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A series of 6 Dinners organized by the Hart House Community Committee, featuring exciting speakers on a wide range of topics.


Each dinner features a guest speaker who will lead a discussion in a broad range of areas from business, politics, education and the arts. A question and answer session will follow the speaker's presentation - audience participation encouraged and welcome. Dinners before the presentation include hors d'oeuvres, and 3 course meal with wine. A vegetarian option is available on request.

The full series of six dinners is available for purchase now, as is a half-series of any 3 dinners.


Oct 18

Le Canadien Errant

“Through Woods on Water”- a novel, an historic fiction: the life of Étienne Brûlé "as it might have been."

Set in the first decades of the 17th century, it is a coming of age story, a clash of cultures, a saga of exploration and adventure that rebounds between the enclosed corridors and courtyards of Paris, across the open, storm-tossed Atlantic, to the wilderness waterways of the vast Canadian forest. Savignon and Étienne, Wendat and French, are in their mid teens when they meet on the shores of the broad St Lawrence River, brought there by the chalk-faced shaman Ostemoy and the determined navigator Champlain. Inspired by the Wendat heroes Iouskeha and Tawiscaron, who gave shape and texture to the world of the Wendat, the two form an unlikely lifetime bond symbolized by the half turtle Oki or talisman that each wears about his neck. Their connection intensifies through decades of wandering, discovery, torture and adventure, until it concludes with a final confrontation by the Sweetwater Sea. Only then are the halves of the Turtle Oki fused once more.

Nov 22

Mark Bourrie, Big Men Fear Me

You are invited to hear author, journalist and lawyer Mark Bourrie speak about his new book, “Big Men Fear Me”.

When George McCullagh bought The Globe and The Mail and Empire and merged them into the Globe and Mail, the charismatic 31-year-old high school dropout had already made millions on the stock market. It was just the beginning of the meteoric rise of a man widely expected to one day be prime minister of Canada. But the charismatic McCullagh had a dark side. Dogged by the bipolar disorder that destroyed his political ambitions and eventually killed
him, he was all but written out of history.

In “Big Men Fear Me”, award-winning historian Mark Bourrie tells the remarkable storv of McCullagh's inspirational rise and devastating fall, and sheds new light on the resurgence of populist politics, challenges to collective action, and attacks on the free press that characterize our own tumultuous era.

Dec 6

John Northcott, From the Other Side of the World: A Reporter's Asian Experience

CBC "From the Other Side of the World: A Reporter's Asian Experience" -.” I'm thinking about something around covering the other side of the world for the other side of the world. I learned so much in my nearly 6 years in Asia around history, perspective, sensitivities, and how different, seemingly core subjects can become a matter of great debate simply because of the way people look (differently) at the world.”

John Northcott has always tried to put people at the centre of the stories he tells, most recently as anchor at CBC News Network. He has spent over 30 years in journalism and is now back to where his career began, in radio, as the new host of CBC News’ WORLD REPORT on CBC Radio, Friday to Sunday, since November 2022.

Jan 17

Steve Paikin: “John Turner: An Intimate Biography of Canada's 17th Prime Minister”.

For the January 17 2024 Alumni-Student dinner, the Community Committee is pleased to welcome back an old friend, who hardly needs an introduction: Steve Paikin. Steve has been anchor of "The Agenda with Steve Paikin", TVO’s flagship current affairs program, since 2006, and is co-host of the #onpoli podcast. He has written eight books and spent more than 40 years in journalism.

His topic will be “John Turner: An Intimate Biography of Canada's 17th Prime Minister”. In his masterful and engaging biography, acclaimed journalist Steve Paikin brings to life John Turner (1929-2020), one of the most glamorous and successful politicians in Canadian history.

Feb 14

Elinor Frey

Elinor Frey is a leading Canadian-American cellist, gambist, and researcher who specializes in early music and new music. Her acclaimed CDs on the Belgian label Passacaille – most of which are world premiere recordings – include La voce del violoncello (2013), Berlin Sonatas (2015) with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, Fiorè (2017), which features soprano Suzie LeBlanc, and Giuseppe Clemente Dall’Abaco: Cello Sonatas (2020) which received a Diapason d’Or. Her current release is Antonio Vandini: Complete Works, a project in collaboration with Marc Vanscheeuwijck. Her critical edition of Dall’Abaco Sonatas is published in collaboration with Walhall Editions. Frey’s album of new works for Baroque cello, titled Guided By Voices, was released on the Analekta label in 2019. In recent seasons she has performed throughout N. America and Europe, as well as ten years with Pallade Musica. Recipient of a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship, Frey holds degrees from McGill, Mannes, and Juilliard. She teaches early cello at the University of Montréal, lectures at McGill University, and is a Visiting Fellow in Music at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. Frey was awarded Québec’s Opus Prize for “Performer of the Year” in 2021.

Elinor will be performing a concert in Hart House on Thursday, February 15 2023.

Mar 13

Rob Cowley, Recent Trends in the Canadian Auction Industry

Rob Cowley, President of Cowley Abbott Auctioneers.
Rob is a Canadian Art Specialist and will give a talk about current trends in the art market: “Recent Trends in the Canadian Art Scene”. He and his partner Lydia Abbott run 2 live auctions a year in spring and summer. In between they have monthly online auctions. They previously worked at Waddington Auctioneers.
Rob began his career in the auction industry during the spring of 2000, accepting a position as a Client Services Administrator and Accounts Clerk with a Toronto auction company. In the years that followed, Rob received training from specialists in all areas of the auction and appraisal industry, with a focus on historical and post-war Canadian art. His titles were regularly elevated by the firm to varying specialist and managerial roles, eventually acting as Vice President and chief auctioneer of the Canadian art division. Rob's general responsibilities included securing consignments of important works of art for sale and overseeing the day to day administration and operations of the division. Through his more than thirteen years with the company, the Canadian art division grossed in excess of $90 million in sales.

Guest Speakers

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  • Date: Wed, Oct 18, 2023
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  • Time & Duration: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (EST) (3h)
  • Venue:
    Hart House
    7 Hart House Cir,
    Toronto, ON M5S 3H3
    View Map
  • Room: Donald Burwash Dining Room (2005)
  • Note: Priority registration given to U of T students. Early Bird Pricing Available until September 30.
  • Event Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)