2023 Winter Lecture Series
February 14, 2023 – Managing Healthcare in a Digital World
Dr. Sacha Bhatia, Executive Lead, Population Health & Value-based Health Systems, Ontario Health
There has been a significant expansion in the integration of digital healthcare since Dr. Bhatia spoke to Lifelong Learning Niagara in 2017. He will provide an update on the benefits and the challenges of virtual care and what’s anticipated in the future.
February 21, 2023 – Never a Time Without Song
Jim Payne, Songwriter, Performer and Producer, and Adventurer
Join award-winning musician and songwriter, Jim Payne, for an entertaining and informative look at how Newfoundland and Labrador’s vibrant musical culture helped to sustain community life here from the founding of the first English community at Cupids in 1610 to the present day.
From ancient ballads and dance tunes brought here by early settlers from England, Ireland and France, to locally-composed songs that reflected the circumstances of their new and changing lifestyle, the songs tell stories of the struggle to survive in an unforgiving landscape, and celebrate the joys and triumphs of creating successful communities built from the resources of land and sea.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges they faced in this unfamiliar new world, there was never a time without song.
February 28, 2023 – The (Long) Age of Creativity
Dr. Emily Urquhart, Journalist
This lecture is based on my book, The Age of Creativity, a work inspired by my father, the artist Tony Urquhart, who was born and raised in Niagara Falls. As my father aged into his eighties and continued his art practice, people seemed surprised that his creativity persisted into his later years. They often used the term ‘remarkable.’
I began to wonder why we believe that creativity declines as people age, and, employing my background in journalism and my academic training in research, I set out to discover if there was any merit to these assumptions.
In this visual lecture I will present my findings on aging and creativity through a series of personal stories and artist biographies alongside images of their late-stage art, and reveal how creative work, both amateur and professional, sustains people in the third act of their lives.
March 7, 2023 – Who Owns Your Grocery Store?
Jon Steinman, Author
Who owns the grocery store you shop at? Does it matter? Author Jon Steinman thinks so. Grocery stores exert substantial influence on human and environmental health and local economies. Steinman believes grocery stores are the most influential of any institution in shaping the future of food. In Canada, two grocers command over half of Canadians’ grocery dollars. The largest five command 80%. With such an important function to play, how might Canadians ensure that our grocery stores operate responsibly? How might we ensure our grocery stores are our food security solution?
While some have demanded more government oversight, another model of grocery store ownership is instead placing the governance of the neighborhood grocery store into the hands of the people most impacted by them – consumers. Most commonly known as ‘food co-ops’, these full-service grocery stores are owned by the communities they serve – specifically by the thousands of customers who shop at the store. Every year, those owner-customers democratically elect from among themselves a board of directors to govern the grocery store and employ its general manager. The model has been used for over 175 years but is now experiencing a resurgence of interest among communities that are looking to place this powerful institution into the hands of the people who rely on them.
March 14, 2023 – Unveiling the Cosmos: the James Webb Space Telescope
Dr. Nathalie Ouellette, Astrophysicist and Science Communicator
The James Webb Space Telescope, the successor of the famous Hubble Space Telescope, has finally launched and is ready for science! The Webb Telescope, a 6.5m infrared telescope, is without a doubt one of the most complex machines ever built by humanity and the largest telescope ever sent to space. Thanks to Webb, we will have the capacity to see farther than ever in our Universe, peer through the cosmic dust sprinkled throughout galaxies and discover and study new alien worlds.
This project is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. In addition to contributing the FGS/NIRISS instrument, Canada and its astronomers are poised to be some of the first to use the telescope and produce groundbreaking science thanks to its revolutionary data. As the first few images and bits of data start trickling in, you will get a preview of some of the awesome discoveries we are anticipating, and what Webb means for the future of space astronomy.
March 21, 2023 – Canadians on the Nile
Laura Ranieri Roy, Egyptologist, Writer, and Founder of Ancient Egypt Alive
Travel back in time with Egyptologist Laura Ranieri Roy to relive the adventures of the early explorers who ventured down the Nile in the Victorian and Edwardian age. What wonders did they bring back from the Land of the Pharaohs? From Currelly, founder of the Royal Ontario Museum to Niagara Falls’ own Sydney Barnett, you will learn about travel, exploration, and acquisition in Egypt during the golden age of discovery – including the story of Ramses the 1st and how he originally got to Niagara.
2022 Fall Lecture Series
September 27th, 2022 – Explore Canada’s National Parks With Canadian Park Bagger
Marlis Butcher, Environmental Conservationist, Photographer, and Author
In July 2019, Marlis Butcher became the first visitor to bag (visit) all 47 Canadian national parks. Many of us have visited other national parks, but may not be aware of the history and mandate of Parks Canada and the diversity of the land protected by the parks.
Approximately one-third of all 47 Canadian national parks have no road access, so most of us will never make our own visit to these awe-inspiring natural wonders. Marlis has done that in our place and will take us on a virtual voyage into Qausuittuq National Park, located on northwest Bathurst Island in the High Arctic, Nunavut. Through unique photographs and engaging story-telling, Marlis shares what it’s like to travel to and explore this extremely remote park – and meet its endangered inhabitants.
