Abilities Expo

The Abilities Expo is back in 2022!

ConnecTra Society’s flagship event, the Abilities Expo brings together exhibitors, vendors, resources, guest speakers, and more to further enrich the disability community’s well-being and connectedness.

After a couple years’ hiatus, we are excited to announce that this ConnecTra Society’s FREE annual flagship event is back for its 11th year. The theme is Reconnect.

ConnecTra’s Abilities Expo: Reconnect 2022

Date: May 25, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC

Reconnect with your community in-person on this day for disability focused exhibitors, vendors, employers, speakers, and so much more! Whether you’re looking for adaptive activities to join this summer, resources to help with all aspects of living with a disability, or inclusive employment opportunities – there’s something for everyone.

Features:

  • 30+ Exhibitors & Vendors from in and around the Lower Mainland
  • Disability resources & adaptive activities
  • Artists Alley: Buy art from local artists with disabilities
  • Guest speakers
  • Catered lunch
  • and more!

We will stream several presentations live to the Disability Foundation YouTube channel for those located outside of the Lower Mainland or otherwise unable to attend.

Register for your FREE ticket on Eventbrite by clicking the button below. Follow us on social media or join the ConnecTra mailing list for more information.

Collage of images from previous years' Abilities Expo. Smiling attendees and organizations are interacting at the Roundhouse Community Centre.

Event Schedule

Time (PT)EventLocation
10:00amDoors Open
10:30amConnection with the Help of the Canada Disability BenefitPerformance Centre
11:05amFire Safety DemonstrationMain Room Stage
11:20amBounce Back with CMHA BCPerformance Centre
11:55amDouglas CollegeMain Room Stage
12:10pmAccessible Gaming with PlayAbilityPerformance Centre
12:45pmLUNCHMain Room
1:25pmSix Societies, Endless Opportunities: Learn About the Disability Foundation & AffiliatesPerformance Centre
2:00pmChair Yoga with Bobbie Seale Cobiskey LIVE!Main Room
2:20pmRoad Trip Camping: How I Accidentally Regained My ConfidencePerformance Centre
2:55pmLiving Well with Chronic PainPerformance Centre
3:30pmAll About the Family Support Institute of BC (FSI)Performance Centre
4:00pmEvent Close

Vendors & Exhibitors

  • Vancouver Fire Rescue Services
  • PASS Adult Services
  • Individualized Funding Resource Centre (IFRC)
  • Technology for Living
  • Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI)
  • Disability Foundation
  • Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
  • First Transit HandyDART
  • WorkBC
  • Government of Canada
  • Public Service Commission
  • BC Wheelchair Sports Association (BCWSA)
  • Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI-BC)
  • Westcoast Wheelchair Adaptive Boxing
  • BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (BCWBS)
  • Theatre Terrific
  • Zajac Ranch for Kids
  • BC Partners in Workforce Innovation
  • Douglas College
  • Neil Squire Society
  • Family Support Institute of BC
  • Nurse Next Door
  • Pain BC
  • Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults (CAYA BC)
  • Plan Institute
  • Richmond Centre for Disability
  • Fresh Prep
  • Enviro Bag Evolution
  • Vancouver Animation School
  • Canadian Assisted Travel Society
  • Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility
  • Blanket BC
  • BC211
  • Makers Making Change
  • Council of Senior Citizens’ Organization (COSCO)

Artists Alley

Check out our floorplan here.


Featured Speakers

Speaker presentations will take place in the Performance Centre located on the left side of the main room, beginning at 10:30am and running until 4:00pm. Presentations will also be streamed live to the Disability Foundation YouTube channel.

YouTube Livestream of Abilities Expo speakers.

Connection with the Help of the Canada Disability Benefit | 10:30am

The need for safety and survival is contingent on mutual aid. Mutual aid is an action of justice and equity, the pooling of resources and other support to share with one another wherever possible. The digital age has expanded our options for community by way of the internet, access to which being a basic right today. The Canada Disability Benefit would help fill some of the gaps in order to break out of isolating siloes to connect not only with communities of shared lived experience but beyond. In their talk, Nousha will discuss what that looks like. 

