Grey Borders Books

Deb Nanson

Deb Nanson is a social activist and founder of numerous rehabilitation, drop-in and outreach programs throughout the Niagara corridor. She provides legal advocacy, outreach and rehabilitation for women in all stages of the legal system. She can often be found at one of her various pop-up parking lot food banks, or at one of her many street-level outreach locations, providing sustenance and enrichment to the most marginalized and ignored in society. He written work focuses on her past hardships, present realities and struggles, and her dreams for the future.


about Evergreen 2

The second chapbook to be released by Deb Nanson, these poems were written during her incarceration and eventual rehabilitation. Detailing her journeys, struggles, addictions and losses, Evergreen 2  measures the past with an honest voice. These poems are brutally honest, open and tender.


from Evergreen 2


-Dec 30/04


reaching deeper than i thought i could ever reach inside my mind, i have

touched a place that was so deeply wounded

there was nothing dysfunctional love could do to dull this ache, the ache

i have no means to repair in a normal setting

welcome to my world complete with physical abuse, verbal abuse and with

some sad reason a place to perform this unwritten play called my life

reaching deep i realize that the feelings i carry are of fear based


an emotion i shall carry through out my existence on this family


then i found i could do that also along with be able to find a new way to

to alleviate the pain stuff down the anger

go on with life as i know it to be


more beatings



entering this feeling of an i do not have to take anymore of this

enter drugs


men sex condoms, no condoms, no sex just act of false pretenses one

might say

i'd say robbery

enter the robberies of life

robbery of self


Niagara has lost a legend, and we at Grey Borders have lost a sister.

Local Activist and Poet Deborah Lynn Bell Nanson passed away this week, of natural causes after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer, at the age of 59.

Deborah was a fearless advocate and activist for the less fortunate and forgotten in society. She was there for those who had no other soul in the world to turn to. From her multiple shelters and drop-in centers to her pop-up food banks and her sandwich drives and Easter egg hunts, she did everything in her power to make the world around her a little less dark for the rest of us.

But for some, she did soo much more. Deborah was addictions councillor, legal advocate, social worker, nurse and even death doula to so many of our forgotten.

When the broken needed someone, when the police saw a person, they knew needed a bed and a shoulder and a hand rather than a cell and cuffs, they called on Deb, and she would drop everything and come running.

When a woman stood alone, with no advocate and a sheet of convictions, Deb would come to her side.

When a sister was released with nowhere to go, no one and nothing to turn to other than to turn back to the streets, Deb was there.

When a lost soul lay broken and dying, it was Deb who came to their side and found their families, and made sure they were laid to rest with the dignity every one of us deserves.

She was there because she knew it was her duty, to do what others had done for her. Because as Deb always said, I am She, She is Me, We are one.  As a child she dreamt of being a lawyer and advocate and even moreso, a Daredevil. In our eyes, that’s exactly what she became.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Deborah’s Family and Friends and to her community, all of whom she loved so deeply and completely. Services for Deborah will be held This Saturday May the 4th, 2019 at Westview Christian Fellowship 124 Queenston Street St Catharines, at 11 am. Reception will follow. Donations can be made at Westview to help the family with the cost of Deborah’s gravestone.