Wednesday Courses: Registration

N.B.: Course times, dates and locations listed are subject to change. Should this occur it is in order to obtain the best possible classroom space for members. Thank you for your flexibility, understanding and patience.

W20-23 End-of-Life Decisions

This course has been postponed until later this year to better reflect current and near-future policy changes and adjustments that are being deliberated in political arenas.

This course aims to help you better understand your rights concerning end-of-life decisions under current law and to consider the complex issues involved as the legislation evolves in the future. We will review the recent history of the “right to physician-assisted dying” debate and how Canadian legislation compares with other countries. Palliative care vs. the right to die will be considered; are they incompatible alternatives or two complementary aspects of late life care? We’ll look at the difficult issues not yet covered by legislation, including mental illness, access for minors, and advanced directives for dementia.  A core question in all cases is how should “capacity” be defined and evaluated. Come with an open mind to consider these ethically and emotionally complex issues.

Each session of this course will include an introduction by the instructor or a guest, followed by small group discussion and final presentation of group conclusions.

Please note that this course has been previously offered at LIFE.

Dr. Frances Wilkinson is Professor Emerita, York Centre for Vision Research and Department of Psychology at York University

Limited to 25 participants

Dates: Jan.29 – Mar.4 (6 sessions)
Time: Wednesdays, 10:10 – 11:50 a.m.
Fee: $55
Location: Chelsea - Monarch
Instructor: Dr. Frances Wilkinson

W20-24 Nature Journaling: The Origins of Citizen Science NEW

Hone your skills of observation and become familiar with the practice of nature journaling. You will sketch and record nature in High Park using a variety of techniques to discover your own nature journaling style. You will also be introduced to the history of nature journaling and its impact on the scientific community. Learn what it means to be a citizen scientist and use your nature journal as a tool to become one yourself! Most importantly, you will acquire the skills you need to continue your nature journaling practice beyond this course.

Emily Beaton is the Adult Programs Coordinator at the High Park Nature Centre. She enjoys helping students build a greater relationship with the natural world through outdoor games, interactive hikes, and other environmental education activities.

All sessions will begin inside with a lecture-style introduction and will then move on to hands-on activities. Whether or not we will spend much time outside will depend on the weather.

Limited to 20 participants

Dates: March 4 – 25 (4 sessions)
Time: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.*
: $60
Location: High Park Nature Centre
Emily Beaton

W20-25 Photo Editing Programs: A Sneak Peek NEW

This is a demonstration course comparing four photo editing programs. The programs will be compared on criteria such as ease of learning, cost, etc. The four programs to be demonstrated are: Polarr (a free, basic editing program), Photoshop Elements, ON1, and Lightroom.

Please note that this is NOT a hands-on course. Rather, it is intended to help students decide which editing program will best meet their photographic needs.

Harold Hutner is an accountant with a lifelong interest in photography. He enjoys sharing his love of photography with others and has presented a number of photography programs at the LIFE Institute over the last few years.
Nan Weiner cannot decide if she likes shooting photos or editing photos the most; typically, it is whichever she is doing. Nan has taught numerous photography, photobook and photoshop elements courses at LIFE.
Hugh Wilson
has been interested in photography for over 50 years, and that interest led him to a career in visual neuroscience, where he is now a Professor Emeritus at York University in the Centre for Vision Research.
Edward Zamble
has been making photographs for almost seven decades, during the last of which he has moderated or co-moderated half a dozen LIFE photography courses and also initiated the Photography Club.

Limited to 25 participants

Dates: Jan. 22, 29 and Feb. 5, 12 (4 sessions)
Time: Wednesdays, *10 – 11:50 a.m.
Fee: $45
Location: VIC607A
Instructors: Harold Hutner, Nan Weiner, Hugh Wilson and Edward Zamble
*Please note start time

W20-26 Duke Ellington’s Music in Seven Themes NEW

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974) produced some of the most enticing, provocative, and enjoyable music of the 20th century. His legacy is so vast – almost 3,000 compositions comprising pop songs, dance tunes, soundtracks, revues, orchestral suites, symphonies – that finding an entry-point can be challenging. This course will pursue seven themes that fascinated Ellington throughout his 50-year career. In the end, we will visit the whole range of Ellington’s genius from low to high, including gutbucket brass and absinthe ballads, jitterbugs and pas de deux, stride piano and indigo moods, and so much more.

