Heart of the City is hosted by Park People, the organization that supports and mobilizes people to help them activate the power of parks to improve quality of life in cities across Canada.

Join this unique mix of park professionals and community leaders from a range of sectors whose work intersects with city parks. 

Our second national conference will bring park people from across Canada together in Montreal June 12-14 2019.

Attend the Conference:

Join Canada’s park leaders for two days of talks, tours, workshops and networking receptions in Montreal, a city much-loved for having green spaces at the core of urban life.

Who should attend?

  • Leaders of community park groups including ‘Friends of’ park groups
  • Staff from non-profit organizations working in city parks or who leverage the power of parks to achieve their mission
  • Municipal park staff
  • Park professionals
  • National and heritage conservation specialists
  • Funders supporting initiatives that activate the power of parks

Heart of the city attendees will:

  • Hear from inspiring leaders about how they are re-imagining and enhancing city parks.
  • Participate in practical and hands-on sessions, workshops, and tours that will foster dialogue around topics such as park planning, partnerships, design, and programming.   
  • Tour some of Montreal’s most innovative parks and public spaces.
  • Network with park people including attendees from your own city and those from across Canada.

Full price registration:

Registration is now open for the full conference price.  

Heart of the City will bring together a unique mix of park professionals and community leaders. 

To help you share this conference opportunity with your manager, we’ve prepared a one-page document highlighting the opportunity and how you’ll benefit from conference attendance. 

Full Conference Price is $550

Subsidized Registration:

Non-profit and community groups are encouraged to apply to attend the conference and receive the following subsidized rates and travel and accommodation bursaries.

  • Non Profit subsidized price is $200
  • Community park group subsidized price is $50

Travel and accommodation bursaries requests are included in the application for subsidized registration.

Applications close March 7, 2019 & will be reviewed continuously.

Travel & accommodation bursaries

A limited number of travel & accommodation bursaries are available for non-profit and community park group members that reside outside Montreal. 

Travel and accommodation bursaries are:

  • Quebec bursary (outside Montreal): $350
  • Ontario bursary: $350
  • Vancouver bursary: $1050
  • Other Canadian cities bursary $750

If for any reason the amount of bursary funding would stand in the way of you attending, we encourage you to reach out to us directly at info@parkpeople.ca

All those who apply will be notified on a rolling basis.

Conference Details:

The theme of the conference is BALANCE. As our shared public spaces, parks are often at the center of struggles to find the right balance. Balance can be about working with different interests, users, stakeholders, and partners; it can be about promoting mental health, social inclusion, and intercultural dialogue; and it can be about balancing tradition and innovation, nature and culture, creating a balanced park system, public and private investment. Each presentation will focus on how a sense of balance informs their work in city parks.

Stay tuned for updates on presentations by receiving the conference newsletter.  

Download the conference one-pager to share this opportunity with your manager. 

Keynote speaker: Rena Soutar

Rena Soutar is the first Reconciliation Planner at Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. In this role, Soutar works with the Park Board, the City of Vancouver and First Nations communities to uphold the organizations’ commitment to the 11 Reconciliation strategies, as well as the Board’s endorsement of the mission to “decolonize the Park Board”.

Soutar works cross-departmentally on projects such as park naming and monuments, memorials and public art processes and policies to ensure integration of Indigenous history, heritage values and memory practices. At the root of Soutar’s work is the belief that:  “There’s no such thing as a culturally neutral space.”

Soutar’s role is to help the park board be “an evolvable organization in which every employee and commissioner recognizes the humanity in themselves by recognizing and respecting the humanity of First Peoples” and one that sets an example in treating reconciliation as a process of decolonization. Learn more about Rena Soutar by reading a blog post about her.

About Montreal

Montreal is Canada’s lively island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. It’s the most populated francophone city in North America and has a rich natural and cultural heritage best experienced through its parks and green spaces. Montreal is home to more than 19 large parks, including the iconic Mount Royal, a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and the innovative Saint-Michel Environmental Complex and its new Frédérick Back Park. Throughout its 19 boroughs, Montrealers congregate in hundreds of neighbourhood parks, public spaces and community gardens, both in summer and winter. The city also boasts a unique network of  green alleys that are managed by citizen committees, and a new wave of initiatives focused on reclaiming public spaces, like those led by La Pépinière Espaces Collectifs, Solon, Lande,  Sentier Urbain and Amis du Champ des Possibles. The vitality and innovation that are at the heart of this metropolis make it a city one must see and an exceptional place for our Canadian community of park people to gather, share and be inspired together.

Travel and Accommodation in Montreal

Park People has secured a discounted block of rooms at The Hôtel de l’ITHQ and has 10% discount codes for both Westjet Airlines and Via Rail.  Details to access discounts will be provided upon registration. 

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