The Park People Conference Program

Let's write a new playbook for city parks!

Check out the sessions featuring Canada's park thinkers and doers creating an abundant future for city parks.

Recordings are now available for conference registrants using the password shared by email.

Day 1

Sep 21: Abundant Collaborations

Cross-sector collaborations that create whole new possibilities for city parks
11:00 am EDT

Conference Opening with Carolynne Crawley

Join Indigenous leader, storyteller and knowledge keeper, Carolynne Crawley in opening our national conference, as well as our hearts and minds for three days of ground-breaking conversations ahead of us.

11:30 am EDT
Lewis Cardinal
Project Manager @kihciy askiy—Sacred Earth, Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre

Working in A Good Way: Indigenous Lessons in Collaboration

How can we build relationships that cross-cultural divides to create new possibilities for public spaces? Lewis Cardinal was instrumental in the collaboration that led to “kihciy askiy–Sacred Land,” Canada’s first urban Indigenous ceremony grounds in Edmonton. Lewis shares how using Indigenous approaches to collaboration builds relationships that are as meaningful as the public spaces themselves.

1:00 pm EDT

Decolonizing Park Relationships and Practices


Two Reconciliation Planners from Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation unpack colonialism in park practices and share practical tools for a more responsible, respectful way of working toward Reconciliation. Learn how Indigenous ways of being can inform how we steward and share spaces and what we stand to gain when we support Indigenous sovereignty and access in parks.

2:15 pm EDT

Unpacking Colonialism: Leading A Colonial Audit in Parks


Join Rena and Spencer in a deep dive addressing and learning to rewrite the colonial narratives that underpin our park systems and work. With a focus on the Vancouver Park Board's new and evolving "Colonial Audit Toolkit," this session will explore way to address our collective responsibility to move towards Indigenous truth telling in parks.

Start out Right: Righting Relations with Program Design & Land Acknowledgements


Join Wyandot Artist and Elder Catherine Tàmmaro and Jenny Davis to activate the spirit of deep connection to the land, as you create inclusive programming which puts forward Indigenous voices. In this workshop, participants will: Create their own Land Acknowledgement, and be able to articulate three techniques of creating inclusive programming that creates connections with self, culture and the Land itself.

Creating a “Yes” Culture: Deep Community Collaboration


Municipalities are embracing a culture of “yes” by centering deep and authentic community collaboration in park programs, planning and governance. Learn from cities that invite local artists, communities, and nonprofits to rewrite how they do park engagement, design and programming.

Doug Bennet
Senior Project Manager (A), Partnerships @City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation
Sarah Ehmke
Senior Project Manager-Placemaking & Animation @City of Hamilton
Kara Bunn
Manager of Parks and Cemeteries @City of Hamilton
Jean-Christophe Gandubert
Manager of Infrastructure and Public Spaces @Ville de Gatineau

What if Parks were Designed by Us?


A community's vision and goals for a park can be undermined by inequitable processes. Join the Department of Imaginary Affairs in their gamified approach to highlighting the challenges and opportunities of co-designing a participatory planning process. Participants of this workshop will get a chance to play the game and access to the virtual prototype of the game to bring back to your own communities.

4:00 pm EDT

Many Happy Returns: Parks for Local Economic Recovery


Parks can be sites for economic development that is by and for communities. Hear from leaders who have increased park use while supporting local economies and generating employment for community members. This panel will highlight innovative park collaborations that have generated both financial and community returns.

Nicole Fraser
General Supervisor Operations Planning & Monitoring, Infrastructure Operations, Parks and Roads Services @City of Edmonton
Samson Awopeju
Program Manager-City-wide Public Washrooms Strategy, Infrastructure Operations, Parks and Roads Services @City of Edmonton

The Collaborative Model Driving Montreal’s Parks Movement


The Park People Montreal Network is made up of over 80 community park groups and local non-profits. Learn vital lessons from the four non-profits, Park People, Montreal Urban Ecology Center, le Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal and Les amis de la montagne, that came together to build a stronger city parks movement in Montreal.

This video is available in French with automated English closed captions

To The Power of Parks: Cross-Departmental Collaborations


Join Vancouver Park Board's Team UP (Urban Parks) and the City of Toronto's Toronto Island Master Plan team to explore how powerful cross-departmental collaborations in their municipalities helped them take on multiple urban challenges simultaneously. These two leading-edge park collaborations demonstrate how municipalities can break down silos to generate new partnerships, resources and outcomes in parks.

Darren Peterson
Manager, Park Operations @Vancouver Park Board
Karla Kloepper
Recreation Supervisor, Community Development @Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Joe Sellors
Project Lead for ArtworxTO @City of Toronto
Marie Lopes
Coordinator, Arts, Culture and Engagement @Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Lori Ellis
Project Officer, Strategic Projects @City of Toronto

Leading Diversity and Equity in Parks: A Field Guide


Join four accomplished researchers who integrate their lived experience into understanding how race, health and income play out in parks and communities. Their research and knowledge will help guide you toward parks that are more inclusive, accessible and responsive to the needs of racialized communities.

5:15 pm EDT
Betty Lepps
Director of Urban Relationships @Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Our Humanitarian Responsibility to those Sheltering in Parks

The Vancouver Park Board appointed Betty Lepps to help the city engage with the hundreds of vulnerable park users sleeping or sheltering in Vancouver’s parks. Join Betty in conversation with celebrated civic leader Zahra Ebrahim to learn how Betty is working to fulfill the City’s humanitarian responsibilities to its citizens while ensuring the safety and well being of all Vancouver park users.

6:00 pm EDT

Bring it On! Navigate Park Challenges, Together


Connect with peers, speakers and experts across Canada to discuss your most current and pressing urban parks questions and issues.

Séance en anglais
Presenting Sponsor