2024’s Connect Fest brought together culture, food, and community in Burnaby to explore the power of story.

  • How has story shown up in your life?
  • Where has it taken you (or taken you from)?
  • Whose stories do you know, and whose aren’t being told?
  • What are your traditions for telling and retelling (and retelling…)?
  • And how has story shaped your sense of what might be true (or what might not be)?

These are only a few of the questions inspiring this year’s festival. What questions do you want to explore?

Festival Schedule

Day 1, Friday – April 26th


Guichon Creek Restoration and Renewal Tour

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Join BCIT for a tour of Guichon Creek, which runs through the heart of BCIT’s Burnaby Campus. Over the last thirty years the southern section of the creek has been extensively restored, creating a fascinating mix of riverside habitats that are ideal for wildlife. Come explore the creek, and learn about BCIT’s plans to “daylight” as much of the creek as possible.


From There to Here: A Poetry Reading with Rattle Woman

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Rattle Woman (Candy Zazulak) is descended from Manitoba Swampy Cree and Seauteux Anishnaabe ancestors mixed with Scottish and Welsh. She was born in the Purcell Mountain Range at Kimberley in the south-east corner of British Columbia. Her childhood was spent in Winnipeg, teenage years in Ontario and adult years in Vancouver. Rattle Woman (Candy) received her Associate of Arts Degree from the Institute of Indigenous Government in 2000.


Stoney Creek Soundwalk: Voices of the Community I

Location: Northeast—Lougheed

This unique event offers both guided and self-guided tours and immerses you in the intergenerational stories of our community through sound, nature, and personal exploration along  a captivating journey through the natural and cultural soundscapes of our environment. Use your mobile device to unlock a world of sonic stories as you locate the QR codes that serve as portals to a handpicked collection of sound narratives, blending the sounds of the landscape with rich, contextual tales. Headphones are recommended.


Publik Secrets Presents Live Gamelan

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

Publik Secrets is the umbrella for a constellation of multi-disciplinary art projects. They support and enable artist-led initiatives that spark critical conversations and risk-taking through new configurations of artists, audience, and community. Listen and explore two Balinese Gamelan projects in the vibrant and busy Brentwood Plaza.

Day 2, Saturday – April 27th


The STEM and Maker Jamboree

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Enter a world of wonder during an immersive day where science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) come to life in exciting ways. From captivating demonstrations given by leading organizations, like Science World and Genome BC, to interactive experiences offered by Ocean Networks Canada and Open Science Network.


SFU Child Research Group: Exploring How Kids Grow and Learn

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

Looking for a unique activity that’s engaging and entertaining for the whole family? Join the Simon Fraser University Child Research Group in a multi-sensory, fun-filled hour of games and stories to discover more about child language development, family relationships, and children’s social-emotional development. Interact in immersive, imaginative activities to gain new knowledge that you can implement to nurture the well-being and resilience of your family! 


Daybreak: Envision Our Climate Future With A Board Game Learning Experience

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Come play Daybreak, a cooperative board game that explores solutions to climate change. Listen to local experts discuss the game as they play it, or try the game yourself.


Digital Stories for Community Resilience: Voices of the Community II

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

This event is about crafting and sharing stories that matter, helping to build a stronger, more resilient community. Experience a mini-exhibition of first-hand digital stories about community resilience, filmed on mobile devices. Then participate in hands-on workshops where you’ll learn how to use your own smartphone or device to capture and share stories that connect generations and our community. Whether you’re a tech novice or a savvy user, you’ll gain valuable skills to document and share your unique narratives, contributing to a vibrant collective of community experiences. Bring your smartphone and join us to be part of this exciting journey into the heart of our community.


Poetry in Motion: A Multilingual Walk

Location: Northeast—Lougheed

Participants will take part in a guided poetry walk along the Stoney Creek trail featuring poems of cultural significance chosen by community members. These poems will be displayed in their original language alongside English translations and will be read aloud in both languages. A route map for a self guided tour is available online.


