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Our Staff

The day-to-day operations of The Learnary are managed by our Co-Principals, Surya Govender and Sam Mills. You can find at least one of us at the space almost anytime we're open, or online at becurious@thelearnary.

Surya Govender


 I have been plotting variations on The Learnary since the turn of the century (ie. 2000)...and am super excited to have folks with their own visions, ready to make this happen!

As I wound my way to this project, I've tried my hand at more than a few jobs, from personal shopping, community garden building, and tractor driving to health research, government bureaucracy, and most recently, university instruction. At my core, though, I am an educator, writer, and maker of things. As an artist, as in life, I love to play with textiles, colour, and, of course, learning new things all the time.

I am also the parent of two small children and the co-manager of a tiny homestead in the middle of the city (aka my house). I hail from Vancouver, and am so excited to be offering a new way for our beautiful city to find connections and grow community.

(Photo Credit: Darlene Tandon)

Sam Mills


I am an educator and an unschooler.  I have a M.A. in Educational Studies, with a  focus on democratic education and co-created pedagogy. My favourite thing to do is to work with people to co-create spaces, systems and activities that allow people to support themselves and each other.  So often, when we collaborate with others we can create things that function and nourish more deeply than we could have imagined working alone.

For over fifteen years, I have had the profound delight of developing my practice under the mentorship of Helen Hughes.  Amoung other things, she has taught me about deep respect and the important work of paying attention to the sparkle in people’s eyes.

In addition to The Learnary, I run a small business providing academic and self regulation support for self directed learners called Touchstone Sessions.  Some of the other projects I have been involved with include: Windsor House Democratic School, Playgroup Co-Facilitator, Village Free School, Capilano College Adult Basic Education, Humanities 101, and Bamfield Community School.

The Learnary holds so many of the threads that I value in one lovely space within my East Vancouver home:  inter-generational, curiosity based, hospitality, nourishment, play, creation, and doing good work together.  I am thrilled to step into the role of co-principal of The Learnary. I am super curious to see what we will all make it grow into.

(Photo credit: Ro Cran)

Search our website here. If you can't find what you're looking for, please email us at becurious@thelearnary.ca

The Learnary is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. We are humbled by this history and grateful for our use of this land.

Phone: 604-215-1146

2643 East Hastings 

Vancouver, BC 

V5K 1Z5



Free (2 hour) public parking is available 1/2 block north of Hastings between Penticton and Kamloops.

Store Hours

*Now Open 7 days a week*

Monday to Saturday  

11:00 - 6:00

Sundays 11:00 - 5:00

You can also purchase online for  pick-up in store or curb side.

No-contact deliveries are also available for a small fee.


Accessibility is important to us. Please note, however, that we are in an old building with limitations.

The Learnary Storefront is on one level.

The front entrance door is 34” wide. There is a short slope outside the front door which rises approximately 5” over 13".

Our bathroom is approximately 57” x 60”.  To access, you need to pass through three doorways. The smallest has a width of 26”. The bathroom is non-gendered.

Our back door (private entrance) has five wooden steps.  

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