Get to know Colleen

Colleen Hardwick was born, raised and educated in Vancouver, as were both her parents. Colleen has two daughters, Kathryn and Shannon, who live and work in Vancouver, and is soon to be a grandmother! She is married to Entertainment Hall of Fame character actor, Garry Chalk, and lives in Kitsilano in her family home. 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, served on City Council (1968-1974) and is known as the ‘Father of False Creek”. His mother, Iris L. Hardwick, was the first woman elected to the Vancouver Park Board (1956-1960).

Colleen’s father was first elected as a Vancouver City Alderman when she 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. Hardwick graduated from high school a year early in 1975 followed her father into UBC’s Geography Department.  (She continues her academic pursuits at UBC to this day).

Colleen was headed for a career in Urban Planning before a twist of fate launched her into a 20 year career in the Film Industry. When a movie was shot in her family home, she changed course to planning movies instead. From the mid-80s to 2000, she progressed through the ranks to create her first company, New City Productions, which produced dozens of film and TV projects in the region. During this period, she was nominated in the Entrepreneurship category for a prestigious YWCA Women of Distinction Award, 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 for entrepreneurship.

After her father died in June 2005, Colleen sought and won a Council nomination from the NPA, but was unsuccessful in the election, despite wide endorsement. One door closes and another opens, and Hardwick switched gears again, this time with an eye on the Internet. She won the 2006 Vortex Award for Excellence in New Media Innovation from the Marshall McLuhan Festival of the Future for creating MovieSet.com. While building her new company, she served on the City’s Development Permit Board until 2008. In 2009, Colleen was named as an Influential Woman in Business by Business in Vancouver.

Circling back to her urban geography roots, while working on a planning project in 2010, Colleen sought to consult with residents online within specific neighbourhood boundaries. When she could not find a solution, she set out to invent one. The result is PlaceSpeak, a pioneering location-based community consultation platform designed to authenticate online public consultation in order to facilitate evidence-based decision-making and policy development. Since receiving the support of the National Research Council of Canada for technology validation in 2011, Hardwick has continued to advance the platform’s technology and processes.  She is a frequent speaker on the subject of online citizen engagement.