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Meet the Team

MEET THE TEAM

Meet the Forbidden Vancouver Team! Our storytellers come from all walks of life, but have one thing in common…they love getting out on the streets and sharing Vancouver’s history with people from all over the world.

WILL WOODS

Will (he/him) founded Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours in 2012. He recalls the early days of the company “with just me, in a fedora, telling stories on the streets about prohibition in Vancouver.” The company has grown and flourished over the last 10 years, with Will now managing a company of 18 talented guides. 

Will doesn’t do that many tours any more, but on occasion you’ll catch him leading one of the tours he created. He’s also the man behind our special events including Secrets of the Penthouse, the Last Gang in Town, War for the Holidays, Backstage at the Commodore, and Who Killed Kraft Bier?

Will says he loves, “seeing the whites of people’s eyes while leading walking tours over the years, and knowing they are totally immersed in the story.” He goes on to say, “I’m also proud to have created experiences with guest speakers who actually lived Vancouver history. We’ve had retired VPD officers Grant MacDonald and Vern Campbell share their stories of raiding the Penthouse nightclub in the 60s and 70s, former gang members Danny Williamson and Bradley Bennett talking about their battles in Clark Park, and musician Jim Byrnes sharing his tales of a life in music at the Commodore. These are really special moments.”

Will’s talent lies in his unending curiosity for history and people, and works in the spirit of continual improvement. In 2022, Will started work to decolonize the company and its work with “Project Sunrise.”

Outside of work, the multi-talented founder, husband, and father enjoys playing blues guitar, running, and cooking (and eating!) curries.

Will’s Post Tour Recommendations

Will’s Vancouver Recommendations

  • If you’re in Gastown during the day then definitely check out Cappelleria Bertacchi on Water Street. Their owner Adi Bertacchi is a fourth generation Italian hatmaker and the store has some incredible creations. Full disclosure: they supply all our guides’ hats! 
  • The Paper Hound books on West Pender
  • Massy Books on East Georgia
  • Bamboo Village in Chinatown (a souvenir store like no other!)

Connect with Will

LINA FITZNER

Storyteller turned Operations Manager, Lina (she/her) has been working with Forbidden Vancouver since 2017. Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, Lina moved to Vancouver as a small child back in 1989.

Thanks to a recommendation from a good friend, Lina took all the Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours on the roster, and ended up applying. She started by leading the Forbidden Vancouver Tour, the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour, and the Art Deco and Chocolate Tasting Tour before transitioning to her operations role. 

Lina trained as a dancer when she was young, and was a professional contemporary dancer for 15 years. Throughout her dance career, she also worked as a teacher, rehearsal director, and choreographer. Her favourite moments were teaching community dance workshops with JoeInk across BC, and performing at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

Lina is a big fan of walking tours, (the Hitchcock tour in San Francisco & the Then & Now Tour in Dawson City, Yukon rank among her favourites), so she knows a lot about what goes into making a great tour.

In her spare time, you’ll find Lina hanging out with her hilarious cats, Otto and Alomar, either working on a jigsaw puzzle or knitting. We love her puzzle instagram account and blog (thepuzzlesivedone), where you can follow along as she completes unique vintage puzzles found at local thrift stores. 

When you book a tour with us, you can be sure Lina is behind-the-scenes making sure everything runs smoothly. 

Lina’s Post-Tour Recommendations:

Lina’s Vancouver Recommendations:

Connect with Lina

AMAN JOHAL

Aman (he/him) is one of Forbidden Vancouver’s longest standing storytellers, having joined us in 2014 after his wife told him to “get out of the house more.” He thought, “I love to walk and talk, if people follow me it’s even better.”

Aman brings his education in theatre history, western Canadian history, and Asian studies to his storytelling as a guide for The Forbidden Vancouver Tour and The Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour. Besides telling stories of local history, he has a story or two to tell about working with Forbidden Vancouver. 

He recounts his most memorable experiences, saying “When Will and I shared a bottle of whiskey and went to a Guns N Roses concert together. Or when Simon Pegg listened in on a stop during my tour, and then I stated, ‘aren’t you Simon Pegg?’ and he replied ‘Yes I am!’ and he walked on.”