October 4th, 2022 – Public Policy and Technology in a Digital Society
Vass Bednar, Executive Director, Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program, McMaster University
In this lecture, Vass will review how the challenges of regulating the disruptive technologies that we have seen develop during the pandemic are forcing a re-think of the traditional policymaker’s toolkit and mindset.
Anchoring discussion in relation to efforts to modernize the Competition Act, Vass will root her remarks in current legislative proposals and outline the merits of using a range of tools that governments have available to implement effective digital regulation.
October 11, 2022 – Datamining the Deceased: Genealogy and the Business of Family History
Dr. Julia Creet, Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Department of English, York University; Documentary Director and Producer
More than half of North Americans are fascinated by genealogy. Some gain a sense of identity by uncovering their ancestors, their culture, and their country of origin. Others find it disorienting when they discover that their history differs from what they have always believed.
But there is another side to the rise in genealogy that goes beyond human interest. It is arguably the largest historical enterprise in the world, and one of the largest data mining operations, driven by the Mormon Church, the pharmaceutical industry and now mined by law enforcement. Julia will discuss the motivations of these stakeholders in promoting the business of family history.
October 18, 2022 – The Wicked Problem of Microplastics and What We Can Do About It
Dr. Myra Hird, Professor and Queen’s National Scholar, School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University
Wicked problems are difficult to solve because their multi-dimensional complexity means that solutions are often contradictory; solving one aspect of a wicked problem may well open up a different problem or problems.
Plastics waste, as this presentation will show, is a wicked problem that presses us to confront the environmental, political, economic, symbolic and cultural dimensions of contemporary global society. Even if we drastically reduce our consumption (itself a contradiction in capitalist growth economies), we are left with a profound (in its scale and toxicity) waste legacy that will endure for an unknown number of future generations.
This presentation will address the health and environmental problems that (micro)plastics create, and how we might resolve the wicked problems they create.
October 25, 2022 – An Unrivalled City: Constantinople at the Time of the Italian Renaissance
Shermeen Beg, Architect, Instructor, LIFE Institute (Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education), Speaker, and Storyteller
The city of Constantinople was weakened and sparsely inhabited at the time of its conquest in 1453. Inspired by the Renaissance in neighbouring Italy, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II gathered Italian artists at his court and in doing so positioned the Ottoman Empire onto a global stage.
This illustrated talk covers the siege of Constantinople and artistic and architectural achievements of the 15-17th centuries that allowed for Istanbul to emerge in its place as a magnificent city with a world-famous skyline.
November 1, 2022 – Bomb Girls: Trading Aprons for Ammo
Barbara Dickson, Speaker, Historian, Documentary Film Producer, and Writer
Barbara will provide a history of Canada’s biggest, secret WWII munitions plant located in what was then the rural community of Scarborough. The General Engineering Company (Canada) Ltd. (GECO) employed over 21,000 citizens, predominantly women, who courageously worked around the clock with high explosives to fill ammunition for Canada’s Allied forces.
Based on in-person interviews with the women who risked their lives every time they stepped onto the “clean side” of the plant, Barbara offers a unique, intimate, and extraordinary glimpse into the lives and hearts of these dedicated Canadian women whose invaluable contribution helped win the Second World War.
2022 Winter Lecture Series
February 15th, 2022 – Hot Zones: Why pandemics and inequality are neighbourhood-level problems
Doug Saunders, Author and Journalist
The coronavirus pandemic drew vivid attention to a problem that has quietly developed over the last 20 years: the concentration of vulnerability and isolation in specific sorts of neighbourhoods. In most North American and European cities, the pandemic’s infections were overwhelmingly concentrated in suburban apartment districts.
Doug Saunders, a journalist who focuses on neighbourhood-scale problems, had been conducting a worldwide study of these new “trap zone” neighbourhoods before the pandemic broke, and found that during the past 20 years, the growing suburbanization of immigration and poverty has created islands of vulnerability on the edges of cities. He will talk about what turns neighbourhoods into traps, and the best approaches to freeing their residents from vulnerability.
February 22, 2022 – Percussion: A World of Colour, Melody and Rhythm
Dr. Jamie Drake, Percussionist, Drummer and Composer
Composer Charles Ives once wrote that “The possibilities of percussion sounds, I believe, have never been fully realized.” While percussion instruments have long been featured in musical traditions from around the world, the last hundred years has seen an explosion of the use of percussion in Western classical and chamber music. No longer confined to the back of an orchestra, composers and performers are exploring the sonic and melodic possibilities of these instruments and are bringing them to the front of the stage.
Percussionist Jamie Drake will take you on a tour of some of his favourite instruments, from antique cymbals to the vibraphone, and will open your ears to some beautiful music that features the wide world of percussion.
March 1, 2022 – Managing Canada-U.S. Relations in Unpredictable Times
Dr. Adam Chapnick – Professor, Defence Studies, Royal Military College of Canada
Donald Trump might no longer occupy the White House, but the challenges facing Ottawa in its efforts to manage Canada’s most important bilateral relationship persist. Whether it be avoiding Buy American provisions, navigating a post-pandemic world, or collaborating on shared security interests, Ottawa’s political agenda continues to be dominated by the United States. This lecture examines what we can and should do about it.
