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With the staggering growth in the Canadian technology sector, it's clear that there's a new breed of companies being built to last right in our backyards. On Thursday, Oct. 30, the second annual Startup Open House is taking place with the aim of helping the general public become more informed.

Over 4,500 people have registered for the free event and an opportunity to visit nearly 250 participating local companies in Toronto and Montreal. Canadian startups such as Shopify, Busbud, Freshbooks, and Frank & Oak will open their offices from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for anyone to discover, learn more, and meet the faces behind the screen.

The event began last year in Montreal and was a high impact way of getting companies and people connected, as opposed to more traditional job fairs and networking events. Attendees from a very broad range of backgrounds are expected to attend this year, including students, entrepreneurs, professionals, non-profits, and fortune 500 companies.

Companies are planning a range of unique experiences for visitors, from simple office tours, to Halloween trick-or-treating, to more elaborate things to help gain attention. The Working Group is doing a set of technology and project demos. Wajam is running ping-pong and pool tournaments. TunnelBear is expected to have their bear mascot for photos. Ryerson DMZ is hosting a full fair of their startups near Yonge-Dundas Square.

If you're interested in Startup Open House, visit to view a list and map of companies participating. You can also follow along on Twitter @suopenhouse and #soh2014.

Satish Kanwar is a director of product at Shopify and previously co-founded a design agency called Jet Cooper. Satish is also an active speaker, mentor, and contributor in the Canadian startup community.