This course is an illustrated series of talks, taught by expert in the subject, with many opportunities for discussion,

Jack Chambers is a professor at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Sweet Thunder: Duke Ellington’s Music in Nine Themes (2019) and a prize-winning biography of Miles Davis. He presents annual talks to the Duke Ellington Society, Toronto, and has published many articles on Ellington and others.                                                              

Limited to 100 participants

Dates: February 12 - April 8 (8 sessions, no class Mar. 11)
Time: Wednesdays, 10:10  – 11:50 a.m.
Fee: $95
Location: ILLC - International Room
Jack Chambers

W20-27 Amazing Creative Nature - Part Two

Nature is truly amazing! And there is so much to explore. This course will examine some of the natural world’s most fascinating aspects. It will begin at the beginning—evolution—moving from the origin of life to today’s extraordinary diversity of living forms. Discover how organisms moved from water to land and what challenges they had to overcome. A fascinating question along the way is to consider whether a virus is a living organism. Then, animal behavior will be examined – how do they mate, take care of their offspring, and why do they hibernate or migrate? Find out how living organisms sense the world. And are there really only five senses? What is aerobic respiration and photosynthesis and how do these systems work and interact? Join this eight-week exploration of our amazing living world!

This course is a series of illustrated lectures taught by an expert in the field. It is a revised, expanded version of a course previously taught at LIFE.

Christine Dimanche is an enthusiastic higher education professional with over 20 years of international experience in teaching with a focus on biology, human biology, nutrition, health, and well-being. She has taught varied student populations, including adults with special needs and seniors, and is experienced in health and fitness program development. Christine is currently teaching biology and nutrition courses for George Brown College.

Limited to 60 participants

Dates: Jan.29 – Mar.25 (8 sessions; no class Feb. 26)
Wednesdays, 12:10 – 1:50 p.m.
Fee: $95

Location: Chelsea - Monarch
Christine Dimanche

W20-28 A History of US/Russian Relations, 1867 – 2019: From Seward’s Folly to US Election Interference  NEW

Since the United States’ purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, US/Russian relations have lurched back and forth between allied-in-common-causes and adversarial to the point of near-war. In the second half of the 20th century, US-Russian relations were deeply rooted in the Cold War with the North American side determined to contain the Russian “missionary” expansionism of communism into Europe, and the rest of the world caught in a bi-polar rivalry between the two nuclear superpowers. After the fall of Communism in the 1990’s, Russian archives were briefly opened to Western scholars, and the history of the Cold War was substantially revised during a period when Russia and the US appeared to mend their relations. All that changed in 2000 when Putin came to power and accused the US of violating promises made in the 1990’s, with the result that Russia and the US returned to their previous adversarial positions. This course explores both sides of the historical grievances between the two superpower adversaries.

This is a lecture course taught by an expert in the subject.

Peter Vronsky, PhD, is a former television news and documentary producer, investigative historian, and bestselling author. During the decline and collapse of Soviet Russia, he worked in Russia producing news reports and documentaries on subjects ranging from Lee Harvey Oswald’s sojourn in Russia; nuclear weapons smuggling in Chechnya; revival of Stalinism; Soviet era “underground” rock music; reform of the KGB, and other stories in the era when the Communist Party lost its grip on Russia.

Limited to 100 participants

February 12 - April 8 (8 sessions; class on February 12 cancelled due to instructor illness)
Time: Wednesdays, 12:10 – 1:50 p.m.

Fee: $95

ILLC - International Room
Peter Vronsky

W20-29 Resilient Living NEW

Our focus on resilience is not about bouncing back, rather bouncing forward. It doesn't rest simply on getting through or employing proper tools and practices, which are still important. It grows most powerfully when we come to recognize that we can be the heroes in our lives. It lies in our capacity to honor our suffering, respect our needs for self-care, and shape each day toward a more inspiring future. The study of resilience is not only about navigating challenges in the present, but also about mining gold from the past to prepare us for missteps and unexpected situations. It is about leveraging the good within us during easier times so that we move closer to a sense of thriving right now. We will look at the hidden power of everyday positive experiences, connection, and meaningful support, fixed/growth mindset, transforming stressful moments into opportunity, character strengths, the ideal resilient self. We will examine the research on the importance of positive emotions, mindfulness, meditation, and exercise. You will be given practical, easy-to-use strategies in which lie the possibilities for finding meaning, purpose, and a life of well-being.  