March 8, 2022 – Architecture: Now I Get It! Understanding the Elements of Architecture
Marta O’Brien – Architectural Historian
Architecture is everywhere; it affects our daily experience of a street, a neighbourhood, and a city — often subconsciously. In addition, we see many more buildings than we will ever enter or use. How important is it for us to like such buildings? Buildings can be a source of pleasure. They can positively affect our experience of a place and raise our spirits. Conversely, a building can make us feel uneasy or even intimidated.
This stimulating talk will help you really see the architecture around you, and facilitate your understanding of why you feel as you do observing a building. Architectural historian Marta O’Brien will reveal the components of a building’s exterior, including ornament, materials, colour, and proportion. We’ll see how the use of these elements has changed over the centuries, and consider some of the ideological and technical reasons for the changes.
March 22, 2022 – Writing Technologies and the Flow of History: How We Got Here and What It means
Dr. Marcel Danesi – Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, University of Toronto
This talk will look at the relation between writing, language, and thought.
From the first cave inscriptions to emojis today, writing reveals patterns of understanding and of recording ideas. It thus documents how we have evolved cognitively and socially. Among the questions addressed are the following: What does literacy mean today? What does it tell us about who we are and where we are going? Will there ever be a time when writing, as we know it, will be obsolete?
March 29, 2022 – Nutritional Advice: Is there a solution to the confusion?
Dr. Joe Schwarcz – Director, McGill University Office for Science and Society
Eating has become a confusing experience. Virtually every day brings news about some “miracle food” that we should be gulping down. One day it’s tomatoes to prevent cancer, then flaxseed against heart disease, or soybeans for menopause. Then there are the worries: genetic modification, aspartame, MSG, the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements. We need proper science to guide us through this nutritional maze.
2021 Fall Lecture Series
October 5th, 2021 – The Erosion of Trust in 21st Century Politics
Michael Johns, Visiting Professor, Department of Politics, York University
Dr. Michael Johns will examine the decline of trust in modern society generally and in politics specifically. He will discuss what happens in a democracy when people do not trust the government, experts and each other.
The presentation will look at how we measure trust in a society and what these results show here in Canada and around the world. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how we can improve the overall level of trust in society and the consequences if we don’t.
October 12th, 2021 – Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment
Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment is a major exhibition of Canadian women artists that coincides with, and offers commentary on, the centenary celebration of the Group of Seven.
The exhibition will gather more than 200 pieces of art by a generation of extraordinary women painters, photographers, sculptors, architects and filmmakers from a century ago – pioneers who opened new frontiers for women artists in Canada – as well as works made by their Indigenous female contemporaries working in traditional media, for a cross-country snapshot of female creativity in this dynamic modern moment.
Sarah will share the development of this groundbreaking exhibit.
October 19th, 2021 – Black Holes
Michael Reid, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto; Public Outreach Coordinator for Dunlap Institute
Black holes are among the most fascinating objects in the universe. They have mysterious powers: super-strong gravity, the ability to slow time itself, and maybe even the power to access other universes.
Where do these curious objects come from? What would it be like to fall into one? Do they pose any threat to Earth?
In this talk, we’ll explore these and many other intriguing aspects of black holes using pictures and analogies to make the science accessible to everyone.
October 26th, 2021 – Dealing with Pain as a Senior
Dr. Lydia Hatcher, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, McMaster University; Chief of Family Medicine, St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton
As we age we may be unaware of our hidden health risks. We do fewer activities, exercise less, may gain a little around the middle and not hear or see as well as we used to. Other parts of our body may also not work as well as we’d like. Unfortunately, we have more health issues as a normal part of ageing.
We can’t change our age, genetic risks or gender risks but we can modify many of our behaviors that lead to healthier aging, coping better with pain issues we are dealing with and hopefully, fewer illness related events.
Lydia will give you insights into how you or your loved ones can apply healthy lifestyle choices around pain and illness. She will discuss how to avoid frailty or manage it more safely if it is a concern. She will also give you guidance in pain management in both young and older seniors. To quote Maurice Chevalier, “Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternative.”
November 2nd, 2021 – Forensics in Crime Solving
Myriam Nafte, Forensic Anthropologist
Forensic investigation is a largely misunderstood field. The work of civilian scientists versus police is governed by areas of specialty that are quite distinct from one another.
In this lecture, Myriam will define the evolving field of police forensics with an overview of the protocols governing crime scenes, warrants, security, and the processing of physical evidence.
Much of her research and training has been in the identification of human remains in various forms of trauma and/or decomposition. Due to the nature of the physical evidence she processes, it has been her experience to work alongside both police and forensic scientists as part of a team. Along with the important procedures, she will discuss some of the most challenging cases of her career.
Please note: Some of the images are graphic and reflect past casework. The sole purpose of using these images is for teaching only. They are not posted on websites or shared through social media and/or text messages.
November 9th, 2021 – Ian Fleming, the secret lives of James Bond’s father
Olivier Courteaux, Lecturer, Author
His name was Ian Fleming. Born in wealth, the young Ian lived a life of privilege, indulging in ski trips in Switzerland, women and fast cars. Until the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe…!
Soon recruited by the Naval Intelligence Division, he rose quickly through the ranks while elaborating the most daring of plans. In 1945, he moved to Jamaica where he built a house, Goldeneye, where he embraced a literary career almost by chance, releasing ten or so James Bond, starting, in 1953, with Casino Royale.
