TEDxStanleyPark challenges Vancouver to think the unthinkable

The inagural TEDx event will take place at Robson Square this year, with an aim towards migrating to Stanley Park in the future.
The inaugural TEDx event will take place at Robson Square this year, with an aim towards migrating to Stanley Park in the future. Photo: TEDxStanleyPark

A local businessman is launching an inaugural TEDx event this weekend that he hopes will one day take place at Stanley Park.

Over 100 people auditioned for one of the 14 speaking spots at TEDxStanleyPark, which takes place Saturday March 16 at Robson Square. TEDx events are organized at the local level and share the main attributes of the annual TED conference.

Entrepreneur Roger Killen is running the event with a team of 40 volunteers.

“The world desperately needs fresh ideas and fresh approaches to solving our problems,” Killen said. “TED has a great way of distributing those ideas through its website and through its videos.”

One of the event’s presenters who ‘thinks the unthinkable’ – as the slogan says – is Gobinder Gill, a journalist who has worked for CBC and CTV.

Gill’s experiences with racial discrimination after emigrating from India at the age of nine, including being spat on in public by an adult, motive his presentation which identifies the importance of embracing ethnic diversity in the workplace.

“The concern is 33 per cent of jobs will have to be filled by immigrants who are not even here yet because of labour shortages and a low birth rate. This should be a huge concern for any Canadian business,” Gill said.

Oakridge Centre, the event’s primary sponsor, will use the event to showcase the mall’s new ‘virtual presenter’. Developed by 3M, the presenter is a super thin glass cutout of a model with projected video. According to mall marketing director Karina Perkins, it will appear as though the model is pitching a sale when shoppers walk past.

“We’re not necessarily using this to plug or sell products at TEDx. It’s just more to sort of showcase the cool technology,” Perkins said.

TED, which stands for technology, education and design, is an annual academic conference held in Long Beach, California. It was recently announced that the conference is relocating to Vancouver in 2014 to celebrate its 30th year.

Other speakers at TEDxStanleyPark will include Vancouver Tourism CEO Rick Antonson, UBC professor John Robinson, Mindware Designs CEO Joe Roberts, InnGuidance Consulting CEO Poh Tan and motivational speaker Marco Pasqua.

Tickets are priced at $100, the most organizers are allowed to charge by TEDx guidelines.

Reported by James McLaughlin

As part of the process to select the speakers, TEDxStanleyPark invited those interested to upload audition videos to Youtube. The following is a selection of entries from those speaking at the event.

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