Meet the “be curious” team behind the unexpected space at 2643 East Hastings

If you’ve entered this little shop, sandwiched between Green Room Yoga and Lucky’s Exotic Bodega, you know it’s a place that can’t be visited just once. The non-profit community space retail store is dedicated to all ages of people learning and making together in a spirit of curiosity.

Seeking an informal, fun, socially-just place for intergenerational connection, Helen, Surya and Sam are the vibrant humans behind The Learnary.

We saw this as critical to building the world we want to live in, and as something that we had the skills and energy to offer.

The Learnary

Celebrating their 4th year in May 2022, I asked about start-up hurdles, advice for others with small business dreams, and 3 places they love in the East Village and Hastings community.

What was the biggest hurdle in getting The Learnary off the ground? 

City structures being inhospitable to genuinely small, locally-owned businesses (rent, licensing etc.) and Amazon culture.

What would you say to someone who wants to open a shop?

Prepare to do activism in this city around why genuinely small; local businesses are critical to the type of neighbourhoods, city, and world we want to live in and how this is not understood. 

What’s the best thing about what you do?

The best thing about us is that person who walks in the door is warmly greeted, given space to be themselves, and treated as if they have something important to contribute to the community.

Three places you love in the East Village and Hastings community?

Vancouver Public Library (Hastings Branch), Laksa King and Tamam.

Puzzle Exchange, Tinker Kits, and more! I highly recommend checking out this wondrous space in person or visiting their website to see all their curious offerings

Photos generously done by Michal Urbanek Photography


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