was yes! Since then, the core team have been hard at work to make it happen.

In Allison’s last update she mentioned that the team has been working hard on a number of fronts, the most exciting of which is a potential space. Since then, the outreach team has put together this blog to keep you informed. There was also a funding proposal submitted for review last week, so that we can get the money needed to hopefully sign a lease. It has been busy!


We recently got some initial feedback from the funders which lets us know that we need to start establishing the details of membership fees, and the tools we will need to purchase, so we can ensure our budget is accurate. To do this, I have created a short survey for you to fill out so we can better understand HOW and WHEN you want to use the makerspace. I am also using this as part of my thesis project for my degree in Community Development, with a concentration in Community Research. This survey is designed to keep the momentum of YuKonstruct going in a community-based way, by encouraging skill-sharing, seeking enthusiastic volunteers and asking what you think is best.


PLEASE FILL OUT THIS SURVEY BEFORE APRIL 14, 2014 – Without this feedback we will have a difficult time making our case that YuKonstruct will be an important community space.

It should only take you 5 minutes to complete, but it will provide us with the key information we need to make decisions as we move forward.

Also, please feel free to share this post with anyone who you think might want to be a YuKonstruct member. We really appreciate it!

If you’re wondering what will we do with the survey data, it will be this:

  • Establish membership pricing, choose what tools to purchase and confirm our proposed budget.
  • Publish a summary of results on our website and send you an email too!
  • I will also use the survey in my coursework to examine the possibilities of makerspaces as community development tools in the North.

At no time will your personal details be shared. Any information and responses we post will be anonymous.

If you have any difficulties with the survey please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks so much!


We’re making progress

Hi, my name is Allison. If your story is anything like mine, you went to the YuKonstruct Kick-Off in January, enjoyed some pizza, checked out the cool projects, and maybe you even attended the follow-up planning session on January 28th. But by now you’ve started to wonder what’s going on and what can you do to help, right?

Is this Makerspace really going to get off the ground? Well that balloon sure did, but I wanted to find out more on the progress of YuKonstruct itself, so I attended a team meeting this week and, as it turns out, there’s A LOT going on! (and a lot of people too!)

Team hard at work
Team hard at work

Fifteen builders met for 2.5 hours (as they have been doing weekly since the kick-off) and I was impressed by their skills, energy, and dedication to this project.

Here’s a recap:

Space Team
The most exciting development is the fact that the space team has found a possible venue. It’s a cool, industrial space, easily accessible, and has lots of room. It will need some work to meet makers’ needs, but that’s going to be half the fun. And this is just one of many suitable options we’ve been scouting.

Even if this one doesn’t work out the space team is confident they’ll find us a great home.

A potential space
The potential location

Org(anization) Team
The bulk of this meeting focused on building a sophisticated and exhaustive budget line-by-line. The core team has been looking into the real costs for a start-up like this and they have done a lot of research into how other Makerspaces are run.

The full business plan is almost done, so stay tuned for more!

Outreach Team
The outreach team is working hard to get a blog up and running to keep everyone informed. They also invited me to share my story with you.

Support Team
The support team is helping build tools to support the team’s efforts. For example, one of the things they’re researching are the ways to allow member access and ensure security too.

Possible locking mechanism
Possible locking mechanism

**So now that you’re up to date, how can YOU help?**

Membership Survey
The outreach team will be sending out a survey to get a better idea of how many potential members are out there and what sort of memberships they might be interested in (monthly, annual, day passes, 24 hour access, etc). Please fill it out!

Once the core team has a better picture of the level of interest and the sort of memberships Yukoners want, they will start signing members up. The more who sign up in advance, the easier it will be to get YuKonstruct up and running. More info soon.

Looking at the numbers, it’s pretty clear that a Makerspace can’t easily be supported by membership fees alone.

Lucky for us, several companies have already come forward to pledge sponsorship and the donation of products and services (in-kind). If you have a connection with anyone who might be willing to donate funds, services or equipment, please send an email to: [email protected]

Let’s keep the momentum going
Some fun events are in the works to keep people interested and engaged. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to hear about all the upcoming activities and then spread the word!

