Shoes and Transforming Lives

Veteran to Newcomer, Page to Stage

How?  We empower women by teaching advanced English writing skills. We follow it with voice training and experience in public performance. 

What?  The Shoe Project holds writing workshops, exhibits and performances in which immigrant women tell their stories of arrival in, and adaptation to, a Canadian community through the lens of a pair of shoes.
Who?  Senior Canadian novelists and theatre artists share their skills with newcomers.
Why shoes?  Shoes cross cultures and are rich with stories.

News and Events



After a sold-out performance at the Museum of Vancouver earlier this summer, The Shoe Project opens the fall season in Toronto with new stories of arrival and adaptation to Canada. In partnership with PEN Canada, The Shoe Project presents Our Shoes, Our Streets. Marking the fifth-month anniversary of the tragic van attack in North York, we bring our personal stories of courage to its cultural heart and hub as a way to bring this resilient community together and to honour its victims and families.

From Syria, Turkey, South Ossieta, Taiwan, China, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, performers in Our Shoes, Our Stories have been coached in writing and speaking by Katherine Govier and Leah Cherniak and vocal coaching and direction by Sarah Weatherwax. 

Take a front row seat Sunday, September 23, 2018 at the Toronto Centre For the Arts (5040 Yonge Street) and discover the world of migration and integration. Unite in pride and learn that you never truly know someone until you know their story or have walked in their shoes. Between performances, the public is invited to join us in a dialogue about the power of personal narrative in building and maintaining our values.

Date: Sunday, September 23, 2018

Performance Times:  1:30 & 4:30 pm

Toronto Centre For the Arts (5040 Yonge Street, Toronto)

Tickets available for purchase from the Toronto Centre For the Arts Box Office,

Breaking Ground: an evening of migrant women stories

PIRS (Pacific Immigrant Resources Society) has been working with immigrant and refugee women and their children for more than 40 years. We’ve helped thousands of women learn English and develop leadership skills. The importance of community and a trauma-informed approach is embedded in all we do. Breaking Ground is about celebrating the resilience and courage of these women

Four immigrant women from the Vancouver chapter of The Shoe Project tell their stories of arrival and adaptation—through a pair of shoes..

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7:30pm (doors at 7)
Emerald Room (555 Gore Street, Vancouver)

Tickets: $45 (includes appetizer buffet and one beverage)

Learn more and purchase tickets

We have an Executive Director!
Lilie Zendel has spent over three decades translating vision into action in the arts. Prior to joining The Shoe Project, she worked at the City of Toronto, where she launched StreetARToronto (StART). Katherine will stay on as Artistic Director. Learn more about Lilie.

The second Shoe Project newsletter is now available.

Meet our Members

We are pleased to introduce Kiden Jonathan.

Q: What does Canada mean to you in three words??
Peace, tolerance and protection. 

Learn more about our featured member and read her story.