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!



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Event Posting-FNH Holiday Artisan and Book Sale Friday December 11, 2015 11am-4pm

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Event Posting- Mi'kmaw Elder Albert Marshall at First Nations House on November 30, 2015- 12pm-2pm

Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Launch: Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens- Winnipeg, Manitoba

Book Launch: Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens, by Pamela Palmater
Wednesday, October 21 at 6:00pm in UTC-05
Neechi Commons in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Wandering Spirit Announces Cultural Connections classes starting Thursday October 15, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Ghost Sick by Emily Pohl-Weary

Ghost Sick
Emily Pohl-Weary
Tightrope Books

Reviewed By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Violence and crime do not just affect a victim and their family; it also affects a whole community. This is evident in the poetry of Emily Pohl-Weary in her book Ghost Sick, where she writes about violence and its impact not only on herself but on her community as a whole.

Pohl-Weary’s poetry in Ghost Sick are deep and poignant, I especially empathize with the poem World of Sorrow where Pohl-Weary writes about a Christmas Eve shooting and says

“Before that night
I had no way of comprehending
It only takes a second to tear
The spirit from a young body

A .22 aimed behind parked cars
Five blocks from our childhood home
Business as usual ended a boy’s life
Nearly ripped a brother from mine”

Ghost Sick makes you look deep inside yourself, takes your breathe away and leaves you with wanting more. A great collection of poetry overall.

Ghost Sick is published by Tightrope Books and is 105 pages

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Review: HeartBeat of A Warrior

Review: Heartbeat of A Warrior: Aboriginal Men’s Writing, Art & Culture
BY: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

“Heartbeat of A Warrior: Aboriginal Men’s Writing, Art & Culture” is a small collection of poetry, photography and art that was borne out of a few years work at “Sagatay” a Native men’s program through a Native Men’s Residence- Na-Me-Res based in Toronto.

Emily Pohl Weary, a local Toronto writer and the men in the Sagatay Progam developed two volumes of writings called Broken Arrow. Lee Maracle, a renowned author, and grandmother of Aboriginal Literature then became a guest teacher for Pohl-Weary during the course of her creative writing courses with the men. Maracle says, “Some of the men who participated in this project had been writing for some time. Others were new to the experience, but all were eager to put their hearts and minds to the task.”

The poetry within this book is heartfelt, moving, and courageous. The theme, according to guest teacher, Lee Maracle of this book “was for the men to come to understand themselves as modern Warriors and to respect the journey’s their lives have been on.”

Many of the poems that resonated with me speak of roads to recovery whether its from drugs, alcohol or violence. In one poem “Untitled”, the writer Windwolf writes

“Today you’re making a change in your life
Even when its too little to notice the change
You’ve changed more than anyone could have dreamed
Be happy and never let another person’s opinion about you
Bring you down
You are worth more than you think”

The poems within Heartbeat of A Warrior are tinged with a wide range of emotions, and a great read if you need a quick pick me up to remind yourself of where you are in your journey in life. The poems remind you most of all that you are not alone, and that there are others out there too who may be fighting the same battle as you.

 Na-Me-Res is selling the book to fund the Na-Me-Res/ Sagatay Apaenmowineen Life Skills Program. The book sells at $15 a book, $12 for multiple copies and $10 for 100 plus copies. The contact person for this book is Marshall Schuhert, and he can be reached at

Heartbeat of A Warrior: Aboriginal Men’s Writing, Art & Culture is 102 pages long. ISBN: 978-0-9918291-0-1

Please note this is a cross post with this review soon being published in Anishinabek News

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fashions for Passions Hosts its 3rd Annual Gathering-Honouring Our Stolen Sisters

