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Whistler’s TEDxWhistler Conference

by Jake McGrail
TEDxWhistler Legacy 2021

TEDxWhistler happens on September 12th in 2021. The Whistler event takes place online and features a number of dynamic and thought-provoking speakers.

Similar to other TEDx events in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere, it’s a TED Conference-style event where guest speakers present their ideas on how to change and improve the world. Some of the speakers at the 2021 event include an Indigenous artist (Chief Janice George), an educator (Claire Yeung), a gold-medal Olympian (John Montgomery) and an emergency first responder (Dr. Renata Lewis).

The 2021 event’s host is Mike Douglas. He is one of the pioneers of the sport of free skiing. He’s also the founder of the video production company Switchback Entertainment.

For tickets and the event’s official website, visit tedxwhistler.com.


This article contains the following information about TEDxWhistler:

Where and When? | What to Expect | 2021 Speakers | About TED and TEDx Conferences | Other Information


TEDxWhistler 2021

If you’ve never attended a TEDx event before, you should. And if you have attended one before, or at least seen and enjoyed TED Talks online, you should also attend TEDxWhistler. The Whistler conference promises to be an exceptional one, and very accessible.

The theme of the 2021 event is “Legacy.” According to the organizers, attendees will be “engaged, connected, and inspired to live a life that leaves a legacy they can be proud of.”

This is the first TEDx event in Whistler since 2010. Whistler also hosted TEDActive events in 2014 and 2015 which were companion conferences alongside bigger events in Vancouver. TEDxWhistler is produced by the same team that put on the very successful TEDxVancouver series of conferences in past years. TEDxVancouver was one of the longest standing TEDx events in Canada and one of just a few with over 1000 people attending. One of its speakers in 2018 was former Prime Minister Kim Campbell.

The 2021 event is led by an all-female executive team (including a female President and Executive Producer, both of whom are women of colour). The program has a gender-balanced speaker lineup, comprised of 5 women and 5 men. The speakers have diverse topics, disciplines and backgrounds and include representation from the BIPOC community (where BIPOC stands for Black and Indigenous people of color).


TEDxWhistler 2021


Where and When is TEDxWhistler?

TEDxWhistler is a virtual event, so you don’t actually need to be in Whistler to join in on it live. You can watch from anywhere around the world. The conference is on September 12th from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. There are 10 different speakers set to take the stage. The entire event is broadcast from Whistler.

The cost to attend the conference is $50. Tickets must be purchased online at the TEDxWhistler website.


What to Expect at a TEDx Conference

As is standard for both TED and TEDx events, TEDxWhistler features a series of short individual presentations from the lineup of speakers. Each talk is less than 18 minutes in length. The 10 presenters come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions which provides a nice range of topics for the talks.

The fact that this is a TEDx event rather than a standard TED conference means that it’s organized by a team of volunteers. This in turn means that there is a definite local focus. The majority of the speakers are either residents of the Sea to Sky region or currently based in Whistler. All 10 are Canadian.

Most TEDx talks have just 100 people or less in attendance so it’s a more intimate event. Large ones though can have up to 2000 participants or more, but that’s not so common. The presentations are very carefully prepared and often include some sort of demonstration or other visuals. They are quite informative and the number of speakers scheduled means that a lot of different things are covered.


For tickets and the event’s official website, visit tedxwhistler.com.


TEDxWhistler Speakers

Below is the lineup of speakers for TEDxWhistler in 2021.

  • Jack Crompton – the mayor of Whistler since 2018. He’s passionate about the Whistler community with multiple generations of his family having connections with the town.
  • Claire Yeung – a former lawyer who quit her job to find more fulfillment. She’s now a part-time professor, life coach and author of a self-help book.
  • Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal – an artist and member of the Lil’wat Nation in Squamish. He’s driven to give back to his community through teaching and volunteer work.


Jack C, Claire Y & Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal

Jack Crompton, Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal & Claire Yeung


  • Janice George – a chief in the Squamish Nation, she’s an artist and trained as a museum curator. She’s also the co-founder of the L’hen Awtxw Weaving House that teaches Coast Salish traditions.
  • Dr. Karin Kausky – the co-chair of the Sea to Sky Division of Family Practice, she has served the Whistler community for nearly 30 years.


Janice George and Karin Kausky

Janice George & Karin Kausky


  • Jillian Harris – someone with a long and varied career, she has been on TV shows, worked as a design consultant and runs a lifestyle and fashion business.
  • Mr. Morgan – the President of OVO Sound which is the record label behind Drake and other famous musicians.
  • Dr. Renata Lewis – a first responder who specializes in mountain search and rescue missions. She also works as an advisor for media companies and has been a stunt woman.


Jillian H, Mr. Morgan & Renata L

Jillian Harris, Mr. Morgan & Renata Lewis


  • Omari Newton – an award-winning writer, director, actor and producer. He currently plays the voice of Nate on the animated version of Corner Gas and Corvus in Netflix’s The Dragon Prince.
  • Jon Montgomery – he won a gold medal in skeleton at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Since then he has been the host of the show Amazing Race Canada.


Omari Newton & Jon Montgomery

Omari Newton & Jon Montgomery


About TED and TEDx Conferences

The TED organization was founded back in the 1980s. Beginning as small talks and conferences focused mostly on technology in the Silicon Valley, TED has grown into a massively popular brand of sharing stories and information in all sorts of areas of study. TED Talks are available to watch for free online with thousands of presentations on offer on the official TED Website.

As mentioned above, there is a difference between TED and TEDx Conferences. TEDx events are not actually organized by the TED organization. Instead, they are independent and must follow a set of guidelines set out by TED. The TEDx events themselves, however, are unique to the individual host organizations.

This independent nature and relatively easy licensing format means that there are a massive number of TEDx events held around the globe. There are well over 150,000 videos available on the TEDx YouTube Channel, which is many times more than the standard TED Talks.

As the TED Foundation is a non-profit organization, TEDx events are required to be non-profit as well. Admission fees and sponsorships are allowed to cover the operating costs. Speakers, however, cannot be paid to take part in the conference and all copyright on the videos from the event go to TED (which then distributes them for free).



TEDxVancouver in 2018


Other Information

For more information about the Whistler event visit the TEDxWhistler website. To learn more about the TED Foundation itself you can check out the official TED Website.

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