has once again resumed in-person meetings, along with (at the moment) Zoom sessions as well, in what is termed a "hybrid" meeting.
Meeting Speaker May 3rd, 2023
Untold Stories of the Hidden Heroes: How 17,000 Canadians of Jewish Faith Helped Fight Hitler
Ellin Bessner is a Canadian journalist based in Toronto. She is the author of a new book about Canada’s Jewish servicemen and women who fought in the Second World War. The book is called “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and World War II”, and was published by the University of Toronto Press (2019). She also contributed a chapter to “Northern Lights”, published by the Lola Stein Institute (2020). It is the story of the contribution of Canada’s Jewish community to the country’s military record from 1750 to today. Ellin hosts the podcast The CJN Daily: it’s a bite-sized look at news about Canada’s Jewish community, for the Canadian Jewish News.
Meeting Speaker April 5th, 2023
“Tale of Two Treaties: The Mississauga of the Credit and the Treaties of Oakville”
Click the PDF symbol to see Darin's slide presentation
Click to view Dance Video details. Link to video at bottom.
Darin Wybenga, Knowledge and Land Use Co-ordinator for the Mississaugas of the Credit
Darin Wybenga from Hagersville, a retired educator and now the Knowledge and Land Use Co-ordinator for the Mississaugas of the Credit, explored both the indigenous history around Oakville and the land treaties between the Mississaugas of the Credit and the British Crown.
The treaties were signed to bring reciprocity and peace between two nations: The Mississaugas and the Crown, based on friendship, trust, and the understanding that the lands and waters would be shared fairly.
Darin’s PowerPoint slides are well formatted; of note, is PowerPoint slide #15 related to ‘the Head of the Lake Treaty’ #14, 1806, when the Mississaugas of the Credit reached a provisional agreement in which the Mississaugas ceded 70,784 acres of land in the Mississauga Tract in return for 1000 pounds of trade goods, the sole right of the fisheries in the Twelve Mile (Bronte) Creek, Sixteen Mile Creek, and Credit River, and a strip of land on the banks on either side of these waterways. Today, this Treaty territory covers most of Oakville, except for the waterways which were reserved for the Mississauga. (*Oakville Community Foundation booklet, 2023, page 9)
PowerPoint slides 20 and 22 relate to Treaties #’s 22 and 23 of 1820 which are directly connected to Oakville’s past. Darin’s presentation gave us a deeper understanding of our shared past with the Mississaugas of the Credit. It sparked our collective interest in the spirit and intent of the treaties as they affect the land and water which we all enjoy.
Meeting Speaker March 1st, 2023
Talk begins at the 40:16 mark
Alex Hall, Scheduling Assistant, CyberSeniors
"What All "Cyper Seniors" Should Know and Be Aware Of"
Alex is a candidate for a degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Brock University. She currently lives in St. Catharines but is originally from Kapuskasing, ON. Alex hopes to continue working with older adults throughout her career and is a passionate advocate for seniors in practical and research work. In her free time Alex enjoys spending time with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, practicing yoga, and spending time with animals.
Founded in 2015, Cyber-Seniors is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bridge the digital divide and connect generations using technology. It provides tech-training for senior citizens using an intergenerational volunteer model. High school and university/college students are provided with lessons and learning activities to train them to act as digital mentors and senior citizens gain access to effective technology training and intergenerational communities that keep them socially connected and engaged. As seniors become more comfortable using technology in their daily lives, they find a welcoming intergenerational online community, that serves to increase their well-being and offers them safe opportunities to engage, while continuing to embrace technology. The organizational model is cost effective, sustainable and benefits both seniors and young people.
Cyber-Seniors has a presence in both Canada and the United States. Staff and volunteers work together to deliver free programming to seniors across North America.
Alex presented the history and services her organization offers. It is not limited to technology services for seniors, but there are also programs covering wellness, and other areas too. Please link to www.cyberseniors.org for a comprehensive list of services and information on how to schedule those services for yourself. On the topic of cyber security, Alex presented information on the most common ways people are either duped or attacked, with strategies for minimizing the impact. Please watch the video at the link to the Zoom meeting at the top for the full presentation.
Meeting Speaker February 1st, 2023
"Saving Endangered Canadian Wildlife, and our national global and impact"
Beth Gilhespy, Executive Director, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy
Beth Gilhespy has been an environmental and conservation professional for over 30 years. Between 2004 and 2018 she was Chief Executive Officer of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, where she supervised a staff of 18 and oversaw the activities of more than 1,500 volunteers in trail management and land preservation. During her time at the BTC more than $35 million was raised to preserve 6,500 acres of Niagara Escarpment landscape and fund the organization’s other programs. Prior to her work at the Bruce Trail Conservancy, Ms. Gilhespy worked for 15 years in the field of toxic chemical management. She holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in physical geography and geology from the University of Guelph.
Beth's presentation focused on endangered species all over the world. The primary cause for their "endangeredness" is destruction of their habitat. Key examples include orangutans in SE Asia, who are being displaced (and thus endangered) by the destruction of rain forests to be planted as palm oil plantations. There are many, many other examples, which Beth so clearly explains in her presentation. Please click the link above to listen to the meeting, and her talk, which begins at the 22:00 minute mark.
Meeting Speaker January 4th, 2023
"Battle of the Atlantic: Gauntlet to Victory"
Ted Barris has worked as a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author since the 1960s. He regularly contributes to CBC Radio programs and CTV News Channel. He taught journalism at Centennial College in Toronto for 18 years, and has written/published 19 non-fiction books (most recently Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire was a finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize). He has written a weekly newspaper column/weblog – the Barris Beat – for 40 years.
Today's presentation was from his latest book (same title as the talk). It covers the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military operatin of WWII. I lasted from 03 September 1939 through 08 May 1945. Ted usually writes books about a particular slice of the particular war he is covering, but in this case he as 2,074 days to write about. How do you do that and keep it to a manageable size? His approach was to interview witnesses to the activities and events of the Battle, and illustrate their stories and their involvement. There is far too much in Ted's presentation to include them here. I encourage you to watch the video recording of the meeting at the link above to get a much better understanding of what and How Ted has done this. His portion of the meeting begins at the 37:19 mark.
Meeting Speaker December 7th, 2022
"Smart Ageing: What's Your Plan? Planning for financial health and estate problem avoidance"
Silver Sherpa Brochure
Susan Hyatt, BSc (PT), MBA
CEO & Co-founder of Silver Sherpa
Susan is passionate about changing the way we look at ageing and is determined to empower her clients with innovative ways to embrace the longevity revolution. As an entrepreneur in her third retirement, Susan draws on more than 40 years of experience as a corporate strategist, management consultant, business executive, teacher, expert in transforming health care systems, dealmaker, and clinical physical therapist. Known for her pragmatic common-sense approach, she is widely quoted on smart ageing, eldercare, and estate planning issues.
Susan spoke today on some issues that have arisen lately in our health care system, in particular Bill 7, which gives the system the right to relocate you to a long term care facility without your consent. This type of action by the government reinforces the absolute requirement you have to ensure that you have organized yourself legally and financially to ensure that your wishes are carried out. This could mean altering your current Powers of Attorney to make sure that the individuals you have assigned will actually do as you wish, and not act in their own best interest (if those are in conflict). As Susan had covered the broad approaches her organization takes in consulting with its clients at her last talk with us in December 2021, this time she focussed more on the issues that are really relevant today.
Susan gave examples of clients of hers who wished to "age in place" and "die at home." She provided us with some real-world information on the cost of doing these things. Most home would need at least $40,000 in renovations to allow wheel-chair access, and personal care at the level many people would either require or desire could run to $12,000/month. So she emphasized how important it is that you have your finances in shape and ensure that your POA for property is going to actually provide the funding (should your capacity be diminished at the time these decisions need to be made) so that your POA for personal care can execute your wishes with respect to that care.
Her company is in the business of providing audits and developing plans around the deficiencies uncovered should you wish to avail yourselves of her services.
Meeting Speaker November 2nd, 2022
Malcolm Kelly, Author & Instructor, Centennial College
"SPROG: A Novel of Bomber Command"
Malcolm Kelly was a professional journalist for 37 years. He is the founder and coordinator of a renowned post-graduate sports journalism program at Centennial College in Toronto.
