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).

Tales of the Ancient: Qur’anic Stories and Mesopotamian Myths

This Sunday November 26th at 10:30am, we will be meeting in our usual 2nd floor room in the Koffler Building, 569 Spadina Ave.

Anyone who has read the stories from Mesopotamian mythology will notice striking parallels between them and the stories in the Old Testament and the Qur’an, especially the story of creation. This begs the question: were the three major monotheistic religions influenced by ancient Mesopotamian myths? Will exploring the ancient texts from Mesopotamia explain the origin of the stories in the Qur’an? Mohammed Jaber will bring to us a detailed comparison between the ancient tablets from Mesopotamia with the Islamic central text and propose a theory for the origins of the main stories in the Qur’an.

Mohammed Jaber is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in Psychology and minoring in Classical Studies and Philosophy. He discovered a passion for the study of classical antiquity while taking a course on Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythologies in his second year at university. Ever since, he’s been interested in researching the origin of modern religions and their link to ancient mythology.

Our musicians this week will be Cassie Norton and Tristan Murphy.

Mobility Matters – Oasis Building Wheelchairs in Nicaragua

We are back in our usual accessible 2nd floor room at Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave. this week, Sunday November 19th, as usual at 10:30am.

Our speaker will be Michelle Morgan from the Oasis Humanitarian Relief.

Michelle Morgan from Kansas City Oasis and executive director of Oasis Humanitarian Relief will be speaking with us about Mobility Matters Humanitarian Outreach, the Oasis Network charity that takes small teams of people to the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua to assemble and distribute free wheelchairs to those with the greatest need.

Michelle Morgan is a former evangelical Christian leader and it was during her years in ministry she discovered her passion for international humanitarian work. Prior to leaving the church in April 2015, Michelle was in the process of relocating to Nicaragua as a full-time missionary. However, after 16 years of devout faith and service, Michelle Morgan came to realize there wasn’t adequate support for her long-held religious beliefs. Despite this, Michelle was determined to continue her international humanitarian work and out of that determination, Oasis Humanitarian Relief and Mobility Matters were born.

Today Michelle and her husband, James Morgan, both members of The Clergy Project (an organization “For current and former religious professionals without supernatural beliefs”), regularly attend Kansas City Oasis where they organize Community Groups and Michelle serves as occasional emcee. Michelle also serves on the Oasis Network Board of Directors and is the executive director of Oasis Humanitarian Relief.

And on the Oasis stage, Kathryn Merriam.

Kathryn’s music weaves between storytelling and soundscapes, exploring the intersections between folk song tradition and mystical music.

Creating Communities and Spaces for Everyone

Our speaker this week is Adil Dhalla from the Centre for Social Innovation.

As the Executive Director at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), Adil Dhalla has been learning how to foster an enabling and healthy culture for thousands of social innovators that access CSI’s space and services every day. Paramount to his work is understanding the conditions by which we create spaces that are diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible because without everyone being at the table, we will continue to make the same mistakes and exist in a society that privileges the few. In his talk, he will share the work CSI is doing in this area and his learnings around topics like power, privilege and courageous conversations.

Adil Dhalla is a civic entrepreneur and community organizer who is driven to co-create new and inclusive economies. He is the Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), which is a not-for- profit organization that provides space, services and programs to  over 2,000 social mission organizations annually. In addition to his role at CSI, he Chairs the Board for the award-winning StopGap Foundation, which focuses on improving physical accessibility in communities and he also co-founded and continues to chair Camp Reset, a not-for- profit and acclaimed summer camp for adults that is uniquely addressing issues around mental health and loneliness for adults through play and digital detoxing.

Adil was recently named a BALLE Fellow, awarded to local economy leaders who are creating the new economy. He is the first Muslim to ever receive the honour.

Our musical guests will be Emilyn Stam and John David Williams, who play folk music from North America, West and Eastern Europe, old jazz, improvisations and their own compositions.

As usual we will meet in Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave., at 10:30am, though we are in the 1st floor room this week. And you can RSVP at

Sun. Nov. 5, 10:30am: Grief Without Belief: How Do Atheists Deal With Death?

This week, Ali Rizvi will speak to the question:

What does atheism have to offer as a substitute for the emotional comfort religion offers believers in facing their own death, or that of their loved ones?

Ali is the award-winning author of the book, The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason (St. Martin’s Press, 2016). Ali grew up in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, as part of a progressive Muslim family, before he moved permanently to Canada in his twenties. As a physician, he trained in pathology (with fellowship in oncologic pathology) at SUNY Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and also holds a master of science degree in biochemistry from McMaster University. In 2011, he switched his career to medical communications so he could focus more on his writing. Ali is an avid and vocal advocate for secularism, science, and reform, particularly in the Muslim community. He has been featured on CNN, in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vox, The Huffington Post, CBC, BBC, the New York Post, and a range of other major media outlets. The Atheist Muslim won the 2016 Morris D. Forkosch Award for Best Book from the Center for Inquiry.

Our musicians will be Cassie Norton, Eric Bleich and Tristan Murphy.

