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Golden Thread Contest

We are thrilled to announce the winners and runners-up of the Golden Thread Contest in both categories: age 14-18 and age 19-30. Thank you to everyone who submitted a story; keep your eyes on the Thread in the coming weeks as we will continue to post the entries we recieved.

Age 19-30 Category



Ariella Kimmel

Read her piece, "Of Faith and Fairies" here.

Ariella Kimmel is the Senior Manager, Partnerships with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. She is an Ottawa native, and graduate of Carleton Univeristy with a BA honours in Political Science and History.



Marlena Loughheed

Read her piece, "A Love Louder than Noise" here.

Marlena Loughheed was born and raised in Belleville, Ontario. After obtaining degrees in communications and journalism and interning with the Vatican’s representative at the UN, she moved to Toronto and spent five years working as a communications coordinator for the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Offie of Public Relations and Communications. In her free time, she swims competitively and has dabbled in the world of triathlon. *UPDATE

Ainsley Munro

Read her piece, "God Took Me Outside" here.

Ainsley Munro is a community builder and actress newly based in Toronto. She recently returned from living abroad on the Isle of Iona in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, where she supported and empowered international volunteers on their individual journeys living and working collectively within the Iona Community. 

Darryn Oldford

Read his piece, "The Active Heart of Faith" here.

Darryn Oldford lives in Toronto where he has recently completed a Masters in Science in Global Ageing and Policy.

Claire Brown

Read her piece, "Morning's Holy Light" here.

Claire grew up in Fall River, Nova Scotia but now lives and works in Kingston, Ontario as a registered nurse. She is the creator of 3 West Productions, a series of videos that promote excellence and fun in nursing.


Age 14-18 Category



Kit Schwarz

Read her piece, "From Tolerance to Respect" here.

Kit Schwarz, 18, grew up in Nepal and now lives in Vancouver, BC. She studies International Economics at UBC.



Danielle Cuevas

Read her piece, "Faith in the Family" here.

Danielle is a ninth grade student. Besides writing, Danielle enjoys drawing, listening to music, and reading literature of all kinds. She is an animal lover and an active member in her parish community.

Josiah Forde

Read his piece, "Not So Ordinary People" here.

Josiah is in Grade 10 at Niagara Christian Collegiate in Fort Erie, Ontario.  He loves learning new languages and meeting new people.   

Faith Mallon

Read her piece, "A Beautiful Blessing: My Brother" here.

Faith is a Grade 10 student at Niagara Christian Collegiate in Fort Erie, Ontario.  Her favourite class is Visual Arts because she loves to draw and express her emotions through her artwork. 

Samira Mohammadi

Read her piece, "A Surprising Journey" here.

Samira is a grade 10 student at Niagara Christian Collegiate in Fort Erie, Ontario.  She enjoys playing sports and loves to travel.

Some of these submissions have already been posted on the Thread. Keep following us on Facebook and Twitter for the release of the other wonderful submissions we received.

The deadline for contest submissions was September 25, 2017. We are always accepting pieces to the Thread of 1000 Stories, so if these stories have inspired you to share your own, we invite you to send them to


Are you a 30-or-younger Canadian with a story to tell about the way faith is present in the world around you?

The Thread of 1000 Stories has launched the Golden Thread Contest, which seeks to gather stories from younger Canadians – their stories of faith past, present, and future – to help celebrate our country’s 150th birthday.

Every submission, text or video, to the Golden Thread Contest will be considered for publishing on our Thread of 1000 Stories website. Additionally, winners will be chosen for prizes of up to $5000.

What kind of story are we looking for? Your story. Or the story of your grandparents, your parents, your family and friends. Or the story of someone you’ve just met who’s new to Canada and has brought the richness of his or her faith tradition to add to our diversity.

Faith is an essential part of Canadian life. Understanding faith, in all its varieties, is a vital part of understanding Canada. Your stories will help promote that understanding.

The thread our judges will be looking for in the texts and videos is the role of faith in inspiring Canadians. Or mobilizing Canadians. Or helping Canadians to overcome struggles that afflict them. Or simply letting Canadians live out their daily lives in response to the religious sense that is part of being human.

Why stories on faith? Because we believe, as Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau once said, “Faith is the golden thread that binds all of us together.” The Thread of 1000 Stories is an initiative of the think tank Cardus, home of the Faith in Canada 150 project.

The goal of the Thread is to gather in one place ( as many stories about faith in common life as we can during Canada’s 150th birthday year.

The Golden Thread contest is the chance for you, a young Canadian, to add to that store of stories, and maybe come away with a little gold of your own. 


There are two age categories for submissions:

  1. Age 14-18
    1. $1000 to the winner of either a text or video story
    2. Four $100 gift cards for the runners-up in either text or video
  2. Age 19-30
    1. $5000 to the overall winner of either a text or video story
    2. Four $250 gift cards for the runners-up in text or video
  3. All publishable submissions will be added to our Thread of 1000 Stories initiative
  4. Winners will be notified in early November and announced on November 6, 2017. Our judges’ decisions are final


  • All submissions must be made by residents of Canada
  • Deadline for submissions was September 25, 2017
  • Texts or videos must be original unpublished work created by the person making the submission
  • All work becomes the property of Cardus, Faith in Canada 150, and the Thread of 1000 Stories. Re-publication must credit Cardus, Faith in Canada 150 and the Thread of 1000 Stories
  • Judges’ decisions are final
  • Texts should be no more than 1200 words. Videos should be no more than three minutes. Submissions that exceed these limits will not be considered for prizes.
  • Multiple submissions are allowed, and while all have the potential to be published, only one will be selected for judging. 


