Some Assembly Required – Recap!


Thank you to everyone that came out to Some Assembly required and made it such a great event. We had a blast partnering with Art Forms for this storytelling event featuring youth, and we can’t wait until we do it again!

The evening was hosted by Zak McDonald. You can listen to the full podcast here.


Deb started off the evening with a few eye-opening stories from her career as a social
worker. A few things we learned from Deb: 

  1. Don’t assume anything. 
  2. Calling 1-800-BUCKINGHAM wil not connect you with the Queen of England. 
  3. Sweater pants (read: wearing a sweater as pants) is a very hard look to pull off.
  4. Crazy things will happen to you, but life will always go on.


Jesse was our first youth speaker for the night and definitely set the bar high! Along with gracing the audience with his spot-on Chewbacca impression, he talked about his struggles with being misunderstood by his educators.

Our favourite part of Jesse’s story was how he was able to help a young boy with communication issues finally speak to his parents by bonding and talking with him over Pokemon. Jesse left us with the message that no matter how loose a screw is, you can still turn it.


Grace was up next! She gave us insight into what it’s like to struggle with mental illness and battle alarming sights and sounds all in your head. She shared with us how these overwhelming experiences caused her to withdraw from her peers and isolate herself in the school library. 

Luckily, Grace already had a friend in Jesse and was introduced to Art Forms. These workshops have given her the chance to create all kinds of art and form a new, supportive friend group.


Zak, our host for the night, was the final speaker before intermission. He began by telling us that, compared to the struggled from his childhood, his life is so good now that he’s run out of stories.

Ten hilarious minutes later, we would definitely know that a) this was definitely not true and b) it’s very hard to start a rap career with the name “Ziplock”. Zak sent us off to intermission with big laughs, and the assurance that if you feel like you don’t know how to be a person,
he is right there with you.


CJ, another frequenter of Art Forms, opened up the second act of the night. CJ kept his
story short, but awesome.

He talked about having ADHD and being bullied, but said that Art Forms has now given him self confidence, new friends, and fame! 

Kyla was up next and spoke about her experiences being a runner. She’s run away from homes, school, and lots of her problems over the years.

Luckily, she’s also run into some amazing youth workers who have helped her turn things around and find outlets for her frustrations. She’s now enrolled in a Child Youth Worker program and, always a runner, now finds herself running towards solutions. 


Treasa was up next with a story about making your own luck. She took us on a journey through the beginning of her music career, a journey which ironically began with theatre school.

She went from being an unknown at a folk music conference in Memphis, to soaring to the top of the blues charts, to scoring an opening spot on a tour in Ireland. This tour was a bumpy trip that caused her to lose a lot of money, her temper, and her way, but also led to finding the end of the rainbow. 

As her song “Stuck in Soulsville” goes, “Some people say that you make your own luck, I guess to get where it’s at sometimes you’ve got to get stuck.”


Levi was our final speaker of the night. He talked about the ups and downs of being trans, and especially how it has affected his relationships with important people in his life. He’s also self-proclaimed expert on being trans and taught us that it’s always a good idea to ask a person what their pronouns are if you’re not sure. He’d like you to remember that some people are born with the body that’s right for them, but for others there is still some assembly required.

Introducing … Treasa!


Treasa Levasseur moved to Hamilton in 2013 and is proud to be taking part in Steel City Stories. Treasa has released 4 albums of original songs, including the Juno-nominated Low Fidelity, which she toured across North America in her dearly departed mini-van, Vinnieman. Treasa is also in demand as a session player on her trusty accordion, and has been mastering the glockenspiel, the fife and the dulcimer (among other weird instruments).

She has made her living for the last 18 years singing songs and making couch forts with preschoolers across the GTA, and strongly believes she should have been the 6th spice girl, Pumpkin Pie Spice.  She loves facilitating sessions at Art Forms, and is constantly inspired by the courage and creativity of the youth community there.

‘Some Assembly Required’ is on Saturday, November 1st, at Mills Hardware. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here!

Introducing … Kyla!


Kyla is an energetic student at Mohawk College studying in the Child and Youth Worker program. She hopes to one day combine her lived experience with her studies and be the founder of a non-profit youth organization.

For fun Kyla, or Young Killah, as she’s known as when she’s rapping taught herself piano. You can hear a few of her raps on the Freestyle Friday Facebook page. Kyla takes 3 creams and 1 ½ sugars in her coffee.

‘Some Assembly Required’ is on Saturday, November 1st, at Mills Hardware. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here!

Introducing … Deb!