Malcolm is a former writer and editor at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s online sports department, the National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Southam News, Thomson News, Town Crier Newspapers, and the Canadian Press.
A bestselling author, he has written four non-fiction books. Malcolm was born in Bradford-on-Avon, England, and raised in Warminster, Wilts, before the family moved to Canada in 1966. He is the son of two Second World War veterans (his father was one of the famous 47 British escapees at Calais in 1940, and his mother was a Blitz survivor who joined the army’s ATS).
Malcolm recently had a feature article in Zoomer magazine:
Summer, 1941. They come from different places, and different lives, but they share a dream: to Fly. Eager to join the war in the skies over Europe, thousands of young men flock to Canada from Britain, the Commonwealth, and the United States - all hoping to earn their pilots' wings. Before taking to the air, they must endure the challenges of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which quickly turns them from boys into men, and from civilians into arriors. Sprog takes us from bomber Command's war, to the retreat from France, and to the peaceful but dangerous skies of Canada where the young men will discover themselves, and their destinies.
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
Meeting Speaker October 5th, 2022
Catherine Soplet, granddaughter of Tommy Ricketts, V.C., Newfoundland Regiment
“My Grandfather's experiences in WWI”
Catherine spoke to us about her grandfather, who was the only member of the Newfoundland regiment during World War I who was awarded the Victoria Cross. Interestingly, he had to be promoted from Private to Sergeant to even receive the award. He was 17 at the time of his heroic acts that earned him the VC. The story involved action in rural Belgium during which Tommy saved the lives of many of his regiment.
Much of the story relates to his life after the war - he matriculated high school after having no formal education during his time before the war, and then went on to Memorial College (now Memorial University of Newfoundland) graduating as a pharmacist. He opened shop across the street from the train station in St. John's, and provided medical services to the poor, as well as helped children learn to read by providing his drugstore magazines and comics as reading material for both train passengers and the neighbourhood children. He was a shy man, who disliked the pomp and ceremony around his Victoria Cross, and in fact refused to meet with Queen Elizabeth when she requested a meeting with him.
Please take a look at the meeting recording to get much more detail on Tommy Ricketts and his life, as well as the honours he has received since WWI. Also, please take note of the member talk by Curt Allen, recounting his time as chauffeur for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip during a visit to Canada in 1973.
Meeting Speaker September 7th, 2022
Dr. John Chattoe, Probus Old Oakville Member, Lecturer at University of Toronto and Engineer
Virtual and Augmented Reality
John had a varied career, including VP at Nortel, President of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and Lecturer. His most recent technical interests include Augmented and Virtual Reality, which he researched for his PhD program in the first decade of the 2000s.
John shared with us some thoughts on what the technology is, what it is useful for and when will it happen. He provided many examples and several videos within his presentation to illustrate his points.
Virtual reality is where, wearing a headset with screens in front of your eyes, you are immersed in a setting which may be real or fictional. This type of application is currently used mostly for games. On the other hand, augmented reality is the notion that instead of an immersed fictional environment, you can see what is in front of you, but with annotations. An example is car repair, where the technician is using this technology and is aided in his task by the AR system to guide him through a particular diagnostic or repair process - like having a repair manual for the vehicle, but much more useful and rich in information. There are also innumerable applications in the education field.
John wrapped up with a discussion of what factors are slowing the advancement of these fields. Key factors include weak market demand, human limits (how much "assistance" can we tolerate?), lack of effective content, and a shortage of trained talent in this field.
You can watch his presentation at the link above in red, which is the Zoom recording of our entire meeting.
Meeting Speaker August 3rd, 2022
Tim Douglass, Probus Old Oakville Member, Past President, and Engineer
My Family and UK Lighthouses
Tim is related to several generations of lighthouse designers and builders, who among them, built many lighthouses on the coasts of Great Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries. His presentation reveals the state of the art of lighthouse design at those junctures, as well as the difficulties faced in actually getting them built. As the period covered is over 100 years, there also were many technological advances along the way, primarily in the source of light. He discusses these advances in his presentation as well.
Tim has also provided us with some links to YouTube videos that were made about the construction of lighthouses, showing the difficulties in a very graphic way, and the dangers involved. Many of these sites were accessible only at low tide, and in very rough waters. May ingenious devices were invented simply to advance the construction; in particular, rigging to allow the off-loading of supplies and material to the rocks from the supply boats.
Based on his research, Tim has written a book, "The Douglass Lighthouse Engineers," about the feats of his ancestors. The book is available from Amazon, Indigo and other sources.
Meeting Speaker June 1, 2022
Denise Davy, Author
"Her Name Was Margaret - Life and Death on the Streets"
Denise Davy is a nationally recognized journalist and author of “Her Name Was Margaret - Life and Death on the Streets”. She worked at the Hamilton Spectator for 26 years where she won numerous awards, including a National Newspaper Award and four national journalism fellowships.
Denise’s book explores the tragic life of a homeless woman and exposes the causes of homelessness and why cities and towns across Canada are struggling with a homelessness epidemic. In her talk to the Club, Denise touched on many of the really complex issues that are preventing Canadian society from adequately addressing the issue of homelessness. One key is that nearly 100% of homeless people are mentally ill, and there is nothing being done to address their illnesses. There are a couple of exceptions: Medicine Hat has a very good program, Edmonton is beginning to make some moves in a similar direction, and Trieste in Italy has what many acknowledge as the best solution in the world, addressing mental illness and homelessness in a holistic and very successful manner.
Please watch the video of her talk to gain a more thorough understanding of what she has discovered and her recommendations to address the issues. Denise's talk begins at about the 37:30 mark.
Meeting Speaker July 6, 2022
Mark Hebscher, Author and Former Sportscaster
"The Greatest Canadian Athlete (You've Never Heard Of)"
Mark is a very dynamic and entertaining speaker. Of course he introduced us to his book, which covers the athletic career of George Orton, the first Canadian to win an Olympic Gold Medal. He came to learn of this athlete, and because it is not even remotely common knowledge that this athlete achieved this level, Mark decided to wirte a book about him, attempting to explain why we haven't heard of him.
Mark, known by his friends and co-workers as "Hebsie", also regaled us with anecdotes about his life as a sportscaster, working for CHCH, Global, Sportsline and others. Some of the stories were very funny, and involved famous athletes. Mark introduced us the the incredibly difficult world of a broadcaster being asked to fill , for example, five minutes of airtime with an interview of a dripping with sweat athlete in between periods of an important game - a game that may not have been going so well for said athlete.
You are encouraged to watch the video at the link above to appreciate what those of us that attended the meeting, either in person or via Zoom, experienced. Should you be interested in obtaining a copy of his book, please contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meeting Speaker May 4, 2022
Dr. Parmjit Singh, PhD
Mindfulness for Better Health, Well-being & Joyful Living
One of the remarkable aspects of the human body and mind is that we can improve their functioning by engaging in simple exercises and activities. In his talk to us, Dr. Singh asked us to begin to learn the skill of "Mindfulness" by doing a simple exercise focussed on our breathing. The concept was to understand what the act of breathing is, how to exclude other distractions to our focus, and learn to deal with those distractions ultimately in a curious way (rather than fearful, or some other negative emotion.) Later, he invited us to begin to learn how to walk mindfully. Research has shown that walking mindfully can be as effective if not moreso than doing balancing exercises, in terms of reducing the fall rate in seniors. Research also suggests that mindfulness exercises significantly improve psychological well-being, reduce age-related decline in functions, improve physical functions and help cultivate a positive and joyful disposition even under challenging circumstances.
Dr. Parmjit Singh is an Assistant Clinical Professor with Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and has a PhD in Psychology.
He has Clinical Training in Mind-Body Medicine from Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA and has participated in an intensive retreat on Mindfulness- based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in mind body medicine under the direction of Drs. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli.
He did his Post-doctoral training in psychology from University of Southern Queensland, Australia and McMaster University, Canada.
He teaches courses such as Praxis, Professional Transitions, Body Mind Spirit, Deceptions in Decision Making, and Professional Competencies in the Faculty of Health Science and Michael DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, Hamilton.
He instructs leadership and self-development courses such as The Mindful Leader at Michael DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, Hamilton.
