Published on November 7, 2023
Hundreds gathered at Evergreen Brick Works this weekend to experience the power of public grief and community support
TORONTO, ONTARIO (November 6, 2023) – The Good Mourning Festival kicked off this weekend at Evergreen Brick Works to explore the role of public space in grief and community healing. The two-day festival on November 4th and 5th featured a series of interactive art installations, immersive experiences, and hands-on workshops that encouraged participants to connect with community members and find creative ways to navigate the complex terrain of loss.
“The Good Mourning Festival serves as a model of how we can use public space to promote community connection and healing during difficult circumstances,” says Danielle Goldfinger, Senior Manager of Evergreen Brick Works Activations and Facilities. “The festival brings together a range of cultural practices, customs and rituals in one location for communities to mourn collectively and feel a sense of belonging and support.”
On November 4th, Evergreen’s first ‘Together in Grief’ event included installations and workshops from Space for Grief, Health Design Studio, and Forest Bathing Club of Toronto as well as commemorative walking tours by performance group Mammalian Diving Reflex. The festival also included a ceremony drawing on old-time Ojibwe Bush Teachings that invited visitors to honour lost loved ones—including the more than 10,000 Indigenous children who died in residential schools across Canada.
The Day of the Dead Celebration on November 5th, which draws over 5,000 visitors annually, featured over 30 artisan vendors, 11 food vendors, mezcal tastings with Mezcal Agua Santa and Tequila Herradura as well as cider tastings with Brickworks Ciderhouse. Participants explored Latin American and Caribbean cultural beliefs and customs associated with death and healing through mainstage dance, music, and storytelling performances. A reimagined storytelling ofrenda installation by Creato featuring images, videos, audio clips and artworks commemorating loved ones grew in real time throughout the festival.
Amid the epidemic of loneliness and isolation, the potential for public space to connect communities is greater than ever. The Good Mourning Festival is one example of how public space can facilitate connection and celebrate the diverse cultural approaches to life, loss and remembrance.
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Evergreen is a national non-profit transforming public spaces in our cities to build a healthier future for people and our planet. Evergreen Brick Works, located in the heart of Toronto’s Don Valley, is an example and showcase of how this work comes to life. Once an industrial brick factory, it has been transformed into a showcase of green design, and a community hub where visitors can connect to nature and each other.