Sun Feb 18 – Five Ideas to House the Next Generation

Our event begins at 10:30 am, on the 2nd floor of Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave.

Our featured speaker, Joy Connelly.

In Toronto neighbourhoods that used to be home to blue collar workers,  houses nowadays sell for $1 million and up.  Even dingy basements rent for more than $1000/month. People who have grown up and lived in these neighbourhoods could not afford to move into these neighbourhoods now, and neither can their children.

It’s a story played out across Toronto.  Young people stay in their parents’ basements. Employees commute two hours each way because they can’t afford to live near their jobs. Newcomer families are crowded into one-bedroom apartments.

What can be done? In this talk, our featured speaker, Joy Connelly, will present five ideas to create affordable homes for the next generation.

Joy Connelly has worked in affordable housing for over 30 years. She began doing street outreach at Dundas and Sherbourne, managed a housing co-operative, developed new co-ops, managed communications for a provincial advocacy organization, and as a consultant, completed over 150 projects for federal, provincial, municipal and non-profit clients.  

For our musical performances we will have Willow Rutherford with Cassie Norton.

Willow Rutherford

Willow Rutherford is a troubadour balladeer of folk, jazz, Celtic and traditional standards, with deep roots in the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver indie music scene. She has composed soundtracks for documentaries and animated shorts, and has accompanied rising stars The Fugitives, E.S.L., Annabelle Chvostek, and David Simard. Willow sings in English, French and Spanish.

Cassie Norton

Cassie Norton is the music director of Toronto Oasis and a Toronto based singer-songwriter who tells the stories behind her lyrics with sound. Cassie is a classically trained violinist/folk leaning tunesmith with a punk rock heart. She has recorded two full length albums, Little Strength (2009) and Quiet Wilderness (2010). She teaches a variety of private and ensemble classes at Regent Park School of Music, and at her private studio. 

You can RSVP for this event on our Meetup page.

Sun Feb 11 – Debunking Health and Fitness Myths

Our event begins at 10:30 am, on the 2nd floor of Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave.

Our featured speaker Gaya Navaratnam

What is the secret to weight loss? Just eat less and move more? Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Are long workouts more effective than short ones? Does eating fat make you fat (or unhealthy)?  This Sunday our featured speaker, Gaya Navaratnam, will take a science-based look into these and other long-held beliefs in the field of fitness.

You’ll also get insight into these controversial issues:

  • Are Low-fat, Vegetarian/Vegan and Gluten-free diets the
  • Should you eat many small meals throughout the day? Or Is
    skipping meals ok?
  • Are Ketogenic and Low-carbohydrate diets just fads?
  • Strength training: will it make you (especially women) bulky?
  • Should you do Sit ups, Crunches, Planks for good looking abs?
  • Are Saturated Fats bad for us?
  • Are Carbohydrates the preferred fuel of the body and brain?
  • Are Fruits good for us?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight and weren’t successful or you’re struggling with your health (diabetes, high blood pressure) or you’d just like to learn about your body and what’s best for it, this talk is for you.

Gaya is an entrepreneur, Certified Personal Trainer, Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist and mom of 4. She owns and operates a mobile fitness business – coaching clients and inspiring change in health and fitness. She also runs a Parent and Tot Fitness program for the YMCA. For the past decade she has researched and applied science-based principles in her life, and those of her clients and family. Her passion is sharing what works and debunking what doesn’t. Her website is

Our musician will be the “one man band” Chad McCoy 

You can RSVP for this event on our Meetup page at

The Organic Movement and Regenerative Agriculture – Sun Feb 4

This coming Sunday our gathering will as usual be at 10:30am in the Koffler building, 569 Spadina Ave.

Join us for an informative conversation about organic food. What does certified organic mean? What are the true benefits? What is a GMO? And why fungus might save us all!

Sarah Dobec is the Marketing Manager and Public Relations Coordinator at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market and a proud board member for the Canadian Organic Growers and The Carrot Cache. She received her Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University, her Certified Nutritional Practitioner designation from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and her Public Relations Certificate from the University of Toronto. She is an educator, speaker and urban organic farmer. Sarah had the fortune of spending 5 months volunteering on an organic farm where she experienced food from seed to harvest and all the weeding in between!

And we are so excited to be welcoming back musical guest Kobena Aquaa-Harrison, whose multi-instrumental African music and story telling is bound to enchant you!

As usual you can RSVP for this on the Meetup page at

Sun Jan 28 – Climate Change – Information and Inspiration for The Challenge of our Time

As usual our gathering will be at 10:30am, on the 2nd floor of Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave.

With glaciers melting, seas rising, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record coming this century, the threat of climate change has never been clearer. But with solar, wind, and other clean energy solutions becoming more affordable and accessible every year, neither has the way forward. And with 195 countries signing the historic Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gases the world is finally united in working to seize the promise of renewables and create a safe, sustainable, and prosperous future powered by clean energy.