He is TEDx speaker and a Teaching Award Nominee.
He has shared his work on resilience, mindful leadership, compassion, and professional development with industry leaders such as Microsoft, Roche Canada, Fairmont Hotel and Resorts, Willis Tower Watson, among others.
For more bio and program info, please visit: http://www.ParmjitSingh.com.
Check out videos and podcasts related to his work at: https://www.youtube.com/drparmjitsinghphd
Meeting Speaker April 6, 2022
Professor Mark Rector
Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land!
We enjoyed a very dynamic and information-packed lecture by Professor Mark Rector. His focus was on telecommunications and the space race, as displaying two areas in which Canada has been unsung but a dominant player on the world stage. Although Northern Telecom ended as a company during the Tech Boom melt-down of 1999/2000, it had a 100 year history of technological innovation, filing for more than 600 patents on key technologies that power our modern communications systems. As for the space race, the Avro Arrow program was incredibly advanced for its time, and upon cancellation, thousands of the scientists, engineers and technologists working on that program joined the NASA-led race to land a man on the moon. Mark also talked about the inventions that Alexander Graham Bell was involved in, as well as Dr. Frederick Banting of insulin fame. You are encouraged to watch his presentation by selecting the red link above,
Professor Rector is a published author, public speaker, and retired Professor of Engineering from Simcoe. He has written numerous articles, textbooks, and has just released his first book in August 2018, now in its 4th printing.
“OH CANADA! Our Home and Inventive Land!”, a smash bestseller is available in bookstores across the country and on his website!
He has been awarded and honoured as an educator across the country, and on Parliament Hill. Today he has a fun and engaging presentation for you about the history of Canadian inventors, inventions and firsts.
From a life-long passion for Canadian inventors, Professor Rector inspired his students with tales of great Canadian inventors. Now he’s speaking across the country about his smash bestseller “OH CANADA! Our Home and Inventive Land!”, with many of the intriguing, and poignant tales of amazing Canadian ingenuity. From the tragedy of the Avro Arrow, to the triumph of millions saved by the pacemaker, to the complexity of the most intricate robot ever built, The Canadarm. As well, the triumphant story of this professor’s project with four students that made history with a world’s first.
Marlis Butcher, FRCGS
Exploring Qausuittuq National Park
In the High Arctic
Marlis Butcher is an environmental conservationist and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and of The Explorers Club. In July 2019 Marlis became the first visitor to bag (visit) all 47 Canadian national parks, 1/3 of which have no road access. Locally, Marlis volunteers on the Royal Botanical Gardens’ board of directors. She served 9 years on the board of the Bruce Trail Conservancy protecting the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Marlis still volunteers with the Toronto Bruce Trail Club, maintaining trails, and on their board.
Marlis has published various conservation related articles including for the
Royal Canadian Geographical Society,
The Explorers Club’s “Far Afield” magazine,
The Weather Network
“Bruce Trail Magazine”, and
her neighbourhood “Village Voice” newsletter.
Marlis’s photographs have been featured in
Canadian Geographic Magazine,
CBC News on-line,
Canadian Encyclopedia, and
the travel brochures of various wilderness outfitters and travel bloggers.
To share the park experience and encourage appreciation of these natural wonders, she published her first book “Park Bagger - Adventures in the Canadian National Parks”, a collection of short stories of adventure and discovery.
In 2016 Marlis was one of the first persons to visit Canada’s newest national park, Qausuittuq, in Nunavut. She has published articles and photos of that expedition in Canadian Geographic Magazine and Canadian Encyclopedia. Her slide show Exploring Qausuittuq National Park, takes her audience on a virtual voyage into the High Arctic. Through unique photographs and engaging story-telling, Marlis shares what it’s like to travel to and explore this extremely remote park – and meet its endangered inhabitants.
Marlis' talk was full of beautiful photos of the places she visited on this adventure. Be sure to watch the video of the meeting (click link above) for the full experience.
Meeting Speaker February 2nd, 2022
Dr. Karl O'Sullivan, Psychiatrist and Probus Old Oakville Member
How Do You Define Mental Illness: Perspectives from 50 years experience in the field
The issue of rising rates of mental illness is a question that has bedeviled Psychiatry for years. There is an inner core of illnesses, with an outer ring of mental disorders. But those need to be defined, and do beliefs and cultural norms determine what is a mental disorder? The answer is yes; the talk addresses why this is so.
Karl presented a number of statistics, showing that anxiety has been increasing. A UCLA study of first year students asked about anxiety showed that in 1985, 18% felt they had overwhelming anxiety; by 2017 that had increased to 41%. A study of 25,000 students in Ontario in 2016 revealed that 65% felt overwhelming anxiety, and that 46% were so depressed they felt it difficult to function. Statistics for the Oakville Hospital Emergency Department showed that in 2009, 3,392 visits were for major psychiatric disorder, of which 24.9% were admitted and 18.2% were under age 20; in 2019, the numbers were 12,333, 45.2% and 26.8% respectively. Rates have been increasing decade by decade and include addictions, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD and suicide attempts, but little or no increase in schizophrenia or manic depression. So it is the socially sensitive ones that have increased. There has been an increase in availability and accessibility of treatment, which has led to increased demand.
Karl went on to address the paradox of a society that has never been so prosperous yet never so depressed. Maybe it relates to the decline or absence of stability created by moral and psychological structures we inherited from our past Victorian culture along with stress factors that are unique to our age. Karl discussed the emergence of smartphones and social media and their effect on adolescents – pretty much all negative. Suicide rates have been accelerating due to youth’s lack of “hardness” to the effects of social media on their lives.
He then went on to address “An Epidemic of Diagnosis”, “Creeping Concepts”, and as was suggested in a 1961 book: do we really expect to live our lives without fear, anxiety, sadness – even despair? Where is the line between normal and abnormal? Then there is the issue of who is mentally ill – the sociopath? Should they get treatment or jail? Karl talked about Intelligent Sociopaths who seem to get way with behaviour most people wouldn’t for years on end. Then there are addictions that are recognized as mental health disorders but may have been addressed outside the medical system in the past – a respected senior family member may have provided counsel, or the clergy.
All these issues are complex because humans are complex. You are encouraged to view the video of Karl’s talk to get the full impact of his 50+ years of experience in the field. Click on the link above.
Meeting Speaker January 5th, 2022
Tim Speed, representing the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
The Dambusters: the story of the Wallis bouncing bomb
Tim Speed began his career in aviation with BOAC as operations manager at outposts in Dubai, Tokyo and Beirut. He then moved to their air cargo division, leaving to become General Manager of an all-cargo airline in the Midlands. He was CEO of a large freight forwarder before retiring.
His talk discussed the famous Dam Busters, and the formation and deployment of the 617 Squadron of the RAF, which was originally formed to execute Operation Chastise, to blow up three dams in the industrial German heartland. The Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams were targeted because of their importance to the supply of electricity and water to Ruhr Valley war production. Conventional weapons would not work on dams, so the invention of a weapon and delivery mechanism became crucial. Barnes Wallis worked at Vickers, and invented the bouncing bomb, a spinning cylinder, designed to hit the inside of a dam, fall 30 feet right next to the dam structure, and then detonate. The problem was that you couldn't drop such a bomb from thousands of feet up, but had to do a low level pass at 60 feet altitude, and have it hit the water a precisely 600 feet from the dam.
Thirty Canadians were recruited to the new squadron; almost half did not survive, and the last remaining to die was Fred Sutherland of Hamilton, who passed in 2019 at 94 years old. Two of the dams were destroyed in the raids, resulting in 53 men losing their lives, with 3 becoming prisoners of war. There were 600 Germans killed along with 1,000 forced labourers. Four power stations, 12 war factories, lots of bridges and buildings were also destroyed.
However, the Germans quickly rebuilt the dams and they were operational for the rainy season in the fall of 1943. There was, however, a diversion of labour and materials from other aspects of the war effort, along with a huge blow to German morale, basically indicating that the Allies were winning the war.
Interestingly, member Ivor Mansell recalls as a boy cycling alongside a dam in Derbyshire, heading home to Sheffield. This particular dam was being used for training because it was a close simulation of the real thing. He remembers the headlights that were shining from this Lancaster, and nobody he told about it believed him. Of course, as we learned from the talk, the headlights were used to triangulate on 60 feet of altitude, as more advanced technologies were not available.
