Past Lectures - Fall 2018

Oct 9th

Don McLean

Dean of the Faculty of Music - University of Toronto

“Why we all signed up: The emotional impact of music”

Oct. 16th

Thanh Campbell

Professional speaker; business

Orphan 32: Amazing story of baby who escaped before Saigon fell

Oct 23rd

Laura Butt

Interpreter Mountsberg Conservation Area, Halton

"Nose to Beak-Exploring Ontario’s Native Raptors"

Oct 30th

Michael Barnes


"Northern Ontario: Introducing the Unknown Country”

Nov 6th

Erica Mogentale

Creative Learning Coordinator, McMichael Gallery , Kleinburg

“What is “the Art of Canada?""

Nov. 13th

Ken Cuthbertson

Author, historian

"The Halifax Explosion: The Untold Story of Canada’s Worst Disaster”

Nov. 20


Travelling Theatre Group

“I'm Still Here!"

Nov. 27th

Dr. Allison Sekuler 

Vice President, Research and the Sandra A. Rotman Chair at Baycrest Health Sciences

"The Amazing, Changing, Aging, Brain."

Past Lectures - Spring 2018

March 6th

Jordan Klapman

Educator, professional pianist/music director and record producer

“Get Happy! Hollywood’s Oscar-winning Songs”

March 13th

Robert Douglas

Writer, history and social science teacher, high school and university teacher

“The Better Angels of our Nature”

March 20th

“It could have been me!” Community Impacts of Hate Crime"

Dr. Barbara Perry

Director, Criminology and Justice, U.O.I T; Chair, International Network on Hate Studies

March 27th

David Thurlow

Researcher, Speaker and Writer aboutTechnology Adoption and Policy

“What’s Your Ride in 2025? - Autonomous Vehicles and Community Values"

April 3rd

April Nicolle

Outdoor Educator 

Evergreen Brick Works, Canada’s first large-scale community environmental centre

April 10th

Joe Fiorito

Former Toronto Star columnist 

“Stories about people of Toronto”

April 17th

Dr. Robert Galway


The Early Airfields of Toronto

April 24th

Scott Dobson


Saving the World; one turtle at a time

Past Lectures - Fall 2017

Oct. 3rd


Douglas Gibson 

Oct. 3rd


Douglas Gibson 

One of Canada’s leading editors and publishers for 40 years

1867-2017 Canada’s Greatest Storytellers/Les Grand Raconteurs Canadiens 

Oct. 10th

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Linda Lowery

Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Coordinator with Durham District School Board

A Wakeup Call: Lyme Disease - A “Silent Epidemic”

Oct. 17th

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Chris Allum

(Senior Advisor, Investor (Engagement and Stakeholder Partnerships)

 Ontario Securities Commission

“Protect your Money”

Oct. 24th

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Dr. Milos R. Popovic

(Associate Scientific Director at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute; Professor in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering University of Toronto

“Neuroplasticity: Restoring function after a stroke. How neuroprosthesis for reaching and grasping can be used to overcome paralysis”

Oct. 31st

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Linda McQuaig

Journalist, non-fiction author, columnist

“Reclaiming Populism in the Age of Trump”

Nov. 7th

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Heather Bambrick

JUNO-nominated vocalist, Jazz FM radio host, educator

Jazz: Music of the people”

Nov. 14th

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Christine Elliott

Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman

"Bridging the Healthcare Gaps: Our Journey So Far”

Nov. 21st


Ray & Mary Ann Anderson

Members of Toronto Camera Club

"Wonders of Asia”

Past Lectures - 2016

Past Lectures - 2016

March 8th - Brian Carwana  -   Director: Encounter World Religions Centre 

Title: “Islam: And Muhammad is his Messenger”  -  The world's second largest religion boasts a 1400 year history that teaches one simple premise: that one must submit or surrender to God. While outsiders trace the faith to Muhammad, Muslims believe the tradition continues a lineage of prophets that include Abraham and even Adam. Learn about the origins of the faith, its key tenets, the Sunni/Shi'a split and some modern controversies around women, violence and secularism. 

March 15th -  Douglas Gibson - Former editor and publisher of Canadian books 
Title:    “Across Canada by Story” -   Canada is a country rich in stories, and few take as much joy as Douglas Gibson in discovering them. As one of the country’s leading editors and publishers for 40 years, he coaxed modern classics out of some of Canada’s finest minds, and then took to telling his own stories about them (e.g. Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Peter C. Newman, Peter Gzowski, and many, many more). 

March 22nd -  Rob Stimpson -  Wildlife Photographer 
Title:    “Chasing Ernie Shackleton’s Ill-fated 1914 Trans Antarctic Journey​” -   In November 2014, Rob Stimpson had the privilege of being part of the Centenary voyage of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914 Trans Antarctic journey working as the expedition photographer with “One Ocean Expeditions” on their Russian ship, the Sergei Vavilov.

