Day of the Dead in Hamilton?

My name is Edith and I am a planning committee member for Steel City Stories. One of the main reasons I love Canada is because of its multiculturalism. I can enjoy a Hawaiian meal in the middle of the winter, I can celebrate the new Chinese year with my Russian friends, and I also can celebrate thanksgiving with my new Syrian friend and his boyfriend while having delicious Syrian entrees before the Turkey is ready.

Since I am part of that multicoloured social fabric, a Mexican woman and a volunteer for Steel City Stories, which the main objective is building community, I suggested the theme “Day of the Dead” to the whole committee, and I’m excited for the opportunity to share one of my own cultural traditions.

The objective of celebrating the Day of the Dead by telling stories is an invitation to reflect on a different perspective on how we conceive dead. The modern Mexican tradition is a cultural and religious syncretism influenced by Aztec and European civilizations, celebrated on All Saints day. Day of the Dead is a celebration, a party for our deceased loved ones, is a day where we can remembering as they wanted us to evoke them and their legacy.

Let’s celebrate them together in Hamilton! We invite all attendees of Day of the Dead on November 5 at Mills Hardware to celebrate their departed loved ones by bringing a memento for the altar. Please bring a copy of a photo of your departed family or friends (nothing irreplaceable or valuable!) and join is us in remembering them together.

Day of the Dead ticket information here



Introducing… Anne!

Anne Bokma - Photo

Anne Bokma is an award-winning journalist and travel writer who has contributed to many Canadian magazines and newspapers. She is the monthly Spiritual But Secular columnist at the United Church Observer, where she writes about spiritual experiences to be found outside of religion. Anne also organizes the annual Six-Minute Memoir charitable storytelling event, held at First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. 

Anne’s  first published work was a corny poem in her Grade 9 yearbook. Since then she’s published personal pieces on subjects ranging from talking to her kids about sex, leaving the fundamentalist church of her youth, and growing up without a father. She agrees with the words of the writer Maya Angelou: ““There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

You can check out her work at

Introducing… Andrew!

Andrew Guy photo

Andrew is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University with degrees in Biology and Exercise Science, and a Masters in Kinesiology.  He is the author of “Work Your Words: Finding Your Pathway to Personal Success, “ and founder of an executive leadership training platform.  Andrew holds a black belt in martial arts and lives in Hamilton with his wife and two sons.

Learn more about Andrew at


Julia Kollek Headshot

As the eldest child, Julia was often asked to babysit her younger brother and sister, who were quite a handful.  She found that putting a pillow on her head and telling highly unlikely stories in a high-pitched voice kept the kids amazingly spellbound!

Even more strangely, this child-taming habit became Julia’s career, and through her communications company, she now helps clients tell their stories – though the head pillow and high voice thing is only reserved for special projects.


Mike Borrelli

Mike Borrelli is a social researcher working in the energy sector and a community leader in downtown’s Beasley neighbourhood. After completing a graduate degree at McMaster in 2005, Mike settled in downtown Hamilton and loved it. In recent years, Mike has worked with his amazing, energetic downtown neighbours to found the Hamilton Community Land Trust in order to preserve housing affordability in Hamilton’s core, and currently, serves as Chair of the Board.


Marianne Daly

Marianne Daly’s life changed after she watched her father die. At 20, she left a budding career in Insurance to follow her heart. She found the love of learning and fascination with World Religions that she’s been sharing as a teacher for 30 years. As a mother, Marianne is dedicated to supporting two sons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder as they follow their passions and attend university. She loves road trips, writing creative non-fiction, storytelling, improv comedy, meditation and forest bathing.

Introducing… Edith!


Edith Chavez was born and raised in the heart of Mexico City.  She is an M.A. candidate at McMaster University and loves to learn about other cultures and ways of life.  One of her favourite quotes comes from Ramon De Campoamor: “Nothing is true and nothing is false. All depends on the colour of lens through which we look.”



Prof. Maja Jovanovic is a medical sociologist, researcher, writer and public speaker. Her first book “Hey Ladies, Stop Apologizing…and other career mistakes women make” was just published a few days ago and is available on Amazon or Chapters online. Prof. Maja teaches sociology at McMaster University and is the founder of ALL IN Enterprises, a company that teaches women how to improve their communication skills and increase their confidence.