April 14th to May 19th
10AM to 12PM

Understanding the 21st Century

How do we begin to understand the 21st century? Our world is a very complex and confusing place where change is happening at an ever faster pace. The speakers will cover a range of topics providing insights into this century’s problems and possibilities.

The Spring Lectures will be presented online via Zoom.

There will be 6 speakers, Wednesdays at 10AM with a Q/A session to follow.

Instructions to register for each session will be given approximately one week in advance.

The first lecture will take place on April 14th, 2021.

Spring Lectures Via Zoom

Registration is now Closed

Ted Barris

Ted Barris

April 14th, 2021 – 10AM

In nearly every theatre of war during the 19th and 20th centuries, military strategists found women and men prepared to disregard their own well-being in order to save the lives of others on the battlefield. Not only have these extraordinary deeds preserved life in momentous battles, but they have often pioneered tools and techniques that survive in both wartime and peacetime medicine today. This presentation explores some of those medics under fire and their legacy.

Ted Barris is an award-winning journalist, author, and broadcaster. For more than 40 years, his writing has regularly appeared in the national press, as well as in magazines as diverse as Air Force, esprit de corps and Zoomer. He has also worked as host/contributor for most CBC Radio network programs and on TV Ontario. And after 18 years teaching, he has just retired as a full-time professor of journalism at Toronto’s Centennial College.

The author of 19 bestselling, non-fiction books, including a series on wartime Canada, his writing has also been published in such anthologies as The Canadian Encyclopedia, Total Hockey: The Official NHL Encyclopedia, A History of Maple Leaf Gardens, and a volume of learned papers presented to the Canada-Korea Conference at the U of Toronto. His book, The Great Escape: A Canadian Story, won the 2014 Libris Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award (shared with astronaut Chris Hadfield), and his  Dam Busters: Canadian Airmen and the Secret Raid against Nazi Germany (2018)– about the famous 1943 attack on the Ruhr River dams that powered Nazi Germany’s industrial war production- was featured by The Globe and Mail on its bestsellers list for eight straight weeks and named as one of the Best 10 Non-Fiction War Books of 2018.  In 2011, he was  presented with the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation, and the following year the Air Force Association of Canada selected him to receive Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Shannon Kyles

Shannon Kyles

April 21st, 2021 – 10AM

Small agricultural communities of 19th century Ontario became connected by a network of railways which supplied and enabled industrial urban centers. With the 20th century, ‘Garden Suburbs’, apartment buildings and ‘bedroom communities’ emerged to house the citizens of the emerging metropolis. In the 21st century, an exploding populace is poised to continue the legacy of rich multi-cultural development, but also threatens to destroy the neighborhoods and structures of the past. Can we protect our built heritage while providing needed housing for the future? If so, how? 

With a degree in History of Art and Architecture, Shannon Kyles followed the path of many Humanities graduates into the field of high technology. In 1979 she became a pioneer in the field of Computer Aided Design (CAD) at McMaster University and then joined the Engineering department at Mohawk College. By the 1990s, Shannon had merged her love of art and architecture with her knowledge of computers. She taught CAD and History of Architecture at Mohawk and, in 2000, started the website Ontarioarchtecture.com.

Shannon writes for Acorn Magazine and wrote many articles for Arabella magazine. She was the architecture columnist for CBCs Fresh Air with Mary Ito from 2008 to 2018, and still does the occasional guest piece. She has been on the Provincial Executive of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) for eight years, and is also a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals. She has done important research with regard to energy efficiency of pre-war windows, and has reconstructed a Regency Cottage in Prince Edward County. She is now on the board of the Hamilton branch of the ACO and is involved in trying to save some of our local buildings and monuments. 

Stephen Heathorn
Stephen Heathorn

April 28th, 2021 – 10AM

By the time this talk takes place there should be some clarity over the future relationship between Britain and Europe after their historic divorce.  This talk considers Brexit developments in Britain between the election of Boris Johnson’s majority government in 2019 and the deadline for negotiations for a new trading relationship, and attempts to assess what we can see as the short and medium term legacy of the four-year Brexit saga.

Stephen Heathorn, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, is Professor in the Department of History at McMaster University, specializing in British and European history, and in particular the cultural politics of nationalism and commemoration. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1996 and joined the History Department at McMaster in 2001.