Deb profileDeborah, among other things, is an occasional writer and storyteller with the vocabulary of a well educated sailor. She finds humour in making mistakes and plans to make many more. Her passions include tea, feminist prose and BuzzFeed puppies.

She is also on the planning committee for Steel City Stories! You can follow her misadventures on twitter @editablankpage

‘Some Assembly Required’ is on Saturday, November 1st, at Mills Hardware. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here!

Introducing … Zak!


Zak McDonald is a stand up comedian, actor, provocateur, wordsmith, and modern day genius. He is also a man who refuses to write his own bio’s.

Zak has been traveling the country with his unique, honest, heartfelt and uplifting form of comedy for the last three years. He has been part of The Brantford Comedy festival, performed at The Lincoln Alexander Centre, and co-wrote and starred in the short film “The Store” for which he was nominated for best actor at The Hamilton Film Festival. He aims to continue to travel the world and push boundaries as a performer.

We are thrilled to have Zak as our host for ‘Some Assembly Required’!

‘Some Assembly Required’ is on Saturday, November 1st, at Mills Hardware. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here!

Storytelling with Art Forms

We are so excited to be partnered with Art Forms for “Some Assembly Required”. This is a very special event for Steel City Stories, as it is the first time that we will be featuring youth storytellers!


This past month we’ve worked with Art Forms and our host Zak Macdonald to facilitate youth workshops on the art of crafting a compelling story. The culmination of six weeks of workshops will be our event on November 7th [tickets here] at Mills Hardware. The night will follow the format of a
regular Steel City Stories event, but will feature stories from the new perspective of youth that are “on the fringe” in the local community. Our theme for this event is “Some Assembly Required” and was chosen by the youth.



For those of you who don’t know, Art Forms is a youth arts organization located on James Street North in Hamilton. Art Forms provides art-making opportunities to youth who are “on the fringe”. They have been operational for two years and have provided workshops on all forms of art including drawing painting, writing, print-making, hip-hop, book-making, street art, beat-making, videography, mural, photography, and song-writing.

All the programs and activities at Art Forms are dedicated to helping youth thrive in Hamilton by seeking to improve mental health, sense of community, civic engagement, and commitment to education. We are proud to be assisting with Art Forms with these goals and can’t wait to share what the youth have been working on!


Check out the Art Forms website for other upcoming events!

“Some Assembly Required” is taking place on November 7th at Mills Hardware. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Seating is limited.

Introducing … Amanda!

Amanda LeducAmanda Leduc grew up in Hamilton and lived in British Columbia and Scotland before returning to Hamilton in 2010.

Her essays and stories have appeared across Canada, the US, and the UK, and her novel, THE MIRACLES OF ORDINARY MEN, was published in 2013 by Toronto’s ECW Press.

She is currently at work on her next book, a collection of personal essays.

‘Missed Connections’ is on Saturday, June 6th, at Olivet United Church. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here

Introducing … Patricia!

Pat SaundersPatricia Saunders is a long-time resident of the Mountain. She graduated from McMaster University and practiced Social Work at the Ministry of Health until her retirement in 1995.

Patricia is an active member of the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, Friends of Auchmar, City of Hamilton Historical Board and chair of the Heritage Events Sub-Committee. She is President of the Women’s Canadian Club of Hamilton.

Patricia is an ardent bridge player and a devoted mother of five, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of two.

‘Missed Connections’ is on Saturday, June 6th, at Olivet United Church. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here

Introducing … Cole!

Cole GatelyCole has lived in Hamilton for over 25 years, after emigrating from Scotland. He spent most of his university days (at McMaster) protesting South African Apartheid, opposing the 1st Gulf War, fighting for Indigenous rights, becoming a lesbian feminist, canvassing for Greenpeace, drinking beer, and writing papers and exams in his spare time.

He has worked in homelessness for the past 16 years, and now has an MA in adult education. Missing the connection? Sit back, relax and all will become clear.

‘Missed Connections’ is on Saturday, June 6th, at Olivet United Church. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here

Introducing … Jason!

Jason HofingSeven years ago, Jason Hofing started roasting his own beans and has grown Relay Coffee Roasters (formerly Red Hill Coffee Trade) into a local success story. He started out small, pouring his great, fair-trade coffee at local events, and grew his brand through partnerships with local restaurants and vendors.

Today, he has a busy stall at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, and two years ago he opened a Relay Coffee shop at the corner of Concession and East 23rd.

Twitter: @TheCoffeeTrade

‘Missed Connections’ is on Saturday, June 6th, at Olivet United Church. Doors open at 7pm and you can buy advance tickets for $10 here