Lifelong Learning & Discussion

Join us for various weekly programs including discussion groups, workshops and lectures, led by experts in their field or university professors, about arts and culture, history, current events, religion, travel, and more.

For more details, please contact Sharon Chodirker at 416-225-2112, ext. 124 or

Registration for classes is on a first-come-first-serve basis. To register for Lifelong Learning Courses (online and in person), call Reception at 416-225-2112 ext. 0 to register over the phone, or visit Reception during our hours of operation.


Join us every Tuesday at 10:30 am for a weekly lecture on various topics including arts, culture, history, religion, current events and more. Cost: $5 members and $10 non-members. Drop in. No registration required.

Book Talk: The Most Amazing Department Store
Join author Sharon Neiss-Arbess and her publisher for a Q&A session which includes the inspiration for writing this book, her writing process, favourite characters and research process. Books will be available to purchase. Speaker: Sharon Neiss-Arbess
Tuesday, December 12

Andy Warhol and the 15 Minutes of Fame
From painting to photography, from film to music, from kitsch to culture, Andy Warhol was the undisputed Pope of Pop. Shaman or charlatan, commercial artist, high artist or just plain con artist, explore Andy Warhol’s world of mass culture and consumerism, its decadence and delights. Speaker: Paul Dias, Circles Enrichment
Tuesday, December 19

Toronto: The Beginning
Toronto, Canada’s largest city, emerged from sleepy beginnings. Much of its growth occurred during the late 19th Century when so much of the world underwent the Industrial Revolution. Speaker: Dr. Andrew Lindsay, Circles Enrichment
Tuesday, January 2

Tim Horton: Hockey Star and Businessman
Hockey and donuts, two cherished Canadian symbols, intersected in 1974 when the life of hockey legend Tim Horton ended. Delve into the story of this man from a small Canadian town and discover how his off-the-ice business venture grew into a national phenomenon. Speaker: Dr. Andrew Lindsay, Circles Enrichment
Tuesday, January 9

The World of Sholem Aleichem
A look into the life and works of the greatest and most beloved Yiddish humorist and learn why he was one of the most important figures in modern Jewish culture. Speaker: Janie Respitz, Yiddish Scholar and Entertainer
Tuesday, January 16 

Feeling and Emotional Awareness
Join this important discussion about recognizing and understanding the nature of feelings as a universal aspect of the human experience and exploring the distinction between the self and emotions; learn techniques for feeling, and processing emotions in a healthy manner. Speaker: Suzy Stern, Lawyer, Author, Life Coach
Tuesday, January 23

Traditional Chinese Culture and Its Modern Application
Zodiac signs play an important role in traditional Chinese culture. The year 2024 welcomes the Year of the Dragon, a Zodiac year which usually brings significant changes to Chinese history. Learn how such changes shed light on modern times and why the New York based Chinese culture show “Shen Yun” appeals to the hearts of over a million people in audiences all over North America each year. Speaker: Jane Pang, Shen Yun Volunteer
Tuesday, January 30

The 52: Stories of Women who Transformed Toronto
52% of Torontonians are women. Let’s discover their impact on our city’s past, present and future. In this talk, you’ll learn about Myseum of Toronto’s latest exhibition called The 52: Stories of Women Who Transformed Toronto. Speaker: Rosemary Snell, Myseum of Toronto
Tuesday, February 6

Life and Music of Frederic Chopin
Frederic Chopin is known as “the Piano Poet”. We will hear some of his short pieces, try to understand the essence of the music of the romantic era, and get to know the man behind the music. Speaker: Joseph Sharon, Circles Enrichment
Tuesday, February 13

Love as Depicted in Art
Love can range from interpersonal affection to pleasure, attraction and personal attachment, and can represent kindness, compassion and affection. Speaker: Rachel Levin, Art History Lecturer
Tuesday, February 20

Nothing Could Stop Her: The Courageous Life of Ruth Gruber
Author Rona Arato will discuss her book about journalist Ruth Gruber. Her career spanned seven decades, reporting on places like Nazi Germany and remote Arctic regions of the Soviet Union. Her reporting on the ship Exodus 1947 helped secure the UN vote to establish the State of Israel. Speaker: Rona Arato, Author
Tuesday, February 27