 Fashions for Passions hosts its third annual gala, Honouring Our Stolen Sisters 
Toronto, ON (September 3, 2015)- Fashions for Passions (, founded by VWAT Family Services, will be hosting its third annual gala, on Wednesday, September 23rd at 6:30 p.m. at the Liberty Grand (Governor's Room). The gala will include a four-course dinner, a live auction hosted by Gordon Cressy, as well as a silent auction. Five designers from |FAT| Arts & Fashion Week will be featured in the show, and Andrea Menard and Kaitlin Kozell will be providing entertainment for the evening. This year’s gala aims to raise awareness against   the violence and trafficking of  women and girls, thus entitled “Honouring Our Stolen Sisters.” This year, the gala will be honouring Ms. Winnie Ng, Ms. Loly Rico and Ms. Susan Langdon with the Icons of Empowerment award in recognition of their passion and dedication in furthering the status of women and girls.
We intend to impact more people than ever before,” says Thien LE “Every year, our level of impact has increased. It’s encouraged us to push for more so we can continue to break down the stigma around violence towards and the trafficking of women and girls.
The gala aims to help educate people on the factors that contribute to perpetuating the violence and trafficking of women, with particular focus on the missing Aboriginal women. By initiating a conversation, Fashions for Passions aims to engage Torontonians to stand in solidarity with the Board of Directors of VWAT to help improve the status of all women. The proceeds from the gala go directly to VWAT’s domestic violence services and two other local agencies with anti-violence and anti-trafficking services, equally.
In the past, Fashions for Passions Gala has had 4.2 million social media impressions. Those impressions were people who read and gained awareness about intimate violence and trafficking in Canada, and the necessity of coming together as a community to put an end to these injustices. By inviting community leaders and prominent Torontonians to Fashions for Passions each year, the conversation continues to grow through the sharing of information and encouraging individual, organizational and systemic efforts to challenge the violence against and trafficking of women and girls.
Media are invited to attend the event on Wednesday September 23 at the Liberty Grand (Governor's Room) at 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP to
Fashions for Passions was created to raise awareness and funds for local organizations that work towards anti-violence and anti-human trafficking initiatives. It was established in 2013, when the VWAT Board of Directors, after 33 years of supporting immigrant and newcomer communities, decided to create a program targeting the lack of awareness and support for these issues stemming from the stigma surrounding them. The gala features socially conscious and ethical local designers while offering a space to discuss modern day slavery and different forms of violence that happen both in Canada and globally, as well as ways to contribute to solving these issues. The VWAT’s vision is to raise enough awareness and funds to sustain the growth of programs and services available to victims of violence and trafficking to ultimately help them regain self-esteem and empower them to live free.
About the VWAT Family Services:
For 33 years, VWAT Family Services has been integral in the adaptation of Vietnamese newcomers and immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area. VWAT is the first point of contact for those who seek community supports to achieve their goal of integration and belonging in Canada, while preserving their Vietnamese culture. Since 2002, we have worked with over 24,000 people through VWAT’s dedicated campaigns to raising awareness and direct supports for victims of intimate violence by walking with them, every step of the way, until they gain confidence and self-esteem to reclaim control of their lives. VWAT provides a safe place for anyone who seeks support, referral services and educational workshops to assist in their success. We are committed to building an inclusive and equitable community that empowers women and girls to live free.
For further inquiries, or media accreditation please contact:
Jessica Glover, GLO Communications at jessica@glocommunications.ca416.892.4833 or
Chrissy Newton, VOCAB Communications at chrissy@vocabcommunications.com416.705.9523


Monday, August 24, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Media Release- Harbourfront Centre


Step Out of the ordinary with the new season of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps
TORONTO, ON (August 19, 2015) – Harbourfront Centre is thrilled to announce the lineup for the new NextSteps season featuring the best in Canadian dance, running from September 2015 to June 2016. The series will feature 19 shows, 59 performances from 15 companies that explore the diversity of dance.
The first half of the season includes local legend Bill James’ first complete solo work, a group piece choreographed by up-and-comer Hanna Kiel, a remount of the past World Stage show EUNOIA, as well as traditional holiday performances by Ballet Creole with music by Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. With discounts for students and youth 25 and under – as well as for industry professionals and seniors – NextSteps extends an invitation to everyone to step out of the ordinary and into an extraordinary season at Harbourfront Centre.
“Harbourfront Centre has been a supporter of dance from its earliest days more than 40 years ago,” says Lynanne Sparrow, Artistic Associate for Dance at Harbourfront Centre. “The NextSteps programme was established 10 years ago, taking that commitment to the next level by partnering with Toronto’s outstanding dance community. It is one of the city’s most diverse dance series and we are honoured to continue to partner with key companies in our city, establishing new relationships and supporting the wealth of Toronto’s dance scene.”
The NextSteps lineup will continue to grow as the season progresses. Please check the website for the most up-to-date schedule. For additional information, including photos and videos, please visit or connect with us @HarbourfrontTO #danceTO.
Now that the Queens Quay revitalization is complete, please visit updates on how to access the site.


