Reimagining Our Cities: Advancing Equity in a Polarized Time

Tue Mar 12 2024 at 06:00 pm to 08:00 pm

Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre | Vancouver

YWCA Metro Vancouver
Publisher/HostYWCA Metro Vancouver
Reimagining Our Cities: Advancing Equity in a Polarized Time
Moving from polarization to collaboration for a more just and equitable world.
About this Event

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2024, we are bringing together a diverse panel of women to discuss how our communities can work towards becoming more equitable and inclusive in an increasingly polarized world. The event will feature a keynote by Shachi Kurl, President of the Angus Reid Foundation.

Doors open at 5:30 pm, the panel event will run from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, followed by a reception featuring complimentary Indigenous-inspired, hand-crafted charcuterie by Tawnshi, and non-alcoholic beverages.

This is a free public event, open to all ages. The event will be child-friendly, with childminding available onsite if requested in advance. If you require childminding, please email [email protected]. Please see below for details about the speakers, location, format and accessibility needs.

We recognize that the topic of polarization is a challenging one. Our intention is to explore how polarization is impacting our communities and how to collaborate despite different viewpoints, rather than focus on issues that are polarizing.


Doors open at 5:30 pm. Seating will be first come first served.

The event will begin promptly at 6:00 pm and include:

  • An Indigenous opening
  • A poetry reading
  • A keynote
  • A moderated panel discussion
  • Audience Q&A
  • Post event reception, with light catering and non-alcoholic beverages

Wayfinding: The Performance Centre inside Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3) is right next to the exhibition hall. Direction signage will be stationed inside the building. Roundhouse is in the Yaletown neighbourhood, on the Corner of Davie & Pacific Street.

Transit: Roundhouse is accessible by multiple transit routes. By train, exit at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station. The centre is a quick 200 metre walk from the station. If travelling by bus, take the #6 or #C23, as they stop within feet of Roundhouse. Plan your transit trip at

Driving: Underground pay parking is available; access off Drake (south of Pacific Blvd).

Cycling: Bicycles are not permitted in the building. Bicycle racks are located at Roundhouse’s main entrances off Pacific Boulevard or Roundhouse Mews.

For additional location information visit:

Accessibility:<h4>Mobility Access</h4>

Roundhouse is wheelchair and mobility-device accessible. Push buttons are available at entrances, and doors are wide with flush thresholds. Hallways are wide with non-slip, non-glare floors.


Public washrooms are available, including a wheelchair accessible washroom. A Gender-Neutral washroom is also available.

<h4>Other accessibility needs</h4>
  • ASL interpretation will be available for our live event. Closed captions are available for our online livestream
  • This event is child-friendly and there will be childminding onsite for our in-person event
  • Animals are not permitted in the building unless they are service dogs certified under the British Columbia Guide Animal Act
  • There are two bottle-filling water fountains that dispense water at Roundhouse
  • For other accessibility needs, please email [email protected]

Emcee – Michelle Eliot

Award-winning CBC journalist

Michelle is the host of CBC British Columbia’s weekday call-in show, BC Today where she engages in conversation with listeners on the day’s top stories and on issues important to British Columbians.

Michelle was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada at 12-years-old, settling in North Vancouver. Her experience as a young immigrant inspired a yearning to tell the stories of people whose lives are changed by new circumstances.

Active in the community, Michelle has hosted numerous events and forums throughout the Lower Mainland, including panel discussions on proportional representation, basic income, costs of caregiving, and anxiety and motherhood.

Opening – Dennis Thomas

səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) Councillor and Executive Director of Indigenous Business Initiatives & Engagements with UBC Sauder School of Business

Dennis is a member of səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) in Deep Cove, North Vancouver. He also has ancestral ties to Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), Welsh ancestry and close familial ties to xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Nation). Dennis is deeply connected to his community and culture, where he serves as an elected councillor for his Nation.

Dennis prides himself on bringing people together and is committed to leaving a legacy that strengthens Indigenous peoples and, in turn, strengthens our entire society. Dennis has won several awards for his work, including the 2022 Enduring Award from Capilano University Alumni Awards of Excellence, 2021 Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40, 2021 Award for Planning Excellence in the category of Planning for Reconciliation by Canadian Institute of Planners for the Heather Lands project.