Interactive Immersive Storytelling Workshop: Story Across Cultures

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

This interactive workshop creates a fun activity space designed to bring the world of picture books to life through multiple languages – Cantonese, English and American Sign Language. Activities provide an interactive learning environment for children and parents, which promotes literacy.


Author Talk: Richard Van Camp

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Meet internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp. Richard will be reading an excerpt from his work “Scariest. Story. Ever.” from “Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology”. He’ll also discuss the practice of traditional Indigenous storytelling.


Storyteller’s brew: A nourishing tea circle

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Gain a greater sense of self as storyteller and change agent. While drinking tea, we will practise storytelling skills through exercises and games. Participants sit in circle and drink tea brewed by an Indigenous plant-knowledge keeper. You can expect to increase your awareness of the plants and of how botanicals can be approached, harvested, and brewed into a supportive and medicinal tea.


Tales of Dancers: A free family event

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

Vivid images are brought to life through performances that narrate a tale and express a myriad of emotions. Local artists will reflect and share the history and culture to which their cultural story belongs.

Day 3, Sunday – April 28th


Taking Care: A Collaborative Art Project

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Through a collaborative art-making process, participants will contribute drawings, writing, or stories about giving and receiving care. In an attempt to be consciously accessible and include those who have historically been denied access to these kinds of conversations, this event will centre the voices of persons with disabilities; it is a platform for persons with disabilities to tell and shape their own stories using different artistic mediums with no restrictions on how these stories are told. Through this project, we also want to recognize the efforts and voices of those in our community who work hard everyday in their role as formal or informal caregivers.


The Boat People Art Installation

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

The fall of Saigon in 1975 marked the beginning of a mass exodus of Vietnamese people, leading to a diaspora whose stories of hardship and bravery remain largely untold. This co-created art installation isn’t just about revisiting the past—it’s about recognizing the strength and resilience that have shaped the lives of these individuals and their families.


A Feast of Learning and Story: An Edmonds Community Connector

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Edmonds Community School: 7651 18th Ave., Burnaby

Edmonds is one of Burnaby’s most diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods. Come celebrate the richness of voice and tradition in this day-long feast of events devoted to exploring story, art, dance, and food! The Edmonds Community School is a hub for community connection and we will gather and celebrate learning through the community at all these listed events.

Women’s Triumph: Artistic Narratives of Immigration and Integration
Room #115 | Time: 11:30-2:30pm

In this workshop we create a space for sharing our unique experiences, challenges, and victories related to immigration. Using visual arts and written narratives, we will express the hurdles and achievements of our life journeys, from immigrating to successfully integrating into a new society.

Mandela Making Workshop
Community Room | Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Mandalas are intricate circular designs that often represent the universe, wholeness, and harmony. Join Edmonds community member and art-making leader, Poonam, who will guide you through a mandala-making workshop.

Pursue Peace Mural
7244 Arcola Street, Burnaby | Time: 11:00am-3:00pm

Witness the creation of “Pursue the Peace,” a mural designed to cultivate community in Edmonds through collaborative art-making. Artists from Makers and Murals are working in collaboration with the City of Burnaby’s Anti Graffiti Program, using this artistic tool as a way to beautify, gather, and connect the community.

Harmony in Motion: Chinese Cultural Dance Performance
Gym | Time: 2:15pm and 3:00pm

Witness the creation of “Pursue the Peace,” a mural designed to cultivate community in Join the North Burnaby Retired Society (NBRS) for an afternoon of cultural entertainment! Established in 1992 as part of the Confederation Seniors Association, NBRS invites you to experience the beauty of their traditional dancing styles. From Tai Chi to karaoke, line dancing to Chinese folk dances, there’s something for everyone. Witness the grace of Tai Chi and exercise then join in the fun with two lively line dances. Immerse yourself in the cultural beauty of two Chinese dances, “Yellow River Water” and “Alishan Girl.”

