Humans of Burnaby

Connecting our community through story-telling...

Inspired by Humans of New York, Humans of Burnaby is a collection of vignettes of the lives of people in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

By sharing the passions, joys, and challenges of different individuals, we hope to create a better understanding between citizens and form a stronger, and more compassionate community.

As advocates for those living in poverty and isolation, we especially strive to amplify the voices of those who often feel 'invisible'.

Follow us on Facebook (full story) and Instagram (snippets).


    • Acceptance (2 of 2)
    • I don’t want us to just tolerate each other. When I attended a conference as a speaker, one of the other speakers was Baltej Singh, the first RCMP officer to wear a turban. There was so much attention around that. I remember him saying, “People tolerated me, but I don’t want them to tolerate me, I want them to accept me.” Because when you tolerate someone, it’s saying, “I don’t like that you’re Muslim, I don’t like that you’re female, I don’t like you being successful in your life but I’ll tolerate it.” You don’t want that, you want people to say, “I accept you for being a Muslim woman who is being successful and doing incredible things.” That’s my long term goal - to be able to change the narrative into accepting each other...

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    • A Girl Named Lois
    • Back when I was in school there was a girl named Lois in my class.  Lois was 15 when she and her whole family were killed in a car accident.  It happened because of the ice and snow on the roads. There were 20 boys in the class and 17 of us got her name tattooed on our hand. Those other 3 boys were jerks.  One of those three boys was a real teacher’s pet. If the teacher called you and you didn’t answer he would jump up and smack you in the back of the head. One time the teacher called my name and he came running so I waited for him then hit him right in the belly.

      I told him "don’t you ever hit me or any other kid in the classroom again!" Unlike those boys, Lois helped and befriended everybody.   She had brains and kindness for people.   She would teach us the homework and she would even give us the answers.  If it wasn’t for her we would still be in grade 1 in school.

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    • Neighbourhood Connector Volunteers
    • "Since we speak English, Mandarin, and some Cantonese as well, we can help a broad range of seniors. Some seniors want to stick to what they’re comfortable with - like going to the grocery store and then back home; however, we love encouraging people to go out. We bring seniors out from Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver to various events around Greater Vancouver.

      Some worry about leaving their home because their English is not good. But we tell them that it's a multicultural society where everyone is treated equally so they shouldn't be afraid. Even if they learn one new word every day, it's still good. What's most important is that they go outside, connect, and not stay alone. It's not healthy for their minds. We need more free activities for seniors such as cooking classes, conversation groups, and one-day field trips. Not every senior can afford to pay for ticketed events."

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    • Meals on Wheels
    • "I used to work as a gardener for the Vancouver parks: Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. At Stanley Park, seniors would come down to play golf and lawn bowling and I would sort of get to know them as they passed by. At Queen Elizabeth Park, I worked in the large quarry garden. There were always a lot of tour bus people on holidays so I’d have chit chats with them. I enjoy the connections with people and just having a chat."

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    • The Holes in Our System (3 of 3)
    • "I go to the outreach center with a number of volunteers where we serve coffee and lunch to the homeless. We do this to make these people feel at home. When they are there they are anonymous. It’s giving them a place to have breakfast and lunch while socializing because they are isolated. People say they have a lot of empathy but you really have to experience them and have no judgement. It is really not as simple as just calling them homeless. You are meeting people with health care issues, addiction, isolation, and mental health.

      Some come for the social aspect of being a part of a community.

      Community gatherings like this gives people hope and the world needs more of that."

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    • The Holes in our System (2 of 3)
    • "I try to work at being compassionate. One of the things that helps me be compassionate is children. When I see somebody who is a hardened criminal, I think: You know, they were a little baby once. Innocent. What happened to them? And usually there’s a reason for it, some form of trauma in their early years. For me the greater future hope is that over time, in cities like Burnaby, all the children from diverse families will grow up speaking the same language, they’ll communicate, they’ll growing up knowing each other, they’ll be friends."

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