Join us from November 4th – 6th while we gather virtually across the Nation as a community impacted by serious illness, grief and loss. Together we will share in three days of connection, inspired learning and hope.
Expect to participate in a wide range of workshops, experiential sessions and inspiring talks from notable experts in the fields of health & wellness, grief psychology & counselling, parenting and education. Also on the agenda are a community memory service, a virtual campfire, early morning/late night self-care sessions and much, much, more!
Kaleidoscope was established in 2020 as Canada’s very first Grief Conference. What separates Kaleidoscope from other mental health conferences is that it has sessions designed for both families and professionals, for we recognize grief and bereavement as part of the human condition. By fostering the notion of compassionate communities – that we are all in need of help, and that we are all capable of helping one another – healing becomes a collective experience.
Host | Producer
Alex McKinnon is a screenwriter, podcaster and entertainment industry vet who has worked on several films and music tours in both the US and Canada. Most recently, he was the host and producer of the CBC podcast series “Sorry About the Kid” – a portrait of long-term grief and how memories fade and regain force over multiple decades.
Registered Psychotherapist | Registered Nurse
Andrea is a Registered Psychotherapist and Registered Nurse whose passion lies in helping individuals, families and communities support people of all ages who are grieving an illness or death in their lives. With years of nursing and counselling experience both in Canada and abroad and a Masters degree in Thanatology (the study of dying and death) Andrea brings to her work a rare mixture of medical and psychosocial expertise. Andrea developed and teaches the 5 Day Certificate Program in Children’s Grief and Bereavement at SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health. She was also the lead content developer for KidsGrief.ca and KidsGrief for Educators. Once a month Andrea hosts a free monthly forum through Canadian Virtual Hospice, KidsGrief Q&A, where she responds to questions from families and professionals from across the country about supporting grieving children and youth. Andrea lives in Guelph Ontario, from where she runs Andrea Warnick Consulting, a group practice of over 25 therapists who provide grief counselling across Ontario and grief education across Canada.
Lecturer | Cemetery Designer
Bill Pechet is a Lecturer in Practice at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. His accomplishments include large artworks for many Canadian cities, and urban infrastructures, public spaces, and cemeteries in Western Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. Along with Stephanie Robb, Bill represented Canada in the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture with a witty critique of leisure culture and recycling called SweaterLodge.
Author | Former CBC Host
Bill Richardson is a Canadian radio broadcaster and author. He is adored by CBC audiences for his decades of work on Radio shows such as; “Richardson’s Round-up” and “Canada Reads”. Bill has written dozens of books including, “Last Week and I Saw Three Ships”, and a collection of short stories set in the West End of Vancouver. In addition, he’s also the co-creator, with Bill Pechet, of two picture books, “Hare B&B”, and “Lola Flies Alone”.
Award Winning Author/Educator
When her husband Mike died suddenly after a very brief illness, Carol Matthews turned to writing in order to understand how she could face bereavement. Author of four books of memoir and a collection of short stories, Carol has worked as a social worker, community worker, and Dean of Human Services and Community Education at Vancouver Island University. In 1999 she was awarded the Association of Community Colleges National Award for Excellence in Leadership. In addition to teaching and consulting activities, she has served on a number of local and provincial boards and committees in British Columbia. Carol was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degree from Vancouver Island University (2008). She was awarded the Order of B.C. in recognition of achievement and commitment to her local community (2012) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013).
Poet | Editor | Author
Fiona Tinwei Lam ~ award-winning poet, editor, and author ~ is currently serving as Vancouver’s Poet Laureate. Her poetry and prose have been published in over forty anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English. She is the author of Intimate Distances (which was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Prize), Enter the Chrysanthemum, and Odes & Laments. She is also the author of the children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket, a beautifully illustrated story about a child’s special relationship with a grandmother as she ages and eventually dies of dementia. Her poetry videos (made in collaboration with local animators and filmmakers) have won awards and have been screened at festivals locally and internationally since 2009. From 2020-2021 she curated and hosted the online monthly poetry series In/Verse for the Federation of BC Writers to showcase local published poets.
Grief and loss have figured prominently in her work, including in poems and essays that have explored her father’s death from cancer when she was 11 years old, as well as her mother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket, is about how a young boy copes with his beloved grandmother’s cognitive decline and death.
Linda Kash began her career at the Second City Theatre in Toronto, where she performed, directed and conducted workshops.
She has appeared in and directed a number of plays, films and television shows throughout Canada, the US, Europe, Russia and New Zealand.
Linda has also co-created several shows More recent directorial projects include Colin Mochrie in “HYPROV” for Just For Laughs and the Edinburgh festival, a season of Love It or List It. Linda teaches acting and improv workshops and in 2008, co-founded with her late husband Actor Paul O’Sullivan, a Performing Arts School called PAPA for kids and teens. During Covid 19, Linda also co-created an adult online learning platform called klusterfork; offering unique access to the best in the entertainment industry. Linda is best known as The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel (a successful campaign since 1994) but her proudest work to date, by far, is her fabulous blended family.
Dancer | Educator
Madelaine McCallum is a gifted dancer, motivational speaker, facilitator, and MC — a true, multi-faceted creative. She is from Ile a la Crosse, Saskatchewan and brings passion with a gentle yet powerful presence to the stage whether she is there to share one of her inspiring Speaks or she has been asked to dance, or MC.
Musical Artist: Big Heart Journey, Splash'N Boots
Taes has over 15 years of experience working with kids in the entertainment industry, and is best known as the “Boots” half of the JUNO Award-winning children’s super duo of Canadian Music, Splash’N Boots.
Taes has devoted the last 5+ years to studying meditation/mindfulness and dance. Her personal journey into meditation and mindfulness and continued research inspired her to create a program that re-invents traditional practices of meditation/mindfulness turning them upside down to create an edgy, innovative program for kids and their caregivers that is accessible and fun. Her newest venture, The Big Heart Journey, seeks to connect children to their hearts, their power, and their true selves, fostering resilience, and confidence.
Sgaalaanglaay, Gaamdaamaay (Vernon Williams Jr.) belongs to Kuunlaanaas Raven Grizzly Bear of Yakin Point Haida Gwaii; Vernon is a Haida Nishga.
His work involves traditional teachings that have been passed down from a number of cultural mentors. Vernon offers brushings with feather and cedar fans for water cleansing, as a song carrier, he leads fire ceremonies, and is recognized as an artist of drum making, flutes, rattles and protection necklaces.
Vernon has participated in Sundance in Minestikwan and Sweet Grass, Saskatchewan. He is a brother in Ceremony to many Mayan who are now family. He offers songs with drum, rattle and flutes to provide peace and wellness when needed, and welcomes opportunities to share his healing knowledge with others.