Linda is a regular host of the Toronto West Death Café . At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake and drink tea (or drink beer or wine) and discuss death. The objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'. A Death Cafe is a small group directed discussion of death with attendees sitting in groups of 4 or 5. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.
People often comment that conversations at these gatherings are consistently more profound and meaningful than attendees can imagine. This is even more surprising considering these are open discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes.
More than 350 persons have attended one of her Death Cafes since 2015.
The next Death Cafe with the regular crowd will be held on Sunday, October 1, 2023, 7-9 pm. This will be held again at the Village Healing Centre, 240 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, in the large Community Room. Space is plentiful, and RSVP is not required. Friends are welcome!
Linda has also been invited to partner with the Toronto Public Library to roll out Death Cafes across the city of Toronto in various library community room. She will be hosting a Death Cafe at the Bloor/Gladstone Library, 1101, Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario on Thursday, November 9, 2023, 6-8pm.
There will be other Death Cafes hosted at other libraries across Toronto, including the Toronto Reference Library, Mimico Centennial, and Agincourt. A complete list of options can be found on the TPL website.
CBC Radio visited one of these Death Cafés and prepared a podcast for May 26, 2016 from their interviews with Linda and attendees, in addition to Jon Underwood, the founder of the movement. This podcast helps explain why people come to Death Cafés.
Globe and Mail - October 28, 2022 Want to Live More Fully? Then we need to start talking about dying. Written by Gayle MacDonald. With quotes by Linda about the importance of death cafes to give us a place to talk freely about death, and how Covid has changed the way we talk about death.
“Sadly, the virus forced everyone in the world to confront the possibility of death in a more realistic way. Before COVID, people could keep death neatly packaged away in the back of their minds. The pandemic brought death front-and-centre. Death became more real – to more people – and conversations around death picked up.”
For more information about this global movement to help people become more comfortable speaking about death and dying, visit their website.
Other Media About Death & Dying
Global News Radio 640 AM, March 3, 2020, interview with Mike Stafford and Linda about Why Pre-planning Your Funeral is Important for You and Your Loved Ones. Linda explains how spending more money doesn't actually show more love.
Toronto Star - March 2, 2020 Some Funeral Homes Really Are Out to Gouge You, written by Carola Vyhnak. With photo and quotes by Linda about the high cost of dying.
While it’s “a hard thing to talk about,” pre-planning can save a lot of money as well as spare your family additional anguish, she says. “It’s your decision, your money and your financial and emotional responsibility to your loved ones.”
Grieving family members often spend “way too much” in the mistaken belief that it shows their love, says Hochstetler, who’s also a psychotherapist.
Eirene is a new low-cost, high value cremation service in Toronto. www.eirene.ca. Their tagline is - Welcome to a radically different approach to end-of-life planning. They have a blog about end of life topics.
September 14, 2020 - Intimate Conversations On Death: Eirene meets Linda Hochstetler
The Global Spread of Death Café: A Cultural Intervention Relevant to Policy? Published in the Social and Society Journal of the University of Glascow. Written by Naomi Richards, Gitte H. Koksvik, Sheri Mila Gerson, and David Clark. They discuss the local translation of Death Café and a desire for international alignment alongside instrumental use of the Death Café form and its incidental effects. With interviews by 49 Death Cafe organizers, including Linda Hochstetler.