The B Boys of Canada: Creating Community Through AfobLife

Have you ever been at a LEGO convention when all of a sudden two people in a buffalo costume burst into the room and start dancing? How about a con where two people give out swag, MOC kits, and even tasty treats all themed around the letter B?

Let me introduce you to Miles Finlay and Stephen Joo, the B Boys of Canada who created AfobLife and became the heart and soul of BrickCan in Vancouver. I’ll have John Langrish explain it for us:

“In 2016, Miles and Stephen burst onto the scene and immediately showcased how the generosity and creativity of the AFOL community extend far beyond the bricks. I became fast friends with both of them, as did so many other members of our community. BrickCan is fortunate to have them as a core component of the show, and we collaborate closely with them throughout the year to bring a new flavour to the con—sometimes literally! They always have something new up their sleeves and they never disappoint!”

If you asked me to sum up brickcan in one picture this would be it. the relationship between the b boys and brickcan event organizers is what makes brickcan so special. both parties are awesome in their own right, together they are unstoppable!

top left – Right: stephen joo (Yoyo), john langrish (brickcan), Miles finlay (miffy); bottom middle: ayleen dority (brickcan). Photo credit: john langrish.

(Please note this article refers to the BrickCan Private AFOL event, not the BrickCan Public Exhibition.)

Brick Buddies 

Miffy and YoYo are two brick-obsessed buddies from Calgary, Alberta who are masters at creating fun. Miffy, AKA Miles Finlay, works for the Government of Alberta, loves to travel, loves tiki bars, and is obsessed with LEGO. YoYo, AKA Stephen Joo, is a Firefighter Captain and LEGO Masters US Season 3 Runner Up, who is also obsessed with LEGO.  

The b boys ready for Anything can happen. photo via afoblife.

stephen joo showing off his brickcan apron. photo via afoblife.

If you mention the B Boys, Miffy, or YoYo around anyone who knows them, it leads to something positive said every time. The opening quote of this article is a perfect example of this. So how did such a dynamic duo get started?

The Beginning 

In 2014, Miles and Stephen were at BrickCon in Seattle. They were out to lunch with some folks when there was mention of a LEGO Convention being developed for Vancouver, Canada. The event would be called BrickCan. This got their immediate attention. Despite BrickCon being their first-ever convention, Miles and Stephen decided they had to be a part of BrickCan in some way. So they stayed in the loop.

At this particular BrickCon, Ryan McNaught celebrated Spaceman Benny’s 30th anniversary. At this celebration, Miles and Stephen received their first AFOB brick, a fun nod to the theme. AFOB at that time stood for Adult Fans of Benny. If only they knew what that would lead to a decade later…

Look at all those brickcan and afob brickbadges. the third brick down is the very first afob brick created by ryan mcnaught which inspired the b boys to create afoblife. Photo via Miles finlay.

benny! the inspiration behind afob culture. the beginning of afob as we know it now. photo via afoblife.

Over the next two years, as the lead-up to BrickCan was happening, Miles and Stephen realized they were simply too far away from Vancouver to try to be an official part of BrickCan. But this did not stop them. Determined to help everyone have a good time, during the lead-up to BrickCan the brilliant duo came up with all sorts of ideas to create their own fun at BrickCan.

During this process, they realized the cost of creating such fun would be more than they were able to take on, but they had some funds, some parts and a great sense of humor. So they brainstormed a small friendship MOC to give away and anointed themselves The Beaver Boys!

BrickCan 2016 

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Stephen and Miles ended up making one hundred Justine Beaver friendship MOCs to hand out at the very first BrickCan in 2016. The MOCs were intended to be put on a LEGO brick badge for all to see. This costly adventure of four hundred and fifty Canadian dollars was the beginning of something special.

Miles and Stephen each handed out twenty-five Justine Beavers at the Meet and Greet on the first night of the first-ever BrickCan. Each of them ran out of beavers immediately. At Friday night’s festivities, they each handed out their second set of twenty-five Justine Beavers. Again, they both ran out immediately, with people longing for more.  

