Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Event Postings from November 26, 2013- December 7, 2013


Monday November 25, 2013-6pm-9pm- Navigating the Mythology of the Mad Artist Please join us On November 25 as we host a community panel discussion that speaks to these issues in hope of manifesting a meaningful forum of exchange. @ 519 Church Street Community Centre

Panellists include:

Andrée Vaillancourt
Jes Sachse
Eleanor Brenson
Rachel Gorman

Tuesday November 26, 2013-6pm-8pm- Youth World AIDS Day Event@ Central Toronto Community Health Centre (Queen West CHC) 168 Bathurst Street.

Come on out for a fun and interactive evening of poetry, digital storytelling, yummy food and more. Lots of sexy resources to share! This may be a "world" event but we're going to celebrate, resist, and dance it away in style with some local stories on the ground.

Tuesday November 26, 2013-7pm-10pm- Letters Lived Launch Party by Three O'Clock Press. 
Letters Lived: Radical reflections, revolutionary paths is edited by Sheila Sampath and features a foreword by Grace Lee Boggs with chapters from Victoria B. Robinson, Shea Howell, Juliet Jacques, Selma James, Elisha Lim, Rozena Maart, Lee Maracle, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Nina Power, Coco Guzman, Cristy C. Road, Rae Spoon and Kit Wilson-Yang

Please join us in celebrating the release of Letters Lived: Radical reflections, revolutionary paths!

This accessible new collection features letters written by a diverse group of international and cross-generational social justice activists to their teen selves. In these letters, they reflect on the incredible journeys they have taken since their teens—and what they wish they could have known back then.

Tuesday November 26, 2013-8pm-2am- OPEN MIC at Ciro’s with Dave DeLeary and Glenn Gould. Come out of the cold, keep warm and join us for live music, food & a beverage or two! Bring your guitar and share a few tunes! 1316 Bloor St. W

Wednesday November 27, 2013-12pm-12:50PM Service of Solidarity for the Phillipines. Join the President of the University of Toronto, Prof. Meric Gertler, in consultation with the Filipino Students Association in a service of solidarity for all those affected by the recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Join students, staff and faculty for this brief 40-minute service in order to reflect on the tragedy and celebrate resilience of the Filipino peoples. @ The Multi-Faith Centre, 569 Spadina Avenue

Wednesday November 27, 2013- 6:45pm-8:45pm- Next Steps for a Tar-Free Toronto. Community Centre 55, 97 Main Street, (south of Gerrard) Toronto. You are invited to hear reports and discuss recent developments and proposals on the next steps in efforts to keep hazardous diluted bitumen (tar sands oil) out of Toronto.

Everyone welcome – Express your views

See our face book: Toronto Against Line 9
And our blog:

Every Wednesday-9am-5pm-the Indigenous Education Network at OISE U of T invites student and staff to drop in and visit Cat Criger and Elder Jacqui Lavalley, Drop ins Welcome or Book an app’t. Hours of availability: Cat Criger (9am-1pm) Jacqui (1pm-5pm)

Contact Julie Blair for more information at

November 27, 2013-8pm- join The Toronto Review of Books team of authors, editors, and readers to toast the health and long life of our very own first print anthology, Tasting Menu: Choice Selections from the First Two Years. @ 224 Augusta Avenue

We’ll be selling Tasting Menu at the party (for a special launch price!), but you can also buy it online, or in person from Good Egg or Swipe Books in Toronto.

The night promises to be a rare festivity of TRB people doing what they do best, rejoicing in great new books—or rather one really great new book. Can’t wait to see you there.

Wednesday December 4, 2013- Bump and Jump with Shameless Magazine at the Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar. This is Shameless Magazine’s 3rd Fundraiser.

Proceeds will be going to Shameless Magazine a volunteer-run alt mag for teen girls & trans youth

As always this is a pay-what-you-can event (suggested donation $5) and is 19+

December 6, 2013-9pm- The Johnny’s at Annette Studios- Rockin' with The Johnnys at Annette Studios, 566 Annette Street, Toronto- $6
9pm - Doors
10pm - Open stage
11pm - The Johnnys
12am - UFCB's
1am - Open Jam

Sign up for Open stage is onsite! Please join u

December 7, 2013-(8pm) December 8, 2013- (2pm)- From Rage Comes: Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers in Concert – A full-length work rooted in Taiko drumming, FROM RAGE COMES presents the truths of diasporic Asian-Canadian women through original & traditional compositions, movement, and storytelling.

FROM RAGE COMES will bring together stories of transplantation, rituals of establishing home, chronicles of our fights and flights, and the countless movements we make and are moved by everyday. @ Betty Oliphant Theatre- 400 Jarvis Street.