This is a critical moment in the fight against climate change. We can all make a difference. We can all be the voice of reality.

Our feature speaker, Deb Ellis, will have three core themes to her presentation:

  • We must solve the climate crisis: We have a moral obligation to ourselves and future generations to stop the crisis devastating our planet.
    • We can solve the climate crisis: We have the affordable clean energy technologies to power our economy and end the crisis in our hands today.
    • We will solve the climate crisis: With millions of citizens standing up to force our leaders to act, we will solve the crisis together. Deb Ellis is the Founder and President of Wings to Fly, a training and development company based in the Greater Toronto Area, and has been a guest lecturer at Schulich School of Business, York University, Seneca College, and Ryerson University. She provides people in organizations tools for success through workshops on High Performing Teams, Communication Skills, Emotional Intelligence and Interaction Styles.

Deb earned her Masters Degree in Education, and is certified in Personality Dimensions®, MBTI®, EQ-I® True Colors®, and CTI Coach Training. Deb had the privilege of being trained last year by former US Vice President Al Gore to serve as a volunteer Climate Reality Leader and is one of thousands of trained Climate Reality Leaders from over 135 countries.

Our musical performer will be Lindsay Foote. Her song “Silence” was featured on CBC Metro Morning, CBC Big City Small World, and CJRU Double Booked. Lindsay was a finalist in the Songwriter Serenade contest in Austin. In the summer of 2017, she successfully completed an East Coast Canadian tour followed by a US Tour. For more information, please checkout

You can RSVP for this on our Meetup page at

Sun Jan 21: Tell Me the Old, Old Story

Our gathering this coming Sunday will as usual be at 10:30am, in the 2nd floor room of Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave.

The Gospel narrative of Christianity is very enticing. Christianity and indeed all Abrahamic religions have stories that embrace the believer. In contrast, the scientific, rationalist narrative, despite having the matrix for an incredibly interesting story, lacks an embracing narrative. The consequences and implications of this reality, and possible remedies will be discussed by our feature speaker, Don Cullen.

Don Cullen is an historic figure in Toronto’s arts community having founded the Bohemian Embassy in Yorkville in the 1960s. The Bohemian Embassy was a coffee house and cultural hub for Toronto’s arts community. It premiered 30 productions in 6 years, showcasing folk music artists including Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Ian & Sylvia, and the trio Sharon, Lois & Bram. The entertainment at the Bohemian Embassy also included a once a week reading series with appearances from Margaret Atwood, Al Purdy, and Gwendolyn MacEwen.

Don Cullen was the head/contributing writer for over 200 TV shows, many of them comedy variety sketches and performed as an actor in over 800 TV shows. He worked for the Wayne and Shuster comedy show and also performed in the New York Broadway comedy stage revue Beyond the Fringe. Don also has had a long career with CBC radio, having performed 1500 times and written a 1000 radio shows. In the 1970’s and 80’s, Don was the Artistic Co-director of the Leacock Festival of Humour in Orillia, ON. We are so enthused to have Don Cullen be our featured speaker!

Our musical performers will be Emilyn Stam and John Williams. Emilyn Stam is a Toronto-based fiddler, pianist and accordionist who creates, performs, records and teaches in folk, trad, and neo-trad styles from Europe and Canada.

She has 4 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominations, (The Shoeless, Eh?!, Lemon Bucket Orkestra) and 2 Juno Award Nominations (Lemon Bucket Orkestra). Emilyn performed in both seasons of the TV show Galala (UNIS TV), as a member of the house band (synths, organ, piano, accordion, violin), co-arranger and co-composer. For more on our musical performer, please check out her website

Invisible Adaptation – Sun Jan 14

Our gathering this coming Sunday will as usual be at 10:30am, in the Koffler Building, 569 Spadina Ave., 2nd floor.

Our featured speaker will be Brett Matthews. In 2012 Brett started a not-for-profit social enterprise, My Oral Village. He will discuss the learning path that led to its formation and that drives it today. From our Western vantage point, nearly a quarter of human species are almost invisible. Brett has spent much of his career learning from this population. They are subsistence farmers, mostly offline, living in oral cultures (in contrast to modern literate cultures). But they never ignore the modern world around them. In fact they sacrifice much trying to enter it or – failing that – crafting lives adapted to our alien ways.

Our musical performer will be Cassie Norton.

As usual, you can RSVP on Meetup, at

Sun Jan 7: Science, Pseudoscience and Truth

This coming Sunday we will be back to our normal gatherings in the Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave., 10:30am.

Dan Cooperstock will talk about a subject dear to his heart, and very consistent with our core value “Reality is known through reason” – the difference between science and pseudoscience. He will define terms, explain how the scientific method is applied in medical research, and discuss problems about truth and proof that come up. He will give his take on “alternative medicine”, and also touch on paranormal phenomena and ESP, the anti-vaccine movement, and mental phenomena like confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance that make us susceptible to believing untruths.

