2018 Graduate Leisure Research Symposium

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The Graduate Association for Recreation and Leisure Studies (GARLS) is pleased to announce the Twenty-fifth  Graduate Student Leisure Research Symposium to be held April 26-27, 2018.

Registration for the 2018 GARLS Research Symposium is now closed. Please contact the GARLS Symposium planning committee for further inquiries. 

We invite graduate students (and senior undergraduate students pursuing research) interested in any aspect of leisure, recreation, sport, and tourism research to attend the Symposium, and to take advantage of this unique opportunity for scholarly and professional growth.

Find what you are looking for:

Primary Objectives of the Symposium
2018 Keynote Speakers
Information on Student Presentations
GARLS Symposium Social 2018

Primary objectives of the Symposium

  1. To offer students the opportunity to present their research and ideas in a supportive, inclusive atmosphere.
  2. To advance the state of knowledge about leisure, recreation, sport, and tourism through a public forum of shared research.
  3. To facilitate scholarly communication among students and faculty interested in leisure research, and to create the opportunity for constructive criticism and debate.

2018 Keynotes

This year we are proud to present 3 Keynote speakers to commemorate the 25th year of the Symposium, and the 50th anniversary of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department.
Each of the Keynotes are PhD Alumni of the RLS program, and span the timeframe where a PhD has been offered. Keynotes will open and close the first day, and conclude the Symposium with the Fern Delamere Memorial Lecture on Friday mid-day.

Dr. Paul Heintzman

Dr. Paul Heintzman
Paul Heintzman is an associate professor of leisure studies at the University of Ottawa where he received an Honours B.Sc. in Recreology. His PhD in recreation and leisure studies is from the University of Waterloo with a thesis titled Leisure and Spiritual Well-Being: A Social Scientific Exploration. He is author of Leisure and Spirituality: Biblical, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, co-editor of two books on Christianity and leisure, and guest editor of a special journal issue of Leisure/Loisir on leisure and spirituality. He received the 2003 Society of Park and Recreation Educators Teaching Innovation Award and the 2016 CSKLS Literary Award.


Dr. Darla Fortune

Dr. Darla Fortune
Darla Fortune is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. The inclusion of marginalized individuals, particularly within community leisure spaces and practices, is a central theme in her research. Her interest in inclusion was shaped by research that sought to discover ways women returning to community from federal prison could be supported and recognized as valued and contributing citizens. As a postdoctoral fellow, Darla worked with the Partnerships in Dementia Care (PiDC) Alliance on research aimed to guide a cultural shift in dementia care that embraces relational approaches supporting inclusion.


Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny
Elizabeth Halpenny

An Associate Professor at Canada's University of Alberta, Elizabeth Halpenny received a PhD in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Waterloo in 2006.  Previous to this she worked with an international NGO around the world assisting entrepreneurs and government agencies develop ecotourism infrastructure and programs. She currently teaches and conducts research in the areas of tourism, marketing, environmental psychology and protected areas management. Elizabeth’s research focuses on individual's interactions with nature environments, tourism experience, and environmental stewardship. Current research projects include: (a) the effect of mobile digital technologies on visitors’ experiences: (b) the impact of World Heritage designation and other park-related brands on travel decision making; (c) individuals’ attitudes towards and stewardship of natural areas; and (d) children, health and nature. 

Student Presentations

Presentations and posters are either completed research studies, or works in progress. Case studies, philosophical pieces, literature reviews, conceptual development papers, and completed empirical studies are all included. Presentations will be 15 minutes with discussion, and posters will be displayed throughout the conference, including dedicated poster discussion time. 


2018 GARLS Symposium Social

Join us as the Symposium Social!
Hosted by Graduate Association of Recreation and Leisure Studies (GARLS)
Beertown Public House, 75 King St S, Waterloo @ 7 p.m.

The Symposium Social is an opportunity to get together with other presenters, graduate students, and faculty in a fun, social atmosphere during the Symposium. This is a great opportunity to network and have some fun with colleagues. This casual outing will be a great way to unwind from the business of the day. Appetizers will be provided by GARLS and beverages will be available for purchase.


Registration for the 2018 GARLS Research Symposium is now closed. Please contact the GARLS Symposium planning committee for further inquiries. 

University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Sun Life Financial Auditorium - LHS 1621
Waterloo ON, N2L 3G1