Next Vancouver speaker

Marianne Alvarez

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April 3, 8:30am • Streaming Online • part of a series on Purpose

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Gordon Price is the Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University.

In 2002, he finished his sixth term as a City Councillor in Vancouver, BC. He also served on the Board of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver) and was appointed to the first board of the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (TransLink) in 1999.

He has spoken at numerous conventions and conferences in many countries, writes a monthly column for Business in Vancouver on civic issues, and conducts tours and seminars on the development of Vancouver. He also publishes an electronic magazine on urban issues, with a focus on Vancouver, called “Price Tags,”.

In additions to presentations in the U.S. and Australia, Gordon is a regular lecturer on transportation and land use for the City of Portland, Oregon and Portland State University. He has written several extensive essays on Vancouver and transportation issues (The Deceptive City, Local Politician’s Guide to Urban Transportation). In 2003, he received the Plan Canada Award for Article of the Year - ”Land Use and Transportation: The View from ’56“ - from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

In 2007, he received The Smarty - an award of recognition by Smart Growth B.C. – in the People category, and was made an honorary member of the Planning Institute of B.C. He sits on the Boards of the Sightline Institute and Sustainable Cities International.

CMV: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?

GP: Applying observations, knowledge or perspective from one area of interest (or, better yet, passion) to another.

CMV: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

GP: Trail running. Or times when, focused on a physical activity, you let the mind sneak in some connection you wouldn’t achieve through concentration.

CMV: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

GP: Persistence. Don’t worry whether a project is perfect or complete; just get that draft done, leave it to gestate, and when you return to it tomorrow, it’ll seem better than you thought it was. Or at least you’ll be less frustrated and prepared to take the next step. Then revise, revise, revise.

CMV: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

GP: Steven Johnson: “Where Good Ideas Come From”

CMV: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

GP: Kayaking the Capilano River in flood. Still have the scar from a dislocated shoulder to show for that one.

CMV: How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?

GP: Well now, that entirely depends on the stranger.

CMV: What keeps you awake at night?

GP: Whether our eventual (and incredibly delayed) response to climate change might be too late for this civilization.

CMV: What are you proudest of in your life?

GP: Helping found AIDS Vancouver and hopefully saving some lives.

CMV: If you could do anything now, what would you do?

GP: Traveling without a carbon footprint, in good health, with enough resources, to meet people in fascinating places who could show me the world through their eyes.

CMV: Where was the last place you travelled?

GP: Madrid and Barcelona.

CMV: What is the one movie or book every creative must see/read?

GP: Koyaanisqatsi. So many of its techniques (particularly time-lapse and minimalist music) have been ripped off so often, they can seem like cliches now. (So it helps to know where they came from.) Regardless, this visual essay (slowest moving and fastest paced movie you’re likely to see in one sitting) is still so powerful and relevant, and provokes new perceptions when you leave the theatre. (And you have to see in a theatre.)

Gordon Price speaks at CM/Vancouver Friday, August 2nd, at 8:30 am. To get a ticket, sign up here.

Getting Thematic with CreativeMornings Vancouver:

Mark Brand is on stage at the Dodson House in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, speaking to a crowd of urban creative types, most of whom are finishing the last bites of Save On Meats breakfast sandwiches that were given away upon entry to the July 5 CreativeMornings Vancouver event. Brand is renowned in Vancouver for his culinary entrepreneurism, but he is not here to talk about food—that was last month’s theme.

Mark Brand

Mark Brand is one of Vancouver’s most recognized entrepreneurs. After opening his first restaurant, Boneta, in 2007, he went on to open an independent clothing label and storefront called ‘Sharks + Hammers’, followed by The Diamond tapas restaurant and lounge, Seamonstr Sushi, Catalog Art Gallery, PortSide Pub and lastly, his largest undertaking to date, Save on Meats.

Founded in 1957 Save on Meats has been a Vancouver landmark since it opened serving the local community with a butcher shop and lunch counter. After closing down, Mark Brand resurrected the Save on Meats enterprise. Brand carried with him a vision to restore the building back to its prime for all Vancouver residents, and to be committed to it being a true social enterprise by working with partners to create a sustainable business model that serves the community. Through his engagement with the DTES Mark saw an opportunity to build capacity surrounding issues of food security and employment. From this A Better Life Foundation was created as a non-profit to expand the social initiatives Save On Meats created.

Mark Brand has since been invited to share his message of social enterprise at numerous conferences and universities in North America, as well as world-renowned events such as TED Talks.

CMV: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

MB: Fuck I hate this question. Everywhere, yup that’s my answer, great right? Seriously though, everywhere. I’ve been in Bodegas and seen setups of products that influence a way I’ll lay out a part of a build. I’ll see patterns in commuting that change the way I look at space and layout. I could go on about this one forever so let me do that on stage.

