Events Of The Fortnight

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Friday;  2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
In-person

This workshop is focused on discussions of current events. Members suggest topics of interest; they are expected to be aware of events reported in the various media and to come prepared to discuss them. Each session will begin with a listing of the proposed events of interest, followed by a short introduction of each event by the member who suggested it, and then by discussion.

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Democracy: Past, Present and Future

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Monday;  12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
In-person **NEW**

Can democracy be saved? Join us for a wide-ranging discussion about democracies, how they flourish and how they fail. We will discuss what differentiates democracies of the past, present and future and what mechanisms are at play that undermine or enhance democracies. How do democracies become dictatorships and how do dictatorships become democracies? How are societal tensions amplified such that democracies are threatened? What is populism and when did it start? Is there a difference between manipulation of the electorate in the past, through propaganda, versus today through data derived from social media and other means? How are the vulnerabilities of democracy undermined today and what can we learn from the past in order to enhance democracies in the future.

Each participant will prepare a 20-25 minute presentation leading to a discussion of the topics.

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The Supremes: Function and Impact of Our Supreme Court

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Thursday; 12:15 – 2:15 p.m.
In-person **NEW**

Are you interested in learning more about the highest court in Canada and how it shapes our country’s laws and policies and impacts Canadian society?  Do you want to find out about the Supreme Court’s rulings affecting social, moral and ethical issues including reproductive rights, human rights, medical assistance in dying, the environment and indigenous rights?  This workshop provides the opportunity to delve into the reasoning of the Court on significant issues affecting us all and to discuss the rationale for the decisions.  We will also look at how our top court in Canada operates and how it compares with the US Supreme Court.  Regardless of your background, this opportunity to discuss these ground-breaking decisions and issues is sure to provide valuable insights. No technical knowledge of the law or terminology is required and participants have flexible options for presentation.

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Extraordinary Lives: Workshop on Biographies

Bi-weekly;  Week Two;  Monday; 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
In-person

Biographies recount the stories of people’s lives, placing events, decisions and actions into context. Typically, their subjects are people who have faced significant obstacles in their lives.

The workshop will focus on biographical books and films that interpret the lives of noteworthy individuals. World leaders, celebrities, business gurus, spies, popes, and heroes will be considered.

Each two-hour session will feature two biographies – preferably one book and one film per session. Each participant is expected to choose either a book or film, and give a brief presentation about their selection at one of the workshop sessions. Participants are encouraged to read the books or films discussed in the workshop. A list of book and film biographies will be circulated and the workshop schedule will be determined in consultation between participants and facilitators. Discussion will typically focus on challenges individuals faced within the context of their times.

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Contemporary Film A

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Wednesday;  12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
In-person

Please join us for lively discussions of contemporary films. At each meeting we choose two films, released in the last 5 years and available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Kanopy, to view on our own before the next class. Films may be from any genre — indies, art films, documentaries, block-busters — or whatever moves the class when voting. Participants will volunteer in turn to create a presentation on one of the chosen films, stimulating discussion and reactions. The two presentations per class will focus on aspects such as themes, production values, and take-home values.

We rate the films individually, and then compare our class rating to the Internet rating, just for fun. In preparation for the first session, the co-facilitators will contact registered members with an invitation for two participants to volunteer. They will have the one-time opportunity to select and present a film of their own choice.

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The World Of Opera: Listening and Learning

Bi-weekly;  Week Two; Wednesday; 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
In-person

This workshop aims to touch the entire world of opera: from its early beginnings in the 16th C. to the modern day. We will learn about and listen to the music of the historic opera repertoire, the most beautiful music in the world, and view exciting performances on stage by the most enthralling voices. There will be presentations around individual composers, opera history, periods of opera, famous singers through the ages and much more. You may be a real enthusiast or a complete neophyte… this workshop will appeal to and engage everyone.

Participants will be expected to prepare and deliver a 15-20 minute presentation on the topic of their choice. Technical help will be available to those who may need assistance with sound or visual content in their presentation.

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Contemporary Film B

Bi-weekly:  Week Two;  Tuesday;  10:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon
Online via Zoom

Come and join our Zoom discussion group where participants each select a current film available for viewing on Netflix. Two films will be presented at each workshop and all aspects of the film will be discussed. Members are expected to have viewed the two films recently and in advance of the workshop to ensure lively and congenial discussion.  Think of Film B like a tasting menu in a fine restaurant. In the same way as you’d try dishes on a tasting menu at a fine restaurant that you would otherwise never think to eat, in Film B you’ll view films that you would otherwise never think to watch.

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Travel Adventures

Bi-weekly;  Week Two;  Tuesday; 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join us in exploring new adventures and sharing the exhilaration of discovery!  If you could take your next trip today, where would you go?  What entices you about this destination?  Alternatively, tell us about a memorable travel experience from the past.

Each participant will select a destination to research and prepare a 20-30 minute presentation, which will be followed by an informative and lively discussion.

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The Power of Food

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Wednesday; 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
In-person **NEW**

Here is some food for thought. Do we eat to live or live to eat?  Join us for interesting fare. Feast your minds, tantalize your inner tastebuds. Salivate over salacious details uncovering the secrets of the power of food in our lives. Delve into the inner workings of the food industry, the power of advertising, the positive and negative effects of food in our lives. Here are some workshop ideas to get you thinking – the list is endless… Food fads, diets, the take out industry, the politics of food, poverty and hunger, growing food, food fads, a social history of foods, food and nutrition, food and the media, famous chefs, food in art, food in literature, food in music, food and religion, food shows, food rituals, food as medicine, food trends, food and health, eating disorders,  food guidelines, food culture, food customs, food history. Bon appetit!

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The New Yorker Readers

Bi-weekly;  Week Two; Wednesday ; 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
In-person

The New Yorker Readers workshop provides provocative and thoughtful engagement with The New Yorker across its many platforms.  At each meeting, we tackle three to five items including articles, commentary, reviews, criticism, short stories, poems, cartoon contests and magazine covers.  Readers choose items to be discussed from recent issues and online material and signal their interest to the facilitator who prepares an agenda to be distributed electronically in advance of the workshop.  The presenter leads off the discussion with a five-to-six-minute presentation explaining why the item was of interest and posing any questions or issues it suggested.  After the presentation, the floor is opened for comments and opinions.  Participants are expected to have read the chosen items in advance so that everyone can assume a common knowledge base and engage fully.  The New Yorker magazine is available by subscription (print and online), at newsstands, and online through the Toronto Public Library.

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