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!



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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

PRESS RELEASE-Be Iconic Entertainment Announces Launch

Be Iconic Entertainment Announces Launch Empowerment Talented Youth Trying to Break into the Entertainment Industry

For a talented youth even with motivation and a positive minded family breaking into the entertainment industry can be very difficult.  One way to dramatically improve the chances of getting a shot is working with the recently launched organization, Be Iconic Entertainment, who specializes in helping youth to achieve their dreams in the entertainment world, and are having huge early success.

May 12, 2015

To break into the entertainment industry it takes many things to fall into place, some of which are very difficult for someone outside the industry to plan for or appreciate.  This applies to talented youth even more so, in the eyes of many experts, than it does adults.  Fortunately, there's now a new entertainment organization launched with the goal of empowering and directing talented youth into the entertainment world in a way that's safe, fulfilling and educational, Be Iconic Entertainment.  Led by Fallon Moreno, the new organization is off to a very fast start having success in helping youth get real opportunities in entertainment and make the most of them.

“Entertainment and helping youth are two passions we possess here so founding Be Iconic Entertainment came naturally,” commented Moreno, who is the CEO of the group.  “The youth are our future and we firmly believe if they have the talent and they dream it and believe it, they can achieve it!    We act as mentors, help develop skills and provide guidance. It's a huge advantage over going solo and can be a life changer for a youth in trouble.”

According to Be Iconic Entertainment, they are fully capable and enthusiastic about working with kids who dance, sing, rap, play music, act or do any other entertainment industry related skill.  For kids it's a huge confidence booster to get real mentors and guidance from those who have “been there” and “done that”.  Each youth is treated with the utmost respect they deserve, and shown total attention.  Moreno himself, has been widely praised for his ability to inspire youth, to a degree that almost seems magical.  It's a safe bet many passing through Be Iconic Entertainment now, with be the absolute A-list superstars of the future.

Be Iconic Entertainment are happy to always accept applications, containing a bio, photo and other important information, and accept good fits into the organization very frequently.  Moreno especially appreciates working with “at risk” youth, doing his part to help communities become better places one talented and motivated youth, at a time.

Feedback from families has been amazing about the results they have see Be Iconic Entertainment produce with their children.

J.H., a mother of a talented young singer, recently said,  “It's been amazing seeing our child coming into their own working with Be Iconic Entertainment.  Truly wonderful people, who have made the whole process fun and exciting.  They have given her a huge amount of confidence she was lacking and now we all see the sky is the only limit!  Thank you so much Be Iconic!”

For more information be sure to visit or email


Monday, May 11, 2015


By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

GOD AND THE INDIAN is an emotional play that is not so much about residential schools but about an abused woman meeting her abuser, and wanting a confession for the wrongs that were done to her.

In the first scene in GOD AND THE INDIAN Anglican Bishop George King receives a huge surprise while at his office one day, when Johnny the Indian knocks at his office door and barges in accusing him of abuse.

Johnny, a First Nations woman is stereotypically dressed as a homeless person, ragged clothes and all. She confronts King because she is determined to hear an acknowledgement about the abuse inflicted on her and other children at St. David’s School.  

This is where things get difficult because as an audience member you find yourself caught up in Johnny’s turmoil and distress, and you feel anger at the Anglican bishop because instead of confessing to the wrongs he did to Johnny and the other children at the residential school, he blames the church and says “It wasn’t my fault.”

The Anglican Bishop George King, and Johnny the Indian battle it out verbally before you trying to prove each other wrong but you are left with no clear answer and there is no justice served by the time the play ends. Johnny exits the bishops office saying “I’m just a ghost,” and the lights go down.

Native Earth Performing Arts and Firehall Arts Centre presented Drew Hayden Taylor’s play “God and the Indian” at the Aki Studio in Toronto. On stage between May 2-17, 2015,

GOD AND THE INDIAN stars Lisa C Ravensbergen as Johnny and Thomas Hauff as Anglican Assistant Bishop George King. Vancouver based Ravensbergen is Ojibwe/Swampy Cree and Jessie Award nominated actress.

Original article published in Anishinabek News