TICKETS online:
OR through RAW members & apprentices

(If there are any events you would like to see listed, please feel free to contact me at

Bump and Jump With Shameless Magazine- 3rd Fundraiser dance party on December 4, 2013

On December 4, 2013- Please come out to support Shameless Magazine's 3rd Fundraiser at the Gladstone Hotel. Melody Bar is just around the corner.

Shameless Magazine event organizers are super excited to announce they'll be having 2 rad-as-heck DJs spinning all night. DJ cyborgmonkey and DJ Lizzy Mercier will be spinning a radical mixture of riot grrrl/house/synthpop/electropunk and Minneapolis Sound (think Prince but weirder)/'90s hip hop/R&B/New Wave all night!

Proceeds will be going to Shameless Magazine a volunteer-run alt mag for teen girls & trans youth

As always this is a pay-what-you-can event (suggested donation $5) and is 19+

Friday, November 22, 2013


By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

As November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, it was very fitting that on Friday November 15, 2013, there was an Aboriginal Nutrition & Wellness: Feeding mind, body and spirit" workshop held on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto.

The event brought together a roomful of First Nations students from the University of Toronto and a variety of Aboriginal student groups to provide nutrition and wellness information. As an alumnus of the University of Toronto, I like to see events like these, because they give students and the general public the opportunity to gather and speak about current and passionate issues that are impacting our lives.

According to the nutritionist from Anishnawbe Health Toronto and from other research, "diabetes was relatively unknown among Aboriginal peoples prior to 1940 and it can be likened to a silent epidemic among First Nations peoples" because diabetes is 3-5 times higher in Aboriginal communities.

Statistically there are more than 9 million Canadians who are living with diabetes or pre diabetes. There are three main types of diabetes. There is Type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes while the remaining 90 per cent have Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes  occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and your body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood although there are increasing numbers of children in high-risk populations that are being diagnosed.

A third type of diabetes is  gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 2 to 4 per cent of all pregnancies (in the non-Aboriginal population) and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child. Lastly, prediabetes is a condition where a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes awareness workshops are important to have because they not only inform you about diabetes, but it also gives you the signs to watch out for, and what to do if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.

I remember my own diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes and the five year struggle it took to get it under control. At first when you hear the words "you have diabetes," it can be difficult to accept, but once the words do register with you, it's important to pay attention to your doctors and do everything you can to live a much healthier lifestyle.

My change in attitude about my diabetes came about when my sugar levels were reaching 27, and I was told that if my levels didn't go down that I would have to go on insulin. Not only did I not want to be sticking myself with a needle every day, I also didn't want my niece, who was fairly young at the time, to continue seeing me prick my finger to check my sugar levels. There was something about her leaning over and watching me prick my finger each day when I was visiting with her, that made me stop one day and say " hey I need to be healthy, not only for myself but for her too!"

My diabetes has turned around ten fold. My change in how I saw diabetes helped me in many ways. I was able to go off my anti-glycemic medication, and I rely mainly on diet and exercise now. Instead of worrying about high sugar levels,  I often have to be careful about low sugar levels. I am cognizant that diabetes is a part of my life but it doesn't have to control me. Living with diabetes is a life altering condition, but it is something that you can regain control of.

Event partners and contributors of this event included the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE), the Native Students Association (NSA), the Indigenous Health Sciences Group, the Faculty of Medicine, Anishnawbe Health Toronto, First Nations House and Food Share.

For more information on Diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, please visit the Canadian Diabetes Association at or visit Anishnawbe Health at


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Poem- I Wear a Mask

I Wear A Mask
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)
I wear
a mask 
You may not believe

But sometimes when 
you see me laughing


see me smiling
and deep in thought

 things aren't always
what they seem

 But I'm practiced
at making things
look like they're ok
on the outside

when they're really not

It's the tricks
I've learned
over the years

I think they came
with this mask
When I first picked it up

No one knows
the loneliness
I feel at night

Or the sadness
that overwhelms my very soul
when the tears 
from out of nowhere

and I sit
to try and make sense

why I feel 
the way
 I do

When things on the surface
seem to be going so well

I wear a mask 
You may not believe it

But behind it
lays something

And I've learned
that it can either kill me
or make me stronger

I've chosen 
the latter
Because deep down inside
I know

I am stronger
than the depression itself



Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday November 22, 2013- Rally to Demand Canada Act for Affordable Housing! (Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto)

Friday, November 22 Rally to Demand Canada act for affordable housing!

Beginning on National Housing Day, Friday, November 22nd thousands of people across Canada will raise their voices in support of Housing as a Human Right!