NextSteps 2015–16 Fall/Winter Lineup
ProArteDanza – Season 2015
September 23–26
DanceWorks DW212: Tribal Crackling Wind – Woven
September 24–26
Flamenco Up Close – Grilo
October 3
Ritmo Flamenco – Bird Bee Bat Attack
October 5–7
The Chimera Project– FRESH BLOOD
In association with Harbourfront Centre
October 6–7
DanceWorks DW213: Daniel Léveillé Danse – Solitudes Solo
October 23–24
Toronto Dance Theatre – Echo
November 3–7
Fujiwara Dance Inventions– EUNOIA
In association with Harbourfront Centre
November 4–8
Human Body Expression – Armband
November 12–14
SinhaDanse – SUNYA
November 19–21
Atlas Moves Watching Dance Projects– eidolon
November 26–28
Ballet Creole and Nathaniel Dett Chorale – An Indigo Christmas...Soulful Messiah
December 4–6
Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre – Wintersong – dances for a sacred season
December 11–12
Dance Ontario Association– Dance Weekend҆16
In association with Harbourfront Centre
January 15–17, 2016

Jennie Benjamins
Office: 416-973-4381


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Blue Vengeance

Blue Vengeance
Alison Preston, 253 pages
Signature Editions

Blue Vengeance is the latest in Alison Preston’s Norwood Flats mysteries. The imagery on the cover of the book pulls at you right away, especially when you see the image of a young girl lying dead in the water. It makes you wonder, what happened and ask yourself why is this girl dead?

Blue Vengeance opens in 1964 when troubled teenager Cookie is found dead in the Red River. Cookie was a troubled teenager who had been battling bulimia and various other demons, that saw her become distant towards her family before her untimely death.

Your heartstrings are pulled when Cookie’s younger brother Danny stands at the graveyard with his family while burying his sister and as they stand in the rain; he recalls that his sister doesn’t like rain. He turns to his aunt and says, “Cookie doesn’t like the rain.”(pg.1) “Hurry up” he said “We can’t be dropping her down into a lake.” (pg.1)

Blue Vengeance is not so much about grief, loss and coping but also about vengeance for a young soul lost. Danny holds Cookie’s gym teacher responsible for her death because not long before his sister died, he witnessed Mrs. Hartley being mean to Cookie and calling her names in front of her classmates.

Danny and Cookie’s best friend Janine conceive a plot over the course of the summer and fall to kill Mrs. Hartley. Along with dealing with his sister’s death, Danny also has to deal with having a mother who is not capable of helping him through his grief due to her own illnesses and grief. We see Danny grow up faster than his thirteen years as we see the role of parent and child reversed with Danny undertaking household chores and cooking to help his mother out.

Essentially this freedom, allows him to entertain thoughts of seeking vengeance for his sister’s death and not really caring about the outcome.

(Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Previously published in Broken Pencil Magazine

P.S. Please note that once a month I will be posting non Native literary works

Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: Little Brother of War

Review: Little Brother of War

Reviewed By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Living up to expectations is something sixteen year old Mississippi Choctaw Randy Cheska is used to. He has lived most of his life in the shadow of his football hero older brother Jack. When Jack is tragically killed while serving in Iraq, the expectations grow more intense because with the loss of his brother his parents lose interest in everything and become more obsessed with having their surviving son Randy live up to their deceased son’s memory.