March 29th -  Jonathan Chevreau -  Financial Columnist, Commentator, Blogger and Author.
Title:    “Life After Financial Independence:  Victory Lap Retirement" -  a sneak preview of Jon's new book (coauthored with Mike Drak) of Victory Lap Retirement (VLR). VLR describes a new phase of life between traditional corporate employment and full-stop retirement: an entrepreneurial "encore career" with multiple streams of income, combining pensions, investment income and some work. Will also look at investing strategies under the new Liberal government, TFSA room, when to take CPP/OAS etc.

April 5th  -  Laszlo Cser-  Art Restorer 
Title:    ““Creativity, Conservation, and the Art World”  -  Canadian businessman Ken Thomson’s private world as an art collector was nurtured by a love of beauty that has now been presented to the world as The Thomson Collection.  In 2002, Thomson set in motion one of the most significant acts of philanthropy in Canadian history when he agreed to donate his priceless art collection to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.  Over the course of 16 months during 2007 and 2008, over 600 works of art mostly Canadian paintings were examined and treated in preparation for The Thomson Galleries at the Art Gallery.  Laszlo Cser began working in the field as a restorer in 1975.  He has met with a number of remarkable artists, collectors, and colleagues, and has worked on some of the most extraordinary cultural treasures in the world.  This presentation will illustrate and discuss treatments of a wide range of artworks, along with reflections on art, beauty, and the creative process as a compelling need for the expression of the human spirit.  You will hear the story about an art collector, arguably one of the greatest collectors of the 20th century, and an art conservator, with some musings and insight into an enigmatic world.

April 12th -  Bill Lishman -    World renowned artist, Pioneer in ultralight aviation. 
Title:    “Art, Architecture and Flying with Birds”  - Bill is an original thinker and doer.  His presentation takes us on a humorous autobiographical journey that deals with overcoming disabilities, with creativity, problem solving, teamwork, and risk management.  It includes descriptions of how several works of art came to be—from his first landscape sculpture to a full scale replica of Stonehenge and more.  He is also a pioneer of ultralight aircraft using them to establish new migration routes for precocial birds.  His work was documented in ABCs 20/20, CBC’s the Nature of Things and two hit films, Fly Away Home and The Winged Migration. He concludes his presentation with visuals and descriptions of a bold new concept for arctic dwellings, something which he has been working on for the past 12 years. 

April 19th - Dr. Patricia Campbell -  Optometrist
Title:    “The Best Week I Ever Spent Working, But Not in the Office”  -   Jamaica is a popular holiday destination known for its pristine beaches, year-round sunshine, island hospitality and unique musical culture.  What visitors don’t realize is that Western Jamaica has no public health optometrists and only two public health ophthalmologists per million residents in rural areas.  The cost of a pair of prescription glasses is over a month’s wages.  Eye care is simply not a priority nor a possibility for most Jamaicans.  Inadequate vision impacts education, literacy, employment and general quality of life.  This talk will let the audience appreciate the effect that donated eyeglasses can have on the lives of some Jamaican people, and perhaps inspire listeners to seek out their own volunteer experience for the betterment of all humanity.

April 26th - Tony Burman -   Toronto Star Columnist, Former head of CBC News and Al Jazeera English, currently teaches at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism.
Title:    “Seven International Headlines We Shall Likely Read in 2016” - While at the CBC, Tony Burman spent more than three decades as an award-winning news and documentary producer, working in 30 counties, including seven years as CBC’s Editor-in-Chief. With this wealth of background experience in the field of national and international news, he will share with us his personal views of seven headlines that will likely dominate the news as the current year unfolds. 

Past Lectures - 2015

March 10th - Kwai Li - Kwai Li is a writer, an accountant (CPA), a lecturer at the Professional Writing and Communication Department, University of Toronto in Mississauga and a presenter.

Title: Soya Sauce and Garam Masala: Tales from a Chinese Community in Calcutta, India.  - When the Chinese immigrated to Calcutta from China in the 1920s, they brought their language, beliefs and way of life with them. Within three decades, a distinct culture prospered in the Chinatown of Calcutta, a culture that was Chinese, and at the same time, Indian. The Calcutta Chinatown declined after 1962 Sino-Indian Border War. In this presentation, Kwai Li will guide us on a tour of Calcutta Chinatown that no longer exists.

March 17th - Geoff Lloyd - Rev. Geoff Lloyd started his 25 year career in the Metropolitan Police Force in New Scotland Yard, London where he was a Detective fighting terrorism in Central London and abroad. In 1995 he entered the priesthood and became ordained in the Church of England where he served in parishes both in London and rural Devon.  Presently he is retired and is the associate priest at St. Georges Memorial Church in Oshawa.