For full details, please watch the video of the talk using the link above.
Meeting Speaker December 2, 2021
Susan Hyatt, BSc (PT), MBA
CEO & Co-founder of Silver Sherpa
Susan is passionate about changing the way we look at ageing and is determined to empower her clients with innovative ways to embrace the longevity revolution.
As an entrepreneur in her third retirement, Susan draws on more than 40 years of experience as a corporate strategist, management consultant, business executive, teacher, expert in transforming health care systems, dealmaker, and clinical physical therapist. Known for her pragmatic common-sense approach, she is widely quoted on smart ageing, eldercare, and estate planning issues.
You can read her articles in various national publications or professional trade magazines such as The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, The Lawyer’s Daily, the Financial Independence Hub or Canadian HR Reporter. She regularly appears on television and radio.
Smart Ageing: Living Well on Your Own Terms
It all began with Susan’s own personal crisis sparked by having to relocate her parents in Ontario while working in England. In her experience, there was no overall project manager to help her get the job done. Thus, that is the role that Silver Sherpa fills – it is a management consultant that assists and empowers you on your ageing journey from now until you die.
Key to their offering are the concepts Plan, Navigate and Connect. They combine health care expertise, estate planning knowledge and project management skills. Planning is the key, because without a plan, all you are doing is hoping. 17% of the population is currently 65 or older, while in ten years the number will be 22%. And during this decade there is estimated to be $250 billion in wealth transfer. Of that group, it is estimated that 15% would be in the Special Needs category. Susan observed that it is difficult to manage care and associated transitions later in life. Your nominated Attorneys for Personal Care may not be prepared or able to act for you.
Overlaying all of these challenges are the unique ones brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – how do you stay safe? Susan shared a model that involves multiple layers to improve success at managing COVID risk. Included are physical distancing/staying at home if sick, masks, hand & cough hygiene, avoiding touching your face, if in a crowded space limit time there, fast and sensitive testing and tracing, ventilation/filtration/outdoor activity, government messaging and financial support, quarantine and isolation and ultimately vaccines.
Back to Smart Ageing, a crisis can trigger a situation where an individual feels like they are in a maze: Health and Medical care, the community, retirement living options (where?), financial and legal advisors, family and friends, home care and other elements, all of which are elements that may affect you during your crisis. Needless to say, navigating all of these by yourself while in crisis will be next to impossible.
What will often happen in this kind of environment, where time is of the essence, many stressful decisions must be made, expert knowledge must be accessed, and money issues need to be sorted out: the kids will get the call. And likely they have not been prepared to address all of these issues either.
At this point time ran out, and some good questions were posed and answered. It was clear that there is a lot of interest, and Susan has been booked to address us again later next year.
Meeting Speaker November 3, 2021
Following creation of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Lloyd served as Vice President, Airport Planning and Development in which capacity he was responsible for the planning and construction of the GTAA’s four billion dollar facility restoration and expansion program. In February 2007 Lloyd became the GTAA’s President and Chief Executive Officer, a position from which he retired in March 2012. Most recently Lloyd served as Chair of the Board for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority until October 2016 and continues as an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Department of Civil Engineering.
Dr. McCoomb has a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto as well as a Master of Science from MIT. He is also a member of the Probus Old Oakville Club.
"Lessons from a Mega-Project: The Toronto-Pearson Project (1998 - 2008)"
In December of 1996, the Federal Government turned over the keys to the airport to a private sector corporation set up to take the development and operation to the next level. At the first board meeting for the new organization (and Lloyd suggested any of us with our business backgrounds could have been members of the board), work began to create a Vision for Pearson.
They began by looking at the Problem: Growth and Obsolescence. They had inherited Terminals 1, 2 and 3 (with some constraints – Terminal 3 was a build and operate consortium, Terminal 1 was falling down and Terminal 2 was limited by a 20 year lease to Air Canada) with a capacity of 28m passengers per year, growing at 1 million per year on a 1996 base of 25m. Terminal 2 had built as a stop-gap pending decisions around the Pickering site, and was not a high-quality solution. Plus, there was an amazingly convoluted road system that needed to be addressed.
Initial concepts began with an incremental approach – “connect the dots” – to join Terminals 2 and 3. This was a relatively cheap approach, but doesn’t solve all the problems that needed addressing. The board decided to begin by asking what would a new airport look like if you tried to do what’s right. This included creating a rewarding journey for travelers, communities and the project team; building an airport that would serve, satisfy and delight; and becoming a welcoming gateway which would symbolize Southern Ontario and Canada. The thought behind this work is the “Visions Motivate”.
There was immense pressure from the airlines, Air Canada in particular, to come up with an instant solution, with whom there was a lot of discussion around the initial proposal for a Terminal 1 which had a pier for domestic flights, next to one for international flights, and then finally one for transborder flights. At the time Air Canada was envisioning Toronto as a hub, and they felt this wouldn’t work for them. The Airport Authority engaged a local airport design consultant to review and revise the plan, and the result was what we now have, where many of the gates in Terminal 1 serve different markets, so can be adapted as the need arises. This also reduces walking distances in some cases within the terminal for travelers. The learning from this was that the GTAA needed to be firm, but flexible.
Roads and bridges were another huge component of the project. In the end, GTAA bought 409 from the government and integrated it into the access to the airport. An interesting learning: roads, signage, etc. need to be designed so that drivers have time to process what they are seeing, make decisions about where they need to be going, and then to actually execute that decision. That is one reason that roads sometimes turn out to seem to be unnecessarily convoluted. With the Terminal 1 project, the road system was able to be made much simpler.
Program Management was another area where the GTAA board decided that it was absolutely necessary to be in control; they opted to staff that area rather than outsource it as most other huge projects have done. MUST HAVE CONTROL.
But, how do you maintain a priority on operations when 2/3 of your current capacity is necessary to run current operations, and you need to demolish two terminal buildings? In looking at the site, it became obvious that cargo operations needed to move from between the terminals, to the infield area between the runways. A design/build approach to this problem was chosen to shorten the timelines. So one of the first projects had to be to move activities currently in the infield somewhere else, most of which went to a new development area just next to the 401 on the SE corner of the airport. Then cargo could be moved and the existing cargo buildings demolished. The project included a 600m tunnel from the existing terminals to the infield as well as a temporary passenger terminal in the infield. Then demolition and construction could begin. All of this was done because it was absolutely necessary to support the business (i.e. airport operations) and ensure safety while the new terminal was constructed.
Lloyd had developed this talk to share his experience with Metrolink as they began their work to build an integrated transportation system in S. Ontario.
Lloyd McCoomb, B.A.Sc, M.S., PhD, Civil Engineering
Dr. Lloyd McCoomb began his career in 1964 with the Canadian Armed Forces, Military Engineering Branch. He joined Transport Canada in 1974, later joining the Airports Group in 1986 and over the next seven years served in a variety of executive positions culminating in the post of Airport General Manager, Toronto – Pearson International Airport.
Meeting Speaker October 6, 2021
David T. Chapman started doing photography at the age of 16. He is self-taught in the art of photography and has been pursuing his career professionally since the age of eighteen. He learned at a very young age from his father to appreciate his environment in the surrounding countryside. He enjoys taking photographs of weather phenomena, especially lightning, as well as scenery and nature. David likes to seek out unusual examples of nature such as albino robins, ice crystal formations and frozen water droplets. To date he has found multi-petalled Ontario trilliums, the highest of which had 33 petals. David is also a professional speaker and enjoys entertaining and educating a good crowd. His main areas of expertise are Weather/Aurora Borealis, Local Interests and Ontario Scenery of Ontario, Birds and Wildlife.
David spoke to us about “Storm Chasing in Ontario” although really what we received was a lesson on all kinds of cloud and weather phenomena as they tend to occur in the Niagara and GTA regions. His work really began to take off around 2010 when it became much easier to find storms using smartphones. Prior to that they used AM radios to try to assess the static level generated by lightning.