 Randy gets tired of trying to live up to his deceased brother’s memory and though he has no interest in following in his brother’s footsteps, he is drawn to the game of stickball after he is guided by a mysterious visitor one day while visiting the community hall with his mother.

 He plays his first game of stickball and his interest is aroused. After being asked by the stickball coach to join his team for the World Series of Stickball for the Choctaw Fair, Randy must convince his parents that he not only has an interest in the game but that it is something that he is good at, despite what they want from him-to be a football hero.

 Little Brother of War is a book that encourages youth to learn to be who they want to be and not what someone else wants them to be. Little Brother of War is instrumental in teaching the Seven Grandfather Teachings- wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth. It is a refreshing read.

 Little Brother of War is a part of the Pathfinder Series from 7th Generation for youth K-12 years old. It is 112 pages. ISBN 978-1-939053-02-2











Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Poetry Review: Wabigoon River: Poems

Review: Wabigoon River: Poems
Reviewed by: Christine Smith McFarlane

Wabigoon River Poems is written by award winning writer David Groulx and covers a wide range of social justice issues within a global context. In order to fully understand the breadth of the poetry that Groulx writes, one must take in each poem they read slowly.

By reading slowly, it is like ingesting every powerful word and letting yourself fall into the depths of each word that is written. For an example there is the poem “Why Are They Called White People,” where Groulx bluntly says

“Why are they called White people
and not immigrants
or kidnappers

This poem clearly speaks historically of the unsettling relations between non-Native and Native peoples in the past but also in the present. We just need to think of the impact of colonialist policies imposed upon our people-the Indian Act, the residential school system etc.

Another poem that really struck me was “On Seeing a Photograph of My Mother At St. Joseph Residential School for Girls,” where Groulx metaphorically speaks of the sadness that encompasses the image he sees off his mother in a picture from residential school and the storm that ensues from her survival.

“Some of the girls in the picture are smiling. You are not Your
eyes staring into the camera Seem a million miles away

That stare I will see seldom and one day understand that
Storms begin millions of miles away”

Wabigoon River Poems is breathtakingly beautiful. The poems tackle a wide range of issues such as genocide, revolution, and survival. David Groulx does not just speak of Indigenous struggles but he also places other battles, other atrocities and other genocides committed worldwide. A great read overall

Wabigoon River is 58 pages, and is published by Kegedonce Press. ISBN 978-1-928120-01-8

This is a cross post-will soon be posted in Anishinabek News

Friday, July 3, 2015

Review of "Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love"

“Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love”
Reviewed by: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

“Back To The Red Road:  A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love” is a memoir co-written by authors Florence Kaefer and Edward Gamblin. It examines each author’s respective journeys to reconciliation, redemption and love after each survives the residential school era. Kaefer is a teacher during that era and Gamblin is a student.

Kaefer is just nineteen when she accepts a job as a teacher at Norway House Indian Residential School. She states that she was not fully aware of the conditions in which the children lived in at the school, but littered throughout her story are some snippets of what she remembers as a teacher at that time. How can she not be aware when she when she points out an incident of “when a little boy came back after lunch crying,” and when asking the other students what was wrong? They stated, “Mr. Plint had boxed the boy’s ears,” She further states that she confronted the teacher responsible for this child crying and the teacher paid no attention to her request to leave her children alone.

There is other evidence throughout Back to the Red Road that makes me question how Kaefer can purport to not know about the abuse the residential school children went through when she reconnects with her former student Edward Gamblin, and is not only told about the abuses he went through but as a singer he sings about it in various cds that Kaefer comes to own.

Gamblin is five years old when he enters the Norway House Indian Residential School, and though he has been out of residential school for years, you can still hear his pain as he recounts certain events to Kaefer, such as various beatings and being sexually assaulted by one of the priests at the school.

It is after Kaefer is reunited with Gamblin, hears his stories and hears other residential school survivor’s stories that she feels motivated to apologize on behalf of the school and her colleagues.

“Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love” is a heartbreaking read, and as a survivor of abuse, I found it at times to be quite triggering and difficult to digest.

Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love is published by Caitlin Press and is 207 pages. ISBN: 13:978-1—927575-37-6

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Poetry- Remnants of Past Pain

By: Christine Smith McFarlane

Remnants of past pain
hit my very core
leaving me feeling
like there's a hole inside
that will never quite fill up

Remnants of past pain
hit my very core
leaving me with a sadness
i cannot quite explain
the little girl inside
but no one knows
how much it takes
just to stay strong

Remnants of past pain
hit my very core
but i hold my head up
and tell myself

if it wasn't for this pain
i wouldn't be on
this path I'm on

Monday, June 15, 2015

Media release: Harbourfront Centre's New Season of Programming


Celebrate the revitalized waterfront with Harbourfront Centre's new season of great programming

TORONTO , ON (June 15, 2015) - Culture lives at Harbourfront Centre with an incredible lineup of programming that crosses borders, defends diversity and proliferates the arts.

This summer, Harbourfront Centre celebrates arts and culture from around the world, along with plenty of stellar Canadian talent. Spectacular performances featuring artists from South Asia to Africa, Taiwan to Australia, Iran to the Caribbean, and right here in Canada, will be heating up Toronto all summer long. Visitors of all ages are invited to indulge in sensational festivals, outdoor concerts, Canada Day Eve Fireworks (June 30), and to experience the thrill of dancing by the lake, watching films under the stars, and much more. As always, the majority of our programming is free unless otherwise noted.

Weekly activities include the always popular Free Flicks movie night, Dancing on the PierSummer Music in the Garden, DJ Deep Fried FridaysMagnetic Beats, and awesome outdoor concerts on the WestJet Stage.

Every weekend from July 3-September 7, Harbourfront Centre hosts a different curated festival designed with the whole family in mind. New festivals include FLAUNT, which honours freedom of style, and Party on the Block, where local neighbourhoods meet global sounds and movements. Visitors looking to experience the different facets of global culture can participate in TAIWANfestHabari Africa, the Iranian festival Tirgan, the pan-Latin festival Ritmo Y Color, or the Caribbean festival Island Soul. Each weekend festival will also see unique vendors offering their wares for purchase.

New to Harbourfront Centre is The Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival, which makes the move from Queen's Park to take place on site Sunday, September 27th. The festival will showcase Canada's hottest new books and authors, as well as the best Canadian magazines. Visitors can enjoy over 200 authors and presenters on stage and shop in the Exhibitor Marketplace, which features hundreds of vendors.

Returning this year is Planet IndigenUSJuly 31-August 9. The 10-day festival features over 300 Indigenous artists from around the globe. Co-produced with the Woodland Cultural Centre, the festival focuses on the innovative voices, stories, and cultures of Indigenous people by showcasing the wealth of work across all disciplines of contemporary Indigenous art.

Getting to Harbourfront Centre is easier than ever, and the opening of the newly-renovated Queens Quay West allows visitors to fully embrace all that Harbourfront Centre has to offer. The 10-acre site is fully accessible by public transport, car, bicycle, or foot. It's less than a 10-minute walk from Union Station, a quick ride on the 509/510 streetcar (there's a streetcar stop right at our door), and there's ample parking in either one of Harbourfront Centre's two public lots. While on site, our visitors can enjoy great food and beverages at the Lakeside Local Patio, The World Café and the Lakeside Local Bar & Grill - all while taking in the best view in the city.

For a full listing of Harbourfront Centre's events, please visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queen's Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto's waterfront.


Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating the 10 prime acres of Toronto's central waterfront as a free and open public site. We celebrate the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada, and enliven the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe.


Please note individual media releases with additional information will be distributed in advance of each festival.


June 20 
Toronto Area Board Gaming Society (TABS) Game Day 
Whether you're already a fan of strategy games or have always wanted to explore the world of multi-player board gaming, this event is for you.

June 20-21 
The 2nd Annual Chessfest at Harbourfront Centre 
The Chess Institute of Canada and the Annex Chess Club bring the game to the waterfront.

June 20-21 
Play Zone 
Discover Harbourfront Centre's imagination playground for kids eight years old and under.

