Free Events

Throughout the year, we provide opportunities for you to engage and get involved with Programs for 50+ and Community Engagement 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.

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.

The Art of Sharing Secrets: Part One and Two

When: Thursday, April 11 and Thursday, April 18, 2019, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Where: Heaslip House, CED303, 297 Victoria Street, Toronto

What experiences shape how we move in the world? Why do we find it so difficult to talk about them? What can sharing our stories do for our connection and healing? Part one of the series will explore the roots and impacts of keeping secrets, and how to incorporate writing into our lives to explore our own personal truths. Part two will engage participants in a deeper writing practice, and uncover the beautiful connections and community that emerge in sharing our stories.

Tara FarahaniSpeaker: Tara Farahani
Tara is the Jack Layton Chair and John C. Eaton Chair’s newest Artist-in-Residence, jointly appointed to the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Community Services at Ryerson University. Her latest project, From Under the Rug, examines dualities of gaining strength and resilience while speaking one’s truths. Informed by her lived-experience as an Iranian-Canadian diaspora, Farahani carries a desire to challenge norms, ignite thoughtful dialogues, and engage in continuous learning in all walks of her professional and personal life.

When she isn’t working in the nonprofit sector, you will find the Toronto-based writer and researcher tucked away in the corners of cafes across Toronto, crafting creative non-fiction prose, typing away on her blog, or in her home office working on her co-founded zine project not for you. Farahani was the successful recipient of CUE’s 2018 Writing Program bursary to work on her upcoming non-fiction prose book, I Had a Very Happy Childhood, and has been featured as a poet and advocate on CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning, CBC News, Flare Magazine, Ryerson University Magazine, and the Toronto Star.

This event is free with registration.

50+ Lecture Series – Sustaining #MeToo: What’s Next on the Feminist Legal Agenda

When: Sunday, April 28, 2019, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Library Building, LIB072, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto

Violence against women has a long history and deep presence in society. The few women who complained were often not believed. In fact, many of those few who brought the perpetrators to court were mistreated and re-victimized by the legal system, despite advances spearheaded by the women’s movement. In 2017, countless women came forward and said, “I endured sexual abuse and I will no longer suffer in silence,” and the #MeToo movement made headlines. How do we stop the violence against women? What changes in the law and its enforcement would help women withstand and survive sexual abuse? How do we sustain the #MeToo movement?

Join us as Linda Silver Dranoff shares her views. As a legal trailblazer throughout her career, she spearheaded law reforms that benefited women and society. In this lecture, she recommends changes in the laws, the legal system, and societal supports that could improve the situation for women and diminish the violence many suffer.

Linda Silver DranoffSpeaker: Linda Silver Dranoff, CM, LSM
Linda is a lawyer, writer, feminist, and activist. As a lawyer, she appeared at every level of court helping countless individuals to navigate the legal system. For 25 years, she was a columnist at Chatelaine and is now the author of the following books: Women in Canadian Law, Every Woman’s Guide to the Law, Every Canadian’s Guide to the Law, and most recently, Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution. She successfully pressed for family law and other reforms, and was Founding Chair, Feminist Legal Analysis Section of the Ontario Bar Association (now known as the Women Lawyers Forum). Linda has been recognized many times for her legal work and activism by the women’s community, the legal community, and beyond. In 2001, she received a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. In 2006, she received the Law Society Medal, and in 2012, she was appointed to the Order of Canada.

This event is free with registration.

Concert Series: South, Meet North: Salsa in the 6ix

When: Sunday, May 5, 2019, 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Library Building, LIB072, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON

¡Toronto tiene su cosa! (“Toronto has its thing”) is how Chicago-based journalist, Catalina Maria Johnson, describes the salsa scene in Canada’s most populous city. Salsa is typically identified with places such as San Juan (Puerto Rico), Cali (Colombia), Los Angeles, and New York (United States), but in recent years, Toronto’s vibrant Caribbean and Latin American communities have made this city one of the northernmost centres for salsa production. Beginning with the arrival of Cuban musicians in the mid-90s, the scene progressed from cover bands to new original salsa groups, and continues to grow in popularity with salsa workshops, lessons, dance clubs, and social outings across the city.

Drawing on the history and artistry of the dance, as well as their own personal experiences in the salsa scene, The Bellaviti Quartet will discuss the musical traditions that underpin salsa today and why it remains a vital part of the music and energy of Toronto. Finally, with some help from the audience, Sean and his bandmates will explore what is one of salsa’s most compelling and interesting social features – the ability to get people up and dancing.

