Fall 2021 Lecture Series

October 18 – Decolonization Through a Truth and Reconciliation Lens: Why History Matters – Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair Truth and Reconciliation, Lakehead University

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux served as Vice Provost for Indigenous Initiatives at Lakehead University for three years. Effective September 2016 she was appointed as the 1 st Indigenous Chair for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University and continues to develop pathways forward to reconciliation across Canada.
Cynthia was the inaugural Nexen Chair for Indigenous Leadership at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and remains a faculty member in the Indigenous Learning program. She is the Chair of the Teach for Canada non-profit which recruits teachers for remote First Nation schools. Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014, and is the Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.
She is a member and resident of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives. She is deeply committed to public education and active youth engagement from all cultures and backgrounds. She co-founded a youth project out of the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Lakehead University.

Decolonization Through a Truth and Reconciliation Lens: Why History Matters 

Cynthia will discuss the differences between decolonization and Indigenization and why it matters to differentiate the two. In addition, history has arrived at our doorsteps through the unmarked graves of children who died in “Indian Residential Institutions” and this is a discussion all Canadians must have to be fully informed of the consequences for Canada and how we can all take action.

October 25 – Architecture – Frank Lloyd Wright – Marta O’Brien, Lecturer 

Marta O’Brien has been an architectural historian for 25 years. She earned her architecture degree with honours from Ryerson University, and Masters degree in environmental studies from York University. Marta develops and teaches many architectural history courses for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Through her own company, Citywalks, Marta presents tours and illustrated lectures for historical societies, seniors’ learning organizations, libraries, and others.

Architecture – Frank Lloyd Wright

Considered by many to be America’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright had a long career with professional and personal highs and lows. His innovative house designs incorporated his  ideas on form, light, and inside space. Wright’s non-residential buildings were daring structures, and some are among the most important buildings in Western architecture. His scandalous personal life set him back, but could not end his career. Marta’s illustrated talk will give us a glimpse into Wright’s complex life and most significant buildings.


November 1 – Medical Cannabis – What is it all about ? – Dr. Lydia Hatcher, Associate Clinical Professor, McMaster University

Dr. Hatcher received a Bachelor of Science degree from Memorial University in 1978 and graduated with her MD in 1982. In 1984, she received certification with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and, in 1994, was certified with the Canadian College of Health Service Executives. In 1998, she received the Canadian Psychiatric
Association’s annual Mental Health Awareness Award. In 2001, the College of Family Physicians of Canada awarded her a fellowship. She is a diplomate of the Canadian Academy of Pain Management and member of the Canadian and International Pain Societies.
Dr. Hatcher had a full service family practice in Newfoundland for over 30 years and a focused chronic pain and a psychotherapy consulting practice at McMaster University since 2013. She is an Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at McMaster University and works with Best Doctors Canada as a pain management expert.
She lectures both nationally and internationally in many areas of, pain management, family medicine and communication skills. As well, Dr. Hatcher sits on a number of national advisory panels on chronic pain and medical cannabis. She is presently on the expert panel National Opioid Use Guideline Group (NOUGG). She is also a member of
the CFPC Community of Practice Committee in Chronic Pain.
She is a medical inspector for the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. She has also worked as an expert witness for the Canadian Medical Protective Association for a number of family medicine issues.
She is heavily involved in the design and development of national continuing medical education programs and has participated in clinical research trials for over 30 years as both a principle and co-investigator.
Dr. Hatcher is a Past President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association. She was on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and is a past Chair of the GP Forum and past Chief of Family Medicine at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, ON.

Medical Cannabis – What’s it all about?

In just over 100 years we have gone full circle from the much touted uses of cannabis in Victorian times to ‘reefer madness’, ‘war on drugs’ and now, legalization of cannabis in Canada for recreational use, But what about the medical benefits? While there is much debate about the merits and risks of cannabis, Lydia will lead you through an informed discussion about these risks and concerns. She will explain how and why the cannabinoid system has so many effects on our body and how this leads to the many very differing effects of this plant from ‘mind alteration’ to our effects on the immune system. She will also discuss the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis in a variety of physics and mood  disorders, as well as the future of research for medical cannabis.


November 8 – Bomb Girls: Trading Aprons for Ammo – Barbara Dickson, Lecturer and Author

Barbara Dickson is a sought-after professionally-trained public speaker, local historian, and author in both fiction and non-fiction. She has been entertaining and educating audiences for over twenty years. She lives in Scarborough, Ontario.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992, Barbara re-discovered her love of writing and history when she retired from her career as an IT software analyst. Barb has spent many years researching local and Canadian history focusing her efforts on:

  • Canadian history in the nineteenth century;
  • Ireland’s Great Hunger;
  • The invaluable contribution made by Canadian men and women engaged in war work during the Second World War.

Now an award-winning, best-selling, multi-published author and public speaker, Barb has been invited to appear before myriad organizations including remembrance celebrations, church groups, military gatherings, women’s organizations, business and local service clubs, and historical societies.

Bomb Girls: Trading Aprons for Ammo is a comprehensive, historical record of Canada’s biggest WWII munitions plant (“GECO”) employing over 21,000 citizens, predominantly women, who courageously worked with high explosives around the clock over its four year history.

The book offers a unique, intimate, and extraordinary glimpse into the lives and hearts of these dedicated Canadians. In-person interviews with the women who risked their lives every time they stepped onto the “clean side” of the plant lend a personal, distinctive perspective to the book.

Their stories reveal tenacity, dedication, patriotism, and resolve in a time when the concept of women working outside the home was a cultural anomaly. Bomb Girls captures, in a dramatic way, the dangerous work these brave young women performed. It’s imperative to pass along their enduring legacy to the generations to come.


November 15 – The Elvis Presley Story – Dr. Mike Daley, Musician, Lecturer and Musicologist


Dr. Mike Daley is a freelance popular music history lecturer around Toronto. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology and has published widely on a variety of musical subjects. Mike’s well-received lectures on the Beatles, Elvis, jazz, folk music and much more have gained him a strong following in the GTA. Mike also offers video lecture series on his website, mikedaleymusic.com and is currently writing a history of live music in the Yorkville coffee house district of Toronto in the 1950s and 1960s. 

The Elvis Presley Story
Elvis defined rock and roll culture in the 1950s with hit records like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Love Me Tender” and scored hits well into the 1970s like “In The Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds.” The King of Rock and Roll led a life filled with triumphs and tragedies. His life and music are the subject of Dr. Mike Daley’s Zoom lecture.
Dr. Mike Daley is a freelance popular music history lecturer around Toronto. He holds a Ph.D in musicology and has published widely on a variety of musical subjects. Mike’s well-received lectures on the Beatles, Elvis, jazz, folk music and much more have gained him a strong following in the GTA. Mike also offers video lecture series on his website, mikedaleymusic.com and is currently writing a history of live music in the Yorkville coffee house district of Toronto in the 1950s and 1960s.

November 22 – Rise of the Far Right – Dr. Barbara Perry, Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, UOIT


Dr. Barbara Perry is a Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Dr Perry is especially interested in the area of right wing extremism, which is very much under-represented among terrorism scholars. She has recently completed a Kanishka funded three year national study of right wing extremism in Canada. Her intent is to continue to explore the dynamics of white power activism over the next few years. Her project was among the very few contemporary studies in the area, so there is still a great deal of research and analysis to be done.