Our first Canadians Connected event of 2023 brought Canadian internet aficionados and CIRA members together at The Permanent—a lovingly restored, glamourous retro venue in the heart of downtown Van City.
On the evening’s menu? Learning, networking, cocktails, tasty eats and a pop-up experience featuring local .CA organizations. And—of course—plenty of engaging talks and thoughts, which we’ll recap for you now.
Cool venue and a lively .CA crowd for Canadians Connected
Canadians Connected: Vancouver kicked off with CIRA President and CEO Byron Holland, who provided an update on CIRA’s central role in creating a safe, reliable and trusted internet for Canadians. He also schooled our 200+ attendees on how—pre-CIRA—the .CA domain was created in 1987 by University of British Columbia Computer Sciences manager John Demco, and then managed by a small, plucky group of volunteers.
CIRA President and CEO Byron Holland
Next, Internet Archive Canada Executive Director Andrea Mills took the stage and spoke about how her organization is digitizing and making more than 600,000 texts freely accessible. Also—fun fact: The Permanent now serves as Internet Archive Canada’s new office digs!
Andrea Mills, executive director of Internet Archive Canada
Attendees also heard about Net Good by CIRA—which takes revenue from .CA registrations and CIRA cybersecurity services and puts it towards infrastructure, online safety and policy initiatives that improve Canada’s internet for all.
A major area of focus for Net Good is the CIRA grant program, which supports community-led internet projects across Canada. Two organizations that recently received CIRA grants were on-hand to share their stories.
First was the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC), who received $1.25 million to support new broadband infrastructure, as well as digital literacy and cybersecurity skills for Indigenous students in rural and remote communities across the country. Second was the BC Civil Liberties Association, whose digital literacy program is helping youth understand their digital rights and manage online privacy.
From left: Maureen James, CIRA community investment program manager, Rhea Doolan, senior policy lead with the First Nations Technology Council and Owen Cameron, BC Civil Liberties Association communications and outreach manager
The evening’s presentations ended on an electrifying, high-energy note with a hoop dance performance by White Thunder Dance Theatre. Cultural fact: the hoop symbolizes the never-ending circle of life, while hoop dancing is said to provide deep spiritual healing.
Three local .CA organizations were also in attendance as part of a pop-up experience:
Periwinkle Designs: A family-owned shop that creates colourful, eco-friendly, zero-waste lifestyle products, including beeswax food wraps, unpaper towels, reusable face masks—and more.
Science World: A non-profit, Vancouver-based science centre that serves up interactive exhibits and galleries, STEM-focused student outreach programs and even virtual visits from global scientists.
Cool Pocket Watches: this high school entrepreneur class project supplies old-school-cool, custom laser-etched pocket watches.
Over the two-and-a-half-hour runtime of our Canadians Connected program, Victoria-based artist William Liao was hunkered down, creating a totally original “live painting” of the Vancouver cityscape. The work was then gifted to a CIRA member at the end of the night.
A few other .CA vendors who helped make Canadians Connected: Vancouver a hit:
Missed the Vancouver edition of Canadians Connected?
Get caught up with our event recap video – courtesy of Butter Studios.
Also – be sure to follow CIRA’s socials as we roll out more events online and off throughout the rest of 2023!
Not a CIRA member? Join Canada’s internet community today!
While anyone and everyone is welcome at this event, CIRA membership comes with some perks! Getting a .CA domain is the first step to joining the internet’s digital village. Apply for membership today—it’s easy, free and open to any .CA domain holder.