CMV: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

MB: The fear of different styles. When we were kids we always tried to rock the same penmanship or copy our favourite artists like Frank Miller or Bill Sienkiewicz. My favourite artists/designers/musicians forged their own style and once they gained acceptance I started to trust my own creative instincts, early. Rap Music in it’s formative years was a huge influence aurally and stylistically, as were artists like my best friend Rhek. Nobody had that style and it was/is the best.

CMV: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

MB: Alex Usow.

CMV: Where was the last place you travelled?

MB: I just got back from a speaking/business junket that took me to Ottawa for the United Way, Toronto for development of programs with restaurants akin to ours at Save On, Buffalo for the BALLE network (look them up, you’re welcome), Minnesota for a marathon in their airport (that place is ridiculous), Edmonton for the Alberta Governments volunteer and social programs convention and then home. I know what you’re thinking, glamorous rock star shit, you nailed it. Truth is I learned so much about how far ahead everyone is in the realms that currently interest me most. They’re most ahead in their openness to listen and try new approaches without getting caught up in typical Canadian politeness that holds us back so often. The best part is it was from all levels, the feds to the smallest social start up. It was very inspiring.

CMV: What was the best advice you were ever given?

MB: My mom gave it to me and I put it in the first booth at my first restaurant named after her Boneta. It was more advice veiled in a statement and it’s never left me. “There are two types of people in the world, those who wait to talk and those who listen. Whichever one you choose will change your life." She didn’t elaborate on which one was wrong or right (I was 10 or 11 the first time she said it) but she continued to repeat it at opportune moments as I grew up. I chose the latter and it has certainly been the backbone to my life on all levels, especially creatively.

Mark Brand speaks at CM/Vancouver on Friday, July 5th, at 8:30 am. To get a ticket, sign up here.

If you missed Llana’s and Marc’s talk at CMVan last month about creating community-engaged learning opportunities through urban agriculture, you are in luck. The video of his talk is now up on Vimeo. Check it out! If you appreciate the work the CreativeMornings/Vancouver volunteers are doing, please click the “Donate" button below to help ensure the continued success of these important creative community events.


Ilana Labow

Ilana is Director of Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, creating community-engaged learning opportunities through urban agriculture. Fresh Roots grows resilient, engaging, education-based neighourhood farms accessible to Vancouver’s diverse communities. Ilana received urban farm and community development training and subsequently worked with the internationally renowned urban agriculture organization Growing Power (Milwaukee & Chicago, USA:, and studied sustainable agriculture and conflict-resolution at the multi-national peace institute Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, in Israel ( Ilana currently sits on the steering committees of Farm to School BC, Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership (SOYL), is a member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council, and was recently nominated as one of the Vancouver Parks Board’s Remarkable Women in food of 2013. Along with all this, Ilana loves drinking coffee on her stoop in the sunshine.

Marc Schutzbank

Marc Schutzbank is co-director of Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, where he is integrating production and local food markets into neighbourhoods. Marc is a recent graduate of the MSc. Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems program at the University of British Columbia, where he investigated the economic viability of urban farming - exploring how urban farmers are developing their businesses here in Vancouver. Marc is originally from the United States graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business administration. When Marc is not on the farm, you can find him on the beach or in the forest.

CMV: Question?

IL: Answer.

CMV: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career

IL: My career has grown entirely from creativity. I was privileged enough to be in a position to get to hear my heart pulse, understand what fuels my passion, and pursue with full power. I get to sit with colleagues, friends, schoolteachers, community members, designing dreams of what we want out futures to look like, the future of our community, the future of society to look like, then figure out the logistics and make it happen.

So much of my job is listening to the dreams, hopes, and desires of others – and work towards figuring out how to help make them reality.

What’s so fun about working with food is that everybody eats. Sharing food is a timeless, universal act of community. Everyone has history with and a relationship to food. I get to creatively design spaces where people feel safe and inspired to share their lives and celebrate their dreams coming true.

CMV: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

IL: From the people I work with, the land we live and work on, my family, my ancestry, my dreams, and the stories people share with me in our urban farms.

CMV: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

IL: Absolutely anything and everything is possible once you put your mind to it. With appropriate proportions of willingness, determination, passion, love, and faith.

CMV: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

IL: Sara Kendall and Nadia Chaney

CMV: What was the best surprise you’ve experienced so far in life?

IL: When Fresh Roots was first being offered opportunities to transition from a project to a non-profit society, I had tremendous anxiety and quite a lot of fear. Both of us founders had other jobs, yet couldn’t seem to stop saying yes to challenging/exciting opportunities. I kept asking the universe for signs, and signs kept appearing encouraging me to stay with Fresh Roots. Nonetheless, I continued to ignore all of them, pretending I didn’t see them, pretending I didn’t get it.