Title: From Policeman to Priest - Life provides us with a variety of experiences and a change in career is one of those. Most of us have had one major career in their lifetime but the speaker today has been privileged to be part of two: firstly, a career as a police officer fighting terrorism in central London and other parts of the UK and secondly becoming a priest in the Church of England both in London and rural Devon in the UK.  These experiences have drawn many life lessons which will be addressed today.


March 24th -  Alison Smith - Alison Smith is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.  Her early research focused on the production and consumption of food in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia, leading to several articles, a book, Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood under the Tsars (NIU Press, 2008), and an article on national cuisines in the Oxford Handbook of Food History, Jeffrey Pilcher, ed.

Title:   Catherine the Great - Towards the end of her life, Catherine the Great made a list of all her achievements. She described new schools, new financial structures, new towns, new laws. Her reign was a time of great growth for the Russian Empire, and its great expansion into the power politics of late-eighteenth-century Europe. She wore her mantle of Enlightenment proudly, and believed that all these changes had been for the well being of her people. At the same time, however, her reign was also one that saw increased inequality between nobles and serfs, and a major uprising against her rule, put down with extreme force. These contradictory elements of her reign and her person puzzled contemporary observers, and have continued to provoke debate among historians ever since her death.


March 31st -  Seeve Bowman - Local beekeeper with over 25 years’ experience. Founding member and first president of the Durham Region Beekeepers Association.

Title: Everything About Bees and More - Description: Have you ever wanted to know more about honeybees and were afraid to ask? Join local beekeeper Steve Bowman as he shares his vast knowledge of honeybees and beekeeping, covering a variety of topics related to these fascinating insects from the roles of different types of bees to how honey is produced. He will also address the vital role bees play in our food supply as well as the challenges currently facing honeybees in Ontario. Come and learn things you may never have known about these vital insects.

April 7th -  Dr. David Evans - Curator and Temerity Chair in Vertebrate Palaeontology, Royal Ontario Museum, and Associate Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Title:   Digging Dinosaurs: Fact and Fiction in Jurassic Park - In 1993, the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park presented more realistic dinosaurs than any film had done before. From a scientific point of view, the dinosaur reconstructions were largely accurate (at least for their time), with only a few embellishments for cinematic effect. But if you ask a real palaeontologist, the way fieldwork was portrayed sticks out as romantic at best. Learn how scientists actually find and excavate dinosaur skeletons.

April 14th -  Eugene Oscapella - For the past 15 years, Eugene Oscapella has lectured on drug law and policy in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa and he has also lectured and been published widely in Canada and abroad. He is regularly consulted by Canadian media on issues relating to drug policy. In April 2011, he was awarded The Kaiser Foundation National Award for Excellence in Public Policy for his drug policy reform work.

Title:   Illegal Drugs: Are We Getting any Closer to Something that Works? - Canada has had over a century of a "war on drugs" -- the use of the criminal law to prohibit certain drugs, coupled with massive expenditures on policing, the justice system and prisons. But what has this accomplished? Might other approaches based on treating drugs as a health issue improve the lives of those who use drugs, their families, their communities and others in the world around them? Eugene Oscapella will discuss Canada's current and historical approaches to dealing with the drugs we now call "illegal." He will discuss the harms and benefits of these approaches In particular, he will focus on innovative approaches being used in other countries and in some regions of Canada that move away from heavy reliance on the criminal law.

April 21st -  David Phillips - Senior Climatologist Environment Canada

Title:   Tomorrow’s Weather: Warmer, Wetter and Wilder - If you think weather has been clobbering us a lot harder and a lot more often recently you are not imagining it. It used to be that weather was dependable - summers were hot and humid and winters cold and snowy. More and more people are asking: What's happening to our weather? It's almost as if extreme weather has become the norm. A majority of experts suggest that we may be witnessing the beginning of profound climate change and bad weather may be proof of an overheated, out-of-control planet. On the other hand, maybe we are going through some rough times.


April 28th -  Laura Clements - Corporate Trainer and Health and Wellness Specialist

Title:   Brain Fitness: Optimize your Brain Power! - Join dynamic Corporate Trainer Laura Clements for a workshop of non-stop entertaining techniques and strategies to boost your brain power. For those wishing to instill best brain habits, to those wanting to improve or refresh optimal memory and cognitive functioning, you will leave with new and easy ideas that you can immediately incorporate into your life. Find out about cutting edge research on Neuroscience and Longevity. Laura Clements resides in Durham with her husband and two teenage sons, and bi-polar cat.

October 6th -  Christopher Hume - Christopher Hume covers urban affairs for the Toronto Star and is also the architecture critic.