Bond “was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war,” he admitted. Mixing exotic adventures, intrigues, torture, seduction and eroticism, Fleming redefined the espionage genre. By the early 1960s, thanks to “double-o-seven”, he had become a man of influence.
2019 Fall Lecture Series
September 25 – Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire
Ted Barris, Award-winning Journalist, Author and Broadcaster
Ted will recount compelling stories from his 2018 book, Dam Busters: Canadian Airmen and the Secret Raid Against Nazi Germany about the role of Canadians in the famous 1943 attack on the Ruhr River dams that powered Nazi Germany’s industrial war production.
Ted will also introduce us to his latest book Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire. He will retrace his father’s World War II experience as a medic and share stories of medics ranging from the US Civil War through 21 st century wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Powerful anecdotal accounts will highlight how the science of saving lives in battle evolved, where breakthroughs occurred, and how acts of courage played out in individual lives and in military history as a whole.
October 2 – LANDER: From Avro to Apollo
Shelley Ayers, Director, Writer, Producer
The heart of every great story is a person. This person or team of people not only represent their own quest and the challenges they face along their journey, but cast a light on our dreams. It is these types of stories that Shelley seeks and loves to tell.
Shelley, in collaboration with her Director of Photography, Mark Foerster, recently completed the documentary LANDER: from Avro to Apollo. It shines a spotlight on a Canadian engineer and his contribution to the design and engineering of the Lunar Module that took Neil Armstrong to the moon 50 years ago. We will be treated to a special showing of this short film.
October 9 – Deciphering Election Polls
Livianna Tossutti, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Brock University
Public opinion polls are expected to provide straightforward answers to important questions at election time: “What are Canadians thinking about political parties, their leaders, and the important issues of the day?” When polls are conducted in a biased or non-scientific way, the results may lead to misinformation. This talk will highlight what you need to consider when evaluating the credibility of polls.
October 16 – Harnessing the Power of the Immune System to Fight Cancer
Dr. Michael Levesque, Medical Head of Systemic Therapy, Walker Family Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor, Dept. of Oncology, McMaster University
Dr. Levesque will review the evolution of drug therapies for cancer with increasing abilities to discriminate malignant cells from normal cells of the host. Although chemotherapy still has its place for the treatment, and even cure, of many cancers, the past two decades have witnessed rapid development of new treatments that capitalize on our better understanding of cancer biology and the interplay between cancer and the immune system.
October 23 – Identifying Real vs. Fake Science News
Fiona Rawle, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, and Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Dept. of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga
It’s important that we all stay up to date on science and health breakthroughs. News about science is all around us, but how can you decipher real vs. sensationalized vs. fake science news? In this session, Dr. Rawle will take you on a journey exploring some of the most egregious examples of fake science news, and guide you in how to identify news you can trust.
October 30 – Feeding the World in 2050: How Great is the Challenge?
Spencer Henson, Professor, Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Guelph
With continued growth in the global population and rising incomes driving changes in eating patterns, there are real concerns about the ability of the world to feed itself in the future. This presentation explores the challenges that the world faces in achieving food security in a manner that is sustainable and meets the needs of the poor. It examines the role that Canada can play in addressing these challenges in partnership with developing countries around the world.
2019 Spring Lecture Series
May 1, 2019 – Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumer Response
Dr. Todd Green, Associate Professor of Marketing, Goodman School of Business, Brock University
The CIBC Run for the Cure, Home Depot’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and Ronald McDonald House are all high profile examples of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement.
As the role of CSR has grown in importance for a number of stakeholders including consumers, job seekers, investors and regulators, it is important to understand when CSR works and when it falls flat.
Dr. Green’s work has focused on both consumer behaviour and advertising strategy in the CSR space. He will focus on the factors that consumers deem to be important in deciding whether or not to support CSR activities, and will also discuss how advertisers can best position and communicate how they are seeking to make a positive impact on society at large.
May 8, 2019 – Small is Big: Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine
Dr. Gerald Audette, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Member of the Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions, York University
There has been a significant push in recent years toward the development of new ways to produce and store energy, generate interesting and useful materials and to diagnose and fight disease, by harnessing the potential of things at the nanoscale. There is certainly a lot of potential and a lot of buzz around all things “nano”.
But what is really going on when we move to smaller and smaller systems for technology and medicine? What can we learn from nature’s nano examples? And how do we tackle the new and often unanticipated implications to technology, health, safety, and the environment that nanoscale-based technology and medicine present?
Dr. Audette will provide an overview of several nanotechnology and nanomedicine examples and explore the opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls of going small to tackle big problems.
May 15, 2019 – Leadership in International Development
Jos Nolle, Dean, Seneca International, Seneca College
What are the impacts of international development projects? What makes for an effective international development project? What type of leadership is needed? What is meant by internationalization of higher education?
Jos has done a variety of project evaluation tasks for the Rotary International Foundation in places as diverse as Mozambique, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico and Arizona. He will also share his experiences in his leadership roles in Doctors without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres) and on behalf of two Canadian colleges in this field. He will explore how these overseas activities can bring positive impact back to learning institutions in Canada. You will leave this session with plenty to further reflect on.
