The “Hidden Cash Toronto” guy is actually two guys
So, it turns out that Hidden Cash Toronto, is not, in fact, guerrilla marketing for a soft drink or something.
The Twitter-based scavenger hunt, which began about three weeks ago as an homage to the San Francisco original, was initially a secretive operation. The person behind it refused to be identified and would only be interviewed on Twitter. The only pictures the he would release of himself were of his hand and cufflink. On Wednesday, in a climactic move, the Hidden Cash mastermind hid his usual envelope of $100 in Nathan Phillips Square. The difference, on this particular occasion, was that he was standing there to meet the people who came in search of the money.
We know now that Hidden Cash Toronto is not a man, but rather two men: Maher Jaber and Joel Verreault, two small-business owners (Jaber makes his living organizing conferences, and Verreault runs a small internet service provider). The pair, who have been friends for ten years, say the project has been rewarding. They can name every single winner, including one lucky scavenger who donated her $100 to SickKids, where her daughter was a patient.
Finding places to hide the cash was difficult. The locations had to be public (no office towers), couldn’t disrupt business owners (no Eaton Centre) and had to be somewhere that couldn’t be damaged by cash-hunters (no flower beds). Now that their identities are out, Jaber and Verreault are thinking of switching up the plan. The scavenger hunts, they say, will be less frequent, and instead of just checking Twitter, participants may need to chase down a clue on the 504 streetcar, or bag groceries at a food bank. The prize, they think, would still be $100: not enough to hoard, just enough to share with friends.