Then something happened at BrickCan’s Opening Ceremonies that neither of the Beaver Boys expected. Kim, who was the MC of BrickCan that year, announced that the Beaver Boys were in the house! The B Boys proudly stood and waved. They knew this was their time to shine, so they had to act fast. Their first reaction was to start throwing spare parts into the audience. The crowd went wild!


One thing that sets the B Boys apart is their attention to detail and graphic prowess, starting with their first-ever logo and customized 2×4 brick—with a loving bite nibbles out of the corner like any good beaver. They even launched a supporting website! They helped everyone feel welcome and part of the Canadian club, and their positivity was infectious.

After a successful show with an army of devoted AFOLs wearing beaver badges, it is no surprise that the BrickCan committee came to Miles and Stephen and invited them to come back to BrickCan next year with a bigger budget. The B Boys were thrilled and now had an official invitation.

Beast Mode 

The Beaver Boys successfully completed the goal they had set out to accomplish, which was to be a part of BrickCan in any way they could, officially or unofficially. The B Boys were ready for more, and so were the AFOBs who attended BrickCan!  

The Beaver Boys spent the next year planning for the next BrickCan. They set out to come up with a new B word, B-related entertainment, and some cool swag to hand out. That’s when the Beaver Boys became The B Boys, reinventing themselves each year with friendship MOCs, customized 2×4 bricks, stickers, scavenger hunts for big bricks, swag and outfits—each themed to their B-named creature of choice.

The Birth of the B Boys Names 

During a planning session sometime after the first BrickCan convention, Miles and Steven wanted to create alternate personas for the B Boys, so each came up with an official nickname: “Miffy.” and “Yo-Yo” (shortened to Miffy and YoYo in this article for readability). Do you ever wonder how they decided on each of their iconic names? Me too… so I asked them!

Miles Finlay, aka Miffy: “How the mysterious Miffy’s name came to be will forever remain a mystery. Miles loves to share, but some lore is meant to be kept secret.” (I can respect that.)

Stephen Joo, aka YoYo: “My last name is spelled JOO. It’s a Hungarian name, and it’s actually pronounced YO (it roughly translates to ‘good’ as a typical greeting in Hungarian is ‘joo naput’ which means ‘good day’). As you might expect, 98% of people see my name and pronounce it ‘Jew’ so I’d simply correct them: “Actually, it’s pronounced Yo like a YoYo”. Then the name just sort of stuck in sports and at work and then to the hobby world.”

But of course, you have to have logos for your official B Boys names! Honestly, I think a few people might think that Miffy and YoYo are their actual names by now, they are so prevalent at BrickCan.

The B Word 

Each year, Miffy and YoYo decide on the B word for next year on their drive home from BrickCan. It can’t be just any B word though. According to Miffy and YoYo, The B word must be something Canadian. There’s a reason for this. It is to welcome all the American and international attendees to Canada.

The B Boys started with Justine Beaver for this reason, the Canadian Beaver is representative of Canada. Miffy and YoYo spend 11 months planning B swag and more for the following BrickCan. As you can see, Miffy and YoYo put a lot of thought into B culture.

I decided to find all the b boys items we have collected over this years in my household. we are lucky to have brickcan as our home convention. I am happy to say we have almost everything. brenda the saucy buffalo even jumped in the picture, after all she is a big part of the b boys culture. Photo credit: melissa rekve.

And it doesn’t stop at swag. Each year they also have a themed costume and LEGO build to welcome everyone to the con. It sets the perfect environment to kick things off. If these two can have so much, then anyone can have fun and anything can happen! For new attendees, total confusion turns into pure delight with the onslaught of happy vibes, open arms, and swag.

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But the B Boys weren’t big enough. Everyone who sees their enthusiasm wants to be in the B Boys club and everyone is welcome, so AfobLife was born (Adult Fans of B).