May 22, 2019 – The Sibelius Cycle
Bradley Thachuk, Music Director, Niagara Symphony Orchestra
The Niagara Symphony Orchestra is in the midst of its exploration of the works of Finland’s greatest composer, Jean Sibelius. In this entertaining illustrated talk, Bradley will explain the unique style of Sibelius musicality.
May 29, 2019 – Managing Your Gut Microbial Army and Why It’s Important
Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph
Did you know that your gut harbours a vast super-city of microbes that is responsible for a good deal of your health? These invisible critters make up an entire virtual organ that until recently we have for the most part ignored to our great detriment. Only in the last few years has science finally started to scrutinize the world of this ‘gut microbiota’ and to unlock its secrets.
In this lecture, Dr. Allen-Vercoe will explain the importance of your gut microbes, debunk some myths, and provide some tips for keeping healthy.
June 5, 2019 – The Teenage Brain Under Construction
Dr. Jean Clinton, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
Over the past decade neuroscience has finally been able to shed light on why teenagers do the things they do!
This presentation will explore what has been learned about brain development and how the environment and experience plays a key role in this development.
The rise of mental illness among our Canadian youth, risk taking, novelty seeking, and risk of substance abuse will be explored.
2018 Fall Lecture Series
September 26 – Opera 101
Iain Scott, Lecturer, Broadcaster, Writer, one of Canada’s leading experts on Opera
Who is afraid of opera? Perhaps, lots of people. And yes, it does need three essential prerequisites: exposure, time, and money to be enjoyed to its fullest potential.
But for many people who have retired and now have the time at least to give it a chance, it can be one of the most rewarding of all the arts because it has so many intriguing dimensions.
Iain will give us a lighthearted introduction.
October 3 – The Future of Primary Care: How will the quality of care agenda help you?
Dr. David Kaplan, Chief of Clinical Quality, Health Quality Ontario
A strong primary care system is the bedrock of any successful
healthcare system. This is particularly true for an aging population with growing health needs.
Ontario’s health care system has been steadily evolving over the past 20 years in respect of who is involved and how those individuals are compensated.
Now the focus is increasingly turning to ensure we are achieving the 6 dimensions of quality: Patient Centred, Timely, Safe, Effective, Efficient, and Equitable.
Dr. Kaplan will present a broad level look at the performance of Ontario’s primary care system and what the future looks like.
October 10 – Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism: Navigating with confidence and ethics
Dr. Agnes Nowaczek, Professor, Niagara College
Navigating through the multitude of competing ‘green’ messages from the tourism industry isn’t easy. While both academics and industry practitioners debate where they stand on the continuum of sustainability, we can take some ownership, as travelers, to spend our money with businesses that support our values.
In this talk, Dr. Nowaczek will aim to equip the average traveler with better understanding of sustainable tourism and ecotourism, with key examples around the world. She will link some of these examples with Niagara’s planning and management of the ever-increasing numbers of tourists to key attractions.
The lecture will bring together research from academia, industry practice, and a degree of self-examination from each traveler.
October 17 – Music that Moves Us: From Rhythm to Social Behaviour
Dr. Laurel Trainor, Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University; Director of LIVELab, McMaster University; Research Scientist, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Hospital, Toronto
Rhythms are powerful because their regularity enables us to predict when important information will occur next. Dr. Trainor will talk about how rhythms shape our perception, how they are processed in the brain, and how rhythm processing develops in children.
She will describe brain studies that explain why music makes us want to move in time to its beat, and show how moving in synchrony with others affects our willingness to cooperate with those people, even in infancy.
October 24 – Truths and Myths about Genetically Modified Organisms
Dr. Rene Van Acker, Professor and Dean, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph
In Canada, farmers have been growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops for over two decades. These crops form a substantive basis of the commodities used in much of our processed food, yet many people remain skeptical or even fearful of GM crops and the technology that allows for the creation of GM crops.
Dr. Van Acker will explain the history and technical details of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and will discuss fears over this technology, providing truths and dispelling myths. He will also provide a glimpse into future genetic technologies and how these might impact the future of agriculture and our food supply.
October 31 – How Are the Great Lakes Doing?
Nancy Stadler-Salt, Great Lakes Coordinator, Environment and Climate Change Canada
What makes the Great Lakes great? And how are the Great Lakes doing?
Nancy will explain the current environmental conditions of the Great Lakes, whether conditions are getting better or worse, and how Canada and the United States go about assessing the lakes.
This information is key in order to know where to put efforts to protect, restore and improve conditions and also to know what is stressing the ecosystem.
2018 Spring Lecture Series
May 2 – The Right Road is Straight Ahead: The Legacies of Canada’s Peacekeeping Past
Dr. Colin McCullough, Adjunct Professor, McMaster University and Ryerson University; Author
Dr. McCullough will delve into how Canada’s response to the Suez Crisis of 1956, and Lester Pearson’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, shaped Canadian understandings of UN peacekeeping, and ultimately allowed this international action to become seen as an expression of the country’s national identity.
Given the Trudeau government’s stated desire but operational reluctance to re-engage with UN peacekeeping, it is vital to know more about the country’s peacekeeping past, and what past governments have done to advance the idea of Canada being a peacekeeping nation.
