September 10, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield

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It was the year 2012… Approximately 70 ancient Olympic artifacts are stolen from the Archaeological Museum of Greece; “The Artist” wins five Academy Awards and becomes the first silent film to win since 1927; The largest protest in Quebec’s history occurs in Montreal with over 200,000 people marching against government tuition hikes, and for free access to postsecondary education.

What wasn’t recorded in history, however, was when Dan Gunn (CEO of VIATEC) attended SXSW and Burning Man for the very first time. The experiences altered his perspective permanently and caused a domino effect of crazy ideas throughout all of Greater Victoria. He got so inspired that he pitched a vision to Nick Blasko of Rifflandia… the aftermath would soon be called “Thinklandia” and Dan’s hair would never be cut again.


Thinklandia is a 7-day creative festival before Rifflandia that brings together the many aspects of Victoria’s arts, innovation and creative communities into a larger conversation. It’s a big, bright, free event that invites people to think, interact with each other and their environment, and compel creative progress and innovation in Victoria. (Scroll to the bottom to see the full schedule).

“Dan Gunn and Nick Blasko started the festival to give local ideas, creators, and companies a platform to support and promote what Victoria was doing creatively, not only to a larger audience but to each other,” explained Joey MacDonald, Creative Programming Director for Thinklandia. “I like the idea of this festival that crosses creative borders, that can deal with ideas dynamically and involve many different aspects of our creative communities. We’re in our third year, and are taking some huge leaps in how we make this platform more useful and engaging – from compelling subjects tackled by completely different perspectives, to pairing up international speakers with local ones in discussion.”


Yates St parkade rooftop venue being constructed

Yates St parkade rooftop venue being constructed

One of the huge leaps this year is setting the entire 7-day interactive event on the rooftop of the Yates Street parkade (with a few events at Thinklandia HQ), equipped with a stage, bar, patio, seating and a stunning view of the Victoria harbour. The event is completely free for the public to attend thanks to the sponsors: Telus, Rifflandia, the City of Victoria, Atomique Productions, VIATEC, InterArts, Fort Properties, and Stream of Consciousness (who will be live streaming every talk).

There will also be an elevated VIP section on Day 6 and Day 7 for VIP pass holders of Experience Tectoria, a gathering of local entrepreneurs with international investors, thought-shapers and advisors. What better way for an out of town investor to get the full effect and see what this city is really about?


Day 7: September 17th

Day 7: September 17th

Although Victoria’s #1 industry is technology, many tourists still see Victoria as the little, quiet city of tea and flowers. Well, the innovation and creativity is louder than ever and it’s only a matter of time before Thinklandia and Rifflandia become globally known.

“There is historically an assumption that things won’t work, we won’t find an audience, or that Victoria is too small,” suggested MacDonald. “When Rifflandia was proposed as an idea, I think the wisdom then was that it was too big, too bold for the city. Every year is growth, and every year they get to make a compelling case to Victoria about what it is and what it is capable of. Getting to work with them in proposing that Victoria is capable of building and sustaining a creative festival like this is genuinely exciting, and necessary.”

Thinklandia kicks off tonight with the “Public” topic including Mayor Lisa Helps giving out a few awards. Saturday is particularly interesting as they will be talking about physics, neuroscience, rap music, and finishing off by launching a mullet into space. Yup, you read that correctly. Also participating in Thinklandia is Shaun Verrault of Wide Mouth Mason, Biff Naked and Stephen Reid (yes, the bankrobber).

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact

For the full schedule please click here.


SEPT 11 “PUBLIC” – Day 1

  • Jill Doucette • Synergy Enterprises
  • Rande Cook • Visual Artist
  • Lisa Helps • Mayor of Victoria
  • and host Iain Russell of Is This Menswear?


  • Derek Muller • Veritasium, Australia
  • Dr. Heather Berlin • Neuroscientist, NYC
  • Baba Brinkman • Rapper, NYC

SEPT 13 “ILLEGAL” – Day 3

  • Stephen Reid • Author, bankrobber
  • Sarah Smith AKA Ginger Kittens • PEERS, Burlesque dancer
  • Hector Espinosa • Street artist, Mexico

SEPT 14 “ILLEGAL” – Day 4

  • Roy Henry Vickers • Visual artist, storyteller
  • Susan Musgrave • Author, poet
  • hosted by Missie Peters


  • Bif Naked • Musician, activist
  • Rae Spoon • Musician, activist
  • Jason Verners • Illusionist
  • hosted by the incredible Sarah Kramer


  • Shaun Verreault • Wide Mouth Mason
  • Jordan Bower – Digital Storyteller
  • TEDxVictoriaSalon: Creative Education with Tiffany Poirier and Jeff Hopkin


  • Peter Nowak • Technology Journalist, Syndicated Blogger & Columnist
  • Lauren Friese • Founder,

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