Laura Carlson.png
Laura Carlson2.png

April 6 - Laura  Carlson

"Good Eats: The History of Food & Dining in Toronto"

In this lecture, explore Toronto's food history, hidden in plain sight. From the rustic taverns of muddy York to the international baking empires, from opulent department store restaurants to 24-hour diners, discover some of the savoury stories that put the city on the culinary map. Bring your appetite and your stretchy pants for a virtual taste of Toronto's dining scene.   

Speaker Biography:

 Laura Carlson is a historian, writer, and media producer. Laura holds a doctorate in history from Oxford University and has taught history, classics, and food studies both in England and in Canada, most recently at Queen's University and Centennial College. As a producer, lecturer, and writer, she has been featured on the CBC, CBS Sunday Morning, and Atlas Obscura. Now living in Toronto, she has hosted several Hot Docs: Curious Minds series and also has presented lectures for Thornhill Lifelong Learning and Toronto's Arts & Letters Club. Laura is also host and producer of the award-winning culinary history podcast, The Feast. Over the years, she has worked with international media, museums, and civic agencies, and currently is the Manager of Public Programs at Heritage Toronto



May 4th - Denise Davy

"Her Name Was Margaret - Life and Death on the Streets"

Denise Davy’s book, “Her Name Was Margaret-Life and Death on the Streets” explores the tragic life of a homeless woman and exposes the flawed plan that led to today’s homelessness epidemic. Her book was included in the Toronto Star’s “must read” book for 2021 and has gone into a third printing. You can watch her interview with TVO’s Steve Paikin. Denise started, “Purses for Margaret” with donations of gently used purses to help provide vulnerable women with hygiene necessities.

Speaker Biography:

Denise Davy is a nationally recognized award-winning journalist and author of, “Her Name Was Margaret-Life and Death on the Streets.” Denise worked at the Hamilton Spectator for 26 years where she won a National Newspaper Award, was twice honoured with Journalist of the Year by the Ontario Newspaper Awards and received four national journalism fellowships which allowed her to write and travel around southeast Asia.


June 1-Professor Mark Rector

Author of: "Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land"


Professor Mark Rector is recognized as a passionate, entertaining and gifted speaker with the ability to hold and engage audiences of all sizes. His fun and enjoyable presentations on numerous topics include his multimedia presentation on Canadian inventors that's been amazing crowds and receiving standing ovations across the country. 


Speaker Biography:

Professor Rector is a published author, public speaker and a recently retired Professor of Electronics Engineering with a specialty in telecommunications. He has written numerous articles, contributed to nationally published textbooks, and just released his first book, "Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land" (2018). It's already sold over 2,000 copies and is available at over 65 bookstores and museums across Canada. 

July 6th  - Dr. Mike Daley

The Elvis Presley Story

Elvis defined rock and roll culture in the 1950s with hit records like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Love Me Tender” and scored hits well into the 1970s like “In The Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds.” The King of Rock and Roll led a life filled with triumphs and tragedies. His life and music are the subject of Dr. Mike Daley’s lecture.

Speaker Biography


Dr. Mike Daley is a freelance popular music history lecturer around Toronto. He holds a Ph.D in musicology and has published widely on a variety of musical subjects. Mike's well-received lectures on the Beatles, Elvis, jazz, folk music and much more have gained him a strong following in the GTA. Mike also offers video lecture series on his website mikedaleymusic.com  and is currently writing a history of live music in the Yorkville coffee house district of Toronto in the 1950s and 1960s.


August 3 - Marnie Bickle

"Native Born Son - The Journals of J. David Ford"

Author/editor of the book, “Native Born Son” which is available from Amazon. “Native Born Son” is J. David Ford’s first-hand telling of his suspenseful exploits while growing up in the eastern Arctic during the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was born into a multi-generational line of traders, trappers and Hudson’s Bay Company employees who, since the late 1700’s, lived alongside and sometimes intermarried with indigenous people. This social history depicts life at the end of an era-before radio communication, snowmobiles or power boats - a nomadic life on the verge of extinction. An account of early colonialism in the Arctic, working for Hudson’s Bay, and how their son grew and became integrated into the Arctic life.

Speaker Biography:

Marnie Bickle worked most of her career in music academia and lives in Port Hope with her husband and two cats. Marnie found journals in her attic, and now, 100 years after the eight-year-old David Ford first set foot on Coats Island at the top of the Hudson Bay, those journals have been given new life in her edited book, “Native Born Son.” Always a writer at heart, she also combined her interest in music and history to write, “Opera and the University of Toronto 1972-1996” and other articles to promote and showcase classical musicians. She looks forward to finding new stories that need to be told.


September 7  -  T.B.A.

October 5th - Dr. Kenneth A. Shonk

"Humour and Wellness"


Dr. Kenneth Shonk graduated from University of Western Ontario in 1970 and had a full-time family practice until his retirement in October of 2007.

He received his certificate in Family Practice in1979. He received an Honorary Fellowship in College of Family Practice in1993


Dr. Shonk has a special interest in Pediatrics and Palliative care. He attended seven international conferences on “Laughter and Play” between 1986 and 2008. He has completed over 900 speaking engagements in the last 15 years, including everything from one half hour talks to half-day seminars for 50 to 2000 people at a time. He concentrates on the history, physiology, biochemistry, classification, evolution, concepts, and uses of humour in medicine. He highlights the application and use of humour in stress management, relationships, parenting and the aging process. He will show us how to bring more humour into our lives to make them a tad more bearable. All of this will be liberally sprinkled with lousy jokes that have been referred to as a “mirthful message” or a “chuckles checkup”.


Dr. Shonk has been married for 54 years to the same wonderful woman, with three married children, and nine grandchildren. His past interests include basketball, hockey and slow-pitch baseball, while present interests include canoeing and camping and white-water canoeing (including a couple of high Arctic trips).

“There ain’t much fun in medicine but there is a lot of medicine in fun!”