A Vancouver woman wants everyone to wear name tags one day next month in order to make the city friendlier for new arrivals.

When Shelley Koorbatoff moved to Vancouver two years ago, she didn't think it would be difficult to make new friends. 

Two years later, she still knows almost nobody outside her office, she told Rick Cluff on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition on Wednesday morning.

"I've met almost no one outside of work. I’ve seen my neighbours a handful of times and I really don't know them," said Koorbatoff. 

"I wanted to make a change, but I didn’t know how."

Then Koorbatoff found herself at a course in September, and noticed everyone wore nametags.

She says she realized nametags "give us permission" or act as "an icebreaker or an invitation to say, 'Hello.'"


Shelley Koorbatoff says after two years in Vancouver she barely has met anyone outside of work, and she wants to change that. (Submitted by Shelley Koorbatoff)

So Koorbatoff came up with Say Hi Vancouver. Her goal is to have everyone wear a nametag on Feb. 8 in the hope that people will reach out to one another.

"We see people every day in coffee shops, on transit, even at work. But there’s this invisible barrier, and it's a barrier we put up ourselves."

Koorbatoff doesn’t think Vancouver is the only city it is difficult to make friends in. Rather, she thinks it's a societal issue.

But whether Say Hi Vancouver will be a success is uncertain. Even though Koorbatoff carries the nametags in her purse and offers them to people, no one has taken one from her.  

Still, she's optimistic that even if the day itself isn't a hit, new friendships will be sparked.

"It won't matter after that because you’ve said, 'Hello.' You've made a connection. You’re not just that anonymous person that you walk past or stand beside in a coffee line."