Toastmasters is an organization with numerous clubs around Vancouver where people overcome fears of public speaking and master oral communication skills.
If you like public speaking, or hate it but want to conquer your fears, then Toastmasters is the perfect club to join. It’s safe, fun, affordable and empowering!
Vancouver Toastmasters Clubs
Toastmasters is an international non-profit educational and self-improvement organization with dozens of club locations throughout Metro Vancouver. Toastmasters clubs are also fun and social, so great places to meet people from all walks of life.
Most clubs are open to the public and the organization attracts everyone from the most timid speaker to some of the region’s most brilliant.
See below for general information about Toastmasters, and then even further below for examples of exceptional Metro Vancouver club locations.
Founded in 1905 in the state of Illinois, Toastmasters today has over 300,000 members in over 140 countries. In the Lower Mainland alone there are close to 200 clubs (so more locations probably than either McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s!).
The focus of Toastmasters is on both public speaking and leadership development. Through practice, mentoring, coaching and a proven system, members learn how to speak in public with confidence, clarity, humour and impact, as well as with minimal fear.
A typical Toastmasters meeting lasts anywhere between about one hour and two. Some meetings are in the early morning (so before people head off to work), some are during lunch hours, and the majority are on weekdays in the evening.
At Toastmasters between about a dozen and 30 people attend each meeting and members take on different roles.
In a typical Toastmasters meeting one member acts as a sort of MC – the Toastmaster or Chairperson for the meeting. Other members share the roles of timer (as every talk is timed), prepared speech presenters, the grammarian and evaluators.
Most meetings include two or three prepared speeches that last 7 to 10 minutes each, plus between two and ten table topics speeches which last for a couple of minutes each and for which speakers have no time to prepare (which makes them especially fun and extra nerve-racking!).
Every speech and talking role in a Toastmasters meeting is evaluated. Members receive feedback on what was effective in their talks, what was great, and what can be improved. The evaluation process is done in a friendly, constructive and non-threatening way, and everyone appreciates that feedback is the way to improve.
Although Toastmasters is about public speaking, overcoming fears, self-improvement and receiving constructive feedback, it’s also lots of fun. In many clubs the laughing is contagious and the level of energy in the room is impressive.
Membership in a Toastmasters club typically costs only a couple of hundred dollars per half year, and new members are always welcome. Most regular clubs meet once a week, so at $200 or so for half a year that works out at just a few dollars per meeting. For value for money and self-improvement outcomes, you can’t beat it!
Interested in checking out a club? You can attend a meeting for free. Find a list of clubs on the Toastmasters International website, or see our mini-list of some of the region’s best clubs below.
Vancouver Toastmaster Clubs
The Lower Mainland is home to dozens of exceptional Toastmaster clubs. Some are regular clubs, some are advanced clubs (so restricted to more seasoned Toastmasters), some are private groups (like for members of a given business), and some have a theme (like entrepreneurship, politics or humour).
If you’re interested in learning about Toastmasters we suggest you check out at least a couple of clubs. Some are just okay, most are exceptional, and every one is unique in its own way and so more or less appealing to different people.
Below we list some of our favourite clubs. The list though is far from exhaustive, so checkout the Toastmasters International website for a list of clubs in your area. There are dozens of clubs, with at least one in virtually every community. Also, again, note that “advanced” clubs are meant for seasoned Toastmasters.
Downtown Vancouver Clubs
- Seymour Speakers – a high-energy morning club that meets on Thursday mornings from 7:30 until 8:50 am at Vancouver Community College at 250 West Pender Street in Vancouver. (This is an exceptional club which we were a member of for a number of years. If you live or work downtown and don’t mind mornings, we highly recommend it!)
- Royal T – meets on the 34th Floor of the Royal Centre at 1055 West Georgia Street on Wednesdays from 5:45 to 6:45 pm.
- Positive Thinkers – meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at the Yaletown Roundhouse at 181 Roundhouse Mews.
- City Hall Connaught – meets at noon on Wednesdays at Vancouver City Hall at 453 West 12th Avenue.