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Each year has a custom AfobLife decal that matches the theme of the year. (I mentioned their marketing prowess earlier, didn’t I?) But more than stickers and logos, AfobLife is what you make of it. Its looks may change over time, but it retains its soul of spreading joy and inclusivity through LEGO. That’s what defines AfobLife.

Even better, the B Boys have preserved their history through, documenting all the amazing themes that have happened at BrickCan.

Brilliant B Words Over Time

Here’s a look back at the B theme and friendship badge build over the years. You can download instructions for each of these on their AfobLife website.

2016: Justine Beaver  

2017: Boo-Boo the Bear 

2018: Buddy the Bacon Strip 

2019: Bottlecap Bruce and The Brewski Boys  

2020: Band of Bodyguards to fight against the COVID-19 Beast, Buster! 

Betty Buttwipe  

Bobbi the Bottle of Goo  

Bonehead the Box of Booger Catchers  

Barrier Barry 

Billy Bidet  

Buster the Covid-19 Beast 

2021: Buzz the Bee 

2022: Basil the Violet Green Swallow 

2023: Blue Barry and his twin brother (a pair of blue balls) 

2024: Brenda the Saucy Buffalo 

What B-themed creation could come next? Who knows but there are no shortage of ideas. The badge builds end up traveling the world and appearing in the most amazing places.

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Oh, Behave! 

photo credit: melissa rekve

At every BrickCan Convention, the B Boys can be found volunteering at the convention during the day, talking to the public, and entertaining attendees at night. Miffy and YoYo are everywhere! 

Thursday evening, the B Boys bring the fun to the Can Opener (formerly known as the Meet & Greet) event by putting on a spectacular show to announce the B word of the year. At Friday’s Opening Ceremonies Miffy and YoYo are always present and add an element of fun to it. (This year they handed out the coolest yellow AfobLife cups.) 

On Saturday night, the B Boys host Anything Can Happen and Dirty Brickster. Both are well-attended events with guaranteed fun. These inclusive events are so entertaining—there is always a huge crowd of Afob’s standing around socializing and watching the happenings. From costumes to toy car tracks, food and fun and everything in between, these events embody the welcoming, creative and chaotic fun the B Boys have become known for.

Sunday during the day, Miffy and YoYo host the Master Build contest, too! (You can usually guess what the theme is based on the B word of the can). The B Boys also are always present at the after-con Sunday Night Social. This year they auctioned off the two-person Buffalo costume they wore to kick off the “Anything CAN Happen” night. You will never guess who won it!  

Me and the B Boys!

L – R: YoYo, Herachio the LEGO Rubber Chicken, Melissa Rekve, Miffy

Brenda the Saucy Buffalo

2024. Anything Can Happen. And it will. Photo Credit: Melissa Rekve

BrickCan Sunday Night Social Auction

Me after I won the Brenda the Saucy Buffalo 2-person costume. Thanks to YoYo for helping me navigate the costume!

Brenda the Saucy Buffalo finds a new home

I am ready for Halloween I thought this article was the perfect reason to try on half of my new Brenda the Saucy Buffalo costume. I love it. Winning this was pretty exciting. What a way to end BrickCan. Photo Credit: Paul Hetherington

BrickCan and Beyond

When talking with YoYo about the B Boys, BrickCan, and what BrickCan means to him, he said BrickCan is a part of them just as much as they are a part of BrickCan. I agree with that sentiment. The B Boys are synonymous with BrickCan now, and one of the main reasons why the con has such a welcoming reputation. Despite them being two separate things, it is impossible to think about one without thinking of the other if you have been to BrickCan.

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AfobLife permeates the con, and attendees take it home with them, spreading the boundless joy that just two people (now with a great many volunteers) can create from just one B word, a pile of bricks, a smile, and some awesome graphic design.

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There is so much awesomeness at BrickCan each year, the B Boys and beyond, that if you don’t sign up quickly, they will fill up and you will miss your chance to go. Everyone wants to B there (pun intended)!

Have you attended BrickCan and experienced Afob Life? Or are you experiencing serious FOMO right now and are furiously planning a trip to Canada’s next BrickCan? Let us know in the comments below.

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