When he’s not leading tours, you can catch Aman at his full time job as an interpretation coordinator/officer with Parks Canada- usually dressed as a fur trader at Fort Langley National Historic Site. He’s also a cinephile, collects chess sets, and is obsessed with football.

Join Aman on a tour of Stanley Park or Gastown!

Aman’s Post Tour Recommendations

Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Aman

TRACY JENNISSEN

Tracy (she/her) has been a storyteller on the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour since 2018. She studied acting at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting NYC, Ryerson University, and UCLA. The Northern Manitoba native became interested in working with Forbidden Vancouver because of her love of history. She enjoys meeting and engaging with curious people from around the world.

Tracy reminisces about her first year doing tours during Halloween, when an impromptu sing-along broke out on Water Street. It’s one of her favourite memories while working with Forbidden Vancouver.

Tracy has a talent for keeping plants alive and knitting, “as long as it’s a scarf”, she jokes. Join Tracy on a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour!

Tracy’s Post Tour Recommendations

Tracy’s Vancouver Recommendations

  • Kitsilano Beach
  • The Sanctuary at the PNE (check out the nesting herons)
  • Karameller Candy Shop for Swedish candy

GLENN TKACH

We’re very lucky to have Glenn (he/him), creator of the Really Gay History Tour, on board at Forbidden Vancouver. Glenn joined us in 2017 after reading our job posting. “The job posting didn’t say “tour guide.” It said “storyteller.” This immediately caught my attention. As I read further into the job description, and the emphasis it placed on the art of storytelling, I knew this was the right company for me,” remembers Glenn.

Before long Glenn had approached company founder Will about launching a queer history tour, and after he poured many months into research and inteviews, the Really Gay History Tour was born!

Glenn has a background in theatre, specialising in storytelling, mime, and physical theatre. He’s chosen to make storytelling his full-time gig, along with his soon-to-be-launched podcast Requeering History. He loves exploring the connections between the past and present. When asked what his most memorable experience on a tour was, Glenn replied, “I’ll never forget the time a young woman burst into tears and fell into my arms crying so moved to hear a history she’d never heard before, and about the sacrifices made by those who came before.”

Join Glenn on his Really Gay History Tour, or as he guides the Forbidden Vancouver and Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tours.

Glenn’s Post Tour Recommendations

Glenn’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Glenn

JANET GLASSFORD

Actor, singer, and long-time performer, Janet (she/her) brings her years of experience to leading the Lost Souls of Gastown tour. Her love of sharing history and telling stories brought her to Forbidden Vancouver in 2015, and Janet remains one of our longest standing storytellers. 

Janet’s background in the arts is impressive and wide-ranging. She’s toured Theatre for Young Audiences for 5+ years, worked as a Historical Interpreter/Actor in Bakerville, BC, worked with Theatre Under the Stars, The Arts Club Theatre, fringe festivals, on films, TV, commercials, as a mascot, and much more.

Some of Janet’s favourite tour memories include “Tender moments too fragile to retell. Somewhere we connect in a moment of raw truth, hanging like a glistening soap bubble, the anticipation of it bursting almost painful.” What a beautiful description of connecting with her guests!

When she’s not performing, Janet loves sewing and gardening, and is known to make a mean martini! Join Janet on a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour.

Janet’s Post Tour Recommendations

  • Karaoke
  • Soft serve at Soft Peaks
  • Twisted Fork for drinks and snacks
  • People watching in Gastown
  • Window Shopping shoes and hats!

Janet’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Janet

ROWAN JANG

Rowan (he/him) joined Forbidden Vancouver in 2017 as a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour storyteller, and has since added the Forbidden Vancouver Tour and the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour to his repertoire. A professionally trained actor, Rowan now concentrates his energies outside of guiding into film and TV production, through his own company, MiTribe Media.

MiTribe offers opportunities for breakthrough and emerging artists to create and share their work, including everything from filming self-tapes, to producing audio tracks, to full scale shoots in their studio space.

Rowan can trace his family history back in Vancouver to the 1800s, where one of his ancestors was a famous vaudeville performer in the city. He loves hosting locals on his tours who can share similar family connections to Vancouver’s past.

Rowan’s post-tour recommendations:

  • A well earned post-tour beer at the Alibi Room. It has the largest beer selection in the city!
  • Dinner at Rodney’s Oyster House. Where better to get fresh local shellfish?