Although some material will be presented in lecture format, this class is essentially an interactive workshop. Be prepared to participate in large and small group discussions.

Lillian Mills, BS, M Ed, BCC, is a former special education teacher and now a professional life coach who uses the principles of Positive Psychology to inspire her local and international clients to attain their personal and professional goals.  Lillian is currently, and has been for several years, a faculty member at the Institute for Life Coach Training

Limited to 16 participants

Dates: March 4 - 25 (4 sessions)
Time: Wednesdays, 12:10 –1:50 p.m.

Fee: $45

Lillian Mills

W20-30 Dare to Dream? How do you really want to spend this time period in your life? NEW

It is well known that many adults 50+ find these years the best times of their lives. For those who are interested in expanding their options, this course might be for you with lively conversation, resources, and guest speakers. Participants will have the opportunity to discover various prospects to add to their ‘bucket list’. A wide variety of options will be explored to help you consider: Where are you now? Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? This approach will make it personal as well as practical! A series of carefully selected speakers will share their stories and strategies for success with you. Topics range from starting your own business, volunteering, working in not-for-profit agencies, pursuing higher education, transforming a hobby into a thriving business, travelling while working online, the joy of mentoring, and much more. A career practitioner will also offer valuable tips and a representative from the Ryerson Career Centre will help you tap into all the possibilities. Throughout the course you are invited to apply a simple, systematic method for decision making, as plans, hopes, and dreams can also present many decisions to make, challenges to meet, or unforeseen changes in plans along the way. Several self-assessment questionnaires will also be available.

This will be a lecture series with guest speakers and some time for questions and interactive discussion.

Dr. Patricia Comley is happiest when training, networking, or coaching others to a new level of effectiveness and personal growth in their everyday lives. Her career spans almost all work sectors. Over the last twelve years, Pat built her own business, Better Conversations: Better Results®, and has truly enjoyed the life of an entrepreneur, working in various organizations, large and small. This led her to international travel working as a speaker/trainer. She also loves to work in the volunteer and not-for-profit sectors. Pat also worked part-time as an undergraduate psychology instructor at Ryerson University for 23 years and enjoyed a long educational career with the TDSB, as Head of Student Services where career education was critical to her work. 

Limited to 60 participants

Dates: Jan. 29 – Mar. 18 (8 sessions)
Wednesdays, 2:10 – 3:50 p.m.
Fee: $95
Location: Chelsea - Monarch
Dr. Patricia Comley

W20-31 A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present NEW

Although the term ‘serial killer’ only entered into our popular culture and vocabulary in the early 1980s with a wave of notorious murderers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, the popular concept of ‘multiple murderers’ has been with us since 1888 when London’s infamous Whitechapel murders committed by the unidentified “Jack the Ripper” became the subject of lurid newspaper reports. This course looks at the long history of serial killers from long before the mysterious Ripper.  Starting from the middle ages, when serial killers were regarded as supernatural monsters like werewolves and vampires, the lectures will explore some of the “rippers’' in 19th century US, France, Italy and Spain. We will also examine the ‘serial killer epidemic’ of the 1970s to 1990s, a three-decade period in which 82 percent of the 20th century American serial killers made their appearance, and when the FBI launched its “Mindhunter” program at the Behavioral Sciences Unit (BSU), which profiles and tracks serial killers.  The lectures will explore, through a number of case studies, the evolution and psychopathology of serial killers, the forensics and techniques of investigating and profiling them, including the recent new strategy of ‘familial’ DNA analysis of ancestry website submissions, geo-forensic profiling and the new advances in psychiatry and brain imaging that challenges our traditional understanding of psychopathy and its relationship to serial murder.

This is a lecture course by an expert on the topic.

WARNING: This course will feature graphic violent descriptions and forensic crime scene photographs that some may find disturbing.

Peter Vronsky, PhD, is an investigative historian and the author of three bestseller histories of serial homicide, Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters (2004), Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters (2007) and the recent New York Times Editors’ Selection, Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present (2018). He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto in criminal justice history and the history of espionage in international relations.  Dr. Vronsky is currently advising in the capacity of an investigative historian, the NYPD Cold Case Homicide Squad, the New York State Police, and the North New Jersey Cold Case Joint Task Force (Bergan, Passaic, and Essex County Prosecutor’s Offices) on a series of unsolved murders in their jurisdictions from 1963-1980, and in the process, he is debriefing the incarcerated serial killer Richard Cottingham (“Times Square Torso Ripper”), a suspect in some of those murders.

