Toronto today hosts the very first YouTube FanFest in North America with a full-day live presentation for the types of celebrities you probably know best from your smartphone or tablet (or smartphones and tablets of your children.)

All the digital demigods will be there, including Rochester, Chihuahua-kissing New York comedian Jenna Marbles, who has 15 million subscribers, and California fashion and beauty video blogger Bethany Mota, who has racked up more. 8 million subscribers with its publications. on makeup, design and shopping.

Canadian designers dominate

Don’t let all that American weight of YouTube fool you.

Canada is well represented among the YouTube celebrities available to fans at the event in Yonge-Dundas Square, including:

  • Toronto DIY guru and glitter lover Lauren Riihimaki (better known as LaurDIY).
  • Lilly Singh of Brampton, Ont., Who posts videos as || Superwoman ||.
  • Mike Tompkins, music producer and artist raised in London, Ontario.
  • Brampton, Ont. – raised Punjabi comic Jasmeet Singh, better known as JusReign

The guys from Epic Meal Time, the Montreal kitchen team known for its high calorie creations like the “Angry French Canadian (The greasiest sandwich in Canada)”, will co-host the event,

The red carpet is featured at 5:00 p.m. with the main event kicking off at 8:00 p.m.

The sheer volume of Canadian talent on YouTube is one of the reasons Google chose Toronto to host its first North American edition of FanFest.

“There is an incredible amount of talented creators here who are out of proportion to the size of the Canadian market,” said Laura Lee, Global Head of YouTube’s Top Creators.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to attend my first Fan Fest in Mumbai last year,” said Lee, “and Lilly [Singh] and JusReign literally just shut it down. “

How YouTube created a new kind of

While screaming fans and red carpet arrivals were once the exclusive territory of Hollywood actors and world-famous rock stars, the internet has propelled a new kind of celebrity into the towers of fresh-faced personalities, which woo fans of the world. at their home.

“When I made my very first video in 2010, I didn’t think I would make another one,” said Singh, whose first video, a serious piece of work, was seen by only 70 people.

“When I hit the million subscribers I was like, I can’t even figure that number. Now I’m at 5.6 million and everyday I’m in total confusion. never thought that would happen. “

Singh is now taking his act on the road with his very first world tour.

Incredible opportunities

Bethany Mota was only 13 when she started posting her opinions on fashion and style on YouTube. Now 19, she has built a subscriber base of over 8.6 million and has even interviewed US President Barack Obama.

“It was a surreal feeling,” Mota said. “I was actually really surprised that they chose me because my channel has nothing to do with politics. But my audience is very young… and we got them really, really interested in anything. happens [politically]. “

In addition to spending time with the U.S. Commander-in-Chief, the high school graduate wrote a bestselling book and designed a clothing line for U.S. retailer Aéropostale.

A personal relationship with the fans

Lauren Riihimaki, 22, better known on YouTube as LaurDIY, is the creator of one of Canada’s top fashion and beauty channels.

She started posting her hairstyle and home-style clothing instructional videos in 2011. But the recent Ryerson University graduate knew she was really successful when people started to recognize her on the streets.

“They were like ‘I love your videos’ and I was like ‘Wow that’s so weird!'” Said Riihimaki who identified two different types of fans.

“There are people who subscribe to educational content,” Riihimaki explained, “then there are people who are there for my personality, who like to follow me when I go on trips, who like to stay on top of my relationships. “

Create a new type of content

Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein, Josh Elkin, and Ameer Atari captured an online audience with videos of extremely calorie-dense creations. Their channel, which debuted in Montreal in 2010, has since attracted 6.7 million subscribers who have feasted on their outrage revenues.

“It was just a fun little thing,” says Morenstein, describing their first “Fast Food Pizza” video. “Throw tacos on pizza, cook it and call it a show. “

That first video drew 100,000 subscribers, Morenstein says. The following episode saw 600 thousand people watching.

“The third episode,” said Morenstein, “had 1.2 million people tuned in. I quit my job and I’m fully committed to it. Fast forward to another quarter, both [partners Elkin and Atari] quit their jobs and now here we are. “

The popularity of Epic Meal Time has caught the attention of mainstream celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and skateboarding pro Tony Hawk, both of whom have appeared as guests. The channel also created a spin-off competitive cooking show called Epic chef.

Foster a community

Mike Tompkins 1.5 million subscribers tune in to listen to the 28-year-old’s elegant musical creations. His videos, like his Katy Perry mashup Teenage dream and that of Bruno Mars Just the way you Are attracted international attention.

But for Tompkins, who grew up near London, Ont., The most important thing about his internet fame is the relationship he has with his fans.

“The most important thing in doing this now is to build in the community and to feel that I have a connection with my audience,” said Tompkins, whose last “Daylight” video was shot in Tanzania with Convoy. of Hope, a faith-based humanitarian relief organization.

Tompkins’ fame on the Internet also led to working with other famous artists. In 2013 he toured with the Jonas Brothers, and last year he co-wrote and produced Jennifer Hudson’s single with Timbaland. Get out.

For more information on YouTube FanFest, including tickets and times, check out the official event website.