PACE Community support staff are hoping a new kind of open house will not only help educate the public about consent but bring the conversation into the mainstream. The first-ever “Consent Event” will feature the theme of “Do you consent to be my valentine?”

Fund Development Coordinator Buffy MacIntosh says PACE has had open houses in the past, but a lack of attendance forced officials to re-think their strategy when it comes to opening their doors to the public.

“How can we have a fun conversation about healthy boundaries, relationships and consent and those kinds of things, and also just invite the community to come to pace and connect with us on a more community level than an official capacity level?”

Some Valentine’s Day styled cards used for the “Consent Event” (Facebook, PACE)

McIntosh says the artwork used as promotion for the event with messages like “Bee Mine, but only if you want to”, and “I love Consent, and I love you” is meant to mimic Valentine’s Day cards, and she hopes the more casual feel of the event will help ease people into what can be a very difficult conversation.

“Make sure people understand how complicated the conversation is, and how not black and white it is,” she says. “That silence does not equal consent is a great example of those complexities,” she adds.

McIntosh says event won’t be typical with one person standing at the front of the room with a slideshow and prepared presentation. Instead, a food tasting and door prizes will also be available.

“We’re going to do a little bit of trivia and those kinds of things, so it will hopefully be less formal and education like and a little more informal and fun.”

The event is free and open to the public. it’s set to run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 30th at the Pace Building on 101 Street and 103 Avenue.