May 9 – Movies for the Masses: The National Film Board, “the eyes of Canada
Joan Nicks, Film Critic; Historian
Legislated into existence by an act of parliament in 1939, the Film Board (NFB) established a pan-Canadian identity and ideology. Wartime film propaganda was the immediate goal. The long-term vision was the social use of documentary, post-war, in a changing cultural climate.
Illustrated with film footage, this lecture addresses the Film Board’s institutional purpose, documentary tradition, and emergence of a new generation of filmmakers interested in regionalism and making feature films.
May 16 – The Lives and Deaths of Stars
Dr. Michael Reid, Researcher, Lecturer & Public Outreach Coordinator, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto
When we look up at the stars, they seem to be eternal and unchanging. Star maps from thousands of years ago work nearly as well today as when they were first devised.
Yet, if we take a cosmic perspective, we find that stars live dramatic and exciting lives. Some stars have gentle births and will live for many times the current age of the universe. Other stars are born in spectacular infernos, live short lives, and die violently.
In this talk, Dr. Reid will use images from the latest telescopes on Earth and in space to document the lives of all types of stars. He will show you how, though we are not usually aware of it, we have all come from stars, depend on stars for our survival, and may someday return to the stars.
May 23 – Access and Privacy in the Digital Age
Brian Beamish, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
Learn about the importance of public access to government-held information, the promises and pitfalls of big data, and protecting your personal information online.
May 30 – How Free Trade with China May Impact Canada’s Domestic and International Politics
Dr. Charles Burton, Associate Professor, Political Science, Brock University
Canada’s political and business élite is strongly supportive of economic integration with China through negotiation of a free trade agreement. Canadian public opinion is less supportive due to concerns about China’s corrupt politics and business culture, and perceived lack of respect for environmental and labour regulations, as well as strong objections to pervasive violation of human rights in China.
There have been concerns raised about Chinese régime attempts to gain influence over Chinese promotion of their political and economic interests in Canada through indirect provision of economic benefits to Canadian policymakers.
China has made enhanced economic engagement with Canada conditional on Canada ceasing to politically engage with China on human rights and sensitive international issues such as China’s support for North Korea and China’s illegal expansion of military bases on islands in the South China Sea.
There is debate over whether economic integration with China to sustain and promote Canadian economic prosperity in the face of uncertainty over relations with the United States comes at too great a political cost to Canada.
June 6 – Medical Cannabis – What’s it all about?
Dr. Lydia Hatcher, MD, CCFP, FCFP, CHE, D-CAPM, Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, McMaster University; Chief of Family Medicine, St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario
In just over 100 years we have gone full circle from the much touted uses of cannabis in Victorian times to ‘reefer madness’, and now we are on the way back to legalization of marijuana in Canada and more importantly, medical research to back up some of these old and new claims of its benefit for a multitude of health problems.
While there is much debate about the merits and risks of cannabis, Lydia will lead you through an informed discussion about these risks and concerns. She will explain how and why the cannabinoid system has so many effects on our body and how this leads to the many very differing effects of this plant from ‘mind alteration’ to our immune system. She will also discuss the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis in seizure disorders, chronic pain, and mood disorders, as well as the future of research for medical cannabis.
2017 Fall Lecture Series
September 27 – Scorned as Timber, Beloved by Sky: The Story of Emily Carr
Anna Stanisz, Associate Director, Creative Learning & Programs, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
One of the most iconic Canadian painters, Emily Carr is also admired for her autobiographical writings that in a large measure shaped our perception of her artistic career. Anna’s illustrated talk will contextualize this personal narrative with facts and documents discovered by successive Canadian scholars fascinated by Emily’s art and personality. Come and hear a fresh perspective on being a British Columbia woman artist in a world dominated by Group of Seven giants.
October 4 – Canadians’ Fascination with the Weather
David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Why is the weather so important to Canadians? Why are we so obsessed with it? David has spent half his career trying to figure out why Canadians are so outwardly disgusted by weather, yet so secretly proud of it at the same time. And Canadians love to talk about it. David will share with you his experiences – both good and bad – in talking about our love/hate relationship with the weather.
What is clear to all Canadians is that something is happening to our weather. It’s almost as if extreme weather has become the norm. And there seems to be more freakish weather. Further, the seasons seem to be out of whack, certainly not what our teachers and parents told us it would be like. Some experts suggest that we may be witnessing the beginning of a profound change to our climate and bad weather may be proof of an overheated, out-of-control planet. On the other hand, it has happened before; maybe we are going through some rough times, experiencing some bad “weather” luck. There is so much we don’t know about our weather. But what has become clear is that our planet is warming and the number of weather-related disasters is on the rise. Could it be that weather is more important to us now than it ever has been? And the rest of the world is doing what Canadians have always done…talking about the weather.
October 11 – Queen Victoria and Canada
Dr. Carolyn Harris, Historian, Author and Royal Commentator; Teacher, University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, her birthday continued to be a holiday in Canada to honour her role as a Mother of Confederation. Over the course of her 63 year reign, Queen Victoria had a profound impact on Canadian history, politics and culture. Loyalty to the Crown brought Canadians, including the Fathers of Confederation, together and Queen Victoria played a key role in uniting Canada in 1867.
