Stimulating Grey Matter in St. Catharines – St. Catharines Tourism

Stimulating Grey Matter in St. Catharines

Blog | August 8, 2017

By Mike Keenan

The slogan, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste,” was launched in 1972 to encourage Americans to support the United Negro College Fund. It could easily be adopted by “Lifelong Learning Niagara,” located at the Armenian Community Centre, 156 Martindale Road in St. Catharines where their Fall Lecture Series 2017 is designed to keep our aging brains stimulated and provoke an interest in lifelong learning.

All lectures are on Wednesdays from 10 AM to 12 PM, and this season features some exciting speakers. The series gets off to a colourful start on September 27 with “Scorned as Timber, Beloved by Sky: The Story of Emily Carr” presented by Anna Stanisz, Associate Director, Creative Learning & Programs, McMichael Canadian Art Collection. I enjoy Carr’s spiritual take on nature and have thrilled to her paintings at the AGO, Vancouver Art Gallery, and, of course Kleinburg. This intrepid British Columbia lady holds her own in the Canadian art world dominated by the Group of Seven gents. Carr is also admired for her autobiographical writings that helped to shape our perception of her artistic career.

On October 4, we learn about “Canadians’ Fascination with the Weather” from David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada and one of my favourite CBC commentators. Besides being a ubiquitous topic of conversation, David will explain why Canadians are so outwardly disgusted by weather, yet so secretly proud of it at the same time. What has become clear to all but a few countries that did not sign the Paris Accord (Nicaragua, Syria and the U.S.) is that our planet is warming and the number of weather-related disasters is on the rise. Perhaps it’s time to stop talking and start doing something about the weather.

On October 11, Dr. Carolyn Harris, Historian, Author and Royal Commentator; Teacher, University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies will speak on “Queen Victoria and Canada.” Over the course of her 63-year reign, she had a profound impact on Canadian history, politics and culture, helping to unite Canada in 1867.

On October 18, David Newland, Writer, Musician and Speaker; Zodiac Driver and Expedition Host, Adventure Canada speaks on “Northwest Passage: Tracing One Warm Line.” I have just returned from a fabulous cruise aboard Adventure Canada’s ship, the Ocean Endeavour, which attempted to circumnavigate Newfoundland.  Using enhanced projected images, video, and original songs, David will touch on the history of Arctic exploration, including the story of Franklin’s lost expedition. He will also introduce Inuit ideas of territory, community, and creative culture, and discuss Arctic wildlife and ecology, including glaciers, sea ice and the potential effects of climate change in the North. This should be a must-hear event!

Craig Youdale, Dean, Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Niagara College is up on October 25 with “The Future of Food and Beverage,” a timely topic with Niagara’s leadership in food and beverage training, boasting a combination of culinary, beer, wine and food science training. We have witnessed an explosion of craft beer plus development in cider and distilling. At the same time, restaurants continue to grow and change. Craig will discuss where we are headed.

Closing out the series on November 1 is Dr. Danielle Martin, Doctor, Family Practice Health Centre, Women’s College Hospital; Vice-President of Medical Affairs & Health System Solutions, Women’s College Hospital; National Media Commentator who will speak on “Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians.” She is another of my favourite CBC commentators. A family doctor working in the system, Dr. Martin, will discuss how we can do better in Canada’s health care system.

Six speakers and six great topics, all good for the inquiring mind! You can learn more about this program at Lifelong Learning’s website:

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