Posted by: VPSN | October 3, 2010

Greenest City Idea Slam – Fantastic!


The Greenest City Idea Slam came together in a fantastic evening of dialogue, music, drawing and dance.  A BIG thank you to everyone who came out to the Fei and Milton Wong experimental theatre.

We’ve posted some of the images of the event on our Flickr page – and you can click here to jump over and take a look.

The event was hosted by the charming and witty CBC radio personality Bill Richardson – whose asides and rapport with the panellists kept the event flowing and a great pace. Things started off with a welcome from Larry Grant, Musqueam Elder, and a poem from Poet Laureate Brad Cran.

Bill got the biggest laugh of the evening with a comment about the City’s push for more cycling infrastructure.  “I’m still waiting for someone to make t-shirts that say ‘bike lanes make me Hornby.'”


Joining Bill on stage were Mayor Gregor Robertson, Janet Austin (CEO of YWCA), Paola Murillo (Director Rangichangi Roots and Latincouver), Matt O’Grady (Editor-in-chief, BC Business Magazine), Councillor Andrea Reimer, Cheeying Ho (ED Whistler Centre for Sustainability), Jyoti Stephens (Director of Sustainability, Nature’s Path), Sadhu Johnston (Deputy City Manager), Emily Jubenvill (VPSN’s Greenspaces Coordinator) and Tamara Vrooman (CEO of Vancity).

The evening consisted of a series of four questions that were posed, in turn, by community “champions” Helen Spiegelman (Zero Waste Vancouver), Janet Moore & Duane Elverum (SFU & Emily Carr), Doris Chow (United We Can) and Amy Walker (Momentum Magazine).  Topics covered were waste reduction, the idea of a City university, local food and cycling infrastructure.

Two graphic illustrators – Aftan Erfan and Travis Martin – worked on stage to capture the ideas in visual form. (You can see one of the examples of this at the top of the page.

To further liven up the event, we inserted a few variety show elements – including a houseband.  This task was taken up admirably by local favourites Maria in the Shower (Todd Biffard, Martin Reisley, Jack Garton and Brendon Hartley).


We also had a series of musical interludes by pianist Veda Hille – who played two solo numbers, and a third collaborative piece with the houseband.  The collaborative saw the musicians improvising to a slide show assembled by Jaime Kowal and Ryan Tomkinson – whose Green the City initiative had a call out for photos and images that illustrated the history of sustainable thinking in Vancouver’s past, present and future (and yes, we did sneak a couple of images from the Where’s the Square ideas competition).


The evening concluded with a grand finale.  We had some a team of swing dancers (previously seen busking in the hallway as people walked in) come in for the close-out.


As people wandered into the hallway, we had our ever-capable VPSN crew there to greet them. Simon Wong was DJ’ing and a team of VPSN coordinators was on hand and staffing the info table. The artwork from graphic facilitators Aftab and Travis was on display.

All in all – a great evening. Kudos to all the panellists, idea pitchers and performers. And special thanks to Lindsay Cole and Amanda Mitchell at the City of Vancouver, SFU’s stage crew (Heather Lamb, Michael Boucher and Co), and Gord Price at the SFU City program. Last but not least, props to buskers Tyler (guitar) and Camille (juggling) who greeted people on the way to the registration table, and to the fine street food vendors who turned the Woodwards atrium area into a feast of flavours.


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