June 26 
Two of Toronto's best LGBTQ dance parties (FIT & BIG PRIMPIN) team up for the third year to present FIT PRIMPIN, a Pride party to remember.

June 30 
Canada Eve Fireworks 
Don't miss the best fireworks show in the city, exploding over Lake Ontario.

July 1 
Canada Day: The Next Generation 
Join us as we celebrate the music, food and ideas that make Canada one of the most diverse places on the planet.

July 3-5 
Kick Up Your Heels 
Explore a diverse range of dance forms through interactive performances, workshops and classes.

July 10-12 
Party on the Block 
Block party culture comes to Harbourfront Centre and art and social movements inspire each other.

July 17-19 
Ritmo Y Color 
The 10th edition of one of Toronto's largest pan-Latin festivals.

July 24-26 
Celebrating the spectacular world of vaudeville, circus, fashion and everything fabulous.

July 31-August 3 
Island Soul 
Explore the rhythms, mythologies, histories and delicacies of the Caribbean islands.

July 31-August 9 
Planet IndigenUS 
A contemporary arts and cultural festival that celebrates the voices, stories, and cultures of Indigenous people from around the world.

August 14-16 
Habari Africa 
Learn about the rich and diverse cultures spanning the African continent.

August 20-23 
The world's largest Iranian festival returns with this year's theme of "Homeland."

August 28-30 
Explore some of Taiwan's most remarkable artists and ideas.

September 4-7 
Hot & Spicy Food Festival 
This popular festival celebrates global cuisine that is hot, spicy and sustainable.

September 11-13 
Veg Food Fest 
Presented by the Toronto Vegetarian Association 
North America's biggest vegetarian food festival returns with more than 130 vendors.

October 12 
HarbourKIDS: Rites 
Join us on Thanksgiving Day and share traditions through art and interactive experiences.


June 2 
Montreal Storytellers 
Join us in celebrating this famed performance group and the late Hugh Hood, one of its founding members, with readings by authors Clark Blaise, John Metcalf and Ray Smith.

June 25 
Book Summit 2015: The Story at the Centre 
This full-day workshop explores how readers, writers and new technology are impacting current publishing models and narrative structures.

July 16 
Studio 180 Theatre pays tribute to essayist, humourist and national treasure David Rakoff with a concert staging of his whimsical and deeply moving portrait of life in the 20th century.

August 4 
Planet IndigenUS: In Conversation with Sheila Watt-Cloutier 
Catch an in-depth conversation with non-fiction writer Sheila Watt-Cloutier about her recent work, The Right to be Cold.

September 27 
The Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival 
For the first time, The Word on the Street arrives on the Harbourfront Centre site to showcase Canada's hottest new books and authors, as well as the best Canadian magazines. Enjoy over 200 authors and presenters on stage and shop in an Exhibitor Marketplace featuring hundreds of vendors.

October 22-November 1 
36th International Festival of Authors 
Don't miss these 11 days of readings, interviews, lectures, roundtable discussions, public book signings and special events. This year, discover the work of emerging and established poets and the best of contemporary Catalonian literature.


June 20-September 7 
Eminent Domain 
Bik Van der Pol continues their investigation on the ways that human activity in the globalized age has a direct effect on ecological systems.

June 20-September 7 
A newly commissioned project that refers on the one hand to the commercial practice of extracting valuable subterranean minerals and on the other, to the possessive pronoun.

June 20-September 7 
The Mouth Holds the Tongue 
A project exploring the depths of collaboration, created by Nadia Belerique, Lili Huston-Herterich and Laurie Kang.

June 20-September 7 
YES! Association/Föreningen JA! puts into practice a structural redistribution of access to financial resources, space and time within the contemporary art sphere through engaging in strategies related to rights discourse and inclusion, radical difference and utopia.

June 20-September 20 
Summer Exhibitions 
Part of Planet IndigenUS 
Five exhibitions featuring more than 27 artists who explore the relationship between land, politics and art.