Then my birthday came around in March, and after a day at the office (from my paying, established job) I rode my bike to Kit’s beach, sat on a boulder, watched as the sun set into the ocean (or as the earth turned away from the sun ;) and cried. I cried and cried, and then began to wail a bit, calling out into the ocean quite loudly ‘why fresh roots? Why Vancouver? Why with the soil of the Coast Salish territories?! I’m not from here, my family isn’t here, my ancestry isn’t from here, why why why?!’ I turned to the mountains in the north, the forests in Stanley park, acknowledging their tremendous power and beauty while still asking why because, although the land is magnificent and powerful, it isn’t the land my ancestry stewarded and came from.

After twenty minutes of crying I said, again out loud, “Can’t you just send me a sign?!” And just as I said it I heard clink clink, and I looked down to find a wine bottle hitting up against the boulder I was sitting on. I looked back out at the ocean, asked the universe if it is for real, looked down, picked up the wine bottle, and saw there was a message in it.

At the time it was too wet for me to pull out, so I proceeded to cry, have a spiritual release ‘n’ let go, and watched the moon set into the ocean. I promised I would stop asking why, have faith, and continue.

It was the Jewish Sabbath eve that night, so I rode my bike to my friends for shabbos, smashed the bottle, and pulled out a message ridden with jewish agricultural law from the Torah, on a newspaper article about Israeli settlements in Palestine. It hit home in so many ways I knew I could no longer ignore.

I asked for a sign and received a message in a bottle, on my 27th birthday, on shabbos. From then on I committed my full self to helping Fresh Roots grow.

CMV: Which relationships give you the most strength to continue pursuing your creative career?

IL: Family, friends, colleagues, and a healthy relationship with myself ;P

Ilanna Labow & Marc Schutzbank speak at CM/Vancouver next Friday, June 7, at 8:30 am. To get a ticket, sign up here.

If you missed Pamela’s talk at CMVan last month about the environment, women in power, and the mistake of making assumptions, you are in luck. The video of his talk is now up on Vimeo. Check it out! If you appreciate the work the CreativeMornings/Vancouver volunteers are doing, please click the “Donate" button below to help ensure the continued success of these important creative community events.


Pam is an effective, creative person.

As the former Mayor of West Vancouver she stuck with multiple changes needed to transform West Van from safe to a sense of enterprise and engagement. She’s an innovator when it comes to community participation (new working groups instead of advisory committees) and corporate governance (creating a non-profit to manage the award winning community centre/arm’s length management and fundraising for the 2010 Olympics, Venue City).

She protested the destruction of Eagle Ridge Bluffs in 2005 (nude calendar girl), banned the use of cosmetic pesticides in WV a decade ago, supported significant restorative work on the foreshore/intertidal zone (UN Global Green City Award). She took on tough jobs as Vice Chair of Translink, pitching the 2 cents/litre increase in gas taxes, as Vice Chair of Metro’s Waste Committee, promoting less solid waste, and as West Van Police Board Chair through a massive multi-year corporate culture change.

Pam homeschooled her 3 children for 6 years, has a Masters degree in local government, and is now doing her MBA at SFU, majoring in Aboriginal Business and Leadership. She has her own consulting company helping business work with public policy. Douglas Coupland says “She’s incredibly down to earth and wildly generous with her time and spirit…” (Vancouver Magazine, June 2011)

CMV: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?

PGJ: I say things out loud. There’s something powerful about putting ideas into words. It helps me to focus my thinking before acting, and to reach out for help.

CMV: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

PGJ: I love reading, other people’s logic and body language, and I share.

CMV: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

PGJ: Don’t think of it as worrying, think of it as hatching a new idea.

CMV: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

PGJ: Young aboriginal leaders in the arts, media, business, politics.

CMV: Biggest Aha! moments?

PGJ: Realizing I can only succeed if others are too. Smiling, jokes at your own expense, delegating really good jobs, sharing contacts, reaching out to opponents – these all work. Don’t sell anyone out – this does not work.

Keep space open.

CMV: Best surprise in life?

PGJ: a) Taking the kids out of school for 6 weeks, that turned into 6 years.

b) Sitting down beside a complete stranger at a fundraiser who, after talking for an hour or so, said “You’ll be the next Mayor of West Van, and I’ll help you get there.”

He did, twice. He taught me the importance of listening and being open.

Life is full of surprises.

- Pamela will be joining us for CreativeMornings Vancouver on Friday May 3, 2013.

The theme for the April 5, 2013 was ‘The Future’ featuring notable photographer and alchemist Ian Ruhter.