David spent quite a bit of time showing us time-lapse videos of various phenomena, such as:
Shelf clouds with a gust front below
Funnel clouds including snow spouts in the winter and water spouts in other seasons. These occur when there is a 13 degree temperature differential between ground level and 5,000 feet
Lake effect snow – not as common around here as say Collingwood, but form similarly to water spouts
System snow – Colorado lows and Alberta clippers – draw moist air from the south and cold air from the prairies or even the arctic; the mixture gives us large snowstorms
Ice bridge or ice cave – showed photos of one near Bronte; caused by snow piling up and then being carved out by wave action
Arctic sea smoke – these are basically funnel clouds but with a temperature differential more like 20 degrees; e.g. ground temperature around 1 degree with upper level temperatures of around -19 degrees
Sun dogs – he showed us photos of rarely seen sun dogs on top of a snowpack
Hoar frost and ice fog – usually happen when it is calm and sunny, which causes moisture to rise off the snow and then if it gets very cold, causes the accumulation of frost on branches
Sun pillars – frost crystals falling an illuminated by sun very low to the horizon, or can actually be lit by headlights or streetlights
Cuspular rays – sun is lighting evaporated moisture after, for example, an overnight rain
Fogbows – like a rainbow but without much colour because the droplets are much smaller and don’t refract as much
Glory – a ring below you; David photographed one down from the escarpment that he shared
Roll cloud – usually seen in the summer; features rising on the front and sinking on the back
Fall streak holes – kind of a hole in the cloud deck; caused by supercooled water vapour at altitude
Northern Lights – were seen in downtown Toronto in 2003; every 11 years there are more sunspots and thus more corona mass ejections which interact with Earth’s atmosphere to produce the colours we see
Super cell tornado – also called a rotating thunderstorm (10% become tornados, and 90% cause damage)
Wave spray bows – like a rainbow but caused by spray from waves; need to be at just the right angle
Rain curtains – at sunset can produce some very beautiful colours
Windstorms – or November gales, usually caused by Colorado lows
Lightning – can be as much as 20 km away from the cloud, thus “bolt from the blue”. There are Cloud to air (weak)
Intracloud (80% of all lightning)
Cloud to cloud
Upward (often from radio towers or wind turbines)
Stratoform – horizon to horizon
Inferior mirage (cold air on top of warm surface, reflecting the sky) like the normal illusion of water on the roadway
Subterior mirage – creating the illusion of objects floating above their real selves, sometimes even multiple times. An example he showed was of buildings in downtown Toronto being viewed from across the lake, where the cold air with warmer air above bends the light so you see mirages above
David also shared with us some websites he uses to track storms:
The forecasts from these sites are for the U.S. only, but you can easily extrapolate from Ohio and Michigan forecasts to predict what might happen locally.
You may also view more photos at his website: davidtchapman.com.
Meeting Speaker September 1, 2021
Wendy Belcher is a volunteer at the Oakville Historical Society and leader of Oakville Ghost Walks. She leads “ghost walks” in downtown Oakville in October every year.
The History and Ghosts of Oakville
Wendy presented her talk as the character Esther Silverthorn Thomas, born 10 May 1806, died in 1891. She herself is a visiting, not haunting, ghost. Staying in character, she related the history of Oakville through the eyes of Esther. When returning to visit, she usually visits her sister Rebecca, who became the wife of William Chisholm, the founder of Oakville. Esther married Merrick Thomas, a man who worked in a shipbuilder’s company. They lived in Thomas House, currently located in Lakeside Park.
Oakville was one terminus of the Underground Railway, which helped fleeing American slaves escape. One mariner, Robert Wilson, took loads of lumber to Rochester, and returned with smuggled slaves.
Esther took us on a tour of some of the historic houses and buildings in Olde Oakville with stories of each, often about ghosts that live there. The Granary, the small stone building in front of the condo of the same name, is built of stone, but Oakville has no quarry. The stones were gathered from the bottom of Lake Ontario using an invention of a freed slave, Samuel Adams (who lived in Bronte), the stone hook. These were used by “stone boats”, thus the name of the restaurant that used to be on Bronte Road.
The Oakville Club was a granary until 1908, when it became the club.
Esther had lots of ghost stories: a figure seen at a bar in the old Murray House hotel, that disappeared when spoken to; a mysterious playing piano in Captain Anderson’s house (it was not a player piano), doors opening and closing on their own; a woman picking flowers outside Erchless estate that disappeared; footsteps of Christopher Columbus Lee, the butler there, who has stayed in the house along with a couple of children that can be heard playing; a figure in a long black coat in the house that when asked by historical society members, who were having a meeting in the house, how and why he was there, just disappeared through a wall.
The Oakville Centre for Performing Arts also has a resident ghost called Alice. She tends to haunt the backstage areas and doesn’t like new technology. She has been credited with making equipment fail time and again, even after it has been sent out for repair. The Abbey (now the Golf Hall of Fame at Glen Abbey Golf Course) also has a ghost. Staff there have fluffed up a chair in front of a log book, and have come back to find an indentation in the cushion and the log book open. One staffer has reported seeing the pages of the log book flip over on their own.
Some questions were asked and answered by Wendy at the end of Esther’s talk. One related to the basket factory that was where the Oakville GO station is now. At one time Oakville was the strawberry capital of Canada. Throughout, she did a nice job of promoting the work of the Oakville Historical Society, and differentiated it from the Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee, which is responsible for approving changes to the exteriors of certain designated properties in Oakville.
For more information about the Oakville Historical Society and this year’s Ghost Walks, please click here: https://www.oakvillehistory.org/ghost-walks.html
Meeting Speaker August 4, 2021
Dr. Calvin Gutkin, Executive Director and CEO,
The College of Family Physicians of Canada (retired)
"Our COVID healthcare pathway and where to from here?"
From 1985 to 1995 Dr. Calvin Gutkin, a family physician, served as Head of Emergency and then Chief of Medical Staff of Credit Valley Hospital. He then held the position of Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) for 17 years.
Dr. Gutkin was a physician for Ontario and Canadian Special Olympics and the Toronto Youth Athletic Club which helped disadvantaged boys. He completed three terms on the National Board of The Michaelle Jean Foundation and is currently a Board Director with Writers Collective Canada a charitable organization that provides creative writing workshops for marginalized and underserved populations. He has published numerous articles and presented keynote and other addresses at meetings across Canada, in the United States, and abroad.
Dr Gutkin is currently a Board Director at CarePoint Health a new patient-centered integrated care centre in Mississauaga. He is also on the Governing/Collaboration Council of the Mississauga Ontario Health Team - the Ontario Government’s new governance model responsible for the oversight of health care services in each region.
Dr. Gutkin’s talk provided us with a view of what has happened to our health care system in Ontario over the past 3 decades or so, and the impact of those changes on our ability to respond to the COVID pandemic.
He began with describing and event from the 1980’s, the sale of Connaught Laboratories to Sanofi of France. Connaught had a storied history as a key element in the development of insulin by Banting and Best, as well as one of the sites heavily involved in the Salk polio vaccine. Why the sale of this asset is important in the COVID environment is that countries that have been hosting and supporting R&D and vaccine production in their countries had favoured access to COVID vaccine production. Recently, it has been announced that the Federal Government has struck a deal with Sanofi to build an R&D and production operation in the Toronto area.
In the 1990’s, there was the Ontario Healthcare Restructuring Commission, chaired by Duncan Sinclair. It was challenged with looking at the whole health care delivery system, including hospitals, long-term care, primary care and home care, with a view to recommending changes to improve delivery. Recommendations included hospital consolidation along with moving more care into the community. As it happened, hospital restructuring did occur, including a loss of beds overall, but investments in the other aspects of restructuring did not occur. As Dr. Gutkin described it, cherry-picking was the order of the day with the result being that there was a decrease in acute-care hospital beds, and so an already tight situation became that much tighter. These changes continue to affect us to this day. When a surge such as a normal flu season brings, hospitals are bursting at the seams. Canada has a very low ranking in terms of hospital beds per capita.
Long-term care has been very poorly resourced. During the onset of the COVID pandemic, they were the site of the greatest surge of infections; the result was that 80% of deaths occurred among residents and staff of LTCs during the first two waves.
