An intimate evening of conversation

What's the Big Idea is a different kind of series...

Part presentation, part moderated salon discussion, with a diverse line-up of guest speakers and topics that are meant to spark lively discussion, spirited debate and new ideas, in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Add a glass of wine from Henry of Pelham and the local lens of our eclectic moderators, and you have a provocative mix that offers an evening you won’t easily forget. Don’t miss the launch of the premiere series: and bring a friend, to continue the discussion on the way home!

$15 for students
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery, 1469 Pelham Road, St.Catharines
Free parking
Price includes light snacks and one glass of wine


March 5, 2020 7:00 PM

Dave Meslin and Liz Benneian

Presented by:
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery and Armstrong Strategy Group
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery, 1469 Pelham Road, RR1, St. Catharines

Build Up: How Teardown can be the key to better governance

Join moderator John Armstrong, and have your say, as we discuss democracy, governance and how a growing Niagara can reinvent itself to better reflect its citizens, their interests and their needs. Panelists include: author and community organizer Dave Meslin, whose book Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up, explores how to raise our expectations and re-imagine anew democracy; Liz Benneian, a Director with A Better Niagara, a citizen’s coalition dedicated to better local governance and citizen engagement.

Dave Meslin is a community activist who inspires better engagement between government and citizens. His TED Talk about apathy has more than 1.7 million views and his 90second video clip from the 2015 federal election coverage, using colourful stacks of Lego bricks to explain how our voting system fails us, has over 2.5million views on Facebook alone. He has been called a “wizard,” a “mastermind,”and “the ultimate ideas guy.”

Vineland resident Liz Benneian is a former journalist and newspaper editor who has been leading environmental advocacy and educational organizations since 2004. In 2018, she became a Director with A Better Niagara the citizen’s coalition dedicated to better local governance and citizen engagement. Over the past 16 years, Liz has organized many successful citizen-led campaigns and worked with groups around the Province, teaching them how to Organize To Win. Currently, Liz is also the Executive Director and Manager of Environmental Education for Ontario green, and is the founder of the Ontario Zero Waste Coalition.