October 18 – The Northwest Passage: Tracing One Warm Line
David Newland, Writer, Musician and Speaker; Zodiac Driver and Expedition Host, Adventure Canada
David Newland has a passion for the Canadian experience. He travels the coasts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland & Labrador, Greenland, and Nunavut with Adventure Canada.
Using enhanced projected images, video, and original songs, David will touch on the history of Arctic exploration, including the story of Franklin’s lost expedition. He will also introduce Inuit ideas of territory, community, and creative culture, and discuss Arctic wildlife and ecology, including glaciers, sea ice and the potential effects of climate change in the North.
October 25 – The Future of Food and Beverage
Craig Youdale, Dean, Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Niagara College
The Canadian Food and Wine Institute is Canada’s leader in food and beverage training, boasting a combination of culinary, beer, wine and food science training.
The world has seen an explosion of craft beer plus development in cider and distilling. At the same time, restaurants continue to grow and change. Education plays a significant role in supporting these developments.
Craig will discuss where this training is going, what the CFWI has in store for the Niagara region, and how they are preparing students for a future in the food and beverage industry.
November 1 – Tools to Build a High Performing Sustainable Health Care System
Dr. Sacha Bhatia MD, MBA, FRCPC, Director, Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care; Cardiologist, Women’s College Hospital and University Health Network; Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto’s Department of Medicine and the Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation
Canada’s health care system is under significant pressure. An aging population and increasing rates of chronic disease threaten quality and affordability within our system of care. Is there a way forward? Dr. Sacha Bhatia will discuss innovative research that is happening at the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV) to help ensure Canadians get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
2017 Spring Lecture Series
May 3 – Journalism in a Digital Age
Paul Berton, Editor-in-Chief of The Hamilton Spectator and Thespec.com
Learn how modern technology is changing the nature of investigative journalism, ethical reporting, credible information, and the nature of truth.
May 10 – Jazz: Music of the People
Heather Bambrick, Award-winning Vocalist, Voice Actor, Broadcaster and Educator
“My own feelings about the direction in which Jazz should go … humanity in music and the freedom to say all that you want.” ~ Booker Little
“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” ~ Charlie Parker
From its roots in African American tribal music and spirituals, to influences from Gospel, the Blues, and even Hip Hop, Jazz is considered by many to be the only true (North) American musical art-form. Its development has drawn parallels between the Jazz idiomatic songbook and several societal changes – from the Civil Rights Movement right up to the death of Trayvon Martin.
Whether it’s Nina Simone’s “Young, Gifted, and Black”, Charles Mingus’ “Good-bye Pork Pie Hat”, or Robert Glasper’s “Black Radio 2”, Jazz artists have used their music to reflect upon and comment on the world around them.
This discussion will look at some of the connections between Jazz and the ever-changing societal connections of the Twenty-First Century.
May 17 – Understanding the Big Bang
Dr. Michael Reid, Researcher, Lecturer and Public Outreach Coordinator, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto
The Big Bang Theory is one of the crowning achievements of modern science. The basic premise – that the universe began expanding about 14 billion years ago from a very hot, dense state – has been independently verified many times over. And yet there is widespread confusion and uncertainty about what the theory actually says – and what it doesn’t.
Did the universe begin as some kind of atom? If it’s expanding, what’s it expanding into? Does it have an outside? Are there other universes? And why did it start? In this talk, Dr. Reid will clarify what we do and don’t know about the Big Bang.
May 24 – Vineland’s Feeding Diversity Program: Bringing World Crops to Market
Dr. Viliam Zvalo, Research Scientist, Vegetable Production, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
As part of a collaborative group of partners determined to build a local ethno-cultural vegetable marketplace, Vineland is leading research on new crop varieties, production technologies, postharvest innovations, consumer insights, and market development.
This multi-disciplinary research program is growing the competitiveness of the Ontario fruit and vegetable sector through the targeted product development of new world crops such as okra and Asian and Indian eggplant.
In partnership with commercial growers across Canada, Vineland’s production team is trialing these new varieties to assess agronomic performance and disease resistance, while postharvest scientists are working to optimize storage conditions to preserve the quality of ethno-cultural vegetables through the distribution chain and at retail.
May 31 – Antibiotics and Resistance: A Looming Global Crisis
Dr. Gerry Wright, Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University; Canada Research Chair in Antibiotic Biochemistry
Antibiotics are the cornerstones of modern medicine. These wonder drugs not only have saved countless lives, they have enabled a large number of clinical interventions.
From major surgeries, to cancer chemotherapy, to pre-term infants, the control of infection that antibiotics offer have had a profound impact on our quality and length of life.
We are now at risk though of losing these advances. Bacteria have become increasingly resistant to our available drugs and the pharmaceutical industry has failed to provide new ones.
We are at risk of entering a post-antibiotic era. Work on understanding how we got here and what we can do about it will be presented.
June 7 – What does it mean to be Canadian?
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Following a brief lecture, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell will engage with the audience in a discussion about what it means to be Canadian.
2016 Fall Lecture Series
September 28th, 2016 – India’s Rise and Implications for Canada
Kasi Rao, Vice President of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; Senior Advisor (India) Bennett Jones Law Firm
Learn about long term implications for Canada due to the intersection of India’s economic reforms and its increasingly important and strategic role in world affairs.
