YouTube bringing Jenna Marbles, VSauce, IISuperwomanII to Toronto for FanFest

TORONTO – Google is bringing its YouTube FanFest event to North America for the first time and has chosen Toronto as the host city.

The one-day free event will take place on May 2 at the city’s downtown Yonge-Dundas Square and will include appearances by YouTube stars Jenna Marbles, VSauce’s Michael Stevens, Bethany Mota and Brampton, Ont.’s Lilly Singh, who goes by the name IISuperwomanII online.

The Montreal-based fast-food gurus behind Epic Meal Time will host.

Previously staged in Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore and Thailand, Toronto was chosen for the next FanFest to reflect the booming content-creation industry in the city, said Laura Lee, head of North American content partnerships for YouTube.

“Canada is a rock star country for YouTube because Canadians are always ahead of the curve. I like to say Canadians were two to three years ahead of the curve vis-a-vis the U.S. audience in terms of broadband adoption years ago, and (now) consumption of YouTube content,” Lee said.

“Toronto’s a very unique creator base … there’s a huge amount of top creators (there). Bringing FanFest to Toronto is a good signal to them that YouTube has noted that, Toronto and Canada are important to us and we’re going to continue to have a presence (there).”

Google says Canadians are the third most prolific uploaders to YouTube in the world.

According to data compiled last September by measurement firm comScore, Canadians were watching more than two billion videos on YouTube each month.

In a separate online poll conducted for Google, 33 per cent of the 2,253 Canadian respondents said they had sought out music-related online video content in the past week, 29 per cent watched comedy videos, 18 per cent watched TV shows, 16 per cent streamed movies and 15 per cent watched sports content.

Most respondents said they typically watched online video alone.

Even though 46 per cent said they had recently watched online video streams in their living room, seven in 10 said they did so solo. About 14 per cent said they watched online video with another person and seven per cent said they watched some streaming content with two other people.

“I don’t view that as a dystopian kind of (future, like), ‘Oh, no, everyone’s solitary and there’s a lot of consumption but no one’s talking,'” said Lee.

“I think the more interesting (thing) … is what are people doing after that. Are they remaining in their own little private island or are they interacting? My hunch is probably a lot of them are interacting.”