Also in the early ‘90’s, there was a national commission resulting in what is known as the Barer-Stoddart report. It’s conclusion was that Canada has too many physicians, and so recommended that we reduce the number of places in medical schools by 15%. Not surprisingly, this led to a significant doctor shortage. About 50% of physicians are family doctors, and we went through the period where it was almost impossible to find a family doctor. And because of increased workloads and the inability to do a good job, many doctors retired. By 2004, it was finally agreed to reverse direction and train more doctors. But it takes a long time to recover from this type of shortage, and the effects linger. There really were no resources available to handle the COVID crisis, but it had to be done anyway. We are still paying the price for the decision in the early ‘90’s.
Meanwhile research has shown that there are better medical outcomes to be had when there is a strong family physician – patient relationship. It is recognized that we need new models of practice, because a small practice cannot do it all. Teams of family doctors supported by nurses, nurse practitioners, mental health workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical pharmacists, all linked together working in one facility on behalf of the practice’s patients will be more efficient and work better for both the providers and the patients. The College of Family Physicians introduced a concept called “Patient’s Medical Home” which provides integrated and coordinated care. Surveys showed that 85% of potential patients surveyed responded positively to the concept. It was accepted at the Federal level in 2010; versions have sprung up in several provinces. Dr. Gutkin is a board member of one called Carepoint Health in Mississauga, which is a 30,000 square foot facility with the elements described above, along with some specialists also having office hours in the same facility. Meanwhile, Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) have been replaced with Ontario Health Teams, so there may be some recognition that this model is the way forward.
Back to COVID – one issue is the relatively slow rate of vaccination. Dr. Gutkin speculated that this may be because the public is much more informed than they would have been 100 years ago, but since the science is evolving, it is leading to confusion in the messaging. Another issue is the abysmal failure to test and contact trace. If you can do that, you can isolate infected people and suppress the spread. It is difficult to do, but apparently most jurisdictions had no plans as to how to do it, and many, including many states and Alberta have given up trying. This is concerning given the rapidity with which mutations can arise.
As hospital beds have filled up with COVID patients, other services have had to be curtailed, clearly detrimental to the health of non-COVID patients. ICUs have been expanded into other wards to meet the demand. Along with this are conspiracy theories circulating that the whole thing is a hoax, and moreover, that the vaccines are dangerous. Dr. Gutkin made the point that no vaccine will be 100% effective, but that the COVID vaccines are excellent. COVID is becoming a disease of the unvaccinated. THEY are THE risk to the rest of us because they will be the breeding grounds for new mutations, which current vaccines may not be as effective against. And vaccinated people may be asymptomatic but able to infect others. We will probably need masks and social-distancing measures for quite some time. However, the good news is that vaccinated people will likely have a much smaller viral load even if they are infected, so less likely to pass it along to others, such as unvaccinated children. It is likely that we will need a booster, perhaps something that is formulated to be more effective against variants. However, there is not yet a policy covering if and when a booster is required.
Stuart joined the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) in February 2020 following the amalgamation with Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC). As Executive Vice President of Mission, he oversees the Research and Advocacy teams. He has held leadership roles at several national cancer research institutes and government agencies and holds a Doctorate in pharmacology from Oxford University.
Meeting Speaker July 7, 2021
Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice-President of Mission, Canadian Cancer Society
New Developments in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Prostate Cancer
The key points from the presentation were, Prevalence, Diagnosis and Treatment of Prostate Cancer.
Prevalence: Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men in Canada. On an average everyday 63 men are diagnosed and 11 men die from the disease. 1 in 9 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is detected early meaning if the disease is local or regional, 5, 10 and 15-year survival rates are, 100, 98 and 96 percent respectively. The 5-year survival rate is 28% for metastatic prostate cancer. When the disease is metastasized, it spreads to lymph nodes, bones or brain.
Diagnosis: Most cancers are initially recognized either because of the appearance of signs or symptoms or through screening. Screening aims to detect cancer before symptom appear. This may involve blood tests, urine tests, other tests or medical imaging. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test which is a blood test and, Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) are initial tests for detecting prostate cancer. Neither of these leads to a definitive diagnosis. PSA test is very good in detecting abnormality with the prostate. But it does not indicate that there is a cancer in the prostate. People with suspected cancer are investigated further with additional medical tests. Two most common tests are, TRUS Biopsy (Trans Rectal Ultra Sound) and MRI. Biopsy is effective but not perfect. Recently a phase 3 study was conducted to address the following questions: if an MRI before biopsy, can increase the number of significant cancers detected, decrease diagnosis of insignificant cancers and reduce number of biopsies. Results showed decisively that MRI together with targeted biopsies offer patients a less invasive procedure, the chance to avoid a biopsy altogether and can help avoid the over treatment of clinically insignificant prostate cancer
Treatment: Prostate cancer treatment depends on the stage of the tumor. In the initial stage when the cancer is slow, not progressing, asymptomatic/non-metastatic, no treatment is required. The disease is regularly monitored which is also called “Active Surveillance”. The next stage is a localized disease, when it is limited to the prostate. The treatment options at this stage are, Radical Prostatectomy, External Beam Radiation, Brachytherapy or localized radiation. Many new radiation therapies are under investigation. If the disease is metastasized, which be determined by bone scans, MRI or CT scan, there are two relatively new drugs, Zytiga and Xtandi and they are found to be very effective. In addition, there are other chemotherapy options. A lot of new drugs in the areas of radioligand therapy and immunotherapy are under development. These new drugs are expected to improve prostate cancer treatment further.
Summary of questions and answers: It is not true that the chances of getting prostate cancer diminishes with age. We all will get prostate cancer if we live until age 150. It is still possible to get metastatic prostate cancer despite normal PSA test and DRE. But it is not common. Some of symptoms of prostate cancer are, blood in the urine and back pain. PSA is not going remain low if there is a cancer. The rate of increase if PSA is warning signal. A negative MRI test is not necessarily indicative of no cancer. The assessment should be based on review of all the parameters.
Meeting Speaker June 2, 2021
Professor Tony Tarantini, Sheridan College
Bachelor Animation Program at Sheridan
The current Bachelor of Arts Honors Animation Program at Sheridan has evolved through four stages: it started in 1968 just as courses, became a 3-year diploma program in early 70’s, then some international courses were added and in 2004 became a 4-year Honors Bachelor program in animation. Faculty members are both full and part time and most of them have industry experience. The program recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The program is practice/production based to develop a unique and innovative professional to meet the constantly changing needs of the industry. Being a college program, everything is application based. The objective of the program is to provide education and practical training in order to develop specialized generalists who are then able to recontextualize their skills in many industries and creative platforms. There are a number of different options for specializations. In addition there are programs outside of the Bachelor program.
The students are expected to understand the total animation process and at the same time they specialize in a particular area. The program organizes an industry day annually so that potential employers can meet graduating students for possible recruitment. The invitation to the annual industry day includes a short film highlighting work of students. This way employers will have some initial idea of the capabilities of potential recruits.
Sheridan was named top Animation School in world in 2019 according to Animation Career Review’s 2019 ranking of top international colleges excluding US. A large number of Sheridan’s graduates work in the film industry in Los Angeles and they are very successful. They have produced some very interesting and creative films. Many of them have been either nominated or received various awards in different film festivals.
Professor Tony Tarantini considers teaching to be his raison d'être. He has taught a wealth of animation and visual arts courses and workshops. His areas of animation expertise are: animation production, directing, storyboarding, layout, design, and art direction. He believes in helping students develop a vision of their creative identity and instill in them a belief that they can access their potential and realize it.
He has been teaching at Sheridan College since the year 2000 and is currently the third year Layout and Art Direction teacher, Student Advisor, and Mentor to four production teams. In addition, he is the Animation Industry Day Coordinator for the Sheridan College exciting year end event where animation graduates from both the BA Program and three other certificate programs showcase their talents to an International Animation Industry.
Tony is a veteran of the animation industry with more than 20 years of creative and management experience. He has worked in many areas of animation production. He has contributed to features and animated TV series: Magi-Nation, Redwall, Timothy ,Ewoks, Beetlejuice, American Tail, Dog City, Rupert, Tales From The Cryptkeeper, Eek the Cat, Neverending Story, Blazing Dragons, Sam and Max, Ace Ventura, Pippi Longstocking and award winning animation productions that have had international recognition like the Care Bears, Little Bear, Babar, George shrinks, The Magic School Bus, Franklin and the award winning short film “Tomboy”.