I hope you’re as excited about this as I am! You should reach out and get involved. I’m sure glad I did.


Allison (maker and wannabe YuKonstruct member)

That's me!
That’s me!

Balloon Launch Event

We did it !  We went to SPACE!

On January 30, 2014 @ 10:20am PST we launched a balloon with cameras & GPS into the sky above Whitehorse, Yukon.

Payload ready to launch
Payload ready to launch
Final preparations for balloon launch
Final preparations for balloon launch
Balloon Up and Away
Balloon up and away

Once launched, it floated +100,000 ft up into the stratosphere, popped, and returned to Earth safely via parachute. That was the easy part. Getting it back was a whole other adventure!

The moment the balloon popped
The moment the balloon popped and parachute deployed
Balloon Recovery
Balloon recovery mission

YuKonstruct Balloon off the ground Cold Climate InnovationTemesco HelicoptersAir North

What a Kick Off Event!

THANK YOU for making the Kick-Off to YuKonstruct such a big success! Your ideas, input, and feedback are invaluable and will help shape Yukon’s very first makerspace.

We’ve compiled a summary of the evening below.

  • 220+ makers showed up (Thats you!)
  • 42 Pizza’s eaten (436 slices!)
  • 30+ projects displayed (Thank you inventors!)
What a great turnout!
What a great turnout!

Here’s how you imagined YuKonstruct:

Word cloud

Word wall

Here’s how you voted:

Vote pie chart

YuKonstruct – The start of a makerspace in Canada’s north

Whether it is the old wood shop, the garage where you tinker, the spare room that doubles as a sewing room, or that desk in the basement, any space which allows your creativity to flow is a magical one. You might be a famous local talent. Perhaps you are an everyday Do-It-Yourself-er, a painter, a lego master or inventor of cool gadgets. All of us have that one creative space where you go to listen to your muse!  It’s where you create beautiful works of art, invent interesting things, or spend many happy hours developing your ideas.  It is your “makerspace”.

For me, there’s never been just one creative space. There have been however, common features that made all of those spaces a great place to create. Inspiration is always nearby. There is always a good source of natural light, maybe a nice view and great colours on the walls. There is a place to store, organize and easily access supplies, even if only a small shelf or box. Resources such as books, the Internet, magazine clippings, are readily available to both inspire and help me learn and try new things.

All of the spaces which inspired me were great but I occasionally wondered if having like-minded people in my favourite creative spaces could make them even better. Would I find inspiration in their work, could I learn even more?

A small group of Yukoners seemed to think so, and they wanted to do something about it. I for one am so glad they did! In early 2014, YuKonstruct was born.

Yukonstruct LOGO

The idea of a makerspace is not a new one. A Makerspace (also known as a hackerspace) is a community-operated workspace incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops, and / or studios where makers (also known as builders) come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things happen. These makerspaces evolved because would-be entrepreneurs were either missing space, tools, or expertise needed to get their ideas off the ground. Interests generally include computers, technology, science, art, and other hands-on endeavours. There are 30+ makerspaces in Canada and 900+ around the world and they come in many forms. The largest makerspaces in Canada (AssentWorks) and USA (TechShop) have both have helped launch new prototypes and many new businesses.

Makerspace above a garage
Site 3 Makerspace in Toronto
Assentworks Makerspace
Assentworks Makerspace in Winnipeg
Techshop Makerspace in San Francisco
TechShop Makerspace in San Francisco

When the idea of YuKonstruct was put forth to the Yukon community during a Kick-off Open House on January 14, 2014 there was a resounding and overwhelming affirmation from the over 220 people in attendance, that this would be a welcome addition to the north.

January 2014 Kick Off Open House Event
January 2014 Kick Off Open House Event
How do you envision YuKonstruct?
How do you envision YuKonstruct?

I know I am not alone in saying that I can’t wait to see how this unfolds!




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  [email protected]

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