Title:   The Tower and the Glory - Toronto Star architecture critic Christopher Hume examines the skyscraper in the 21st century. Using examples from Toronto and other cities, he looks at how the tower has evolved in an age when technology has made anything possible.

October 13th -  Allan Mallory  P. Eng, P.E. PMP Senior Mechanical Engineer. Alan helps develop great leaders and strengthen teams by establishing and reinforcing the professional development skills and mindsets that are essential for success.

Title:   Taking Leadership to New Heights. - Climbing Mount Everest is considered one of mankind's greatest feats of human endurance. The two-month quest to reach the highest point on earth is a journey filled with unparalleled challenges and some of the roughest and most extreme conditions imaginable. In 2008, Alan Mallory and his family decided to take on the challenge becoming the first family of four to successfully reach the summit. It was an expedition that challenged the mental, emotional and physical limits of their entire beings but to finally reach their goal was an incredible feeling. Alan's presentation is an engaging visual and emotional journey that is supported by many of the vivid photos and short video clips captured along the two-month quest to the top

October 20th -  Janet Mathews  Co-author, Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul, Oh Canada The Wonders of Winter, and Christmas in Canada.

Title:   Heroes and Heart  In Janet’s exciting, uplifting and passionate presentation, you will be entertained, inspired and moved as she shares her experience of compiling this special “All Canadian” book, by sharing stories from some of our greatest Canadian heroes, people like Marilyn Bell, Terry Fox, Craig Kielburger, skaters Barbara Underhill & Paul Martini, Paul Henderson, Ryan Hrljac, and Rick Hansen to name just a few. You will come away inspired to live your own dream, and filled with pride and gratitude—that you are Canadian!

October 27th -  David Olive  David is a business and current affairs columnist at the Toronto Star. In books, blogs, magazine features, newspaper articles and speeches, Olive has covered the global business, economics and political scene for 32 years

Title:  The Canadian Economy: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Canada is blessed with more opportunity to grow and prosper - in quality of life; in our inventiveness and industry; and in our multicultural diversity of ideas, problem solving and traditions - than any other country on Earth.But we are also constrained by our status as a branch-plant economy in which many, if not most of the biggest decisions are made in other world cities and countries. Consequently, we lack the all-important private-sector spending on research and development that is the underpinning of economic and social progress.David Olive will have us look at numerous areas where currently, as a country, we have sadly slipped in forging ahead to maintain world leadership in social, economic, peace-keeping and environmental issues (yes, the bad and somewhat ugly side).Fortunately, if only we summon the will to do so, we can become world leaders again in every field of human endeavour.

November 3rd -  Bev Barry  

Title:   Crime Stoppers in the Durham Region  We all hear at the end of news casts on criminal events - "If you have any information to help the police, call 911 or "Crime Stoppers". What is Crime Stoppers? Why is it different from calling 911? Where did it come from? How is it funded? How big is it, internationally, nationally, provincially, and locally? How does it work? How the tipster is kept anonymous? What has it done in Durham Region? These questions will be answered in this informative presentation.

November 10th -  Dr. Jennifer Bonnell  Assistant Professor, Department of History, McMaster University

Title:   The Valley and the Road: Conflicting Visions in the Construction of Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway  

This presentation will explore the history of Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway (DVP), constructed between 1958 and 1966, through the experiences of two men intimately involved with the project: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Chair Frederick Gardiner and conservationist Charles Sauriol. It will highlight competing visions for the Don River Valley as a “corridor” and a “place” in this period, and their role in shaping the valley, and the city, as we know them today.

November 17th -  Dr. Erika Behrisch Elce  Professor Victorian Literature and Culture, Department of English, Royal Military College of Canada

Title:   The Lost Franklin Expedition: Search and Discovery, 1845-2014 When Sir John Franklin and 128 companions sailed into the eastern Arctic in the summer of 1845, no one in England expected them to meet with any difficulty. Instead, the 1846-47 season proved catastrophic, with all men from the expedition perishing. From 1848 to 1859, dozens of expeditions, both private and public, English and international, were launched in search of them. Looking at archival records, parliamentary debates, and the impassioned correspondence of Sir John's wife concerning the search for her husband, Dr Behrisch Elce traces the path to the remarkable 2014 discovery of HMS Erebus, and considers the significance of the original search on the ship's recent discovery.

November 24th -  Jackie Maxwell  Artistic Director, Shaw Festival

Title:   The Shaw Festival  Inspired discourse and passionate discussion continue to be the signature of The Shaw under Ms. Maxwell’s tenure. Not only has she sustained and strengthened The Shaw’s mandate, but has also invigorated and expanded it to include the voices of Canadian and female playwrights, contemporary Shavians and new visions of Shaw himself, as well as introducing and opening The Shaw’s fourth performance space, the Studio Theatre.