As always, we meet in the Koffler Building, 569 Spadina Ave., and we’re back in our normal 2nd floor room. You can RSVP on our Meetup site at

Sun. Oct 29 10:30am – Psychotherapy in theory and practice: how do various approaches work?

Our speaker next Sunday will be Lindsay Kochen.

This presentation will discuss the theory and practice behind various psychotherapeutic approaches and how different models can help to alleviate emotional pain and facilitate growth. Each approach is informed by its theory of what our distress may stem from. In practice, there is overlap between approaches, but having an understanding of various options can be useful when deciding how to proceed with our own personal work.

Lindsay is a therapist at a mindfulness-based clinic in downtown Toronto, where she specializes in treating trauma. She has been working in the mental health field for the last decade in both community settings and the private sector. Lindsay’s education includes a Master’s degree in clinical social work from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Masters in sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in psychology, anthropology, and semiotics from the University of Toronto. She continues to train in and study healing models that address the mind, body, emotions, and spirit.

Our musical performer will be singer songwriter Dana Sipos.

We will be meeting in the 1st floor auditorium this week, rather than our usual 2nd floor space.

If you wish to RSVP, you can do so on our Meetup page at

Sun. Oct. 22 10:30am – Adventures in Creating Positive Social Change

Through personal narrative, Pascal Murphy will explore how he and his community are creating the world we want to see through joyful disruption.

Pascal is an award winning Instructor at Ryerson University who teaches in the areas of Homelessness, Disasters and Social and Environmental Justice. He was critical in the creation of the Social Justice and Peace Studies program at King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario and completed his degree in this program in 2004, followed by a Masters in Environmental Studies at York University in 2009. Today, Pascal is Board President for St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, one of Toronto’s largest non-governmental/non-profit affordable and supportive housing providers. Pascal is a passionate advocate for social justice, a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ2S+ community and co-founder of Peace Flag House, a community-orientated creative agency in Toronto, Ontario focused on cultivating positive social and environmental change.

And bringing music to us…

Peter Mathers is an amazing classical, jazz, and flamenco guitarist. He will be joined by singer Ella Farida.

Sun. Oct. 15, 10:30am: Dispelling the Myths of 1492

Prepare to be inspired by a retelling of actual histories by Dave Patterson, the 1492 guy, and come to realize that all European settlers and Indians were peers and co-equals – but then people forgot.

These real-life events are compelling: Europeans with disease, poor health & diet and no bathing; Western Hemisphere healthy and eating well; the first true democracy; a 700-year-old single road system with one-quarter-of-a-million kilometres of stone roadway; gifts of 75% of our world’s foods; the genesis of women’s rights; 1000+ pyramids; they had large populations and the land was taken already; bigger cities than Europe; our concepts of freedom and liberty  – there’s hundreds of these well-documented accounts.

Because little of this may be on your radar, you are able to look at your own day today, and recognize the extraordinary number of Indian gifts to the world. We love our way of life, so my listeners are challenged to go out and transform some worldviews and attitudes. They feel better and more guilt-free. The audience members can then experience their own personal truth and reconciliation.

For Dave Patterson something in him changed in 1999, when he first heard Ray Fadden’s (a teacher and influential figure among the Mohawks of Akwesasne) message on his car radio. It was at that moment that something changed in Dave and he was never the same. Dave Patterson is convinced that if it could happen to him, it could happen to others.

He loves and cares for his subject, as well as the people he talks to. That’s why his communication is clear, fun, and practical.

And returning to the Oasis stage!

Two of our favorites will be with us this week; Cassie Norton and Tristan Murphy!  Those of you who have joined us at our Oasis pub nights and heard Cassie and Tristan play together will know we are in for a special treat.

As always there will be coffee and potluck snacks, and you can RSVP for this event at

Sun Oct 8, 10:30am – Trust, An Artistic Journey

This week at Oasis, Azadeh Piraziman will join us to speak about her journey as she has traveled from Iran to Canada and an artistic journey influenced by her upbringing and her new experiences in Canada. A remarkable and articulate young woman, you will enjoy her story.

Azadeh Pirazimian is a Toronto based multidisciplinary artist who has been absolutely fascinated by the different forms of art, either visual arts or drama.  She received a B.A. in painting and an M.A in Visual Communications, followed by a six year career as an art lecturer at the University level in Iran.

In 2015 Azadeh moved to Canada and participated in a course in Essential Illustration in OCAD University. At the same time, she engaged with Vibe Arts For Children and Youth as an established artist. Later in 2016 she joined the Mural Career Development Certificate Program and worked with Mural Routes Organisation as part of their creative mural team. She also worked with Blinc Studios as a muralist to create several murals in Toronto.

In 2017 Azadeh joined the Canadian Center for Language and Cultural Studies (CCLCS) to gain drama experience in English while working as a visual arts instructor in the Rosetta School Of Visual Art.

And returning to the Oasis stage:

Kobena Aquaa-Harrison is a Toronto based singer songwriter originally from Ghana.  His blend of story telling and music captivates his audience.

As always, we will have coffee and snacks (bring your favourites!) and you can RSVP for this event on our Meetup page at