Brave Ladies and Resourceful Gentleman Imposters
This talk on the mysterious world of imposters include the borrowing of a person’s origins, biography, achievements, titles, positions and sometimes even gender in everyday life. Speaker: Victor Rodos, History Buff and Author
Tuesday, March 5

Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul
The 10 year old gospel singer from Detroit who became one of the best-selling musical artists of all time with career spanning over 60 years, 18 Grammy awards and hits like “Respect”, “A Natural Woman” and “I Knew You Were Waiting”. Speaker: Daniel Aonso, Circles Enrichment
Tuesday, March 12

Life as Depicted in Art: Part 2
Learn about the pictorial representation of life scenes such as domestic and family scenes, ordinary gatherings, milestone events in a person’s life and more. Speaker: Rachel Levin, Art History Lecturer
Tuesday, March 19

The Romance of “Classical” Music
With some history and some piano playing, join Myriam in exploring real romance through different musical periods. Speaker: Myriam Shechter, Pianist and Music Lecturer
Tuesday, March 26

Drop-ins for Lifelong Learning Courses are welcome! Cost is $10 members, $20 non-members for one class. Please contact Sharon at or 416-225-2112, ext. 124. 

Aesthetics and Emotion: Creativity in Imagination, Design and Beauty
In this fascinating new course we will explore the idea of beauty in literature, music, art, architecture and sciences such as physics and mathematics. The central role of aesthetics, the study of art and beauty in making life worthwhile is discussed. What parts of our brain are activated when we encounter art? Are there “beauty”, “play” or “pleasure” centers in the brain and how do they work and why are they there? When we design great buildings, what emotions do they trigger and how the does the brain connect those to life? We now have incredible knowledge of how the brain interprets positive emotions, negative emotions, finds beauty, creates a social world, creates morality and fosters communication. Come explore the latest research on art and emotion from a scholar who works in this field daily. Instructor: David Chandross
Monday, January 8 – March 4 (8 weeks)
No class on February 19
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
$80 members
$160 non-members

History of the Jews in Ukraine
This course will explore over a thousand years of Jewish life in Ukraine through periods of flourishing and creation of Jewish religious and cultural movements as well as times of great persecution and anti-Semitism. Instructor: Janie Respitz
Wednesday, January 17, 24 and 31 (3 weeks)
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
$23 members
$46 non-members

Slavery in the Ancient World
This course will take place on Zoom.
Slavery was ubiquitous in the ancient world. While it was regarded as a necessary evil, a poor and landless existence was considered to be far worse. Under the Greeks, slavery became a phenomenon, never seen before or elsewhere, in which entire nations were reduced to bondage. At its height, the city of Rome may have had nearly equal numbers of free and enslaved people. Through a study of ancient archeological evidence, art, literature, and other documentary sources, we will survey the phenomenon of slavery in various ancient civilizations, examining who could be a slave and how one might become one, what the lives of slaves in antiquity were like, and how a slave might become free. Instructor: David Lipovitch
Wednesday, January 10 – March 6 (9 weeks)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
$90 members
$180 non-members
To register call, 416-225-2112, ext. 0

The Russian Bear from Stalin to Putin and Beyond: Myths and Realities
In this course, we will explore what is going on right now, the complicated history, ideologies, and transformations of a resurgent Russia in the aftermath of World War II, and delve into the myths and realities surrounding the continuing evolution of this state both domestically and on the global stage. From the Yalta Conference and the beginning of the Cold War, through the reign of Stalin, the technological competition sparked by Sputnik, the brief cultural thaw, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the ascendancy of Putin. Along the way, we’ll debunk the misconceptions, examine the complexities of the new post-Communist empire in all but name, and consider the geopolitical implications of renewed Russian territorial aggression in Ukraine and beyond and its ambitions for a new world order, already in a state of flux. Speaker Amnon Zohar
Thursday, January 11 – February 29 (8 weeks)
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
$80 members
$160 non-members