Photo by John Bonner: Special thanks to our Conversation Cafe Youth Facilitators – our youth leaders are from the The TEN Club, a free entrepreneurial and leadership program by the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island in partnership with Coast Capital Savings.


In January of this year the Immigrant Welcome Centre launched our Welcoming Communities Idea Bank. The IWC Idea Bank is designed to be an instigator, collector and keeper of creative and innovation ideas that contribute to the creation of a welcoming community culture. The ideas and actions are generated through monthly community Conversation Cafes in Campbell River (Island Grind) and the Comox Valley (Tin Town Cafe)   Our first event in Courtenay was literally standing room only! – a wonderful mix of Newcomers, long-term residents, English language students and youth.

Welcoming Communities Idea Bank Deposits – January 2019

What do we need to do as individuals, organizations and businesses to create  more Welcoming Communities on North Vancouver Island?

Increase engagement with others
  • Engage more in the simple act of smiling at others when you pass by
  • Being curious about how others are doing
  • By asking friends and even strangers – how are you doing on a regular basis
  • When passing by others, make sure that you make eye contact and smile
  • Create a default of – a friendly smiling face – when you walk in community
  • Remind yourself each day – how can I be most helpful to others today?
  • Consider on a regular basis how can I be more friendly, generous, and accommodating with others
  • Be proactive in welcoming people who you come in contact with
  • Find ways to have shared experiences with others – especially people who you don’t know
  • Friendly people, naturally encourage others to be friendly
  • Create a climate of being helpful and kind
  • Try to find time each day to just “talk” with people
  • Get to know and help your neighbour when opportunity presents its self
  • Taking time to listen to, and support new immigrants
  • In Canada we are always are busy.We should try to slow down, be more flexible and open to other
Support more divers community programming 
  • Available and affordable activities
  • Age specific events
  • Having open and inclusive activities
  • In our community there aren’t many youth or non-senior adult programs
  • Help develop and support free and accessible community activities
  • Promote the value of sports besides health benefits, but as an important way to help connect with others
Support and enhance English language training & learning 
  • Provide English courses during more suitable hours for employees.After 6 pm classes?
  • More English language support
  • Assistance with learning languages
  • Expand opportunities for Language classes – more levels and more times
  • Language classes are one the most important ways for Newcomers to be successful

Develop and support more community arts

  • Host an Improv Night
  • Can we do mime or charades in all the languages?
  • By hosting more activities (cooking classes, group classes)
  • Organize more dance & music, games, ice-breakers

Culture Centres

  • Share, learn about other culture
  • Sharing of food, music, dance, art, fashion,
  • In what way can our community centres support diverse cultures
  • Having a Cultural centre for all ages

Develop and support more community cultural events

  • More information centres
  • More multicultural events
  • Share the culture where you are from – skills/talents/hobbies

Increase local business awareness of the talents & needs of Newcomers

  • Local businesses need to recognize foreign workers experience
  • Businesses need to understand that a low English level doesn’t mean a bad worker

Find ways to connect with others over food

  • More events and opportunities for sharing food
  • Gatherings/potlucks

Encourage greater connection to the outdoors and natural spaces

  • Parks and special places
  • More flowers, no trash



  • March Café

    LEARNING JOURNEYS…Where do you come from? Where are you heading? How has your identity been shaped by travel?

    • ​Wednesday March 27th – 5:00 pm, Island Grind Coffee & Tea, Campbell River
    • Thursday March 28th – 6:00 pm, Rawthentic Eatery, Courtenay

    Be sure to check out this Blog site each month to review our ‘idea deposits’ – new ideas and creative suggestions generated at our Conversation Cafes.

    For more information please contact


Colin Funk

Welcoming Communities Coalition Coordinator, Immigrant Welcome Centre