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.

Seasonal Talks

Theatre Superstitions for the Curious and Daring

When: Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Where: Heaslip House, 3rd floor, room CED303, 297 Victoria Street

Get into the Halloween spirit with spooky sounds, strange lighting, and pumpkin cake as you explore the ghoulish past and creepy present of theatre superstitions. Learn why you must never invoke “the Scottish play” and how to (hopefully) dispel its curse if you do; observe re-enactments of the taboos (“break a leg”) and rituals (spitting over your shoulder) that allow the show to go on; and discover what happens to those foolish enough to ignore the superstitions of the stage.

Vrenia IvonoffskiSpeaker: Vrenia Ivonoffski
Vrenia has become seriously superstitious over her years in theatre. She holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree from the University of Toronto, and she is the founding Artistic Director of the Estelle Craig ACT II STUDIO. Vrenia is the 2014 recipient of Theatre Ontario’s Maggie Bassett Award for her contributions to theatre. Throughout her career, she has written 14 produced plays and directed over 40 plays, and yet still believes that unseen forces hover about the theatre and rehearsal hall waiting for mortal missteps.


Jazz: Improvised Art, Improvised Life

When: Sunday, October 28, 2018, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Where: First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 116 Bond Street

From its birth over 100 years ago in the Mississippi Delta, jazz has gone global. It did so without the benefit of a strategic plan, a vision or mission statement, a governance system, or executive oversight; instead, it developed and spread by continuously transforming and re-inventing itself through styles like ragtime, Dixieland, bebop, cool, fusion, Afro-Cuban, freeform, Latin, and soul.

Jazz is an in-the-moment, improvised art―much like the social achievement of living and working together. Going with the flow, listening to the voices of others and contributing one’s own voice, paying attention to and collaborating with others, learning to lead and to follow, breaking out of non-creative routines―these are the conditions essential for making both jazz music and a work of art out of our lives and shared enterprises.

Experience a performance by world-class teaching, recording, and touring jazz musicians that will serve as the experiential ground for an exploration of the conditions needed for making works of art out of our communities.

Getting in the GroovePerformers: Getting in the Groove
Getting in the Groove represents a synthesis of Brian Hayman’s varied experience as a metallurgist in a steel company, an executive in a financial services organization, an organizational consultant in a global professional service firm, an adult educator, a jazz pianist and, above all, someone with an abiding interest in how people learn, individually and collectively. These vocational and avocational interests have come together in a business venture that explores jazz as an improvisational art form and its implications for organizational, institutional, and community change, as well as innovation and learning.

Lecture Series

The 50+ Lecture Series builds on the momentum of the annual 50+ Festival and includes a variety of topical and thought-provoking lectures by renowned guest speakers.

Acceptance is a Work-in-Progress: The Past, Present, and Future of the LGBTQ+ Community

When: Sunday, September 23, 2018, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Library Building, room LIB 072, 350 Victoria Street

The LGBTQ+ community has always fought for acceptance. Most notably, it has overcome the fear and harassment surrounding the AIDS epidemic and worked tirelessly to win considerable gains in the same-sex marriage struggle. Despite these and other movements, the community does not always unify as one. It is sometimes difficult for those who are not directly affected by an issue to actively engage in it. Sometimes, there is even a generational divide that makes it difficult for those who identify with an issue to communicate its importance with those outside their age group.

Yet, as notions of gender, race, age, sexuality, and culture continue to evolve, and as the intersection of identities continues to diversify, inclusion within the LGBTQ+ community itself is just as important as the fight for external acceptance. Discover how the community has redefined itself through the years, the struggles facing it today, and the next steps it must take to protect past triumphs while still inspiring future aims.

Olivia NuamahSpeaker: Olivia Nuamah
Olivia Nuamah is the Executive Director of Pride Toronto. An accomplished community builder, policy expert, and social justice advocate, her past careers include Executive Director of the Atkinson Foundation and Executive Director of Inner City Family Health Team. During her time in the United Kingdom, Olivia worked on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s pledge to end poverty in the UK by 2020. A true scholar, she holds degrees in international development and social anthropology, childhood development, digital media arts, and computer science.

The Country without a Post Office: A Meta-Photographic History of Kashmir

When: Sunday, October 21, 2018, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Where: Library Building, room LIB 072, 350 Victoria Street

The Kashmir Valley is a geographic region that straddles India’s northwestern border with Pakistan. Known for its idyllic meadows and mountainous landscapes, this Indian-administered territory is the site of one of the longest international political disputes in modern history. Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the valley has been the site of multiple wars between India and Pakistan, and control of the region has become the subject of one the most divisive political and social debates in South Asia.