Nousha Bayrami smiling and posing outdoors in a sunflower field.

Nousha Bayrami | Disability Without Poverty

Nousha is a spoonie committed to community building as the result of a passion for justice and equity. They believe this work depends upon not only the inclusion, but the leadership of disabled people, particularly those facing multiple barriers due to discrimination of their other identities.

Having dedicated well over a decade in the non-profit world, Nousha has worked with and alongside women, youth and QTIBIPoC who identify as neurodivergent, drug users, sex workers, with experiences of poverty, gender-based violence, and institutionalization. They are a fervent believer that agency comes from solidarity and the sharing of knowledge and skills. They are a proud member of the Lived Experience Experts Group with Health Justice, currently working to reshape BC’s Mental Health Act.  


Bounce Back with the Canadian Mental Health Association | 11:20am

An introduction to CMHA’s free skill-building program, designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress and worry.

Maria (Marilu) Marshall | CMHA

Maria Marshall is a Bounce Back Community Coach and Adult and Youth Specialist with the Canadian Mental Health Association. She has a Masters in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker at BCCSW. Maria has over 15 years of experience with non-profit organizations in a multicultural environment involving children, youth, and adults including work with the Indigenous population. She is a trained and experienced coach in Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Health. Maria has facilitated programs for youth with concurrent disorders or barriers in BC as well as overseas. When she is not working, she enjoys sport activities such as hiking, biking, and volleyball.  

Matt Curtin | CMHA

Matt is a Bounce Back Community Coach and Adult and Youth Specialist with the Canadian Mental Health Association.Matt’s hope, or North Star, you could say, is to learn and continue to develop his skills and strategies for ongoing personal growth. During his time at CMHA-VF as a Peer Support Worker, he learned a lot about listening and valuing individual’s strengths.  In the short time Matt has been with the CMHA-VF BounceBack Team, he’s felt like he is a part of something that makes a lasting impact on people over a short period of time.   

In Matt’s off-time, he loves to play Pitch-and-Putt, be with friends, or go on road trips.   


Accessible Gaming with PlayAbility | 12:10pm

Join Alex from PlayAbility Consultancy to learn all about accessible gaming and consulting! Drawing on their team’s lived experience and expertise, PlayAbility playtests and provides feedback on where unintentional barriers exist and how to solve them. 

Alex Carey | PlayAbility Consultancy

Alex is a self-professed nerd with a love of games (video, board or otherwise). He primarily works as a game designer and an accessibility consultant. 

As part of that work, Alex created a company called PlayAbility Consultancy that helps video game developers identify and eliminate unintentional barriers within their games. 

Alex thinks games are an amazing medium for fostering empathy and strives to have people play more games, regardless of ability. 


Six Societies, Endless Opportunities: Learn More About the Disability Foundation | 1:25pm

Get excited for adaptive summer activities with the Disability Foundation’s six-affiliated Societies! Hear from Eric Molendyk and Graeme Wyman about how to get involved this season with various local adaptive indoor, outdoor, and online programs for British Columbians with disabilities.

Eric Molendyk | Disability Foundation

Eric Molendyk has been involved with the Disability Foundation since 2001 and now works as Program Manager for the Tetra Society of North America, the Adaptive Sailing Association of BC (ASABC), and the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS). He is truly honored to work with all the staff and volunteers throughout Canada and never ceases to be in awe at their brilliance. Eric believes that adaptive programs’ help not just people with disabilities but society as a whole to re-imagine what is possible.

Graeme Wyman | Disability Foundation

Graeme Wyman has worked with the Vancouver Adaptive Music Society (VAMS) since 2014, and became the Program Coordinator helping the program grow to over 1,000 sessions in 2019. In 2021, Graeme became Program Manager for VAMS, the ConnecTra Society, and the Disabled Independent Gardeners Association (DIGA). He is passionate about all things music, and believes that it has the power to inspire, bring people together, help to find ones self and enrich life for those around you.