Thursdays, June 25-September 3 
Dancing on the Pier 
Learn how to salsa, meringue, swing and more on Toronto's favourite open-air dance floor.

Fridays, July 3-September 4 
DJ Deep Fried Fridays 
DJs bring their best beats and chefs bring their favourite fried foods every Friday night from 7-9 pm.

Fridays, July 3-September 4 
Magnetic Beats 
A social and interactive series combining urban dance and music in one space from 8-10 pm.

Saturdays, July 4-September 5 
Lakeside Late Nights 
Every Saturday night we offer a unique late night experience inspired and informed by each weekend festival theme.

Most Sundays and Thursdays, July 2-September 13 
Summer Music in the Garden 
Presented by TD Bank Group 
Experience the best classical music from around the world in a wonderfully serene setting.

Wednesdays, July 8 - September 2 
Free Flicks 
Presented by PortsToronto 
Free movies by the lake. This year's theme explores different generations within families.


May 16-October 12 
World Café 
An extension of some of the busiest kitchens in the GTA, and an important complement to the summer festival season.

June 20-September 7 
Lakeview Market 
Visitors can browse through a wide range of clothing, house wares, artifacts and other products.

May 16-October 12 
Lakeside Local Patio 
A fully licensed venue serving up great food with the best view of Lake Ontario.

Lakeside Local Bar & Grill 
Delicious casual dining on the waterfront overlooking the action happening around the Natrel Pond.

The Harbourfront Centre Shop 
A curated selection of extraordinary accessories, gifts and one-of-a-kind 
 unsubscribe from Harbourfront Centres media relations database, 

Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W M5J 2G8

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Review: #IDLENOMORE and the Remaking of Canada

Book Review: #IdleNoMore:  And The Remaking of Canada
Written By: Ken Coates
 Reviewed By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

“#IDLENOMORE and the Remaking of Canada” is a book that kind of examines the roots of the powerful Idle No More movement of 2012 but I get the impression that the author really just argues about how relations between First Nations peoples and non-native peoples were leading up to the Idle No More Movement and have come to be since.

The author states in the preface that “my emotions relative to the movement like most non-Aboriginal Canadians have run the gamut,” and that “it is hard to explain a movement that was, intentionally, leaderless, inspired by remarkable founders, suffused with a decolonization critique, peaceful, largely comprised of young people, and far more cultural than political.”

The Idle No More Movement of 2012 was launched by four women in Saskatchewan, most specifically Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah MacLean and Nina Wilson in response to the launch of Bill C-45 by Stephen Harper and the Conservative government. Bill C-45 was a bill that was set up to implement the 2012 federal budget, but came at a cost for First Nations peoples. It meant many changes, most notably changes to band control over the land and environmental regulations for Aboriginal people.

Idle No More started out as a post on facebook, and began as a small teach in in Saskatoon. It was a movement that grew beyond social media that went right across Canada It was huge in the sense that First Nations people were asserting their rights and airing their concerns in a way that had not been done before. You just need to remember the collective marches, the sound of the drums and the round dances that happened at each event or gathering.

 There was a message in “Idle No More,” and from the beginning it was a declaration of the women’s determination that they-and anyone who wanted to join them- would not sit silently while the Government of Canada transformed the foundations of environmental and Indigenous law.”

Author Ken Coates feels that in order to understand the origins of #Idle No More and how it began, it is important to look at the many good reasons for Aboriginal people to be upset and also feels that the social geography of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relationship needs to be explained.

Coates identifies issues that have kept Aboriginal people angry and frustrated and lays an explanatory framework for the events of 2012. He not only speaks about the Indian Act and how it controlled and limited the freedoms of First Nations peoples but he also writes about how there were notions of cultural and religious superiority that convinced the government to regulate crucial Aboriginal traditions, the use of Indian agents, the refusal of First Nations to be able to meet for the purposes of lobbying or protesting, and the list goes on.

Coates states “Some Canadians might not know of the pattern of mistreatment but that the ignorance” of these issues no longer holds because there are new perspectives and interpretations being told in schools about Aboriginal history, there is broad coverage in the media and popular culture of the impact of government actions on Indigenous people.” And non-Aboriginal Canadians are slowly and uneasily coming to terms with the historical injustices that have been a part of First Nations people’s lives.

