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Telling tales: Understanding Iranian-Canadian culture through storytelling

Join MONOVA on Feb. 22 to explore North Vancouver’s Iranian diaspora through the lens of demographics, cuisine and a community show and tell
Golmehr Kazari will be leading a community show and tell to discuss the importance of objects and memory, using several Iranian artifacts and belongings in MONOVA’s collection. Photo via Alison Boulier

What was something you couldn’t leave behind when you left Iran? – It’s a question MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver (115 West Esplanade) will be delving into this month at their latest Connection Speaker Series event on our local Iranian community.

Home to approximately 22,000 Canadians of Iranian and Persian origin, the North Shore has one the largest Iranian Canadian communities in the country, according to 2021 census data. For the past ten years, MONOVA has been working to build relationships and work closely with folks from this diaspora, or a group of people living outside of their homeland. 

Their upcoming event on Feb. 22 – which will include a panel discussion and “show and tell” examining the Iranian diaspora through the lens of demographics, cuisine, and historical objects – is the latest of this community engagement.

“This event will be a great opportunity to learn more about North Vancouver’s vibrant Iranian community and the culture they’ve created on the North Shore. It will also be an opportunity to learn more about the importance of artifacts and objects and telling stories,” says Laurel Lawry, acting director of MONOVA. “We’re really excited to hold space for the conversation.”

As part of this show and tell, MONOVA is encouraging Iranian and Persian Canadians to bring one or two physical keepsakes they brought from Iran when moving to Canada so they can share why these objects are important to them, as well as the stories behind them.

MONOVA partnered with Nazmi Kamal and Capilano University's School of Tourism Management to create the Iranian Food Guide, a list of Iranian and Persian restaurants, bakeries, and food outlets on the North Shore. Photo via Alison Boulier

The panel will be led by museum professional, researcher, and author Golmehr Kazari, Capilano University tourism instructor and food and travel advocate Nazmi Kamal, and SFU history professor Ardalan Rezamand. There will also be locally-catered drinks and refreshments available.

“We’re very much looking forward to Golmehr’s presentation on artifacts and objects – that ‘show and tell’ piece – and talking about the importance of artifacts, the memories they contain, and why people held onto these certain things,” says Lawry.

MONOVA’s vision is guided by a strong commitment to community building and engagement, and their museum and archives teams are creating and delivering engaging, relevant, and inclusive visitor experiences that connect people to North Vancouver and its many communities.

Given the influence of North Vancouver’s vibrant and growing Iranian community, MONOVA has had an Iranian community engagement working group since 2021. Stay tuned for more Iranian-focused community engagement programs this year.

Kamal will be presenting the findings of his research on Iranian food culture on the North Shore at this Connections Speaker Series event. Photo via Alison Boulier

​If you are interested in attending MONOVA’s upcoming Connections Speaker Series event on North Vancouver’s Iranian diaspora, it is taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets range from $12 to $20 CAD.

For event information and tickets, visit their website at

You can also follow MONOVA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on upcoming programs and events.