Free Events

Throughout the year, we provide opportunities for you to engage and get involved with Programs for 50+ through thought-provoking presentations and lectures, performances, volunteer programs, and more. Learn and grow with us by exploring all the free events we have to offer.

Winter Idea Exchange: Creating the Life You Love

An intimate drop-in offered to those who are 50 and older, Idea Exchange is a place for stimulating conversations about what it means to be an older adult in today’s world. It’s a place to share ideas and an opportunity to connect with peers. Each Idea Exchange session is centered on a theme, and will feature a special guest presentation, a discussion, and a chance to network.

When: Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.: Presentation and discussion
11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Networking
Where: Heaslip House, 7th floor, 297 Victoria Street

Do you want to create an abundant life full of everything that brings you joy? Come learn how to redefine your future on your own terms at our Winter Idea Exchange.

Getting what you want from life is more than just taking time to reflect; it’s about moving past fear, limiting beliefs, and giving yourself the chance to dream, discover, and explore. Guest speaker Lisa Petsinis shares how she made her dream life a reality, and why she’s passionate about helping others do the same.

At this Idea Exchange, gain some tools to tap into your interests and intuition, share your challenges and strategies for achieving fulfillment as an older adult, and learn how to create the life you love.

Lisa Petsinis Speaker: Lisa Petsinis
Lisa has over 25 years of experience in the personal development field as a human resources leader, career counsellor, and personal coach. In 2016, Lisa left her full-time job to establish Lisa Petsinis Coaching, a career and life coach practice in Toronto. Lisa’s work has been featured in various online magazines, including POPSUGAR, YourTango, Prevention, MSN, and The Minds Journal.

This event is free with registration.

50+ Lecture Series – Rethinking City Governance: How Much Control Should the Province Have Over Our Cities

When: Sunday, February 24, 2019, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Library Building, LIB072, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto

The 50+ Lecture Series includes a variety of topical and thought-provoking lectures by renowned guest speakers.

Since his election in June 2018, Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, has quickly moved forward with his agenda, which includes items not fully disclosed during his election campaign. For instance, Ford’s decision to cut Toronto's city council during its municipal election called into question the provincial government’s involvement in municipal democracy. Yet, this historical moment did have positive effects – it spurred a fight for strong local government and encouraged greater civic participation among Torontonians.

As 2019 unfolds, what other issues will pit the city against the province? Will the TTC become provincially owned, operated, and maintained? Could social housing fall under the purview of the province? Might the province cut funding to city-run services such as Toronto Public Health? If Toronto and the province remain combative on these and other issues, could enhanced municipal governance be the solution? How can this be accomplished considering what other North American cities have done to evolve their city-state powers? Join us as we reflect on the relationship between the city and the province and explore new possibilities for the future.

Sean ConwaySpeaker: Sean Conway
From 1975 to 2003, Sean Conway was a senior cabinet minister in David Peterson’s Liberal government, and also acted as Deputy Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. He retired from politics in 2003. In November 2007, he was honored with the prestigious Churchill Society award for Excellence in the Cause of Parliamentary Democracy. Sean is currently an honorary fellow in the Centre for Urban Energy at Ryerson University.



Royson JamesPanelist: Royson James
Royson has been a journalist for almost 40 years, starting in 1979 with Contrast, a Black community newspaper, and working at the Toronto Star since 1981. As a municipal affairs columnist, he provides analysis and perspectives on all things Toronto, including stalled redevelopments, neighbourhood battles, and public policy. Royson is a native of Jamaica and attended Cornwall College before immigrating to Canada in 1969. He attended Harbord Collegiate Institute in downtown Toronto, Ontario and completed his journalistic training at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. In 2013 he received the Harry Jerome Award, which is recognized as one of the most prestigious national awards in the African-Canadian community. In 2014 he was a finalist in the National Newspaper Awards for columnist of a Canadian newspaper.

Dr. Zack TaylorPanelist: Dr. Zack Taylor
Dr. Zack Taylor is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance at Western University. His research focuses on how North American cities are governed. Dr. Taylor’s new book, Shaping the Metropolis (May 2019) compares the historical development of Canadian provincial and American state involvement in city governance and urban development.