- Advanced Orators – a multiple-award-winning advanced club that meets on just the first Thursday of each month from 7 to 9 pm at the YWCA Hotel Vancouver at 733 Beatty Street.
- Politically Speaking – a talented and sometimes hilariously irreverent advanced club that meets on the first Friday of each month starting at 7 pm at the Roundhouse at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Yaletown.
- Vancouver Entrepreneur Toastmasters – a club with an entrepreneurial theme that meets on Wednesdays from 6:30 until 9 pm at the HiVE Vancouver at #210 – 128 West Hastings Street. (Note: one of their members, Roger Killen, is the producer of TEDxStanleyPark which is an exceptional day-long annual event featuring over a dozen inspirational public speakers in the spring. Check it out if you can!)
- Night Vision Toastmasters – meets Thursdays from 7 to 9 pm at 1440 West 12th Avenue in Vancouver.
- Positive Expressions – meets on Wednesdays at 7:10 pm on the 3rd Floor at 1555 West 7th Avenue (between Granville and Fir Street).
Other Toastmaster Clubs
Examples of exceptional Toastmasters clubs in other parts of the Lower Mainland include the following:
- Friendship Toastmasters – meets on Monday evenings from 7:15 until 9:15 at Silver Harbour Centre at 144 East 22nd Street in North Vancouver. (This is a great club which we were a member of for a number of years.)
- Quay Speakers – meets in Room CC280 on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm in the ICBC building on the 2nd floor at 145 Chadwick Court in North Vancouver. It’s located right at Lonsdale Quay, near the Seabus terminal, so very convenient.
- Rocky Point Club – meetings are held on Monday nights from 7:00 until 9:15 pm at Port Moody City Hall at 100 Newport Drive.
- Spontaneous Speakers – meets on the first and third Thursday of the month at Semiahmoo House at 15306 24th Avenue in South Surrey from 7 to 9 pm.
- Professional Edge Toastmasters – an advanced club that meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 o’clock in the morning at the Peninsula Resort at 2088 152nd Street in South Surrey.
- Competitive Speakers – an advanced club that meets every third Thursday from 6:45 to 9 pm at the Fortinet Corporation at 4190 Still Creek Drive in Burnaby.
- Just Pros Toastmasters – an advanced club that meets every first and third Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 11:30 am at the Justice Institute of BC at 715 McBride Boulevard in New Westminster.
Numerous other great clubs exist all over the Lower Mainland including in Richmond, Langley, Coquitlam and all the way to Abbotsford.
If you plan to check a club out, visit their website and send them an e-mail. You can just show up if you want, but better to let them know in advance so they can look out for you, let you know exactly how to find them, and inform you if for whatever reason they don’t plan to meet on a particular day.
Check out the Toastmasters International website for a list of clubs in your area.
In addition to weekly or monthly meetings, Toastmasters offers fabulous special events from time to time at various venues in the Lower Mainland. There are district-wide training sessions, presentations by high-profile speakers, speaking competitions and annual conferences.
The Lower Mainland is divided into two Toastmasters Districts and each has its own series of spring and fall conferences. At these weekend-long events there are multiple workshops and amazing talks. If you’re a member of Toastmasters you really need to check out these amazing (and remarkably affordable) conferences. They are tons of fun and you learn so much!
At each conference, in addition to multiple workshops and guest speaker presentations, there are also public speaking competitions. There are international speech contests, humorous speech contests, short 2-3 minute table-topics contests and evaluation contests. Whether you’re a member of Toastmasters or not, the competitions are highly recommended and open to members of the public wanting to watch.
Toastmasters WOW Event
In addition to the semi-annual conferences and miscellaneous other special events, one of the Lower Mainland’s signature Toastmaster happenings is the annual WOW Event where some of the region’s top speakers entertain for an evening at a local theatre. The WOW Event usually takes place in the early spring, costs only about $10 and is highly recommended. You won’t find an evening with as high-quality speakers for as little as $10 anywhere else!