Hospice Northwest is interested in developing and hosting Thunder Bay’s first ever Death Café – an event that has been rising in popularity around the world. The first Death Café was founded in the UK in 2011 and was based on the work of Swiss sociologist and anthropologist Bernard Crettaz.
Since their inception, over 200 such events have been held across England, Wales, the U.S., Canada, Australia and Italy with 1000+ people in attendance. Events across Canada have gained a lot of attention recently in the news, particularly from CBC, and have been praised for their efforts in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to name a few. For example, Ottawa’s first Death Café was such a success that the second event which is in its planning process, already has a waitlist of over 60 people to get free tickets to attend.
At Death Cafes, people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake. The objective of a Death Café, as defined on the international Death Café movement website (http://www.deathcafe.com/p/what-is-death-cafe.html) is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives”. Hospice Northwest hopes to draw upon the experience and resources established by other successful cafés and introduce the concept of the Death Café to the community of Thunder Bay, providing a safe, convivial setting where people can come together to discuss a subject that many find very difficult to talk about.
We envision our first Death Café to begin as a smaller scale, intimate and casual event which, if successful, can be hosted several times a year, with the potential for it to be developed into a more formal, large scale dinner event in the future (Death over Dinner). Our hope is that Leadership Thunder Bay will initiate the first of these cafés for us. The event would require securing a suitable location, determining the catered component (coffee, teas, and desserts) and would begin with a talk/lecture on a themed topic to initiate and facilitate conversation.