Chatting with Scientologists and Conservatives at Burnaby Hats Off Day 2010

Nathaniel Christopher 4 Comments

Once a year the city closes off Hastings from Boundary to Gamma for the annual Hats Off Day celebration. It’s pretty cool. There’s a parade, kiosks, vintage cars and tons of interesting people.

View of the Hats off Day Parade and Festival from Gamma.

Scientology presence at community parade and festival

The most memorable sight at the 2010 festival was the large presence of Scientologists and Scientology-affiliated organizations.

Sharon Werner of the Vancouver Scientology org creepily films passersby at the annual Hats Off Day Parade

When I walked up Hastings I spotted a woman that I later learned was Sharon Werner of the Church of Scientology of British Columbia creepily films passersby [edit: here’s a 2018 report on her activities targeting Indigenous people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with Scientology propaganda].

“Youth for Human Rights International” tent at Hats Off Day.

Here’s the other half of the tent which is occupied by the International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance. An organization promotes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Like “The Way to Happines” they are another “acceptable” front for the Church of Scientology. I asked the guy there, Ian I think his name was, if they promote the human rights of LGBT people. “What’s LGBT?” he asked. They were getting people to sign their petition… Oy!

“The Way to Happiness” sign at Hats Off Day Parade in Burnaby

There was this big tent split between this group called “The Way to Happiness” and “International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance.” These are non-profit organizations connected to the Church of Scientology.

Scientology literature at Hats Off Day Parade.

I spoke at length with Peter Paulus, the representative for the Vancouver chapter of The Way To Happiness. He was a very friendly and interesting guy.

A quick Google search on his name reveals that he was once a member of a ’70s rock band here in Vancouver. W00t! He went through a pamphlet with me that outlines some pretty broad and well-established guidelines for living well.

It read like a revised 10 Commandments with stuff like don’t steal, don’t murder, honour your parents, obey the law and so forth. Paulus claimed that when this booklet is distributed in a neighbourhood the crime level drops.

He also said it’s been so effective in Buenos Aires, Argentina that the police there carry it around with them now. Hmm! The booklet he handed me had a photo of Vancouver on the cover but was all in American spelling…

Scientology Volunteer Ministers First Aid tent.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers set up a first aid tent in a parking lot at Willingdon and Pender.  They also had a bunch of these strange security guards or traffic wardens all over the neighbourhood.

Political stuff at the parade

Ronald Leung, the Conservative candidate for Burnaby North was friendly and polite. Me? Not so much.

This is Ronald Leung the Conservative candidate for Burnaby North in the 2008 Federal election. “Ah! Are you a reporter,” he asked while I took this photo. “Yes, I am! And in 2008 you left placer text on your campaign signs!’ I say with my arm on his shoulder. “Ah! Well next time I’ll be sure to fix that!” he says. “Well, next time you run you’ll probably just lose again!” I say with a shit-eating grin on my face. The people behind the counter shot stunned, dirty looks in my direction.

Nathaniel with Bill Siksay, MP.

OMG! That’s me posing with the bestest Member of Pariament in Canada! Bill Siksay is currently pushing a private member’s bill, C-389, that would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. It would also amend the hate crime and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code.

Katherine Burnett and Bill Siksay, MP.

My buddy Katherine Burnett sharing a private joke with Burnaby North MP Bill Siksay.

A family posing with their MPS… while drinking his opponent’s water!

OMG! These people are drinking Conservative water while in the presence of our lovely NDP MP. Fortunately we elected a man with a wonderful sense of humour.

Conservative water!

Here’s a close up of the water bottle.

HST petition sign.

I saw at least four of these anti-HST petition tables. Have you signed it yet?

An old bus!

GMC Diesel #4612 model TDH 4519

They had this retro bus on display… here’s the description from the Transit Museum Society site: 

GMC Diesel #4612 model TDH 4519 (VH transmission), built 1964, operated in North Vancouver. It was then renumbered to #5522 and transfered to Kensington (later Burnaby) & Surrey and back several times. Retired in 1996, it was then donated to TRAMS. A new 6V71 engine and VS2 transmission was installed 1997, and the bus was repainted to original BC Hydro livery in 1998.

An old fare box.

In those days the machines didn’t count how much you put in… so if you were short on cash you could just replace the $1.25 fare with a handful of pennies!

An old fare card from 1988.

Too bad they can’t tie fare increases with the rate of inflation.

A fare card from 1997.

Not too bad of an increase from the 1988 fares.

BC Transit Fast Trax advert.

Ah! The Fast Trax stickers! Before the Upass they had these stickers that you’d put on your one zone bus pass that turned it into a three zone pass. w00t! I love the old school computer art.


A 1978 Lincoln Town Car. Ain’t it a beauty?
The interior of a 1978 Lincoln Town Car.


They were bbqing chicken outside the Legion!
Fresh Slice Pizza.

They were selling pizza outside Fresh Slice. Their pizza effin’ sucks. The guys workin’ there, however, were very nice. I was taking a picture of the pizza under the display case (with the above caption in mind) when the manager said “Pull it out and put it on top so he can get a good picture to capture how good it is!”


w00t! FUNERAL COOKIES! Bell & Burnaby Funeral Chapel was offering free coffee and cookies. I didn’t try the coffee but the cookies appeared to be of the no-name variety. 🙁


OMG! Elvis!!
MiniDisc players.

Honest-to-goodness mini-discs! They contained back up music for some guy singing in what sounded like Italian. I wish I’d brought my video camera. He was quite good

The rest of the parade

Falun Gong marching band.

I think some of their beliefs are homophobic, racist and fucked up but I’ll be damned, the Falun Dafa people had a wonderful brass marching band. I look forward to seeing them again at the next parade!

Full Gospel Assembly marchers.

These people were with the Full Gospel Assembly just up the road. I loved all the flags but their canned Christian music was a bit much. They were blasting these very loud Christian pop songs about “Jesus this” and “saved that”. It was hard to hear the other parade marchers’ music over this canned shit.

Burnaby Shriners… I think?

w00t! It’s neat to see the Panamanian and Mexican flags fly over Burnaby. I think these guys are Shriners of some sort.

Mountins o

The guy on the right bears a resemblance to Stephen Harper… hmm…

Handsome fireman.

I think this fireman is sexually attractive.

Burnaby Food Scraps Recycling Program.

At first I wasn’t sure if this was a composting thing or an initiative to fight hunger.

British Columbia Nurses’ Union.

w00t! The good BC Nurses’ Union was out giving people free blood pressure tests. God bless ’em and the good work they do.

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, who has been blogging here for nearly 25 years. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings on my own online platform. From 1998 until 2017, I worked as a journalist, and I have posted most of my articles in the 'News' section of this website.


  1. I am thanking the heavens that you did not get programed by the scientologists today. Deprogramming if VERY expensive with a poor efficacy rate…..just look at John Travolta…

  2. Very good pictures! I should have come for that excellent-looking chicken. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *