Main Stage Speakers


Co-hosts of HGTV Canada's Backyard Builds

Brian McCourt is a contractor, design expert and real estate flipper.  Growing up, Brian had an obsession with real estate. Without independent financial means, he gathered investment from friends and bought his first fixer-upper and successfully flipped his first property. By the age of 25, Brian had successfully flipped 7 properties. With heavy demand, he began a new venture: Brian McCourt Designs.

With over 13 years of experience as a renovation specialist, Brian has unique concepts and a full understanding of the home renovation process. Brian's well-rounded skill set, knowledge of building products, and creative mind make him a true asset to the world of renovation.

As a Principal Designer and co-owner of Qanūk Interiors Inc., Sarah Keenleyside has become recognized for creating unique and creative environments tailored to the individuality of her clients.

Sarah's signature approach to interiors is a result of a multi-disciplinary background in art and design. Beginning with an early interest in fine art, she went on to apply those theories to the designed interior while studying Environmental Design at OCADU. Her varied work experience includes residential and commercial interiors as well as experimenting in graphic and industrial design. A move to working in lifestyle television alongside Candice Olson reignited her love of the residential interior and inspired her to team up with fellow OCADU graduate, Lindsay Konior to found the boutique design firm Qanūk Interiors Inc.

Sarah has lived and travelled extensively abroad which has influenced her eclectic sensibility and fueled her desire to design in a style that is uniquely Canadian. Sarah pulls inspiration from various cultures and design styles, defining what she sees as the "new" Northern voice.

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Danielle Bryk

Designer/Contractor featured on Home to Win and Bryk House on HGTV.

Danielle Nicholas Bryk is a self made Renaissance woman. Blessed with an incredible sense of style and a keen intelligence, she is equally comfortable in the domestic realm and on the construction site and has transformed numerous homes while navigating the minefield that is the modern family. This wife and mother of three children is a Dean's List Honour Graduate from Queen's University with a degree in English Literature and Art History. She furthered her schooling while studying design at the Parsons New School in N.Y.C.

She has the ability to create beautiful spaces on a limited budget, making use of common sense, an aptitude with tools, and a boundless creativity.  After having her house featured as one of 2012's best homes in House and Home magazine and completing her first television show Family Under Construction for the DIY Network, Danielle was thrilled to launch a new show, Bryk House on HGTV Canada. The show follows the launch of her design and project managing company, The Bryk House. 

As Danielle tackles the challenges of starting a business, guiding clients through their renovations and finding time for her family at home, she always manages to find some magic in the chaos. Now Danielle is back with a 2-episode special, Flip Addict, which follows Danielle fighting her way through a renovation flip nightmare to transform a neglected home into a buyer's dream. She is also one of the featured designers on HGTV’s Home To Win, now entering it’s third season.

Carson Arthur

Carson Arthur

Landscape Designer and Host of HGTV’s Critical Listing, Green Force, Room to Grow, and Home To Win  

As the star of HGTV Canada’s new series, Home to Win, Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer focused on environmentally friendly design, and teaches homeowners how to raise the value of their homes through outdoor renovations. Carson also writes a column for the Halifax Chronicle Herald and the Sun Media Group, and is the author of the sold-out book Garden Designs for Outdoor Living. In 2015, Carson became the spokesperson for Canadian Tire’s latest initiative – Canvas, a complete line of outdoor furniture and accessories.

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Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault
DIY & Lifestyle Expert

As a DIY & design expert, Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault has spent years crafting a unique philosophy for design that fuses ingenuity, whimsy, and quality workmanship – all on a “frugalista” budget. She believes that achieving great style and design isn’t determined by how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. Amongst the many hats she wears, Leigh-Ann is a regular contributor on Cityline and a spokesperson for Rust-Oleum Canada.  With a passion to educate and inspire, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity she gets to spark creativity and instill confidence in others who strive to “DO IT YOURSELF”.

Presented by: Rustoleum 

Neil Harding - WebNeil Harding

Neil Harding has been  with Sleep Country Canada for over 17 years. He is responsible for home shows, training and product knowledge nationally. He has extensive experience in all aspects of the mattress industry and is considered an expert in his field.

Presented by:

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Jamie Banfield
Jamie Banfield Design
Principle Designer

An award-winning interior designer, Jamie Banfield has become a creative force in the industry, and recognized for his contemporary West Coast style.

Specializing in design for all spaces, with a focus on kitchen and bath, Jamie has the ability to transform and create well-edited spaces that exude both function and beauty. With a passion for texture and sustainable design, he often uses reclaimed materials, offering a unique perspective to his finished spaces.

Recently recognized by the National Kitchen and Bath Association as one of the industry’s top 30 Under 30 in North America, and 2016 finalist for Western Livings designer of the year. Jamie’s work can be seen in private residences throughout Western Canada. Jamie Banfield Designs strives themselves on good service and have been recognized with best of house in service for 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Presented by:    Jamie Banfield
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Sarah Gallop
Sarah Gallop Design Inc
Principle Designer

Sarah started her career in Commercial Design, working on retail stores and offices. It didn’t take long for her to remember that her true love was in Residential Design – something she discovered back when she was twelve. She took a job as the Lead Designer for an award winning Design/Build Company and worked on many large renovations and custom homes before starting SGDI.

Over the years Sarah has designed many award winning spaces and continues to do so with her team at SGDI. In addition to her design awards, in her first year of business Sarah Gallop Design Inc was named ‘Best New Business’ in South Delta and Sarah was a finalist for the Delta Chamber of Commerce’s Hats Off Awards in the Rising Star Category.

Sarah is a regular contributing writer for Black Press and Glacier Media and a featured columnist for Westcoast Homes + Design magazine. She has presented on the HGTV Main Stage at the BC Home + Garden Show and the Vancouver Home + Design Show. Sarah has also appeared on Global TV, CTV and CBC Radio.

Abstract Homes and Renovations

Vancouver Luxury Custom Build and Renovation Expert. Living and working in Vancouver!

With a history of satisfied customers spanning 32 years, Sandro Stefanucci has earned a reputation as a meticulous and efficient contractor. Dedicated to the highest level of quality and customer satisfaction, Sandro is a hands-on multitasking powerhouse. Sandro’s passion for his clients and projects is reflected in the quality of his work and his portfolio of successful jobs. If you’re looking for the best detail oriented, full service contractor to manage your major home renovation or luxury dream home build – build it with Sandro, build it with Abstract.

Kathy Yuen


Kathy is an Architectural Technologist and Principal of Phase One Design.  Her award-winning design firm has been working with homeowners for 11 years and has helped over 500 clients successfully design and plan their dream homes.  Her area of expertise is in designing “tear down & rebuild” homes.  She has over 21 years experience, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.  Her latest book is entitled “Your Next New House:  How To Tear Down & Rebuild Your House Stress-Free, On-Time And On Budget”.

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Jason Blue’s journey to KANDY Outdoor Flooring as a new franchise partner is very similar to route taken by co-founders Kelly and Doug Niessen.  Jason’s search for an outdoor flooring solution for his own balcony led him to the KANDY website, where he liked what he saw. KANDY Outdoor Flooring expands home experiences with new outdoor flooring for condo balconies, ground level patios and rooftops. He’s been working in Vancouver’s film industry for the last few years. With a Bachelor of Commerce from Montreal’s Concordia University, the Canadian Securities Course and a Quebec real estate license under his belt, and work experience that includes hedge fund analyst in the British Virgin Islands and senior fund accountant in Bermuda, Jason brings a diverse skillset to his own KANDY franchise business.

Graeme HGraeme Huguet
My House Design/Build Team Ltd. 

Graeme is the Owner of My House Design/Build Team; A Multi-Award Winning Renovator & Custom Home Builder. To date, they have been recognized as a Winner or Finalist in over 100 industry awards, including winner of BC Georgie "Renovator of the Year," for 2014, 2015, & 2016, and Finalist for this year, 2017.  

 As a certified BC "Green" Builder, his team of designers and trades persons take pride in guiding clients through the 'Design/Build Process' to create Great Living Spaces. Graeme's team is most noted for incorporating natural light and West Coast Contemporary Design.
No matter the scope of the project - from a small improvement, to the full renovation of a condo, townhome, or detached house, to the building of a new custom home - It all starts with a cup of coffee to discuss your potential project.

Graeme's most loved phrase from homeowners after they see their finished project is "WOW!!" 


Steve WhysallSteve Whysall has been writing a gardening column for the Sun for more than 25 years.  In that time, he has had five books on gardening. Four of them were No. 1 bestsellers in BC.  Steve's weekly In the Garden full-colour page appears every Friday in the Arts and Life section. Steve was named Canada's Garden Journalist of the Year in 2015.  The Sun's data bank calculates that Steve has written more than 2,900 by-lined stories for the paper over the last two decades.  He has also written for various magazines, including Canadian Gardening and Gardens Illustrated in the UK. Over the last five years, Steve has lead 20 international garden tours.

Reinier.vdPoll (2)Reinier van de Poll has a unique mix of practical and theoretical experience.  Reinier has worked for several horticulturists, garden centers, and landscape design firms. He is a graduate of the Landscape Design and Horticultural program at BCIT, and has also studied under Britain’s leading designer John Brookes.  Over 14 years ago, Reinier started Van de Poll Garden Design and the firm’s accomplishments have led to many accolades such as a Gold Ribbon at the VanDusen Show and a listing amongst the country’s top designers in Canadian’s House and Home’s Gardening Life.  Reinier is a lecturer at garden clubs and with the Master Gardener’s Program. 

DavidTracey-picDavid Tracey is a writer, designer and community ecologist based in Vancouver. He has a master's degree in Landscape Architecture from UBC and has been a certified arborist since 2004. He is the Executive Director of Tree City, a non-profit environmental group that aims to "help people and trees grow together." His environmental design and consultation company EcoUrbanist works with individuals, companies and municipalities to turn ecological ideas into urban greening projects.

As well as teaching part time for Simon Fraser University and Gaia College, he works as a journalist and author. His books include Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto and Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution. His most recent work, Vancouver Tree Book, became a #1 BC Books Bestseller.

Brian MinterA recipient of the 'Order of Canada' and an 'Honorary Doctorate of Technology', Brian Minter, B.A., is a horticulturist, entrepreneur and co-owner with his wife, Faye, of Minter Gardens, an innovative destination garden centre and greenhouse growing operation in Chilliwack.  Brian is well known from his magazine articles, syndicated newspaper columns and TV and radio programs.  Brian is in demand internationally as a speaker by industry and gardening groups.  Brian has sat on the boards of many community organizations.  He has recently completed two terms as the first Chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley.  In 2014, in Cincinnati, Brian was presented with the 'Award of Merit', the highest honour given by the Perennial Plant Association.  In 2014, in Pittsburgh, he was presented with the 'Hall of Fame Award', the highest honour given by the Garden Writers' Association.

Janis MatsonJanis Matson grew up in Burnaby. She is awed by nature, loving sunsets and the beach, and a plant lover as well as an amateur photographer and sports enthusiast.

Janis loves working with people and enjoys the challenge of making garden spaces look and feel good.

She worked at Murray Nurseries in Southlands from 1988 – 1993.

She is the owner and operator of Shoreline Landscape Design Ltd. and has been for the last 20 years.

In addition to her company demands she is also the faculty instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley with the horticultural diploma and apprenticeship programs. Janis is also the contract faculty instructor with Burnaby Community Education with the horticultural RLT, hardscape and Apprenticeship programs and an adult education instructor at VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

Janis has a Red Seal in horticulture as well as a landscape design and horticultural diploma, floral design certificate, arborist certificate and provincial instructors diploma.

Conway Lum

Conway Lum has worked for GardenWorks at Mandeville (originally Mandeville Garden Centre located at the corner of Nelson St. and Marine Drive, Burnaby) since 1988. He started out in the nursery but is now in garden supplies and on the information desk and now conducts most of the in-house seminars and workshops.

He was recipient of the “Garden Communicator of the Year Award” by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association (BCLNA) for 2012 and 2006. He is a contributor to the “Ask-the-Pro” column in BC Living (Garden Wise) Magazine. Conway is an evening instructor for New Westminster Continuing Education for gardening classes. He is the past recipient of the “Environmental Star Award” by the City of Burnaby for European Chafer public education and previously served on the European Chafer advisory committee.

He is currently serving on the provincial certification committee for the BCLNA and Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA). Conway is one of the first three candidates to receive the “Certified Horticultural Technician for retail” in Canada (CNLA) and he recently obtained the “Landscape Industry Certified” technician for ornamental and turf maintenance (CNLA) and is environment designate (2015) as advisory capacity for the retail commodity group for BCLNA.

Conway is a professional Agrologist and graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in plant science (ornamental horticulture) and botany.

Gary LewisGary Lewis began botanizing his local fields and forests around the age of four (first in Germany, then in Nova Scotia and Ontario), began collecting houseplants at the age of 10 and began gardening at the age of 15.  He holds a Masters of Science degree in Plant Ecology from the University of British Columbia, training which, with its focus on the botany and ecology of wild plants, greatly informs his horticulture.

Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials in 2004 on his 28th birthday.  Since that time he has greatly expanded the nursery to include one of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada with over 4000 different plants each year. He strives to include cutting edge new perennials, tried and true garden stalwarts, and the rare and unusual in his plant offerings. In 2013 Phoenix Perennials launched mail order across Canada to bring their unique selection of plants to a broader audience.

From 2009 to 2015 Gary was the Canada Region Director for the Perennial Plant Association, the North America-wide industry association that brings gardeners the Perennial Plant of the Year. He has written for various magazines including Gardens West, Garden Making, and Fine Gardening. He is currently writing The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Groundcovers. Gary is a frequent speaker at home and garden shows, professional conferences, and garden club meetings. In 2014 Gary was selected as one of Canada’s “Top 10 Horticultural Professionals Under 40” by Greenhouse Canada magazine. In 2015 Phoenix Perennials was selected for the “Revolutionary 100” honouring the 100 best cutting edge garden centres in North America by Today’s Garden Center Magazine. At the Canadian Garden Centre of the Year Awards Phoenix Perennials won the category of “Growing Gardeners” from 2012-2014 and the category of “Growing Sales” in 2015. 

Mike LascelleMike Lascelle has a thirty-year background in horticulture including working as an estate gardener, landscape foreman and garden designer, and is currently employed as the nursery manager at Amsterdam Garden Centre in Pitt Meadows. He holds a diploma of horticulture in urban forestry from the University of Guelph, is an ISA Certified Arborist and a BC Red Seal landscape horticulturist. Mike has written two gardening books, ‘A Grower’s Choice’ and ‘A Place in the Rain – Designing the West Coast Garden’, as well as numerous regional and national magazine articles and has been the garden columnist for the Maple Ridge News for the past 15 years. He is currently working on a new book about edible ornamental plants to be published by Douglas & McIntyre in spring 2018. 

Leanne JohnsonCombining her business savvy and passion for gardening, Leanne Johnson heads up operations at BC's largest garden centre company: GardenWorks  - with 7 locations across the Lower Mainland, Victoria and the South Okanagan. Saturday mornings you’ll find Leanne co-hosting a lively gardening segment on Global TV.  

Over this past year Leanne summoned her passion for growing both veggies and communities to create “The Learning Garden” on site at GardenWorks- Lougheed in Burnaby.

The Learning Garden in a collaborative effort between GardenWorks and Lifespace Gardens, as well as local charities and Schools.   Its mandate is to be a confidence building resource and cool hang out place where kids and adults can come to get their hands dirty – all while learning just how fun and amazingly easy it is to become an urban farmer / patio veggie gardener!  The garden experience is supported by a new website, jam packed with helpful ‘how to grow veggies” videos!  ProjectGarden.Ca   Now that’s cool!

EganEgan Davis has a lifelong passion for horticulture. With experience in residential garden maintenance and landscape construction, nursery and greenhouse production and public horticulture, his career has been diverse. Egan has consistently been an active public speaker at garden clubs, professional conferences and in the media.

As a horticulture instructor, Egan has trained foundation program students at Park & Tilford Gardens and taught adult education at VanDusen Botanical Garden and the University of Saskatchewan. Currently, he is the chief instructor for the Horticulture Training Program at the UBC Botanical Garden. Through activities with HortEducationBC, Egan has been active promoting and developing Red Seal certification in landscape horticulture.

In recent years, Egan has been collaborating with horticulturalists in Europe in the pursuit of developing a progressive horticulture movement that focuses on urban ecology and sustainable practice. When Egan has time away from his busy schedule, he enjoys botanically focused travel excursions.