Get to know Colleen

Colleen is a long-time active resident of the Kitsilano neighbourhood. Born, raised and educated in Vancouver, Colleen is married, a mother, and a proud descendent from three generations of B.C.ers on both sides of her family, as were both her parents. Just as her grandparents and great-grandparents came to Vancouver to build a better life for their children and children’s children, Colleen is not only committed to helping ensure that future generations can continue to live in a safe, affordable Vancouver but ...

… It is also deeply personal.

Colleen grew-up inside Vancouver politics. The Hardwick family has been involved in various communities and provided civic leadership in the city for three generations. In particular her late father, Dr. Walter G. Hardwick, who served on City Council from 1968 to 1974, and his mother, Iris L. Hardwick, was the first woman elected to the Vancouver Park Board.

Colleen’s father was first elected as a Vancouver City Alderman when Colleen was 10 years old.  As a child, she developed an early understanding of the city, marching in protest of freeway development, studying city council agendas, and hiking through then derelict False Creek. Her first job was working on the Urban Future’s Survey, a key research project which led to the creation of the Livable Region Strategic Plan.

In 1976, the family moved to Victoria with Dr. Hardwick’s appointment as B.C. Deputy Minister of Education, Science & Technology. While completing her degree in Urban Planning, Colleen worked with her father on research in connection with the Knowledge Network and briefly for the City of Victoria Planning Department before graduation.

Colleen’s life took an unexpected pivot when a film company used her family home in Victoria as a filming location. This twist of fate eventually led to two successful decades in the motion picture industry. Colleen initially applied her planning skills in the nascent B.C. Film Industry as a location manager, where she developed organizational systems which became the established norm. 

In the years that followed, Colleen continued to demonstrate a powerful leadership presence in the entertainment business. She joined the Directors Guild of Canada, and served as both National Production Representative and National Secretary Treasurer from 1989 to 1992.  During her tenure she laid the groundwork for a federal-style financial structure which helped diffuse the internecine fighting between the National and District Councils. Since 1990, Colleen has been a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and in 1995 joined the Canadian Media Producers Association. She is also a member in the B.C. Motion Picture Production Industry Association.

In 1992, Colleen established her first company, New City Productions. Throughout the 90s, New City Productions produced dozens of motion pictures for clients including Universal Pictures, Paramount Studios, MGM, CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, Showtime and Lifetime networks.  In the mid-90s, Colleen represented the rapidly growing film industry on the Vancouver Board of Trade Film Advisory Task Force and Industry Canada’s Small Business Advisory Council. She also pioneered labour negotiations with the Council of Film Unions.

Colleen was nominated in the Entrepreneurship category for a prestigious YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 1994, named one of the “13 Most Important People in the B.C. Film Industry” by the Financial Post, and received a “40 under 40” Award from Business in Vancouver magazine in 1997. In 2000, Colleen sold New City Productions to a public company, Sextant Entertainment, where she served as President of Motion Pictures overseeing production, finance and distribution.

After the passing of her father in 2005, Colleen sought and won a Council nomination from the NPA, but was unsuccessful in the election, despite wide endorsement. Shortly afterwards, Colleen was invited by the Marshall McLuhan Foundation to travel to Toronto and compete in their annual Festival of the Future with her prototype for MovieSet.com, a web platform designed to bring the film industry online and, at the same time, bring real-time content direct to consumers. She won the Vortex Award in New Media innovation, which encouraged her to pursue a path of digital technology innovation.

Colleen circled back to her urban geography roots while working on a planning project in 2010. Negotiations had stalled between the project’s involved parties. Both sides wanted to be able to understand how residents’ views differed within the nine individual neighbourhoods that lay along the corridor from Kitsilano to Marpole. Colleen sought to invent a solution that would legitimately and defensibly collect public opinion online geospatially, authentically and transparently. She received support from the National Research Council of Canada IRAP and developed PlaceSpeak.com. Since prototyping in 2011 with the City of Vancouver, PlaceSpeak’s pioneering work in the area of digital identity authentication and citizen engagement powers online consultations for 100+  municipal, regional and federal clients worldwide.

Along the way, Colleen raised two daughters who both live and work in Vancouver. She now lives in the Hardwick family home in Kitsilano with her husband Garry Chalk, a noted actor. She is a life-long member of Fairview Baptist Church and is active in the UBC and Geography alumni associations. Throughout her life, politics and community well-being have been at the forefront of her concerns and especially so now in Vancouver, which she feels is at another turning point. "The City of Vancouver is a wonderful place but in order to keep it that way it needs stronger leadership and stewardship, which is why I am running for council," says Colleen.