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A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse - Book Launch

November 04, 2019
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Thomas Lounge, Oakham House, 63 Gould St, Toronto

The Jack Layton Chair presents the Ryerson launch of:

A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse by Cathy Crowe

Featuring a reading with Cathy Crowe and interview with Judy Rebick

Special Guests:

  • Hannah Stahl, Nursing Students for Social Justice
  • Roxanne Danielson, Inner City Family Health Team, Street Nurses Network and the Shelter and Housing Justice Network

Lunch will be provided. This event is free and open to the public.

In A Knapsack Full of Dreams, Cathy Crowe details her lifelong commitment as a nurse and social justice activist—particularly her thirty years as a Street Nurse—with passion, grace, and fortitude. Presented through the lens of someone dedicated to the power and beauty of film, A Knapsack Full of Dreams will move you, then inspire you to act.​

"A Knapsack Full of Dreams chronicles the heartbreaks, intimate conversations, and the indomitable spirit of one of Canada’s greatest homelessness advocates. Cathy Crowe is a truth seeker and speaker. Read this book to understand what it truly means to never give up on the dreams of pursuing a just world—no matter what the personal cost.”
- Kristyn Wong-Tam

Co-sponsored by the Dean of Arts, CESAR, the Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University

This event is wheelchair accessible. For questions and other accessibility accommodations to ensure your inclusion in this event, email

Speaker Bios:

Cathy Crowe is a long-time Street Nurse who works in the area of social justice nursing. She is a frequent guest lecturer and commentator on subjects related to advocacy, activism and social justice. Cathy has been the recipient of numerous awards including five honourary Doctorates in Law, Science and Nursing, an international Human Rights Award and the prestigious Atkinson Economic Justice Award. Cathy is also a ground-breaking author (Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out and A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse) and documentary filmmaker (Home Safe Calgary, Home Safe Toronto). Her work is the subject of a moving documentary titled "Street Nurse" by filmmaker Shelley Saywell. Today she is a Distinguished Visiting Practitioner in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University. She received the Order of Canada in 2018. Cathy’s website is, external link

Judy Rebick is a prominent journalist, activist, and feminist. She served as the president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women from 1990-1993, and went onto a number of media roles with CBC TV and CBC Radio. In 2001, she co-founded, Canada’s most widely read left-wing independent news site, and was publisher there until 2005. Rebick has also been involved in shaping national politics, and her efforts with the New Politics Initiative helped to reorient the federal New Democratic Party towards more grassroots activist activity. Rebick is the author of “Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution” (2005), “Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political” (2009), “Occupy This” (2012), and "Heroes in my Head" (2019). Rebick held the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson, having been appointed to it upon its creation. 

Hannah Stahl is a recent graduate of Ryerson’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In response to shifting government actions towards health and social services in her fourth year of the program, she co-founded the collective Nursing Students for Social Justice (NSSJ) which aims to promote student engagement across health equity movements. In its first year, NSSJ coordinated a range of workshops and panels for the Ryerson community, also establishing student presence at a variety of local initiatives to facilitate learning and direct action outside of the classroom

Roxie Danielson is a Registered Nurse and advocate for people who are homeless and people who use drugs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from The University of Ottawa and immediately started working in primary care at South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre. From there, she moved to Toronto and began working as a Street Nurse at Inner City Family Health Team since April 2014. Soon after she started this job, she realized the tremendous work that needed to be done to really support her clients, understanding the challenges that homelessness brings. Roxie is part of various activist groups, such as the Street Nurses Network and the Shelter and Housing Justice Network, and is often at anti-poverty marches, rallies and protests. She also regularly advocates through in-person discussion and through social media. Roxie continues to speak out and fight for an end to the current homelessness and overdose crisis.