Rowan’s Vancouver recommendations:

  • On a sunny day, rent a jet ski from Vancouver Water Adventures and tear around English Bay for a hour or two. No better way to take in the sea, sand, and mountains!

ALISON JENKINS

Alison’s (she/her) love for site-specific theatre led her to join Forbidden Vancouver in 2020. “I love theatre that breaks the 4th wall so that you engage directly with audiences.” Alison does just that, leading the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour, where she regales Vancouver’s secret past.

Alison has a passion for the arts and in particular, music. She’s worked as a composer, music director, and actor with professional theatre companies across Vancouver and Saskatchewan including the Arts Club Theatre, Axis Theatre, and the Persephone Theatre, just to name a few. Over the past 8 years, Alison has also taught music to kids and adults at the Sarah McLachlan School of Music.

You can catch Alison performing around town in her band LittleFox. Check out their new EP called Desire Lines.

Alison’s Post Tour Recommendations

  • Bump ‘n Grind for tea hangouts
  • Moja for the best coffee on the Drive
  • Livia – awesome bakery, delicious breakfasts/cocktails/dinner, and great team
  • The seawall for a walk, jog, or bike ride

Connect with Alison

ERIC REGIMBALD

Eric (he/him) is an actor, writer, director, and producer. Originally from a small town in Southern Ontario, he now resides in beautiful British Columbia. He’s a storyteller and has been part of the Forbidden Vancouver Team since 2019. 

If you don’t see Eric on the small screen in such shows as Supergirl (CW),  Blue Book (History Channel), the upcoming 4th season of A Million Little Things (ABC), and most recently Lost Ollie (Netflix), you’ll find him on the streets of Gastown telling stories as a blacksmith from the 1800s on the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour. 

Eric recently wrote, directed, and produced a short horror film: Patty Cake. He hopes to tour it to film festivals across the continent next year. Eric is also a curator and champion of clown and theatre on the streets and he’s proud to bring history to life and to entertain in the process!

Eric’s Post Tour Recommendations

  • Pourhouse for atmospheric prohibition style cocktails

Connect with Eric

SANDRA MEDEIROS

Sandra (she/her) has a serious love for local theatre. The Vancouver native plays to her Portuguese roots with her production company Portuguese Buns Productions, in partnership with Maria J. Cruz. They’re dedicated to bringing Portuguese stories to life through theatre and film, like their sold out Fringe play, FESTA!. Sandra is also co-Artistic Director of Naked Goddess Productions, an award winning Vancouver theatre company. And she’s spent three years with Out to Lunch Players, an improv/sketch comedy group.

Sandra was introduced to Forbidden Vancouver by her friend and long-time Forbidden Vancouver storyteller, Eric Regimbald, whom she worked with on two plays. She immediately became interested in playing a historically-inspired role while sharing stories of her hometown’s past. She joined the team in 2020 and has been leading the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour since September 2021 as Sarah Briars.

Sandra loves being able to share Vancouver’s history with the wide range of people who come on our tours, from global travellers to locals. Her favourite scene is in Gaoler’s Mews where she gets a chance to stretch her dramatic acting chops (no spoilers here!). 

Sandra is a proud mom of two 15 year old twin girls who she’ll describe as “way more talented than I am!” It must run in the family. Catch Sandra on a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour. 

Sandra’s Post Tour Recommendations

Sandra’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Sandra

LENARD STANGA

Lenard (he/him) grew up in small-town central interior BC, near 100 Mile House. In young adulthood he moved to Calgary for a decade, and finally found his home in Vancouver in 1998. He started his acting career in high school, going on to train at the University of Calgary and working on major stages throughout Western Canada. Acting has taken Lenard across the globe, including tours in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. 

Today, much of his work is created with Pangaea Arts, an intercultural world arts theatre. Lenard has also self-produced a lot, with a range of shows including theatre for young audiences, puppet & mask performance, and street theatre storytelling shows. 

Lenard always dabbled in history alongside his performance career. When he discovered Forbidden Vancouver offered historical walking tours he said, “It was as if my two worlds collided! Everything about the company looked appealing! And I was right!”