For nearly six years, Ryerson University doctoral student Nathaniel Brunt has examined this conflict as an academic, archivist, and documentary photographer. Examine the history of this region and its conflict, as well as the critical role photography has played in the history, memorialization, and representation of this region and the ongoing war.

Nathaniel BruntSpeaker: Nathaniel Brunt
Nathaniel Brunt is an award-winning interdisciplinary scholar, photographer, and archival artist based in Toronto. His research and photographic practice focus on the history and photographic representation of modern war. A Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, Nathaniel is currently pursuing a PhD in the Communication and Culture program at Ryerson University and is supported by the Canadian federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. His photographic work has been featured in The Globe and Mail, Sharp, and PDN (Photo District News). Nathaniel has received several academic and photographic awards, including the CONTACT Portfolio Reviews Award, IVSA Jon Rieger Award, PDN Photo Annual Student Award, and Alexia Foundation Student Award for his ongoing work on the Kashmir Valley.

Forums and Other Events

Fall Idea Exchange: How to Turn What You Know into Dough

When: Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 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

Offered once per term, the Idea Exchange is an intimate drop-in opportunity for those who are 50 and older to participate in stimulating conversations about what it means to be an older adult in today’s world. The Exchange is both a place to share ideas and an opportunity to connect with peers. Each Exchange session is centred around a theme, and will feature a special guest presentation, a discussion, and a chance to network.

Do you have a skill or hobby that you want to turn into a money-making opportunity? Come learn how to get started at our fall Idea Exchange. Business networking is more than shaking hands and distributing business cards—it's about selling your skills and leveraging connections. Special guest Michael Morris shares how his vision of reminding older adults of their value in today's marketplace led him to start two businesses, Boomers Cloud and Mentern. Hear the ups and downs of his journey, share your business ideas, and learn how to capitalize on your (already) extensive knowledge.

Michael MorrisSpeaker: Michael Morris
Michael has over 50 years of experience in the fashion industry as a retailer, manufacturer, and marketing consultant. In the 1970s, Michael managed Holly’s Ladies Fashions (one of the most prestigious fashion chains in Canada at the time); in the 1980s, he was a pioneer in the development of private label programs for many major fashion retailers in the United States and Canada. In the 1990s, Michael introduced workplace shopping fundraising events for over 50 hospitals and nonprofit organizations across Southern Ontario. Over the past 15 years, Michael has consulted for several designers worldwide. To date, Michael is President of The Social Strategy Group and an active mentor at the Toronto Fashion Incubator.

Science Literacy Week

Science Literacy Week is a national celebration of science. Join us for these thought-provoking talks that celebrate all things science and highlight this year’s theme: space.

It’s all about earth and space!

Ryerson Faculty will address your burning questions about our environment and the Universe through short, engaging lectures on finding life on other planets and protecting life here on Earth.

When: Monday, September 17, 2018, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Where: Heaslip House, 7th floor, 297 Victoria Street, Toronto

Dr. Lynda McCarthySpeaker: Dr. Lynda McCarthy
Dr. Lynda McCarthy is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biology at Ryerson University. Her research includes aquatic ecotoxicology, Great Lakes pollution and remediation, and assessing the impact on organisms exposed to land-applied pulp mill and municipal biosolids.

Dave KirshSpeaker: Dave Kirsh
Dave Kirsh is a lecturer at Ryerson University and Humber College, where he teaches astronomy, physics, and science. He has a master’s in astrophysics from Queen’s University, where he studied the motions of young planetary systems. He researched planet formation at McMaster University before deciding that teaching was his real passion.

It's all about your body!

Ryerson's Microbiologist and Immunologist will take you through the in's and out's of your body's digestion and defence systems.

When: Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Where: Heaslip House, 7th floor, 297 Victoria Street, Toronto

Dr. Emily AgardSpeaker: Dr. Emily Agard
Dr. Emily Agard taught biology at York University and the University of Toronto Scarborough before joining Ryerson University as an assistant professor. She is currently Director, SciXchange, where she is focused on making science accessible, engaging, and inclusive of all groups. Emily is also a mentor to many youth in the community.

Dr. Joe McPheeSpeaker: Dr. Joe McPhee
Dr. Joe McPhee is a microbiologist at Ryerson University. His research interests include understanding how bacteria respond to environmental signals and how they contribute to human disease.

For more information, call 416.979.5103 or email us at