Workshops 2024/2025

Workshops / courses are held on a wide range of topics including the arts, science, history, current affairs, and film. They are developed and led by Academy members who act as facilitators. Some workshops operate as discussion groups where a member may lead a discussion on a chosen topic. In other workshops, members research and deliver presentations on the subject of their choice and lively discussion follows.  Workshops are offered in-person at Tartu College, 310 Bloor Street West, Toronto or online via Zoom. Academy members may register for up to 4 workshops.

You must first JOIN / RENEW membership (click JOIN / RENEW at the top of the website) and then you may register for your preferred workshops.

If you have already joined / renewed your membership, to register for another workshop, remove or change a workshop, or request to be added to a waiting list, email

In accordance with current health guidelines, masks are encouraged but not required for in-person events.

Most workshops meet every other week for 6 sessions in each of the Fall and Winter terms beginning as follows:
Week 1 Start (Fall Term / Week Starting Sept. 9, 2024), Week 2 Start (Fall Term / Week Starting Sept. 16, 2024)
Week 1 Start (Winter Term / Week Starting Jan. 6, 2025), Week 2 Start (Winter Term / Week Starting Jan. 13, 2025)

Workshop Details

Nobel Prize Winners in Science and Medicine

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

Nobel Prizes for Science and Medicine have been awarded since 1901. In this workshop, participants will explore the winners in the four categories: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and the additional Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (in Memory of Alfred Nobel). Participants will investigate what the winners discovered and what the impact of the discovery has been. There are many topics to choose from–for medicine alone the Prize has been awarded 114 times. Recently, in 2023, Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discovery that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Regardless of your background, this workshop will provide the opportunity to discuss groundbreaking discoveries and ensure valuable insights.

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Bi-weekly;  Week Two;  Friday;  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Two Terms; Hybrid; Simultaneously In-person and Online via Zoom 

This workshop is delivered in Hybrid mode. Some participants will be online via Zoom while others are simultaneously in-person in the classroom. Total attendance is limited to 24 with a combination of online and up to 12 in-person at Tartu.

Just like the previous classic Opinions workshops, participants will choose their topic from a curated list of articles in the notes section below. Articles typically have appeared in well-known Canadian and US monthly journals or the Op Ed pages of the Globe & Mail, New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, etc. We cover a wide range of current interests from abortion rights to xenophobia in society. Anything is fair game. There is “Tech”, pop culture, arts, business, politics, health & religion. You may also propose an article not on the list to the Facilitators.

Participants will need to choose their Hybrid option as they register – either on-line via Zoom or in-person at Tartu. Facilitators will need to be consulted if you need to change your option choice during the year.

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Short Stories: The Long and the SHORT of It

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Monday;  12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Two Terms; Online via Zoom 

“A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage”. Short stories are one of the oldest types of literature and are a growing and important aspect of contemporary literature. We will learn about significant and influential contemporary short story writers, read and discuss short stories, compare them to one another, discuss how they are written, and how they reflect today’s society.

Each participant will present a short story from a selected book of short stories (“The Best Short Stories, The O.Henry Prize Winners, 2023” and Canadian short stories, to be determined). Everyone is expected to read the story being presented so we can engage in a lively and thoughtful discussion.

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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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Tale of Two Cities – Montreal and Toronto

Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Tuesday;  9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Two Terms; Online via Zoom

We are continuing the Tales of two Cities joint ALLTO-MCLL workshop with our Montreal colleagues. At each session of our bi-weekly Zoom workshop, Toronto and Montreal participants take turns in presenting vignettes of life in our two cities. Previously, we looked at happenings and people in both cities from the time of the Ice Ages until Prohibition. Then we investigated the events, developments and personalities of both cities (in parallel) from 1867 until the present.

Next year we propose to explore the past, present and future of Culture, Art, Socio-economics, Thought Leaders, Entertainment, Sports, Neighbourhoods, Tourism, International Relations, Biculturalism and Bilingualism, Rural vs Urban development, Hidden Pearls, Attitudes to the two World Wars, Politics (if you dare), Future Prognostications. We are exploring having a guest joint session with other Lifelong learning groups across Canada.

We look forward to exchanging ideas, thoughts, attitudes with our Lifelong Learning colleagues in la Belle Province.

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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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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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The Originals: From Monks to “Mad Men” – The People Who Have Shaped Our World

Bi-weekly;  Week Two;  Tuesday;  12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Two Terms; Online via Zoom **NEW**  

In this workshop, we’ll examine the lives, loves, struggles and accomplishments of famous, infamous and lesser-known people who have shaped our world. These people may include activists, actors, athletes, entrepreneurs, inventors, pioneers, mathematicians, scientists, writers, humanitarians, monks, monarchs, politicians, filmmakers, spies, singers, songwriters and visual artists.

During each two-hour meeting, we will explore the lives of two people, one during each hour. Each member will be asked to create a 20-25 minute presentation on the person of their choice. Presenters may also recommend articles, books and / or films to share with our workshop participants.

Join us as we engage in discussions of the lives of some extraordinary people, both well-known and lesser-known who may not figure as prominently in our history books.

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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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The Web Of Natural Science

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

Our natural world is a web of wonder, beauty and complexity. In this workshop we will take a broad look at natural phenomena through many scientific disciplines. These may include psychology, chemistry, physics, geology, bacteriology and more. We will see that there are many ways in which scientific studies overlap to inform our everyday existence. Each session will focus on an article of your choice, generally from the current year of the journal Scientific American. Other source material may include scientific magazines such as Discovery MagazineScience NewsScience, and The New Scientist.

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