Abbotsford craft brewing company Field House will be part of the second National Character Canada Conference at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Oct. 20.

National Character Canada Conference returns to Abbotsford with a fresh local feel

Event on Oct. 20 features local talent and influencers

Character Canada is hosting its second National Character Canada Conference at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Oct. 20.

And the non-profit group has thought long and hard about how to make this an event that electrifies the entire Fraser Valley, province, and country.

After all, they’re putting on a conference that helps people explore what it means to lead with character in order to make a lasting impression. They believe that spreading the message of the “character movement” that’s taking off in communities across Canada is critically important.

So what has Character Canada and its Abbotsford-based chapter, Character Abbotsford, got in mind? Interestingly, they say that to create a national impact, you’ve got to emphasize local talent.

That’s why this dynamic one-day event – featuring Gregg Saretsky, WestJet CEO, and Olympian Cassie Campbell-Pascall as its keynote speakers – is going to be stocked with local vendors. Chances are if you’ve heard of a business that’s making waves in the Valley’s exploding foodie scene, they will be at the Character Conference.

Field House Brewery, Abbotsford’s reigning hot spot for youth culture clustered around craft beer, will be serving up its best brews. Serious foodies will be able to nosh on Restaurant 62’s unparalleled farm-to-table cuisine. And there’s potentially nothing more classically local than the family-run Lepp Farm Market, who will share delectable flavours from the Valley. The after-event reception will feature live music and local wineries, breweries, and coffee roasters. Finally, the entire event will be emceed by local comedian Cliff Prang.

So why was it important for organizers to lean on making the event heavily local and distinctively fresh? How does the message of the conference – that character can transform culture – connect with its carefully curated vibe?

“We’re building on the success of the first National Character Conference by giving this year’s event an even stronger community feel,” says Character Abbotsford council member Gina Vanderheide. “If you picture the typical conference…well, you’re not picturing what we have in store. This is going to be a day filled with inspiration, ideas, and opportunities to connect.”

Tickets will cost $135 for adults and $65 for students.

Ratcheting up the “festival-like” possibilities for an event like the Character Conference makes sense when you consider who the event is targeting. Organizers expect to host participants who value reflecting, connecting with others, and taking action. A celebratory atmosphere and a simpler, less formal format will help this demographic to feel inspired and at ease.

If fresh local food and drink will help set the tone, the event’s fifteen breakout sessions will definitely drive its dynamic nature home. In addition to hearing from world-class keynotes, participants will be up on their feet, accessing a “choose your own adventure” learning experience. Breakout session leaders include the entrepreneurial group A&Co and educators Cam Friesen and Nerlap Sidhu.

Character Abbotsford’s founders include the City of Abbotsford, School District, Chamber of Commerce, Police and Fire Rescue Services, and Community Services, to name a few. It’s a non-religious, non-political group inspired by the national “character movement”, which teaches people to define what values matter to them, and actively integrate them into their organizations and daily lives.

“Character Abbotsford represents a movement supported by every large influential group across the city, a movement that can impact all of Canada,” says Vanderheide. “It’s something everybody should become part of, and this event will give them the chance.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

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