Honourable Peter Van LoanPanelist: Honourable Peter Van Loan
With over 30 years of experience in politics, law, and academia, the Honourable Peter Van Loan brings a wealth of expertise to his municipal and land-use planning practice. Prior to his election as a Member of Parliament for York–Simcoe in 2004, Peter was a practice group leader for the municipal and planning group at a national law firm. He also served as Adjunct Professor of Land Use Planning, University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies, for over 10 years. As partner at the Aird & Berlis Municipal & Land Use Planning Group, Peter’s practice is focused on matters related to development within the Greater Toronto Area, and Ontario as a whole.


Kristyn Wong-TamPanelist: Kristyn Wong-Tam
Kristyn is in her third term as a Toronto City councillor, and is currently serving the communities of Ward 13 – Toronto Centre in the new 25-ward model. She has an extensive career investing in the City of Toronto through both the public and private sectors. Her contributions have led to the development and support of improved homelessness policies, new affordable housing, innovative economic development programs, community art projects, and investments in diverse, family-friendly neighbourhood planning. She is a long-time advocate for gender equity at the municipal level, and has successfully moved motions to incorporate a gender equity lens in the City’s budget. Kristyn’s activism is reflected through her continued work of advocating for human rights and championing for sustainable living and environmental health. She was the past Vice President, The 519 Community Centre, and Founder, Asian Canadians For Equal Marriage. Kristyn has been a long-time supporter of numerous Toronto-based HIV/AIDS organizations. She plays a vital role in ensuring the vibrancy of Toronto and its economic and social development. Currently, Kristyn is in partnership with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation to create Toronto’s first urban Indigenous district.

This event is free with registration.

Heartbeat of Japan: New Traditions of the Japanese Drum

When: Sunday, March 17, 2019, 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Library Building, LIB072, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto

In ancient times, the taiko was sounded to determine ancient village boundaries and to send messages – such as signalling the time. During wars in medieval Japan, the taiko were beaten to boost the morale of the troops while instilling fear in the enemy. To this day, the taiko are played in festivals to pray for rain, a bountiful harvest, and to drive away evil spirits and pests that are harmful to crops.

Nagata Shachu, a music group based in Toronto, has enthralled audiences with its mesmerizing and heart-pounding performances of the taiko since the group’s formation in 1998. Nagata Shachu has toured widely throughout Canada, the United States, Italy, and the Middle East, performing in major theatres, concert halls, and festivals.

While rooted in the folk drumming traditions of Japan, the ensemble’s principal aim is to rejuvenate this ancient art form by producing innovative and exciting music that seeks to create a new voice for the taiko.

Featuring an arsenal of taiko, bamboo flutes, and an array of gongs, cymbals, shakers, and wood blocks, Nagata Shachu will take you on a musical journey beyond all borders.

The performance will be preceded by a lecture on the history and evolution of taiko performance. This lecture will be led by Kiyoshi Nagata, the music group’s founder.

Nagata Shachu Japanese drummersSpeaker: Kiyoshi Nagata
Kiyoshi Nagata is one of Canada’s pre-eminent taiko artists and has been performing for over 36 years. For eight years, he instructed two community groups, Isshin Daiko in Toronto and Do-Kon Daiko in Burlington. In 1994, Kiyoshi founded the cross-cultural percussion ensemble, Humdrum, whose debut Toronto performance was ranked fourth in NOW Magazine’s Top Ten Concerts of 1995. He has composed and performed taiko music for dance, theatre, film, and radio, and continues to collaborate with artists from all genres of music, including traditional Japanese instrumentalists.

This event is free with registration.

Digital Media Workshop: 3-D Printing

When: Friday, March 29, 2019, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Student Learning Centre, SLC508, 341 Yonge Street, Toronto

Learn about the state of 3-D printing and its impact on art and science; examine a 3-D printer and samples of its output; discover how to take advantage of the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Innovation Hubs; and collaboratively design a unique 3-D object. Following the workshop, you will have an opportunity to register for a custom 3-D printing certification tutorial with staff from Ryerson Library’s Digital Media Experience Lab.

Simba WakatamaSpeaker: Simba Wakatama
As a mechanical engineering student and Norman Esch Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award winner, Simba strives to push the boundaries of customer product experiences. As president of Liftoff, a social media marketing company, Simba lives to inspire and engage people through digital experiences. Simba believes that blending technology with the subtlety of art is the way of the future, and that entrepreneurship is the force that moves us toward it.

This event is free with registration.


For more information, call 416.979.5103 or email us at