We all have a part to play in ending homelessness – we are working in our communities everyday to support human rights and the creation of social housing but more action is needed by the federal government as well as provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Every year, 200,000 people are absolutely homeless in Canada, and millions more are inadequately housed. Aboriginal people, women, people with disabilities, racialized community members, seniors, youth, newcomers and others face high rates of homelessness and housing inadequacy.

To end this crisis, on November 22nd we demand that immediate action be taken:

1. In the next budget, the federal government must protect existing social housing. 600,000 people and their families could be forced to move to inadequate housing or be made homeless by rent increases they cannot afford if Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation fails to restore the annual operating grants investment of $1.7 billion annually in social housing subsidies.

2. In the next budget, federal funding for social housing construction and programs and services for the homeless must be increased and made permanent. Funding for flexible local, regional and provincial approaches must be provided every year. This includes the Investment in Affordable Housing which funds construction of new housing units and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy which provides funding for programs & services for people who are homeless.

3. The federal government must coordinate a pan-Canadian housing strategy based on human rights. Housing is a human right. It’s time that the federal government convene a meeting together with all levels of government, in consultation with civil society and Aboriginal groups, to establish a Canadian housing strategy that respects provincial jurisdiction, which is designed to respect, promote and fulfill the right to safe, adequate and affordable housing.

This event is organized by the Right to Housing Coalition Ontario as part of the Pan-Canadian week of action for housing.

The Indigenous Education Network of OISE at the U of T invites students, staff and faculty to visit the following Elders

Friday, November 15, 2013

Life's Journey- Self Care is Important and everyone needs it!

By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

I remember in the early stages of my healing journey, a therapist brought forth the concept of self care. She said

"Christine, when it comes to recovery and healing, don't be afraid to put yourself first. Take time for yourself, do what you need to do in order for you to feel good about yourself.

I remember looking at her and saying "but self care that's being selfish!"

My therapist smiled, shook her head and said

"No, that is what you have been raised to believe by some people who don't know themselves and healthy boundaries."

It took me awhile to digest that thought, and to really start adopting that into my daily life. I was afraid of upsetting people, and them being angry at me. I thought the worst of myself because instead of putting others ahead of myself, I was taking the time to pay attention to myself first, and the feedback I sometimes got was not always the greatest.

A part of self care for me meant that I had to learn to speak up for myself, say how I felt and learn how to deal with how the person I was speaking with reacted. Criticisms came in the form of some people pulling away from me, other times in reaction to learning how to do this, I pulled myself away because I found it easier to isolate myself than to deal with something straight on. More often than not, tears came, and that would make me even angrier at myself. I wanted to be seen as strong, and thought tears meant I was showing others that I was weak.

In fact, I've learned that my tears are a sign of just how sensitive I am to people and my environment. It's not something to be ashamed of, but it is something I work on regulating daily. When you grow up with abuse in any shape or form, a lot of time you learn to be terrified of any type of conflict. Unlearning being afraid of conflict  can sometimes take a lifetime of work, because you tend to be that person who thinks "Conflict it's going to make my world end, or this person is going to hate me." 

I also have a habit of always wanting to please people, even if my gut tells me otherwise. Learning the steps to self care are crucial to your continued healing journey and well being. I listed the ten steps to self care for my readers to see, and also for myself  as a reminder because there are still days where I have a hard time slowing myself down and saying "hey, I need to take care of me."

It took awhile for me to adopt self care practices into my life, and into my healing journey. Sometimes  I can do things for myself with no problem, and then there are other times, I find myself struggling because I am one of those people who tends to wear their heart on their sleeve. I know that I always want to please people. That's always been in my nature, and I don't think that will ever change, that's just a part of who I am, and something I will always have to pay attention to.

So, next time you are feeling particularly stressed out, or feeling low about something,  stop and try to think of the top ten things that you can do for yourself. In order for you to feel at the top of your game again, the number one thing is to remember that being gentle with yourself is of utmost importance. 

Self care can be anything that makes you feel good, as long as it safe. Until my next installment of "Life's Journey" take care of yourself and stay strong!

Friday, November 8, 2013

City of Toronto Proclaims Year of Truth and Reconciliation on November 12, 2013

Wednesday November 13, the Truth and Reconciliation Proclamation will be read in Council Chambers at 9:30. 

Aboriginal presence in council chambers on Nov. 13 to hear the proclamation being read is welcomed.  Please arrive no later than 9:00a.m.

 Media Release

November 8, 2013
City proclaims Year of Truth and Reconciliation

The City of Toronto will host an event on Tuesday to proclaim November 12, 2013 to November 12, 2014 the Year of Truth and Reconciliation in Toronto to acknowledge
Aboriginal peoples affected by the residential school system.
Councillor Michael Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee, will read the proclamation on behalf of Mayor Ford and Toronto City Council. Other speakers include Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; Elder Andrew Wesley; and Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and Honourary Witness for the event.