Though Coates argues that “the last four decades have seen the Government of Canada and latterly the provincial and territorial governments spend billions of dollars to address historical grievances and support Indigenous efforts to overcome historical legacies, I tend to disagree with him.

Within the author’s view the process has been administratively extensive but collectively more than a little insincere. If the process in which the government is collectively trying to right their wrongs, there still wouldn’t be the issues we face today- discrimination, racism, the need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to state what all First Nations people have known for years- that the government has committed genocide against First Nations people, and the Harper government is doing everything it can to erode First Nations peoples rights as a people.

Coates states “Revolutionary change happens when opponents of the current regime rise up and overthrow it. Idle No More did not affect that kind of change and the organizers never intended it to,” but really when you think of it, Idle No More was a success, it launched a national evolution, it brought First Nations concerns to the forefront instead of being swept to the backroom of offices, school campuses and in our communities. We have been heard to some degree and that is better than not at all!

#IDLENOMORE and the Remaking of Canada is published by the University of Regina Press and is 230 pages. It sells for $27.95 ISBN:9780889773424

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Please help fund this very important documentary "The Sixties Scoop: A Hidden Generation"

Press Release: Sixties Scoop: A Hidden Generation
 by Colleen Hele

May 12, 2015

My name is Colleen and I am the daughter of a residential school survivor, family member of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and I am also a Sixties Scoop adoptee.
If you haven’t heard of the Sixties Scoop, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Sixties Scoop is a term that is used to describe an extension of the residential school system in which Indigenous children were literally scooped from their families by colonial child welfare authorities and adopted into non-Indigenous families across Turtle Island and overseas.
What this means is that I, and an estimated 20,000 other adoptees, grew up dislocated not only from our families, but from our land, culture and traditions. On a practical level, due to sealed adoption records, many of us do not know how to find or reconnect with our biological families or learn about our medical histories. As the name suggests, the majority of adoptions occurred during the 1960s, but these adoptions began in the 1950s and were carried out as recently as the 1980s.
Two civil action lawsuits have been filed by Sixties Scoop adoptees, and they are part of a growing movement to seek accountability and compensation for our loss of culture. Perhaps even more importantly, many of us continue to seek connection and healing. That is why, over the past few years, I have been working to connect with other adoptees so that we can come together to heal, repatriate, seek answers, and educate others. It is an exciting time for us. Our movement is building momentum and we sincerely hope that you will help us make history by contributing to healing, and education about this “hidden generation”.
There are many ways you can get involved:

1)     Donate to our GoFundMe Campaign. In July 2015 my son and I will be traveling with a documentary film crew (Skylarc Pictures) by van from Ottawa to Edmonton, with stops along the way in Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Sault Ste. Marie. In each stop we will be connecting with and interviewing other Indigenous adoptees, Elders, and youth about their experiences of being raised in non-Indigenous households, finding their biological families, and healing from loss of culture and identity. The film will be told from the viewpoint of my son Sage who has been impacted by the trauma and violence I've endured. We know that it will be a powerful journey and an important tool for education. Help us reach our goal of raising $15,000 to produce this film! Every little bit helps.

Visit to read more about the project and check out the awesome prizes attached to every reward level!

2)   Host us in your community’s spaces during our Speaking Tour. As part of our strategy to heighten awareness about the Sixties Scoop and raise funds for the documentary, we are asking universities and community organizations across Canada to sponsor us into their spaces. We want to foster a meaningful dialogue around support systems for Indigenous adoptees, our families, and our communities, on our path towards healing.

3)   In-Kind Sponsorship. We would love to hear from anyone who thinks they may be able to provide in-kind support to our project, e.g. providing meals, transportation, accommodations, medicines, equipment and services.

4) Forward this message far and wide within your networks!
For more information or to support this initiative please visit our 

Please contact us if you would like to make a donation by cheque.
In solidarity,
Colleen Cardinal