Celebration of Culture – Flavour of Edmonds
Gym | Time: 3:00pm-5:00pm

The Long Table Society, in partnership with the Edmonds Community School, will host a delectable long table event featuring foods from the Eritrean, Afghan, Chinese, South Asian and Latino communities of Southeast Burnaby. Come experience the resilience, diversity, and amazing culture of these countries in our own backyard.

Multicultural Crafts for Children and Caregivers
Community room | Time: 3:00pm-5:00pm

Diya painting, paper crafts, Chinese lamp-making and calligraphy will all be explored in this supervised arts workshop, which introduces crafts from various cultures. Parents and caregivers are required to be present and are welcome to join in the workshop. 

Unity Quest
Onsite handing out info to game | Time: All Day

Unity Quest is an interactive online platform designed to address the need for cultural awareness. It engages both youth and adults through captivating quizzes, puzzles, and games. Come learn more about this initiative and increase your own understanding of our diverse society.


The Story of Food: A Community Kitchen event with Embark Sustainability

Location: Northeast—Lougheed

Featuring plant-based recipes and fresh ingredients, this collaborative event aims to nurture conversations about food through the lenses of justice and shared experience. Join us to hear stories, gain culinary knowledge, and connect with others through a meal. 


Climate Action Stories with CityHive

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

In this session, we will break away from how climate change is often talked about, and reframe it as a story that is hopeful and compelling. This event will also highlight and uplift the voices and experiences of young people leading the climate change movement, by highlighting youth climate action stories.


Lived Expertise Matters!

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

Live Educate Transforms Society (LET’S) is a non-profit entirely run and staffed by 2SLGBTQIA+, disabled, and/or neurodivergent folks who utilize lived expertise to create essential change and transformative educational experiences while modelling accessibility, diversity, and equity. This workshop is beneficial to those who work in public facing positions, particularly those who work on committees, in community engagement, and for those who facilitate feedback groups.


Connecting Kids and Elders through Storytelling

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

Children who feel a deep connection with their cultural heritage tend to do better socially, emotionally, and academically. What better way to get kids connected to their culture than by hearing lived histories from their elders in a fun storytelling setting? This event will provide Korean-Canadian children and families an opportunity to connect with Korean-Canadian elders living in BC to hear stories about Korean history and traditions. Elders will share personal stories about their lives in Korea and their immigration experiences.


Our Water Conversation: Stories & Natural Dyes

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Water is life! Join Still Moon Arts Society at Connect Fest for a two-part event. Listen to intercultural stories from esteemed guest speaker and Métis knowledge-keeper, Lori Snyder, and experience the Traditional Syrian Storytelling and sound therapy of the Quantum Care Team, Masa Kateb & Eda Ertan. You will have a chance to share your water-related memories, stories, and hopes during an intercultural water dialogue, and explore your creativity with a natural dyeing experience to co-create a section of a giant puppet named “Water Woman”.


Lamenting for Ukraine

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Drawing on ancient Ukrainian lamentation traditions and exquisite music by contemporary composers, we will lead you on a journey through this darkest night towards the break of dawn. Guided by Ukrainian artists, community members and allies, we invite you to cry with us, ease the burden of grief, and regain a sense of hope in togetherness.

Day 4, Monday – April 29th


Everyone is More Interesting than Me

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Curiosity and connecting with people is at the heart of good journalism. This interactive session with a seasoned broadcaster will inspire you to find the golden stories all around you and pass them on in meaningful ways. 


History of the Heights Walking Tour

Location: Northwest—Brentwood

Take a walk along Hastings Street with Burnaby’s Heritage Planner, Lisa Codd, to learn about the fascinating history of the Burnaby Heights neighborhood. The tour will focus on the history of the Hastings Street commercial corridor, but Lisa will also share stories about the neighbourhood’s residential areas.


Daybreak: Envision Our Climate Future With A Board Game Learning Experience

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Come play Daybreak, a cooperative board game that explores solutions to climate change. Listen to local experts discuss the game as they play it, or try the game yourself.