Date: Tuesday, November 12
Time:  10 to 11 a.m.
Location: Members Lounge, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.

The proclamation adds to the City's ongoing work to enhance relationships with the Aboriginal community in Toronto, many of whom are Residential School Survivors or family members who have been affected by the legacy of the Residential School System. The event will also include a presentation of artwork to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and to the City of Toronto by students from Hagersville High School.

More information about Residential Schools is available on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission website at
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Media contact: Mae Maracle, Consultant, Equity, Diversity and Human Rights DivisionCity Manager's Office,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Self Esteem and It's Importance in Healing

Self esteem and it's Importance in Healing:
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Self-esteem is something that everyone has. Some people have high self-esteem and some people have low self-esteem. A lot of times, the way your self esteem is, will relate to how you were raised and what you have experienced in life.

When it comes to self-esteem and its importance in healing, self-esteem plays a key role in how you are able to sustain yourself on your healing journey. No healing journey is the same as another persons because everyone is different and everyone's journeys vary with their experiences.

I have been on my healing journey for several years. I have battled with low self-esteem all my life. Sometimes I go through periods where I feel alright about myself and then there are other times where there is nothing that can get me out of a funk that makes me feel like " I suck and I will never be good enough."

It is during these rough times that I have to learn how to build myself up and keep myself strong. There are several things that I find I must do, and I will list a few here. It may help if you sit down and write yourself a list of things you can do too. You can write this list any time you want, and pull it out when you find your self-esteem is particularly low.

So, the number one thing I do is to remember being gentle with myself. This means paying particular attention to self-care. Self-care can be anything that makes you feel good-as long, as it is safe. For me, self care can mean I pull out a book and read, watch my favorite tv show, get my nails done, or be creative in one way or another whether that is writing, painting or making something.

Sometimes I will just crawl into my bed and nap, but there has to be a balance with that because it is easy to use sleeping as a way of hiding from others. Reaching out to someone is also helpful, because sometimes the person you connect with can give you the kick in the butt that you need to get out of your funk. Hanging around people who are generally positive and upbeat is also great because it helps you to get out of yourself and have fun.

People use various techniques to help build up their self-esteem. I have listed a few that you might consider, but do what works for you. Over the years I have tried many things and I am not ashamed to share them with people if I know it will help someone else who may be struggling.

I know the origins of my low self-esteem. It comes from childhood abuse and trauma. I also know that it can be difficult to feel good about yourself when you hear over and over again in your head the messages "you will never amount to anything," or "you will never do anything because you are stupid."

Listening to those messages is like listening to cassette tapes that won't turn off, but when you are feeling particularly strong in your healing journey, you learn how to deal with the thoughts that bring your self-esteem down. Listen to your self talk, if you hear yourself repeating things that hurtful people have told you in the past, stop what you are doing and tell yourself "this person is wrong," and "I'm going to turn my thoughts into positive thinking." 

A key element to self-esteem is to know that you have a place in this world and no one else can fill it in quite the same way as YOU!  You are important, and you are here for a reason. There's another thing that helps me, and that's self-help books. You might think they are hokey, but sometimes they really do help. In fact, while writing this article, I looked over a book that friends in California sent me years ago. Its called "The Self Esteem Companion: Simple exercises to help you challenge your inner critic and celebrate your personal strengths." It is co written by several authors- Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch and Catherine Sutker.

In this book that I consulted, the authors state, "self esteem is crucial to a happy, fulfilling life. How we feel about ourselves affects virtually every aspect of our lives, from the way we function at work, in love, in sex, to the way we parent, to what we strive to achieve, " and I couldn’t agree more.

Having healthy self-esteem is important, and being able to maintain it can be a regular workout, but it’s worth it. Next time you find your self esteem suffering, sit down, tell yourself "I am going to be okay," and say it over and over again. Eventually you will start to believe it and your self-esteem won't take such a blow with whatever experiences life throws your way.

In fact, once I am done this article, I am going to do an exercise from the book I have mentioned above. I am going to make a list of all the people in my life-past and present-whom I have somehow touched and then I am going to write down how they have impacted me, and then I will curl up with a good book and try to relax. I'm going to pay attention to the voice within that says "I need some self care." After all, if I'm going to give advice, I need to also follow it.

Low self-esteem can make or break you, and it coincides with your healing journey and where you are at in it. Everyone has their ups and downs, but it is up to you to recognize that "hey, I need to work on this” so that you can be a better person in the long run.

Please note- this article is now appearing in the November issue of New Tribe Magazine. You can visit the link at