Keynote – Shachi Kurl

President of the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research

Shachi works with public opinion data to further public knowledge and enhance the national understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world. She is often found offering analysis on CBC’s “Power and Politics”, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and on the editorial pages of the Ottawa Citizen, among other places. In October 2020, she moderated BC’s only televised provincial election debate, presented by the British Columbia Broadcast Consortium.

Shachi is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting. Along with former Australian and UK Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Margaret Thatcher, she is an Alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. She is a national co-chair of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Panelist – Aftab Erfan  

Executive Director of SFU Centre for Dialogue and Associate Member at SFU School of Public Policy 

Prior to joining SFU, Dr. Aftab (she|her) served as the City of Vancouver’s inaugural Chief Equity Officer, and Director of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement at UBC.  

She holds a PhD in planning from UBC, a master's in planning from McGill, and a BSc in environmental sciences from UBC. Aftab has extensive experience as a facilitator and in hosting dialogue on contentious issues. Her experience spans 15 years and five continents. She holds numerous honours, including BC500 most influential business leaders in BC (Business in Vancouver), Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers Challenge (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), and Best Published Paper Award Shortlist (Association of European Schools of Planning).   

Panelist – Andrea Reimer

Adjunct Professor, UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
Founder & Principal, Tawaw Strategies

Andrea is a former three-term Vancouver City Councillor and Metro Vancouver Director, one-time school trustee and former National Green Municipal Fund Council member. During her decade on City Council, Andrea spearheaded Vancouver’s framework for reconciliation and led efforts to become the world’s Greenest City,

After leaving municipal politics, Andrea was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design where she studied and taught about urban policy and strengthening democracy. She now teaches about how power works in practice at UBC and SFU, and works with local governments, First Nations, non-profits, and mission-driven businesses to support bolder action on climate and social policy through her consultancy, Tawaw Strategies.

Panelist – Ginger Gosnell-Myers

Fellow focused on Decolonization and Urban Indigenous Planning, SFU Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Ginger is member of the Nisga’a and Kwakwak'awakw Nations and served as the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous Relations Manager. She was central to advancing Vancouver as the world’s first official City of Reconciliation, and created the City’s reconciliation framework to ensure Indigenous identities and worldviews were included in City plans. Ginger was key to the Vancouver City Council’s official recognition that it is on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh homelands – the only government in Canada to do so.

Ginger has also served as the Project Manager and Public Engagement Director for the Environics Institute’s Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study, Canada’s largest research study on Aboriginal people living in cities, focusing on their values, aspirations, experiences and identity.

Panelist – Rachael Segal

Political strategist and founder of Beyond a Ballot

Rachael is on a mission to make politics and government more accessible to women in Canada. She is a lawyer, university lecturer, television and radio personality and long-time political strategist, which makes her uniquely positioned to educate and inspire Canadian women to become more politically involved.

Rachael holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Victoria and is a lawyer with a Master of Law (LL.M.) from Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto. She spent years on Parliament Hill in various policy roles for Members of Parliament, Ministers and Senators. Rachael has led political organizations and worked as a Campaign Strategist on campaigns at all levels of government across Canada.

In September 2023, Rachael launched Beyond a Ballot which takes a multi-partisan approach to moving Canadian women towards politics through media products, education and community building. Beyond a Ballot’s signature podcast, which Rachael co-hosts, has seen incredible success since its launch.

Reading By Fiona Tinwei Lam

Poet Laureate

Fiona is Vancouver's 6th Poet Laureate and has authored three poetry collections and a children’s book. Her poems have been featured in Best Canadian Poetry, BC’s Poetry in Transit, as well as in award-winning poetry videos that have screened internationally. She edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems about Facing Cancer, and co-edited two nonfiction anthologies. Shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Prize and other awards, her work appears in over 45 anthologies. Fiona teaches creative writing at SFU Continuing Studies.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, Canada


CAD 0.00

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