Dr. Imam Hamid Slimi

Dr. Imam Hamid Slimi is an academic scholar, a spiritual leader, a teacher, and a community developer.

He is the Founder and President of Faith of Life Network, Imam and Founder of Sayeda Khadija Centre, and Professor at the Canadian Centre for Deen Studies and UIN University in Indonesia.

Dr. Imam Hamid Slimi

Golden Thread Judge
Anna-Liza Kozma

Anna-Liza Kozma is a producer and writer for CBC Radio Current Affairs in Toronto and a Visiting Fellow at St. Michael's College, University of Toronto.

She attended schools in Africa and England and started making tea on a local newspaper in Kent when she was 19. She has managed cunningly to stay employed in journalism ever since.

Editors have sent her on assignment to exotic places in the Middle East, the Canadian Arctic, Transylvania and Perth, Ontario and she always returns in time to bake cookies for her three children.

She trained as a journalist at the BBC and has worked as a staff producer and writer at CBC Radio for more than twenty years. Her columns, essays and features have appeared in books, journals and newspapers in Canada, England and the US.

Her favourite stories include a fire-eating English vicar who lights his altar candles by opening his mouth and a series on theologians called Truth Claims for CBC Ideas.

She holds a BA Honours from the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster) in Journalism and Media Studies and an MA in English Literature from the University of Toronto.

Anna-Liza Kozma

Golden Thread Judge
Judy Csillag

Judy has over 40 years of experience working in the not for profit world with a wide variety of organizations including Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Canadian Centre for Diversity, Skills for Change and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

She has been the pivotal leader, developing interfaith and intercultural programming for both youth and adults and maintains a broad network of clerics, corporate and diversity leaders not only in Toronto but also nationally.

In 2009 Judy was invited to Damascus Syria to lead a series of workshops about diversity and interfaith understanding for Arab women.

In 2007 she was the recipient of “The Interfaith Dialogue Award” from the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and has worked on a variety of symposiums with such notable heroes as Romeo Dallaire and Eli Wiesel.

In 2011 and 2014 Judy helped organize The Path of Abraham – an 8 day trip to the Holy Land with Jews, Muslims and Christians

Today, Judy consults with numerous organizations such as school boards and not for profits on interfaith dialogue, understanding and acceptance.

Judy Csillag

Golden Thread Judge
Natalie Morrill

Natalie Morrill, an Ontario writer, holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Her first novel, forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada in May 2018, was recognized with the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction upon acceptance. She helps edit the American Catholic literary journal Dappled Things and is the former Writer-in-residence for the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA), an organization supporting members with lived experience of mental illness. She teaches literature and writing in a variety of post-secondary and community settings, and she's passionate about art, faith, and health (especially when these intersect with one another).

Natalie Morrill

Golden Thread Judge
Terry LeBlanc

Terry is Mi’kmaq / Acadian. He and his wife Bev are in their 45th year of marriage and have three adult children – twin daughters and one son. In addition to being the Executive Director of Indigenous Pathways.

Terry is also the founding Chair and current Director of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community.

Terry LeBlanc

Golden Thread Judge
Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan

Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan is an academic scholar, popular speaker, spiritual teacher, blogger, and award-winning educator of teens and young adults.

Rabbi Laura works as Director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology and is Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and musical partner Charles, their young adult children, and a changing array of companion animals.

Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan

Golden Thread Judge
Peter Menzies

Peter Menzies is vice chairman and president of telecommunications for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and past publisher and editor-in-chief of one of Canada's major daily newspapers.

Still an occasional author, Menzies' journalism career spanned 30 years. Starting at a small weekly on Vancouver Island, he built an international award-winning career at the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald, where he served as a successful publisher—building circulation and growing profits—and as editor-in-chief from 1998 to 2006.

In 2006 he founded Menzies Strategies, a firm specializing in public policy and public relations. An accomplished writer and cultural thinker, Menzies held numerous board positions including with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Theatre Calgary, the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts board and serves on the board of Calgary Opera. Menzies is also a member of the Chairman’s Circle at SAIT, a member of the Salvation Army Calgary Advisory Board and is a past member of the advisory board of the Institute for Public Sector Accountability. He has been a community soccer coach and minor hockey board director and volunteer at Priddis Greens Golf Club.

These and other efforts were recognized when in 2005 Mr. Menzies was awarded an Alberta Centennial Medal. In 2006 he was named a Calgary ambassador for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee. He was appointed to the CRTC as a part time commissioner by Canada's Heritage Minister Josée Verner in 2007 and appointed as Alberta-NWT Commissioner by her successor, the Hon. James Moore, in June of 2009.

Mr. Menzies earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Acadia University and is a graduate of the journalism/creative writing program at the University of Victoria. In addition to living on Canada’s east and west coasts, he spent his teenaged years as a Canadian expatriate living in England. He has been married to Patricia for 32 years and they have two children, one of whom studies at University of King’s College in Halifax, the other at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C.

Peter Menzies

Golden Thread Judge

Questions can be sent to


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