Lenard joined us in 2017 as a Forbidden Vancouver Tour guide, and genuinely loves connecting with people who attend his tours. You can also catch him at the Burnaby Village Museum. This summer, Lenard will be performing at festivals with Stories on Wheels, a street theatre picture-card storytelling show on the back of a bicycle. Join Lenard on a Forbidden Vancouver Tour.

Lenard’s Post Tour Recommendations

Lenard’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Lenard (these are changing soon)

AISLYNN MEDE

Aislynn (she/her) received her theatre diploma in 2016 from Vancouver Island University. Her love of theatre and travel led her to studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for Classical Acting in 2017, and she worked in London in immersive theatre experiences from 2019-2020.

Upon returning to Vancouver, Aislynn saw the Forbidden Vancouver job posting and said “I really liked that the general feeling of the company seemed really supporting and accepting. I also liked that the range of tours was diverse and Forbidden Vancouver was working on telling stories that needed to be told.”

Aislyn joined us as a storyteller for the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour in 2022, and has been loving all the people she gets to meet from around the world. 

Aislynn’s Post Tour Recommendations

  • Grab a warm (or cold, depending on the season) drink and go to Canada Place. It’s an interesting experience to be in Stanley Park, surrounded by nature, and then going to Canada Place to look out onto the North Shore and Stanley Park. It can feel like a different world, and you may even hear the 9 O’Clock gun go off!

Aislynn’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Aislynn

STUART JANSEN

History buff, world traveller, actor, and karaoke legend Stuart joined us in 2022 as a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour storyteller. His love of live performance and history is the perfect match for his new role! 

Stuart was born in Dubai, raised in Mississauga, Ontario, and landed in East Vancouver in 2021. 

He trained in improv (Second City), musical theatre & stage acting (Living Arts Centre & West End Studio Theatre), and performed in “Blood Brothers” at Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. 

His love for travel has landed him in a whopping 23 countries in his adult life. He even backpacked across 15 countries in 8 months in 2017, and has been to every province in Canada! A self-proclaimed “huge math nerd”, he also loves board games and Dungeons and Dragons. 

When asked what his favourite thing about working with Forbidden Vancouver is, Stuart said, “I love our approach to history, really focusing on social issues, and the role of individuals who are often overlooked in many history tours and textbooks, such as Indigenous people, women, sex workers, and different ethnic groups.”

Join Stuart on a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour, or if you’re lucky you might catch him at Fantacity Karaoke rocking out to “Grace Kelly” by MIKA his favourite number!

Stuart’s Post-Tour Recommendations:

Stuart’s Vancouver Recommendations:

COLE BRECKELL

Cole (he/him) joined us for a tour and walked away thinking “I could do that!”, and the rest is history. He grew up an army brat, and landed in North Vancouver. Cole studied at the New Image College and worked with the Great Big Theatre Company, Little Galt Theatre, Hendricks Gin, and numerous student films.

Cole loves getting to scratch his live performance itch weekly, even if he does have to compete with Canadian geese for his audience’s attention ;). On his off-time you can catch him skiing (as a professional ski coach) or longboarding around the seawall. Fun fact: Cole can guide you down a class four white water river in a raft! 

Cole joined us in 2022 as a Lost Souls of Gastown storyteller, join him on a tour!

Cole’s Post Tour Recommendations

Cole’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Cole

RACHEL RUECKER

Born and raised in Vancouver, Rachel (she/her) joined us as a Lost Souls of Gastown storyteller in 2022. She has a background in acting, writing, and comedy. Rachel graduated with her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch. Since returning to BC, she has performed across the Lower Mainland, most recently in the Tyler Sisters with Leather & Lace Theatre. A multi-talented writer and performer, Rachel is also one of the city’s brightest up-and-coming stand up comedians and often performs live on stages across town.

When asked what her favourite thing is about working with Forbidden Vancouver, Rachel said, “Each tour is completely different! The energy changes from group to group which is such a fun challenge and keeps things exciting!” Exciting is right! She remembers one particular tour where a crazy flash hail storm hit at her first stop. She was sure it’d ruin the evening, but it was a great bonding experience for the group.

Rachel’s Post-Tour Recommendations:

Rachel’s Vancouver Recommendations:

Connect with Rachel:

EMMETT HANLY

Emmett (he/they) had his eyes on Forbidden Vancouver for a while. Their love for dark history and ghost stories led them to apply, and they joined us as a storyteller for the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour in 2022. 

