Spring Lecture Series

April 24th to May 22nd
10AM to 12PM

Understanding and Living in 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.

When: Wednesdays – April 24, May 1, 8, 15 and 22
All live lectures are in-person at 10AM at The Westdale Theatre.

Download details of Westdale Parking Information


Single event walk-in registrations for May 8, 15 and 22 are available (space permitting) for $15.00 cash payment per person. Post lecture recordings are available only to full series paid registrants

Bring a Friend for Free to any one of the 5 Spring Lectures.

This is a great opportunity for you to have a friend come along and introduce them to the unique HTAL experience.

Each paid registrant is entitled to bring one friend to any One of the 5 Lectures.

We will register your friend as a “walk in” registrant when you arrive at The Westdale Theatre, for that day. Nothing extra for you to do when you register online for yourself.

Tom Rand - Speaker at the April 24th 2024 Lecture

Tom Rand

April 24th, 2024 – 10AM

Tom Rand

Tom Rand brings his trademark focus and clarity to an enormously complex issue – the economics of climate change.

As global fears over climate risk ratchet up alongside increasing turbulent weather systems, the private sector looks at “last ready join the fight” in earnest. Is that the case, or just more greenwashing?

Rand’s forthright speaking style takes on the old canards of both left and right politics in a passionate call to arms on climate risk and covers a broad range of subjects – psychology, finance, policy, economics, technology and science.

His talk brings to life the focus of his third bestselling book: to articulate pragmatic ways to rewire the capitalist economy for the 21st century – a renewed “Climate Capitalism”. The Case for Climate Capitalism: Economic Solutions for a Planet in Crisis (ECW Press) was awarded the 2021 Axiom Silver Medal (Economics).

Tom Rand’s focus is on carbon mitigation as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author and speaker. He is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of ArcTern Ventures and sits on the board of a number of clean energy companies and organizations. He also developed Planet Traveler, a low-carbon hotel project in downtown Toronto.

Tom’s first book Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit (2010) was winner of the 2011 Whitepine Non-Fiction award; his second – Waking the Frog – became a bestseller in Spring 2014; his third – Climate Capitalism: Economic Solutions for a Planet in Crisis was published early 2020.

Tom holds a BSc in electrical engineering (U of Waterloo), an MSc in philosophy of science (University of London and LSE) and an MA and PhD in philosophy (U of Toronto), is an Action Canada Fellow, and has been a member of a number of federal and provincial advisory boards.

Virginia Heffernan - Speaker at the May 1st 2024 Lecture

Virginia Heffernan

May 1st, 2024 – 10AM

Virginia Heffernan

The Ring of Fire is a 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of ancient volcanic rock rich in nickel, copper, and other metals considered critical to the global transition to renewable energy.

The metal deposits lie hidden beneath the remote swamps of the James Bay Lowlands of northern Canada, the second-largest temperate wetland in the world. The area is home to several thousand Indigenous people in communities accessible only by plane or winter road.

The deposits, too, are stranded by a lack of infrastructure. Canada and the province of Ontario have pledged billions of dollars towards a critical-minerals strategy, including building an all-weather road to the Ring of Fire. But is the mining plan desirable or even feasible?

Virginia Heffernan is a former exploration geoscientist and author of Ring of Fire: High Stakes Mining in a Lowlands Wilderness (ECW Press).

She has an MSc from the University of Toronto’s School of the Environment and an MFA in creative non-fiction from the University of King’s College.

Her articles have appeared in publications such as Explore, The Globe and Mail, and Maclean’s.

She lives in Toronto.

Tobi Bruce - Speaker at the May 8th 2024 Lecture

Tobi Bruce

May 8th, 2024 – 10AM

Tobi Bruce

How do we know with certainty if a painting is by the hand of an artist?

What steps must we take to prove or disprove the authenticity of artworks?

Using two works that might be by famed Canadian artist Tom Thomson as a case study, we’ll walk through the various questions asked and raised in the authentication process. A painting’s signature, subject matter, materials, technique, and provenance are all pieces of a nuanced puzzle that guides us through this kind of work.

For a curator, authentication is one of the most exciting and intriguing elements of our job. It is part art historical research, part investigative journalism, and lots of close looking; and it can be as infuriating as it is satisfying.

Tobi Bruce is Head of Exhibitions and Collections and Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. With over thirty years’ experience, Tobi has curated over 70 exhibitions, lectured and published extensively, and spoken at conferences nationally and internationally.

Notable exhibitions and publications include Tom Thomson? The Art of Authentication; The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists; Into the Light: The Paintings of William Blair Bruce; The French Connection: Canadian Painters at the Paris Salons, and William Kurelek: The Messenger.

She has taught Canadian Art at McMaster University and sat as a Board member with the international Association of Art Museum Curators, and Ontario Association of Art Galleries.

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann - Speaker at the May 15th 2024 Lecture

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann

May 15th, 2024 – 10AM

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann

In this talk. Professor Howard-Hassmann will discuss the 21st century social movement for reparations to Africa for the slave trade and colonialism, as well as the social movements for reparations to African-Americans and African-Canadians.

She will describe the obstacles to success of these social movements, as compared to the successful reparations claims for Jewish and other victims of the Holocaust, and Japanese-Americans and Canadians interned during WWII.

She will continue with discussion of different types of reparations, including formal apologies and truth commissions as well as financial reparations. She will conclude with a discussion of what reparations might be feasible, in all three cases.

Rhoda Howard-Hassmann is Professor Emerita at Wilfrid Laurier University, where from 2003 to 2016 she held the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights.

Earlier she taught in the Sociology Department at McMaster University for 27 years. Among many other scholarly works, she is the author of the book, Reparations to Africa, published in 2008, and several subsequent short essays on reparations to Africa, African-Americans, and African-Canadians.

She has won several academic awards for her work on international human rights, and is a Member of the Order of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

She lives in Hamilton.

Gary Draper - Speaker at the May 22th 2024 Lecture

Gary Draper

May 22nd, 2024 – 10AM

Gary Draper

Those of us who turn to reading often do so for a host of reasons, from escaping into a life and a world different from our own, to exploring some of the more challenging issues of the world around us.

Sometimes we are looking for information, sometimes for an engaging narrative, and occasionally just for the pure pleasure of well-tuned prose or poetry. Our tastes may vary over time, but some things will probably remain constant.

What can you learn when you examine your own history as a reader, from your earliest texts to what you read last week?

Gary Draper is a retired English Professor (St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo) with a doctorate in 19th-century Canadian Literature (Western University, London). He has taught a wide variety of third age learning courses.

Gary has been an editor, a book reviewer, and a collector of Canadian cookbooks, and he continues to be an avid reader, an occasional gardener, a tentative choral singer, and a passable solver of crossword puzzles.