Dan is a member of the Toronto Oasis leadership team, a non-theist Quaker, and a software entrepreneur, writing and selling software for charities and churches. His initial university training was in Math and Philosophy – concentrating on logic – which certainly fits with his insistence on rationality.

Our musician this week will be Erik Bleich. Erik is a northwestern Ontario ex-pat living in Toronto, and one of our favorite Oasis musicians!  He gives us everything from street lit lullabies to manic, rambling romps. It’s his vision of folk music for the Internet Age!

You can RSVP for this event on the Meetup page at

Sun Dec 17: Refugee Support; Thu Dec 21 Winter Solstice Party!

Our gathering on Sunday December 17 will be at 10:30am in our usual 2nd floor room in the Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave.

We are honoured to welcome Eusebio Garcia, the refugee settlement worker for the Toronto Quaker Meeting to speak with us this week.

Eusebio works on the front lines, assisting refugees in many stages of the process of settling in Canada. He will speak to Oasis about the nature of this process, and some of the problems refugees face in Canada, sharing a first-hand perspective and personal experiences.

And on the Oasis Stage!

Lady Son (aka Yeti Ajasin) has been described as one of the most arresting voices on the Canadian music scene, often drawing comparisons to music legend Celia Cruz.  Lady Son redefines Afro-Latin grooves for the 21st century. Though Canadian-born of Italian-Nigerian-Jewish heritage, Lady Son’s deep love and appreciation for Latin rhythms has its roots in Cuba. Her debut CD, Semillas, explored her dual passion for Nuyorican-style salsa and Guajiro culture and earned her a New Music Award for Best World Album.

You can RSVP on the Meetup page at

And Thursday December 21st at 7pm please join us at Side Bar, 147 Danforth Ave., for a Winter Solstice Party! (Ask the host or hostess for Oasis Toronto.)

Brighten up this festive season with a  secular solstice celebration of the longest night of the year! This will be a casual evening of dining, chatting, games and give aways. Also a great opportunity to check out the Danforth’s newest food/drink offering (So new their website isn’t up yet. The menu will be posted in the Meetup page’s comments section).

The pub is located within easy walking distance of Broadview subway station and we encourage you to take transit or uber/taxi. The Danforth Music Hall next door is having a concert that night so immediately adjacent parking will be limited.

You can RSVP for this on Meetup at



Solo Travel – Sustainable Travel with Janice Waugh

As usual our gathering this coming Sunday December 10th at 10:30am will be in the Koffler Centre, 569 Spadina Ave., 2nd floor.

This week our speaker is Janice Waugh who will be talking to us about solo travel and sustainable travel, which is amazing since she wrote the book on it!

A love of travel, personal loss, and an empty nest all conspired for Janice Waugh to begin Solo Traveler in 2009. Resonating with thousands of readers, it quickly went from personal to public and the Solo Traveler Project began. The online publication receives 100,000 readers monthly and the Facebook community has 225,000 active travelers sharing information daily. Janice speaks widely on travel and travel publishing. She has spoken at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, the World Travel Market in London, TBEX and the Social Travel Summit in Europe.

There is a World of Options to Overtourism
Tourism can be an answer to some social problems but it is a cause of others. 2017 was declared the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UN World Tourism Council. Overtourism is a major focus of the initiative and is getting more attention in the news and is being addressed at tourism conferences. The problem of overtourism requires the attention of both Destination Marketing Organizations and travelers. As a person who has never met a destination she didn’t like, Janice will share the background to the problem and some traveler solutions.

Our talented and charming musicians this week are Stephanie Baptist and Rick Miller.  Rick and Stephanie have been partners on and off stage since meeting as Shakespearean lovers in Montreal in 1995. Now living in Toronto, Miller is one of Canada’s best-known touring stage performers, and Baptist is a respected sexual health educator. They have both been guest speakers at Toronto Oasis, and are honoured to be invited back as musicians. Rick and Stephanie have a long history of playing music as a duo, and with their 10-piece party band, TRAINWRECK. For more info, please visit, or

And don’t forget your food bank donations!  We will be collecting cash or non-perishable food items throughout the month of December.  Those who donate will be entered in a draw for a gift basket.

Environmental Stewardship – an Aboriginal Perspective

Our next Gathering is Sunday December 3rd, as usual at 10:30am in the Koffler building, 569 Spadina Ave., 2nd floor.

This week at Oasis we are thrilled to have Danny Beaton sharing with us his life and work, with a focus on environmental stewardship from an Aboriginal perspective.

Danny Beaton is a Turtle Clan Mohawk of Grand River Six Nations Territory. Using a diversity of media – including photography, music, film, writing and speaking – Danny has spent the past three decades engaged in Native activism for Mother Earth.

And on the Oasis Stage: Willow Rutherford!

Willow Rutherford is an accordion balladeer of folk, jazz, Celtic and traditional standards, with deep roots in the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver indie music scenes.

Each Sunday Gathering in December we will be accepting food bank donations (cash or non-perishable food).