Tony holds an MA from York University (Toronto, CA) where he researched the effects of digital technology on the Greater Toronto Area Animation Community (GTAAC). He is also a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design University (Toronto, CA). He is fluent in Italian and studied painting, drawing, and art history for two years in Florence, Italy, a place he frequents regularly and where he teaches often. He is a veteran motivational speaker and lecturer with credits that include, Ottawa International Animation Festival (Ottawa, Canada), Communication University of China (Beijing, China), Nemo Academy (Florence, Italy).
Meeting Speaker May 5, 2021
Hassaan Basit, President and CEO, Conservation Halton
Conservation Work in Halton
Hassaan joined Conservation Halton in 2004 and held progressively responsible leadership positions. Hassaan spent the past 4 years developing and implementing the current strategic plan called “Metamorphosis”. The implementation of this plan has led to a significant improvement of the organization in all target areas.
The Ontario government decided to form local Conservation Authorities after Hurricane Hazel. It was considered that local administration and management of issues like flooding, soil erosion, deforestation etc. would be more effective than being managed by the provincial government from a central location. Halton Conservation is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario. It was formed in 1963 as a result of amalgamation of authorities 12 mile & 16 mile creek. The board of directors for this authority is comprised of elected municipal representatives from various local municipalities and citizen appointees.
Managing public safety due to environmental hazards such as flooding and soil erosion as a result of climate change is a primary responsibility for the organization. The other major focus area is meeting increased demands for nature and parks as a result of continued population growth. A few years back the Halton Conservation Authority (HCA) realized that the organization needed to revitalize and modernize in order to meet growing demands, increase efficiency and attain long term sustainability. Therefore, four years ago a strategic plan was developed.
The four-year strategic plan objectives have been completed now and it is entering into the next phase. The priorities for the current planning period are: Natural Hazards and Water, Conservation and Restoration, Educational Empowerment (school children or outreach events) and Engagement, Nature and Parks, Organizational Sustainability, Digital Transformation and Innovation, People and Talent. The authority continues to make progress in all the areas. Of note, HCA now manages four dams under its responsibility digitally. Similarly, visitors now can make reservation for park visits on line.
HCA has organized some special events, such as: Hops and Harvest Festival: An annual festival to bring together local breweries, food and nature. Last winter as a result of COVID, HCA organized an immensely popular special event called “Winterlit” at Mountsberg where the park was illuminated with little lights so that people can walk around.
A very significant of achievement of HCA is that the management of parks is not tax payer funded. It is completely self-funded from user fees. HCA is responsible for managing the following parks:
Meeting Speaker April 7, 2021
Rabbi Stephen Wise, Shaarei-Beth El Congregation of Oakville
The Challenges of Judaism in the 21st Century
Rabbi Stephen Wise is the spiritual leader of Shaarei-Beth El (SBE) Congregation of Oakville. He is excited to be part of a congregation as diverse, storied and unique as SBE; leading meaningful worship experiences for all, teaching thought provoking courses for adults and children, providing inspiring programming and being a catalyst for social activism.
This month we tried out a new format, wherein rather than having a prepared presentation, our speaker was "interviewed" by member Gord Stovel, to draw out thoughts and comments that relate to the topic. Gord began by asking the Rabbi what he thought about the differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Rabbi Wise began with the similarities - they are all monotheistic religions (believe in one God), have a core text (Torah, Old and New Testaments, and the Koran, respectively), include group prayer to God and have core values that are similar. Differences typically relate to who each recognize as prophets.
Gord asked Rabbi Wise if he has ever been confronted by the need to identify as a Jew, what situations that might have occurred in and how he handled it and how it made him feel. The Rabbi described small acts of anti-Semitism that occur frequently, and some larger cases he remembers when he was a student at a private Jewish school in Toronto, when playing sports against teams from other non-Jewish private schools. His experiences have grown into his role consulting with schools in the area when acts of hate against other religions need to be addressed. He noted that he has never felt in any particular danger in Canada, but related a situation where he was in Denmark for several months and was advised to not be identifiably Jewish, particularly in terms of wearing his kipa, which he normally does. In that case, though, the difficulty in the country appears to have arisen in the immigrant Muslim community.
Gord led the discussion on through a description of the major Jewish holidays and how they are celebrated. They then moved on to the issue of territorial disputes and the armed conflict that has arisen as a result - Christians, Jews and Arab Muslims have lived in the territory now known as Israel for thousands of years, so in Rabbi Wise's view, conflict will occur although the goal is obviously some kind of peaceful co-existence.
The Rabbi concluded by indicating his pride in his faith and fellow Jews who "punch above their weight" particularly in fields such as medicine, the law, finance and creative arts (e.g. movie making, including writing, producing, directing and acting).
One member asked the Rabbi for his comments on the movie "Unorthodox". His opinion was that it was good, but that anyone who does watch it should also watch of few episodes of "Shtisel" to get a more balanced view on the lives of Orthodox Jews.
Before joining SBE in 2007, Rabbi Wise spent two years as the assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton, FL. Rabbi Wise was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in May of 2005, has a BA from the University of Toronto and an MA from Brandeis University.
Rabbi Wise is the chair of the Interfaith Council of Halton, a member of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto, and a member of the Halton Police Service multi-faith taskforce. Rabbi Wise is an author and speaker on Israel and her role in Tikkun Olam, with his first book “Israel: Repairing the World”.
Rabbi Wise and his wife Cheryl, the director of Education at SBE, have 3 children, Jacob, Talia and Alexa.
Meeting Speaker March 3, 2021
Tom Axworthy, Senior Fellow, Munk Institute
Populism, Trumpism and Extreme Discord: Is Canada Immune?
Thomas S. Axworthy, has had a distinguished career in government, academia, and philanthropy. He served as the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Mr. Axworthy went into an academic career first at Harvard University and Queens University following his government career.
The topic of Mr. Axworthy’s talk was “Populism, Trumpism and Extreme Discord: Is Canada Immune?” He covered the background and the current status of populism in the US and Europe and then discussed the effect of this phenomenon in Canada. Populism is a concept of a political movement which challenges prevailing established political norms. Populism generally does not take any particular policy position and hence it can have either right or left orientation. Examples of populism can be found all over the world at different times. Importantly, populism often threatens the rule of law and liberal democracy and therefore populist leaders try to bend the rules of democracy and weaken checks on democracy.
There are six drivers of populism in the US and Europe:
Overwhelming change leads to anxiety and fear
Decline of middle class
The info-demic of social media
Immigration: fear of other
Rise of the strongman
Too much change can bring about pessimism and a search for something or someone to restore both order and simplicity. Based on a number of research studies, wages have been stagnant for decades both in the US and Europe. Globalization has moved supply chains offshore which has been good for corporate profits, shareholders, and the Chinese where 800 million people have moved out of poverty, but it has made lives exceedingly difficult for former high wage workers in the US and Europe. Wage stagnation and rising costs for key aspects of the middle-class dream challenge optimism and induce stress. Share of world income growth for the people in East Asia and South Asia went up while the ultra-rich (or is it the middle class?) in Europe and North America went down in the last decade.
Social media is central to the rise of populism. Social media allows individual-created content without standards or gatekeepers. It is the perfect vehicle for spreading misinformation, connecting with the likeminded, organizing and recruiting for those anxious, angry or conspiracy-minded. Anti-immigration is a staple of populist parties. People upset with unemployment or wage stagnation blame immigrants for taking jobs. For those worried about tradition or culture immigrants can be framed as an alien threat. In a complicated world, strongman demagogues have a simple message, and that very simplicity helps followers to make sense of what is happening around them. The relationship is reciprocal: The strongman understands the values of the base and gains their trust; in turn the base will follow the leader and take their cues from his issue agenda. Social media then unites the followers into an alternative universe where they engage with each other but no one else. Populists divide the world into “We versus Them" and such a mind-set can deteriorate into believing that opponents become enemies. Democracy thrives on debate and sorting out the diverse interests of multiple groups. Partisanship can become so extreme that compromise becomes difficult and polarization can become so extreme that attaining or staying in power becomes more important than democracy itself. The United States today is an example of populism going astray and even descending into violence.