Emmett earned their BFA in acting in 2020, where they honed their dramatic skills. They’ve also worked with Playwright’s Theatre Centre for Early Career Development and will be an apprentice at Pacific Theatre later this year. Their weekly performances with Forbidden Vancouver scratch that “live performance” itch.

Emmett is a proud member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia and says they’re a “total nerd” for their love of horror movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic the Gathering. They’re also in a rad psychedelic post-punk emo band called Goat Rodeo.

Join Emmett on a Lost Souls of Gastown Tour!

Emmett’s Post Tour Recommendations

  • Gringo’s– their personal favourite bar in Gastown

Emmett’s Vancouver Recommendations

Connect with Emmett

TEALA PENNER

British Columbia native Teala (she/her) joined us in 2022 as a Forbidden Vancouver Tour storyteller. Her undergrad in theatre and history led her to apply, and she’s enjoyed learning more about Vancouver’s secret past during her training as a guide. Her favourite times leading tours are when guests share their history with her she loves hearing stories from all over the world!

Teala’s love for travel and theatre led her to Korea where she owned and operated a theatre company and taught English. Back in B.C., she taught theatre workshops to youth across the province. Today, she’s on the managing board of a harm reduction non-profit helping bring safer drug use to nightlife, and is working on her degree in counselling psychology.

Join Teala on a Forbidden Vancouver Tour!

Post Tour Recommendations

  • Afternoon tour: grab an ice cream nearby
  • Evening tour: Spinach Dip at the Pourhouse

Vancouver Recommendations

  • A day at English Bay (near the ice cream trucks and Vancouver palm trees)

Connect with

ROB TESZKA

Rob (he/him) is fascinated by unknown and unusual history. At Forbidden Vancouver, we share the same passion! Rob joined us in 2022, and leads the Forbidden Vancouver Tour.

Originally from Calgary, Rob lived in England for 7 years where he became a member of the exclusive Magic Circle. He now lives in Coquitlam, BC and has been a magician for over 20 years. Besides magic, Rob has experience stage acting, musical theatre, improv and voice acting.

You can also catch Rob as a host on board the Rocky Mountaineer, where he recounts historical stories from the fur trade through the gold rush to guests travelling by train. By coincidence, with tales of the 1910s and 20s, Forbidden Vancouver Tour picks up the story from where the train leaves off, so Rob knows an almost complete history of settlers in the west.

Join Rob on a Forbidden Vancouver Tour of Gastown, or check out his monthly magic variety show called The Parlour Magic Show at Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive. 

Rob’s Post-Tour Recommendations: 

Rob’s Vancouver Recommendations:

Connect with Rob:

SASHA LEUNG

Sasha (she/her) has managed marketing at Forbidden Vancouver since 2022. She brings 10 years of marketing experience in the food & beverage and tourism industries, having worked with the Aburi Restaurant Group, Vancouver Foodie Tours, and Cycle City Vancouver most recently. 

Her experience is wide-ranging: she’s owned a record store, worked for the RCMP, and ran a food truck, just to name a few. Much like our guides, Sasha has a passion for telling stories and connecting with people. She helps to tell our brand stories through social media, design, and developing content that’s engaging. 

On her off time, you’ll catch Sasha practicing yoga, playing records, or planning her next meal (she’s a big foodie). She wanted us to remind you to follow @forbiddenvancouver to keep up with all things Forbidden Vancouver. 🙂

Sasha’s Post Tour Recommendations

    • After a Gastown tour
      • Di Beppe for Italian food & drinks and a cozy Italian cafe-style room
      • La Taqueria for authentic Mexican food and margaritas (try the carnitas!)
      • The Pourhouse for the best whisky sour in town paired with a killer scotch egg and prohibition-style decor
      • Guilt & Co. for local live music & great cocktails
  • After a Really Gay History Tour:
      • Poutine at La Belle Patate
      • Coffee & a snack at Melriches Coffeehouse (a local cafe at 1244 Davie St)
      • Pick up sushi at Tom Sushi and go have a picnic on the beach
      • Head down to English Bay or Yaletown for a stroll
  • After a Stanley Park Tour:

Connect with Sasha

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