We’re all going to die; let’s talk about it. Hosted by the Institute of Traditional Medicine, and the Toronto Death Society, Toronto’s inaugural Death Symposium is a movement to explore how we reconcile life and death. “Our vision is to break the taboo around death, to create opportunities through discussions, art, demonstrations and storytelling,” said IDS co-founders Sun & Ramona. We love that they are doing this. 

Here are a few ways you can participate in this groundbreaking event:


With a powerful lineup of keynote speakers, including experts in palliative care, parents who’ve lost their children, ceremonialists and activists in the death-positive movement, this weekend-long symposium will blow open conversations about how we live, die and care for the dead. Reading through the bios of the speakers alone is fascinating; we can’t wait to hear what they have to say. Truly, this is unlike any event we’ve seen. 

The Death Marketplace — ALL WEEKEND LONG (FREE) 

The Death Marketplace will be open to the public, free of charge, throughout the weekend (Friday 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday 8 p.m. to 4 p.m.). It will be a diverse group of exhibitors, including Indigenous artists, authors and a variety of vendors, selling death-related products. Local organizations that deal with death and grief, such as PAIL (Pregnancy & Infant Loss Network), BON (Bereavement Ontario Network), Journey Home Hospice, Therapy Tails and more will also welcome you to ask questions and seek out information.  

Further, expect provocative art installations and performances, including a telephone of the wind.

Nights of Grief & Mystery & World Laments — SATURDAY NIGHT (TICKETED)

A night dedicated to the hauntingly beautiful music and laments from Mutamba Rainos (Zimbabwean), Kevin Toolis (Irish) Sine Mckenna (Scottish), and featuring the world-renowned performance Nights of Grief & Mystery & Lament with Stephen Jenkinson and Gregory Hoskins Band. Part poetry, part lamentation, part book reading, part ribaldry, part concert, part lifting the mortal veil and learning the mysteries there…that’s what’s in store.

Grief, sickness, death: these are things every human will deal with, and yet most of the time, we pretend that they don’t exist or shy away from confronting them head-on. We are so curious about this upcoming weekend that is sure to (at the very least) spark some interesting conversation. Get ready to step into a different dimension. 

International Death Symposium is taking place September 21-23 at Toronto’s Chestnut Conference Centre, and the Nights of Grief & Mystery & World Laments will be happening at OISE Auditorium. Get all the details here.