The Supremes: Function and Impact of Our Supreme Court

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

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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Economist Readers

Weekly;  Week One and Two;  Thursday;  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person and Online via Zoom

This group will meet to extract the wit and wisdom in politics, business, finance, culture, literature and science from this influential international journal. Subscription copies can be delivered by mail (phone 1-800-456-6086) or electronically (economist@neodata.com). At each session, the group selects about eight articles and the discussion is begun by the proposer of each article with a short introduction to the article.

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Assassinations in History

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Thursday;  2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person  **NEW**  

On learning of the death of Abraham Lincoln, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli told House of Commons, “Assassination has never changed the history of the world.” Was Disraeli right? In this workshop, we will seek to answer that question by studying the role that assassinations have played as an instrument of political change from ancient times to today while we at the same time use the events to learn about the history of various countries and periods. Each participant will research, prepare and make a 20 to 25-minute presentation covering the context, target, perpetrator, motive, method and consequences of the assassination.  Presentations will be followed by an equal amount of time for Q&A and round-the-table discussion of such questions as, when is assassination justified, why is it more common in some societies than others, what is the relationship between assassination and terrorism and how are assassinations best prevented?

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Heiresses: Users and Abusers of Their Fortunes

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Wednesday;  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fall Term In-person, Winter Term Online via Zoom  **NEW**  

Imagine your life if you were born heiress to hundreds of millions, or billions, of dollars. What would you do with your life? We will examine heiresses from different time periods and cultures, the sources of their fortunes, and the effects of wealth on their lives. We will investigate the privileges and the responsibilities of such fortunes and the ‘poor little rich girl’ cliché.

Over the centuries some people have taken advantage of heiresses and harmed them physically, financially or emotionally such Barbara Hutton, Doris Duke, Patty Hearst or Clare Bronfman. Other heiresses used their wealth to try to better the world (e.g., Gertrude Bell, Nancy Cunard, Isabella Stewart Gardner or Edith Wharton).

All participants will make a 20-25-minute presentation. A list of possible heiress presentation topics will be sent to participants who may also propose heiresses of their choice.

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Sport and Its Influence on Society

Bi-weekly;  Week Two;  Monday;  2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person  **NEW**  

Whether you are a huge fan or couldn’t care less, the sporting world affects you. In this workshop we will explore topics such as sport’s impact on socialization, national identity, economics, race, gender and social inclusion and exclusion.

We will look at many of the good and bad aspects of sport from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day, asking ourselves questions like ‘Who says competition is bad?’, ‘Is sport a mirror of society?’, ‘Are nations that invest in sport more successful?’, and ‘Has sport replaced religion as the opiate of the masses?’

Workshop members are expected to give a 20 minute presentation on their topic and to participate in the discussions. There is no assigned reading list and an extensive workshop notes will be provided.

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The Blues

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

Blues is a relatively new genre of music, but with long and spread out roots. It coalesced in the rural south at the turn of the 20th century and expanded with the advent of recording just after World War I. It broadened from a strictly African-American audience to impact popular and jazz music. It has been amalgamated into R&B, Rock & Roll and Soul, until becoming a fringe genre in its original form, with an almost completely different audience and performer makeup. This workshop will look at Blues throughout its 100-year history from cultural and musical perspectives, discussing its stars, hits, incarnations and current state. We invite all, from enthusiasts to neophytes, to participate in a workshop meant to appeal to, engage and entertain everyone. Participants will be expected to prepare and deliver a 15-20 minute presentation on the topic of their choice, that will normally include musical excerpts. Technical help will be available to those who may need assistance with sound or visual content in their presentation.

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20th Century Influencers

Bi-weekly;  Week Two;  Wednesday;  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person  **NEW**  

Before the age of the internet, the social media influencers of our time were TV, film and books. They wormed their way into our society and our lives. Everyone knows the dashing James Bond and remembers the impact of movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now and Star Wars. There were ground-breaking and trendy TV shows like MASH, All in the Family, The Simpsons and Cheers. What about some of the influential books of the period – To Kill a Mockingbird, The Handmaid’s Tale, Silent Spring or the Female Eunuch? And who hasn’t been personally influenced in a vacation choice by something seen in a movie or TV show or read in a book? Each person will present an approximately 20 minute presentation where they will discuss the history and details about the “influencer“ and its influence on the world/society in general or its influence on them personally.

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The New Yorker Readers

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Thursday;  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person  

The New Yorker Readers workshop provides provocative and thoughtful engagement with The New Yorker magazine. At each meeting, we discuss three to five items from among recent articles, commentary, reviews, criticism, short stories, poems, cartoon contests and magazine cover. Readers choose items from recent issues and online material and let the facilitator know their willingness to present. The facilitator prepares the agenda of what will be presented which is distributed by email in advance of the workshop. Participants are expected to have read the chosen items in advance. The presenter leads off the discussion with a 5-to-7-minute presentation and poses questions. After the presentation, the floor is open for comments and opinions. The New Yorker magazine is available by subscription (print and online), wherever magazines are sold, and online through the Toronto Public Library, via PressReader.

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Exploring the World of Podcasts

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

Podcasts are a relatively new use of technology to share information, expand our understanding of the world as well as to entertain us while we go about our active lives. There is a topic for every interest. This workshop aims to explore the world of podcasts by examining those that tackle a variety of topics (example: The Daily by New York Times journalists) to ones that delve deeply into specific subjects (Science Friday) to ones that tell a story (The Memory Palace). We will examine how to choose podcasts that are both reliable and enjoyable. Workshop participants will select a topic, and explore up to three podcasts on that topic. Each presenter will recommend that fellow participants listen to the podcast chosen for the presentation prior to the workshop to enable an informed discussion led by the presenter. Presentation topics may include the biographical sketch of the podcast host(s) and guests, format and style, and quality of the information.

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Extraordinary Lives: Workshop on Biographies

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

Biographies recount the stories of people’s lives, placing events, decisions and actions into context. Typically their subject matter concerns people who have faced significant obstacles in their lives or who have made a profound impact upon society.

This workshop focuses on biographical books and films that interpret the lives of noteworthy individuals. Each 2-hour session will feature 2 biographies, one book and one film.

A list of suggested easily-accessed biographical books/films will be circulated to registrants in June and the schedule will be developed in consultation between participants and facilitators. Each participant chooses one biography (book or film) on which to develop a brief maximum 20-minute presentation. Participants are encouraged to read the books or watch the films ahead of each session. A biography of personal interest can also be suggested for presentation provided there are easily-accessed resources available for other workshop members for prior preparation.

Discussion will typically focus on challenges individuals faced within the context of their time.

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