In addition to 30 academic journal articles, he is the author or co-author of the following books: For Home, Country and Race: Constructing Gender, Class and Englishness in the Elementary School Classroom, 1880-1914 (2000), Earl Kitchener and Earl Haig in Twentieth Century Britain: Remembrance. Representation and Appropriation (2013), with Dave Goutor (ed.), Taking Liberties: A History of Human Rights in Canada (2013), and with Stephanie Barczewski, John Elgin, Michael Silvestri, and Michelle Tusan, Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World (2015).

Harvey Weingarten
Harvey Weingarten

May 5th, 2021 – 10AM

The talk examines the current state of Canada’s public university system by asking a series of fundamental questions such as:  Is it still worth going to university?  Are students learning what they need to succeed in their personal and professional lives?  What is the relationship between your university experience and the jobs you will have? Are Canadian universities sustainable?   The answers to these questions will be accompanied by suggestions for how to reform Canada’s public university system to address some of its biggest challenges and concerns.

From 2010 to 2019, Dr. Harvey P. Weingarten served as President and CEO of The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) — an independent, evidence-driven research group that provides policy and practical advice to governments and postsecondary institutions to improve the accessibility, quality and accountability of colleges and universities.

He served as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary from 2001 to 2010. Under his leadership, the university increased access, invested in students, recruited world-class faculty and attracted significant amounts of research revenue and philanthropic support. At the end of his tenure the University wrote about his contribution: “A relentless agent of change, he pushed for excellence across campus.  Throughout it all, he never lost sight of the goal:  do what’s best for students.”
Dr. Weingarten was provost at McMaster University from 1996 to 2001.  During a 21-year career at McMaster he served as dean of science, professor of psychology, department chair, and a teacher and mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students.

He received his BSc from McGill University, and his MS, MPhil and PhD from Yale University.
Dr. Weingarten has served on many boards and councils including the Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada; Labour Market Information Expert Panel; Council for Aid to Education; Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network; and Shad Valley.
In 2019-2020 Weingarten held appointments as a Senior Resident at Massey College at the University of Toronto, Senior Fellow at the CD Howe Institute and Executive-in-Residence at the University Health Network.

Jennifer Heisz

Jennifer Heisz

May 12th, 2021 – 10AM

When it comes to brain health, a certain amount of our fate is determined by biological factors. For example, with dementia, age is a risk factor and certain genes increase your risk. However, our lifestyle also plays a critical role. Which means that there is opportunity for us to train for a healthier brain! Physical activity is a critical lifestyle factor that improves memory and reduces the risk of dementia. My talk will describe our latest research that examines how exercise changes the brain to support cognition.

Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz is an Associate Professor in Kinesiology and Associate Director (Seniors) of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence at McMaster University. Dr. Heisz received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. Dr. Heisz directs the NeuroFit Lab (www.neurofitlab.com) which is funded by the Alzheimer Society, Banting Foundation, Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

Dr. Heisz’s research examines the effects of physical activity on brain function to promote mental health and cognition in young adults, older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.  Recent honours include receiving an Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario and the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award. Follow Dr. Heisz on twitter @jenniferheisz.

Joe Berridge

Joe Berridge

May 19th, 2021 – 10AM

The world is rapidly urbanising, nowhere more so than in the Toronto/Hamilton region, the fastest growing urban region in North America. What are the keys to the successful city? This lecture will take us from Shanghai to Singapore, New York to London, Manchester to Belfast to explore what makes the ‘perfect city’.

Joe Berridge is an urban planner and city builder who has had an integral role in the development of complex urban planning and regeneration projects in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia.

As a partner at Urban Strategies Inc. over the past thirty years, Joe has been a strategic advisor for the development of the city centres of Manchester, Belfast and Cardiff and for the waterfronts of Toronto, Singapore, Sydney, Cork, London and Governors Island in New York City. He has prepared campus master plans for the University of Manchester and Waterloo, Queen’s and Western in Canada and is now planning the new hub for Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Joe teaches at the University of Toronto in the Department of Geography and Planning. Joe’s first book Perfect City’ was published by Sutherland House in April 2019.