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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Modern Family Expo Overview Part 1

This past Sunday I attended the Modern Family Expo and all I have to say is WOW! I had a great time meeting the organizers, sponsors, and vendors and was really impressed with the variety of businesses, with so many of them based right here in Metro Vancouver. Do I need to remind you again how big I am on supporting local???

The event was held at the Pinnacle Hotel on the Pier in North Vancouver. A beautiful venue overlooking the water. The only complaint I observed about the venue was that the elevators presented a bit of a bottle neck for strollers, as the event was held on the second floor. And really, if the only complaint is that the turnout challenged the elevator capacity, I think you've got a pretty successful event on your hands!

The Sponsor Area

Speaking with the sponsors and vendors, I was told how impressed they were with the organization, layout, and flow of the set- up. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and based on the attendance I witnessed, were not deterred by the snowy weather outside (for those outside Vancouver, you need to know this is a pretty rare occurrence for us!). To help the amazing individuals and businesses I met get the attention they deserve, I'm going to break the event coverage up over two posts; one focusing on the sponsors and one focused on the vendors I spoke with. If you're looking for an event that supports local, eco- friendly businesses, the Modern Family Expo is definitely worth checking out. If you missed this one, I hope you get a chance to go next time!

 The entry to the main event including vendors, workshops, and feature speakers

The Sponsors
Bullfrog Power powered the Expo with clean, pollution free electricity. Using wind and low- impact hydro power sources from Canadian renewable energy facilities- of which at least 50% is from local sources- Bullfrog Power's generators matched the power used by the Expo by putting 100% green electricity on the grid. This renewable energy provider offers power for home and business across Canada (you can see which businesses are Bullfrog powered here). If you are looking for alternatives to traditional energy sources, make sure you check out this amazing company.

With four locations in BC, Whole Foods is gaining ground in the local market. Offering natural and organic foods with a commitment to sustainable agriculture and maintaining strict industry quality standards, this California- based company is shifting the products consumers have available to them. In addition to offering quality, natural products, the company gives back to the countries where their products hail from. The Whole Planet Foundation is a private, nonprofit that microfinances institutions to support the self- employed workers in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Middle East. Through loan programs, training, and providing financial support, the Whole Foods Foundation seeks to give back to those who live in the countries where their products are sourced; 100% of proceeds donated go to the Foundation's efforts, with Whole Foods paying all administrative costs out of it's own pocket. A company with a conscience? That's the kind of business I'm happy to support.

A great resource for families living in Vancouver, GTA, and Calgary, yoyomama offers information on eco- friendly activities including events, travel, local services, and at- home ideas. Through it's website, email newsletter, social media and mobile app (OnTheGoKids) yoyomama helps busy families conveniently find great events and services in their area. As an award- winning company, they are  careful to only promote those events, services, and ideas that have been a hit with their own families. As an added bonus, the company offers exclusive promotions and discounts from it's advertising partners to it's email subscribers (a great way to have fun and save!). A fantastic local resource founded by a Mom- what more could you ask for?

Founded by husband and wife team Laurie & Todd, YogaPod has been in business on the North Shore for 13 years. Through deepening yoga practices, the couple seek to help their visitors experience life more fully. Whether helping heal ailments or simply helping visitors experience a more fulfilled life, Yogapod offers a variety of options. They also offer Om Mama prenatal yoga suitable for all levels of experience and progression of pregnancy. You can check out YogaPod's Schedule & Rates and book online. Another great local business I'm so happy to have connected with!

Located in West Vancouver, Mulgrave School seeks to inspire excellence in education and life in it's students through it's Four Strands approach. Through a balanced focus on academics, arts, athletics, and citizenship, the vision of Mulgrave School is to encourage it's students to be "lifelong learners" who always strive to do their best and to make a difference by serving the communities they live in. The school provides it's students with the education and skills to confidently thrive in our "culturally diverse and interdependent world"; by teaching the upcoming generations to be valuable contributors as citizens of the world. The school's mantra really impressed me; I hope I can share these values with my own family. 

Did you know it costs an approx. $10,452 annually to use and maintain an average family car? As a government operated organization through Translink, TravelSmart has the goal to encourage commuters and families to drive less. Whether through the use of public transit or alternative travel options such as cycling, ride matches and ride shares, carpools, and trip planning, the organization is challenging individuals to take one less car trip per week. TravelSmart has information and tools tailored for life & home, business, and schools. There's also a great Transit App available for smart phones to help you plan your daily commute (don't have a smartphone? just dial 33333 + the bus stop # to get current info on your bus route). Even if using public transit isn't an efficient option in the area you live, TravelSmart has a variety of options to help encourage you to drive less. A great way to save some money and lessen our carbon footprint. 

Using quality materials that are recycled and recyclable, sustainably produced, and local (whenever possible), Greener Print Solutions  has a goal of being Vancouver's one- stop shop for green printing solutions. As a triple bottom line company, everything they offer is eco- friendly and produced using efficient technologies  creating minimal waste (learn more by clicking here). In addition to their quality standards and eco- friendly initiatives, the company is able to offer their products at competitive prices. Offering items from business cards to trade show promotional materials and everything in between, Greener Print Solutions seems to have an answer for everything. If you're looking for an eco- friendly way to supply your business or special event, I hope you'll check this local company out.

A much used an appreciated part of the event was the Used Vancouver lounge (I used it twice!). Equipped with a change table and seating area for nursing mothers, the lounge provided an area for visitors to attend to their little ones without having to leave the event. A free local classified service, Used Vancouver offers listings for children's and household items,  job listings, community notices, and services, among others. If you've been looking for an alternative to Craigslist, check out this great site.

Modern Mama is all about "getting moms out of the house", regardless of the age of your kid(s) and is focused on helping women find some valuable 'me' time. With locations throughout BC, Alberta, and Ontario, the organization hosts events tailored to moms who need to get out of the house, but may have a kid (or a few) in tow. For only $35 for your first year ($25per year for subsequent years), you can become a member and have access to a variety of events and partner discounts. Click here for membership information. With plans to open several new locations in 2014, Modern Mama has opportunities for new Community Directors; an opportunity to work from home and connect with other ladies/ moms in your area. A great organization with a great purpose- I hope you check them out!

Vancouver based Par- T- Perfect has been in business for over 20 years and has over 75,000 birthdays and 10,000 corporate events under their belt. The company offers franchise opportunities with locations throughout Canada and the US. Whether you're planning a fundraiser, festival, birthday or holiday party, or corporate event, the company has something to make it a memorable experience. With packages that include inflatables (ie bouncy castles!), face painting, crafts, and balloon twisting, Par- T- Perfect has options to fit a variety of budgets. If you're looking for something to make your next occasion unique, check out this great local business!

Part 2 of the event coverage with vendor information will be up later this week. Make sure you come back to see some of the amazing businesses that were at the Expo. I've organized them with links below if you'd like to get a jump start. 

Family Events & Services

Fun For Kids

Health & Wellness


Tasty Treats
Hidden Garden

Photos by Katherine Petrunia