Road Trip Camping: How I Accidentally Regained My Confidence | 2:20pm

Come along as Ryan shows you how he camps, why he camps, and how what did not kill him made him stronger. He will explain why he started getting into camping after his spinal cord injury, and how one week has turned into 10 years and 170,000kms worth of solo camping trips.  

ryan clarkson seated in a wheelchair in the wilderness at dusk by a campfire.

Ryan Clarkson | Spinal Cord Injury BC

In 2009 at the age of 22, Ryan suffered a spinal cord injury after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Being completely lost in what he could do and offer to society, he turned to camping to fill the void. He was raised in British Columbia and wanted to maintain the lifestyle of enjoying the outdoors.

After five years and many trips later, he started his career with Spinal Cord Injury BC where he works as a Peer Program Coordinator for GF Strong and Metro Vancouver. His role is to help newly and existing members with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities to adapt, adjust, and thrive when they are ready to return to their community. He has not stopped driving around and camping, and routinely goes on long trips! 


Living Well with Chronic Pain | 2:55pm

In this short presentation, representatives from Pain BC, a provincial non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with chronic pain, will define chronic pain, talk about what can be done to manage pain, and share free resources for people with pain.

Carmelle Jaeggle | Pain BC

Carmelle supports the delivery, development, and evaluation of Pain BC‘s Support Services programs. She is a registered social worker who brings years of experience working with the Vancouver Downtown Eastside community, primarily in mental health and substance use. She utilizes a strength-based, anti-oppressive lens when interacting with clients, with an emphasis on empowerment. She is excited to be part of the Pain BC team to explore innovative ways of supporting the well-being of people living with pain. 

Arielle Spence | Pain BC

Arielle supports the development, delivery and evaluation of Pain BC’s education programs. Originally from Vernon, BC, they have been living in Vancouver for more than 10 years and bring a breadth of experience in fundraising, event planning, and communications from working at various arts and education non-profit organizations. They are a life-long learner and are passionate about promoting equitable access to health care.  


All About the Family Support Institute of BC | 3:30pm

The Family Support Institute of BC supports individuals and families with disabilities to be fully valued in their communities. Join Heather to hear all about FSI’s programs and digital resources!

Heather Beach

Heather Beach | Family Support Institute BC (FSI)

Heather Beach is the Greater Vancouver Regional Network Coordinator for the Family Support Institute, an organization that supports families living with disability. She has been with FSI for 3 years, first as a volunteer resource parent and now as the coordinator of volunteers and community partners.  She has also supported families in a previous role as president of the BC Prader Willi Syndrome Association. She has a teenage son with Autism and Prader Willi Syndrome and lives in Vancouver.


Getting Here

Walking/Wheeling

From Granville Street, head east five blocks down Davie St.

Skytrain

The Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station is 200 metres from the Roundhouse Community Centre. Upon exiting the station, head east down Davie St. until you reach the Pacific Blvd cross-street – the Roundhouse Community Centre will be right across the street!

Bus

Buses 6 & C23 stop within feet of the Roundhouse Community Centre. Learn more about getting around by transit in Vancouver on the Translink website.

Parking

Paid parking will be available in the Roundhouse parkade. For a map of the venue, click here.


Sponsors

Platinum

Gold

Bronze

Want a booth or to sponsor this event? We are currently at capacity but have a waitlist available.
Check out our Abilities Expo Sponsorship Package (text-only version here) or send our event organizers an email at info@connectra.org.


COVID-19 Policy

The ConnecTra Society and its affiliated societies comply with COVID-19 protocols as determined by the provincial health authorities (e.g., BC: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/covid-19). Our workers and volunteers will follow such protocols and must be vaccinated to work with and within our organizations (offices, program locations, and home visits), unless a medical exemption is in place. To protect our workers and volunteers, we highly recommend our clients and partners to comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations which means fully vaccinated unless there is a medical exemption. Masks are also recommended, and all our staff and volunteers will be wearing them.

Thank you for making everyone’s health and safety the top priority.