Stories Untold by Generative AI

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

ChatGPT and other AI tools have taken up a lot of space in our social discourse lately. Generative AI is a technology which creates synthetic content that seems like it could have been created by a human. Does the use of Generative Al risk homogenizing cultural narratives, leaving some of our stories misrepresented or untold? Will there be any room left for critical thinking development by humans?


A Game Of Life

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Have you ever wondered what your life would look like if you were born into different circumstances? Do you like to learn through playing board games and other fun activities? Come join an SFU Health Science student and a UBC psychology student in partnership with the Society to End Homelessness   for an afternoon of interactive exploration into the social determinants of homelessness.

Day 5, Tuesday – April 30th


Plants in our Urban Places: A Tour of Trees and Shrubs of Deer Lake

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Join Julia Alards-Tomalin for a tour of the native and ornamental trees and shrubs that make up the story of our urban landscape at Deer Lake Park. We will look at common plants that live in our urban parks, observe their unique features, and discuss how to identify them. 


SFU Exploration Day

Location: Northeast—Lougheed

What do Indiana Jones, Charles Darwin, and Temperance Brennan from the TV show “Bones” have in common? Join the Department of Archaeology in a thrilling adventure around the SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology  to learn about what makes us human! Compete with your teammates in a series of gruelling archaeological adventures, including solving a forensic crime case, figuring out where we excelled on the human evolutionary chain, and reconstructing mysterious artefacts before time runs out.


How to Get Published in Nine Million Easy Steps

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Everyone has a book in them, as the saying goes, but how do you get it published? Join Michael Bourne in a discussion about how to write a novel and get it published, which will include a brief reading from his newly published book, Blithedale Canyon.


Film Screening: Roots and Redress

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Explore history, memory, and redress through two films that explore historical themes through family stories. The event will begin with the premiere screening of a film about local activist Gim Wong who rode his motorcycle from Vancouver to Ottawa in 2005 to demand redress for Chinese Canadians who had been charged a head tax. Filmmaker will be present for a panel discussion.

Following the panel, there will be a screening of All our Fathers Relations, a documentary that features the story of the Grant siblings, who journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother.


3D Printing with Mimi

Location: Southwest—Metrotown

Learn the fundamentals of 3D printing and 3D design. Participants will be introduced to the basic process of turning a 3D model into a physical object with the help of a 3D printer. At the end of the session, everyone will take home a fully functional 3D-printed whistle.


Katha Corner — Indian Mythology Storytelling

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

Join us for a storytelling adventure tailored for 5- to 9-year-olds, where ancient Indian mythology comes to life! Immerse yourself in captivating tales of gods, goddesses, and magical creatures that promise to leave you spellbound. Don’t let your kids miss out on this unique opportunity to explore the wonders of Indian mythology! 


Sakura Mixer: Unveiling the Business and Culture of Japan

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

In celebration of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, the Burnaby Board of Trade, SFU and Daiya invite you to deepen your local connections through an exploration of the business and culture of Japan. Come meet and mingle with Burnaby’s business and academic community in an open and exciting mixer at Nikkei museum, featuring food, cultural performance, and talks.


SFU Cafe Scientifique: – Overtraining and the Everyday Athlete

Location: Northeast—Lougheed

What happens when we train too hard, don’t take enough time to recover, or underfuel while exercising? Dr. Alexandra Coates discusses how these effects apply to both elite and everyday athletes.


Film Screening: All Our Father’s Relations

Location: Southeast—Edmonds

The story of a search for family roots is featured in the film All our Fathers Relations. The documentary follows the Grant siblings on a journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. Raised primarily in the traditions of the Musqueam people, the Grant family and their story reveals the shared struggles of migrants and Aboriginal peoples today and in the past.

Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion featuring participants in the film.

Voices amplified.
Truths uncovered.
Places acknowledged.
Traditions celebrated.