October 5th, 2016 – Human Stem Cells: Biology and Applications Toward the Clinic
Dr. Mickie Bhatia, Canada Research Chair in Human Stem Cell Biology; Scientific Director of the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI); Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Human stem cells provide the potential to model disease and regenerative organs. Dr. Bhatia will discuss progress in the area, limitations, and future directions to the clinical reality of stem cell applications.
October 12th, 2016 – The Arab Spring That Never Came
Dr. Atif Kubursi, Emeritus Professor of Economics, McMaster University
Dr. Kubursi will discuss the many existential developments and challenges, such as economics, secularism, democracy, price of oil, refugees, and terrorism.
October 19th, 2016 – If These Walls Could Talk – Murder and Mayhem, Art and Architecture High Above Italy’s Amalfi Coast
Cynthia Venables, Art & Cultural Historian; Painter & Photographer
Experience, see and feel this wonderful place through the many unique images that will illustrate the story and make the history tangible.
October 26th, 2016 – Mosquito Surveillance for Arboviruses: Lessons from West Nile Virus and Plans for Zika Virus
Dr. Fiona Hunter, Brock University Level 3 Containment Lab; Medical Entomologist; Professor
Mosquito surveillance for arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) is an important component of Public Health response and preparedness. After discovering which mosquito species are driving an arbovirus outbreak, it is possible to determine when and where a new outbreak will occur.
November 2nd, 2016 – Art, Literature and the Poetics of Ageism
Dr. Andrea Charise, Assistant Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough; 2014 Polanyi Prize for Literature
Dr. Charise explores how the invention of population at the end of the eighteenth century helped fashion the “aging population” into a major character in the cultural landscape.
2016 Spring Lecture Series
May 4th – The Search for Life in the Cosmos
Dr. Michael Reid, Researcher, Lecturer & Public Outreach Coordinator, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto
Have you ever wondered if life exists anywhere other than on Earth? If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, why have we not encountered it yet?
May 11th – Neurorehabilitation Through Dance
Dr. Joseph DeSouza, Associate Professor, Centre for Vision Research, York University
Learn how the exercise of dance is helping people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
May 18th – Another Side of Mozart Revealed
Brian Carlile, Professional Musician, and Andrew Chan, Harpist
Brian Carlile – Mozart produced an inexhaustible stream of correspondence covering his life highlights, tours, amours, colleagues, employers, and triumphs.
Andrew Chan will introduce the harp and answer questions on the instrument’s construction, development, and techniques.
May 25th – Innovation to Reach the World’s Poorest of the Poor
Dr. Joseph Wong, Ralph & Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation; Professor & Canada Research Chair, Political Science, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Poverty reduction is a global priority in the developing world and here in Canada.
June 1st – Technologies for Healthy Aging
Nora Young, Host of CBC Radio’s Spark; Author of The Virtual Self
As we enter the era of the Internet of Things, more and more technology promises to help us lead active, safe lives, from ‘smart’ pill dispensers to wearable health monitors.
June 8th – Changing Technology and the Reporting of News
Bill Cunningham, Pioneer of Television Journalism; War Correspondent; Award-Winning Producer of News & Documentaries; Editor; Program Host; Network Executive; Professor
Learn about the evolution of TV News. Mr. Cunningham will discuss the transition from print and radio to TV as the main news source
2015 Fall Lecture Series
September 16th, 2015 – Russia: A Path to Understanding
Dr. David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Professor of Russian History, Brock University
What you should know about Russia’s past to understand the way it behaves today. A discussion of how persistent factors in Russian history continue to shape Moscow’s politics in the twenty-first century.
September 23rd, 2015 – Three Major Classical Works: What Makes These So Special?
Bradley Thachuk, Music Director of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra
Learn about the programming process a conductor goes through in the selection of works for a symphony orchestra’s season.
September 30th, 2015 – Embracing Vanprastha: Perspectives on Aging from the Hindu Tradition
Dr. Karen Trollope-Kumar, Family Physician and part-time faculty member in the Department of Family Practice at McMaster University
An insight into the concepts of aging from the Hindu tradition, including the third stage of life, Vanprastha, seen as a time for exploration of new horizons and for giving back to society.
October 7th, 2015 – Good News for Our Third Act: We Just Get Better!
Dr. Caitlin Mahy Director of the Developing Memory and Cognition Lab at Brock University
Although physical and cognitive declines accompany aging, several abilities remain stable and even improve with age. Current psychological theories of aging positively will be discussed in relation to changes that we experience with age.
October 14th, 2015 – Exploring Wilderness in the 21st Century
Adam Shoalts, Professional Explorer and Adventurer
Listen to an explorer discuss some of his most recent expeditions, including to the High Arctic, and what it’s like to be an explorer in the 21st century.
October 21st, 2015 – Shaw’s Women and Their Costumes
Rita Brown, Retired Head of Costumes at The Shaw Festival Theatre
Hear how the wonderful costumes seen on the Shaw Festival’s stage come to fruition and bring to life characters from different elements of women whom Shaw knew.
Fall Lecture Series 2023
10 AM to 12 PM
September 26 to October 31, 2023
(October 31st lecture starts at 9:30)
Lecture Series Registration
10 AM to 12 PM
September 26 to October 31, 2023
(October 31st lecture starts at 9:30)
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