While it is clear that populism is not a dominant feature of the world view of Canadians it is not absent either. As in other parts of the world many Canadian workers have had wage stagnation and economic anxieties are real especially during Covid. Interestingly, Canada is the most welcoming country for migrants in the world (Gallup 2020). Canada has a history of events or outrages similar to the excesses of right-wing populism today. Of the six drivers of the populism, three apply in Canada (i, ii & iii). But three drivers are largely absent. Tom suggests we should not be complacent that only half the drivers apply and should work actively to ensure that extreme populism remains only a possibility.
Meeting Speaker February 3, 2021
Niten Barua, Member Speaker, Probus Club of Old Oakville Ass’t Secretary
Drug Approval Process in Canada and What is Different About Approval of Covid Vaccines
Niten’s biography includes a number of years with various pharmaceutical companies, in the regulatory affairs area, so he is well-qualified to help us with this timely topic. Niten was responsible for managing Regulatory Affairs (the group responsible for obtaining approval of drugs prior to marketing) & Quality Assurance function for a Pharmaceutical Company for over 17 years. Niten took lead role for the approval more than a dozen drugs in his regulatory affairs career spanning over 25 years. Some of the more common drugs Niten was responsible for approval recently are, Xtandi (for Prostate Cancer), Myrbetriq and Vesicare (both for urinary incontinence) and Prograf and Advagraf (for organ rejection after transplant).
Niten covered the basic Food & Drugs Act requirements for selling any drug in Canada, and then explained the modifications to the Act that allow for selling Covid Vaccines. He then went on to cover the steps involved in developing and marketing a drug, what must be included in the New Drug Submission to Health Canada, and then what the review process looks like.
The main task that a manufacturer has is to apply for and receive a drug identification number (DIN) for any new drug. That must be received and applied to the product before it may be sold. In the U.S., when there is a declared emergency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can approve a drug without all the evidence that would fully establish its effectiveness and safety, but companies must continue their clinical trials in order to provide longer term information on safety and effectiveness. Canada has a similar process, called an Interim Order (IO). Health Canada will grant authorization on if it determines that the benefits outweigh the potential risks. Like the U.S., the IO allows the drug to be sold while additional development and testing occurs on the road to market authorization.
Niten then went on to describe the generic drug development process and timeline, from the initial research phase, through Preclinical and Clinical trials, then Evaluation and Approval. As many as 10,000 compounds might be involved in the research phase which after typically 10 years and an investment of more than $1billion, will result in one approved drug.
The contrast to the typical situation for the development of the Pfizer Covid vaccines is startling. As an example, the development of the Pfizer vaccine began in January of 2020, clinical trials began in April, and submission for approval by the FDA on November 20, 2020 – more than 10 times faster than the typical process! New drug submissions’ review timelines in Canada are typically one year, give or take. So the approval of the Pfizer vaccine in Canada just about one month later than in the U.S. is extraordinarily quick. The submitter must pay fees to Health Canada as well, which can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the submitter’s agreement Health Canada may also collaborate with other international regulatory agencies to fast track the process, sharing analyses and perspectives to supplement Health Canada’s usual processes. Health Canada has been following this process in the review of all Covid vaccines so far.
All in all, Niten’s talk was an eye-opening window into the cost, time and thoroughness of oversight and review that drug development receives. He assured us that even though the Covid vaccines are arriving amazingly quickly, they are still subject to all the safety and effectiveness checks that are required.
Meeting Speaker January 6, 2021
Amanda White-Pressey, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications,
Seasons Seniors Lifestyle Living, Oakville Headquarters
The Challenges of Adapting to COVID: Lessons learned and how will Seniors' Residences look in the future
Amanda White gave us a very interesting presentation focusing on how people should think about changing their housing as they age. The goal of any changes in lifestyle living should be increased peace of mind. To that end, she spoke about the real differences between retirement living and long term care.
Retirement living means independent living, but with optional access to housekeeping, meals, activities and care services. These homes generally are developed by private companies. Long term care involves access to the highest levels of care, along with 24 hour support, and is typically government funded. She talked about the types of care, ranging from independent living, independent supported living, assisted living and memory care. The care required is assessed by a medical professional who provides a detailed report which is updated annually. The goal is to understand the needs as well as the desires of the client. These professionals are trained to notice changes in the client as the years go by.
She then went on the discuss several other topics, including when is the right time to move, what are the cost to value considerations, what are the average costs of their facilities, health and safety considerations, as well as precautionary protocols established due to the pandemic. She then provided some down-sizing tips, in particular getting rid of your excess stuff while holding on to some of your favourite items. And especially, don't over-save for others (your heirs?).
Amanda concluded with a discussion of the retirement home of the future. Seasons is using focus groups to adapt service models and to establish micro-markets within the retired persons population. They are attempting to be innovative and embrace technology.
Meeting Speaker December 2, 2020
Lianne has been a history, culture and social studies resource specialist with the Toronto District School Board almost 20 years and has been the guest instructor and workshop leader for teachers across many boards in Southern Ontario. To date she has taught over 80 000 teachers and students (usually in authentic
period clothing). In 2003, she was selected by W.O.M.A.D. as one of Toronto’s Women of Influence.
She is the author of many books including two medieval novels and non-fiction books on Bangladesh, India, great women in history, historical clothing and costuming, and world travel photography. She is a contributing author of the Canadian best seller business book, The Power of Women United.
Pursuing her love of art, she has been an exhibiting artist at the Royal Ontario Museum, Roy Thomson Hall, The IDA Gallery, and The Shaw Festival.
Appearing on TV and interviewed many times on the radio, she has been the keynote presenter at many professional, academic and organization events.
Lianne Harris B.A., B.F.A(Ed), T.E.S.L.
Celebrate the season with a refreshing look at the cherished stories and symbols surrounding Christmas. Join Lianne as we go back in time and explore various cultures to better understand the origins, significance, and popularity of our most recognized Christmas motifs and well-loved stories.
Meeting Speaker 04 November 2020
Iliana Oris Valiente
Managing Director and Global Blockchain Innovation Lead, Accenture
Iliana Oris Valiente CPA, CA, CBP (Certified Bitcoin Professional) is a managing director at Accenture and the Global Blockchain Innovation Lead for the firm’s emerging tech division. Iliana is responsible for strategy initiatives and overseeing projects to conceptualize and build blockchain solutions across industries, with a focus on FSI, supply chain, healthcare and the public sector. Iliana is also the founder and Chair of ColliderX, the world’s first non-profit, open sourced, and crowdsourced R&D hub for blockchain and related technologies. Iliana is an author and sought-after speaker, regularly presenting at conferences and events around the world.
Iliana will be speaking to us about emerging trends in the world of FinTech.
Meeting Speaker 07 October 2020
Tim is a retired Vice President of Forty Creek Distillery and a graduate of the University of Toronto where he earned an honours degree in psychology.
Tim has owned and driven battery-electric cars for the past 7 years and has logged over 250,000 kilometres without the need for gasoline or diesel fuel. He now enjoys sharing his EV experience with others and breaks down many myths and misconceptions about electric vehicle ownership. Tim makes the case that we are nearing the ‘tipping point’ when electric cars will replace those powered by gasoline. He also touches on the state of self driving technology and what autonomous cars could mean for the future.
Tim is a member of the Electric Vehicle Society, a non-profit organization which works to promote the understanding and adoption of electric mobility in Canada. In his role there, he chairs the EV Society’s Mississauga Chapter.
Meeting Speaker December 2, 2020
Consumer Smarts with Ellen Roseman
Ellen Roseman is a journalist who sticks up for ordinary Canadians. She’s a champion at helping consumers fight back against injustices. People praise her direct, down to earth and common-sense writing style.
Ellen’s personal finance and consumer columns appeared in the Toronto Star for 20 years until July 2019.
She was the Star’s business editor for two years. Before that, she was with the Globe and Mail for 20 years as a columnist and associate managing editor of the Report on Business.
She's the author of seven nonfiction books, including Money 101 and Money 201, which give an easy-to-understand introduction to personal finance for Canadians.
Her latest book is: Fight Back: 81 Ways to Help You Save Money and Protect Yourself from Corporate Trickery.
Ellen has been teaching a popular adult education course, Investing for Beginners, at the University of Toronto since 2006. And she is co-chair of the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights, a non-profit charity that speaks for investors.