Limited to 100 participants

Date: February 12 - April 8 (8 sessions; class on February 12 cancelled due to instructor illness)
Time: Wednesday, 2:10 – 3:50 p.m.
Fee: $95

Location: ILLC - International Room
Peter Vronsky

W20-32 Museum Madness NEW

Winter is the perfect time for cultural and intellectual exploration. Directed by an art insider and professional tour guide, you’ll visit key exhibitions in museums, public galleries, and cultural enclaves, getting the most out of these encounters in the company of engaged fellow-travellers. Expect guided and impromptu discussions, practical art-appreciation tips, and encounters with movers-and-shakers in art, design and architecture. We’ll be mostly indoors at venues accessible by public transit.

Please note: Participants will be responsible for their own admissions fees and several surcharges for institutional guided tours. Free Museum Admission Passes can be obtained, and some participants will already have memberships at museums which include guest privileges. This is an interactive, hands-on course. Itineraries will be emailed to participants in advance of each session.

Betty Ann Jordan is an art commentator and principal of Art InSite tours.

Limited to 40 participants

Dates: Jan. 29 – Mar. 18 (8 sessions)
Wednesdays, 1 – 3* p.m.
Fee: $95
Location: Itineraries will be emailed to participants in advance of each session.
Betty Ann Jordan
*Please note beginning and ending times. This course is offered on both Wednesdays and Fridays. Please enroll in one class only.

W20-33 Theatre Alive!

Wednesday, January 29, 1 p.m.
Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre
(formerly Berkeley Street Theatre)
26 Berkeley Street (Front and Yonge area)
A Canadian Stage and Studio 180 Co-Production
Toronto Premiere
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize Drama


by Lynn Nottage
For twenty years, a group of friends at a steel mill decompress at the local bar. When rumours surface the company is considering layoffs and flyers are hung to recruit non-union workers for less money, the war between community and capitalism begins, and tensions start destroying not only jobs, but also relationships.  Filled with heart and humour, Sweat is a searing examination of industrial decline, race, politics and friendship by one of the US’s most decorated playwrights.
“A must see! Scorching. Superb. Vital! -The New York Times

Wednesday, February 5, 1 p.m.
Winter Garden Theatre
189 Yonge Street (Yonge and Queen)

Caroline, or Change

Book and Lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanine Tesori
A Musical Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre Production

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the Civil Rights Movement, Caroline, or Change uses fantasy and reality to explore a story about ordinary people facing extraordinary change. With a musical score that blends blues, soul, gospel, classical and traditional Jewish melodies, this ‘modern masterpiece’ is a timely story of change for our socially conscious world. Featuring “Canada’s Queen of R&B” Jully Black in her musical theatre debut as Caroline, internationally renowned Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman as The Moon and an all-star Canadian cast, Caroline, or Change will play the world-renowned Winter Garden Theatre.

“One of the most potent musical theatre forces in the country.” -
Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star

Wednesday, March 18, 1 p.m.
Tarragon Theatre
30 Bridgman Avenue (Bathurst Dupont area)

The Runner

Human Cargo
By Christopher Morris

“That’s all that matters. Kindness. An act of kindness.”
Z.A.K.A is an Orthodox Jewish volunteer force in Israel. They collect the remains of Jews killed in accidents. When Jacob, a Z.A.K.A volunteer, makes the split-second decision to treat a young woman, instead of the soldier she may have killed, his world is changed forever. A powerful thriller from Toronto’s Human Cargo and winner of the 2019 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction and Outstanding New Play.

Tickets for all performances will be given to you at the theatre before the first play. They will not be mailed to you. A reminder will be sent by email before each performance.

PLEASE NOTE: No exchange or refund will be given after the final ticket order has been placed. Please address any concerns or complaints to the LIFE office and not to the theatre.

Limited to 90 participants

Dates: January 29, February 5, and March 18
Time: Wednesday afternoon (see times above)
Fee: $125
Rayna Jolley, assisted by Sharon Stibbard

IMPORTANT: Please be aware of the start times of each performance as some theatres do not allow latecomer seating.

Theatre Web Sites:

Accessibility: The LIFE Institute is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Please contact the office 2 weeks in advance of the first class if you have any particular accommodation requirements.