Sean BellavitiSpeaker: Sean Bellaviti
Sean has performed, arranged, and recorded with jazz musicians like Bill McBirnie, Lynn McDonald, Janelle Monique, and Matt Dusk. He has also worked and recorded with the following Canadian salsa groups: Yani Borrell, Caché, and Lady Son y Articulo Vente. In addition, he has performed with many international salsa performers, including Eddie Santiago, Tito Rojas, David Pabón, Tony Vega, Mariano Civico, Ralph Irizarry, Henry Fiol, Luis Felipe González, Cheo Andujar, Gabino Pampini, Herman Olivera, and Jimmy Bosch. Sean currently leads his own jazz outfit, the Sean Bellaviti Trio, and salsa ensemble, Sean Bellaviti and Conjunto Lacalu. He is Director of Lula All Stars, an acclaimed Toronto salsa project whose debut album was released in 2015.

Sean’s musical interests are not limited solely to performance. In 2013, he received a Doctorate in Ethnomusicology from the University of Toronto. Since then, Sean has worked extensively as an educator at Ryerson University. He has presented his work at international academic conferences – including the Caribbean Studies Association and the Society for Ethnomusicology – and is a published scholar. Sean’s book, Cumbia, Música Típica and the Rise of Nationalism in Panama, is due for publication by Oxford University Press in Fall 2019.

This event is free with registration.

Be Brain Fit: Create Personally Meaningful Brain Boosting Goals

When: Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Where: Heaslip House, 7th floor, 297 Victoria Street, Toronto

Brain fitness is similar to physical fitness, but instead of exercising your body, you are strengthening your mind. Optimizing mental abilities is not a new concept, but the information available is often vague and repetitive: stay active (mentally, physically, and socially), be mindful of what you consume (food, alcohol, and tobacco), and seek novelty. While these tips are 100 percent accurate, their ambiguity leaves little direction on the actionable steps needed to exercise one’s mind in a personally meaningful way. At this talk, you will learn about the fundamentals of brain plasticity – the brain’s ability to change itself – and the science behind how to best optimize brain fitness. Most importantly, you’ll leave with take-home strategies on how to create personally meaningful brain boosting goals that will help you to improve your overall brain health.

Andrea WilkinsonSpeaker: Andrea Wilkinson
Andrea holds a PhD in Psychology, with a specialization in cognitive aging. She has been studying brain fitness and cognitive maintenance for over 15 years. Her studies identified the limitations of using computer-based games to enhance mental functions in healthy older adults. This work laid the foundation for her interest in brain fitness. Since completing her doctorate, Andrea has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA), and the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. In 2014, Andrea founded – a community for adults who are 60 and older and want to stay mentally and physically active. Through this platform, Andrea shares brain health research and inspiration for aging adults.

This event is free with registration.

Digital Media Workshop: Blogging

When: Friday, May 24, 2019, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Student Learning Centre, SLC508, 341 Yonge Street, Toronto

How do you get millennials to read your blog? By taking our workshop of course! Learn the dos and don’ts of blog writing; discover the tips and tricks to building a personal brand through blogging; and try your hand at designing a blog with encouragement and assistance from the Ryerson Library’s Digital Media Experience Lab.

Anika SyedaSpeaker: Anika Syeda
Anika is a diversely skilled journalist, and brings much more to the news industry than her writing skills. Over her four years at Ryerson University’s esteemed Bachelor of Journalism program, Anika has trained herself in graphic design, data journalism and data visualization, info-graphic design, broadcasting, radio, and podcasting. With her growing skill set, Anika endeavours to be the “Swiss Army Knife of journalism.” She believes multimedia skills are imperative to the future of the industry.

This event is free with registration.

Idea Exchange

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.

Summer Idea Exchange: Find the Right Volunteer Opportunity

When: Wednesday, June 5, 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, Toronto

The landscape of volunteering has changed considerably over the past decade, and you may be surprised how it looks today. Our guest speaker, Iona Frost, will provide an overview of Volunteer Toronto’s approach to securing a satisfying role that meets your needs and goals.

This practical and insightful session will provide a look into the recruitment process, teach you how to connect with nonprofit organizations actively looking for support, and highlight the advantages older adults have in this market.

Iona FrostSpeaker: Iona Frost
Iona is a community engagement professional with a decade of combined experience in nonprofit, private, and public settings. Driven by her passion to support organizations that create positive and meaningful change, Iona has worked on behalf of artists, women, newcomers, and youth. Prior to joining Volunteer Toronto, she led the education and outreach strategies for the Artists’ Health Alliance and Times Change Women’s Employment Service, developing programs focused on skills training, networking, and poverty reduction.

This event is free with registration.


For more information, call 416.979.5103 or email us at