Forbidden Fruit: Banned, Censored, and Challenged books from Dante to Harry Potter

October 7


From the time of Socrates, society has tried to control the expression of thought. This lecture took a quick look at the way in which censorship has manifested itself in Western civilization from the time of the Renaissance to the present day, especially as new challenges to freedom of expression are once again beginning to manifest themselves among us.

Pearce J. (P.J.) Carefoote is the Head of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.



Ida Nambeya treated us to a most interesting and informative afternoon when she spoke on Grandmothers to Grandmothers, a project whereby Canadians assist grandmothers in Africa, primarily in countries south of the Sahara Desert. These grandmothers are caring for children whose parents have died of AIDS. Some of the women are feeding, clothing and raising a dozen children. Idah, who is is from Zambia, told us about the African side of the project. Helen Fisch, a volunteer from Toronto, told us about what Canadians are doing. It was heartwarming to see what is being accomplished by Africans and North Americans working together.

-Harolyn Panetta

J.D.M Stewart on Being Prime Minister September 16

On Monday, September 16th, our members welcomed author of Being Prime Minister, J.D.M. Stewart.  He took us behind the scenes of the Prime Ministers’ office to give anecdotes and personal details of our remarkable, very human Prime Ministers.  It was a fun jaunt through Canada’s highest office. 

– Ruth

AN ELECTION PRIMER - Bob Rae September 10

On September 10th, the UWC hosted an evening with Bob Rae. Innis College kindly provided their Town Hall as a venue and a crowd of approximately 150 listened to Mr. Rae's thoughts on the upcoming election. A spirited question and answer period followed. Admission was by donation and we raised over $2900 for scholarships administered by our UWC (Toronto) Foundation. Many thanks to all who came and brought guests to this successful event.


Four times this summer, many of us met on the patio to enjoy a drink, a meal or just to chat.  It was a wonderful way to get to know each other better.  A group of our younger members also met, and through lively discussions discovered how much they have in common.  



Ann Birch with her granddaughter Lee Birch

Ann Birch with her granddaughter Lee Birch

On Thursday, July 4th, UWC members and friends turned out for a Speaker Luncheon with author Ann Birch as our speaker. Ann is an award-winning teacher and a former associate professor in the Faculty of Education at York University and the University of Toronto.  She is the author of two historical novels Settlement and Duelling in a New World as well as a contemporary novel The Secret Life of Roberta Greaves which draws on her long connection with Toronto universities.  Ann talked about the research for her books and gave examples of how she fleshed out her characters using information that she learned. A lively discussion followed her presentation.

Scholarship Reception June 24

What a celebration!!   Our UWC Scholarship Reception, held on Monday, June 24, was a wonderful acknowledgement of our scholarship recipients. 
Our first year of overseeing our scholarship process culminated in the presentation of eight awards. 

The following six young women received our $4000.00 UWC Toronto Scholarships:
Smia Baig - Riverdale Collegiate Institute
Jateya Grbic - Harbord Collegiate Institute
Rajitha Gunaseelan - Central Toronto Academy
Maha Pervez - Monarch Park Collegiate Institute
Sarania Thavakaran - Jarvis Collegiate Institute
Lisa Yu - Central Technical School

The UWC Toronto Special Award of $2000.00 was awarded to: Bahja Farah - York Memorial Collegiate Institute

The Mary Macdonald Scholarship of $25,000 was presented to:
Alyssa Clark - York Memorial Collegiate Institute

We were delighted to host so many parents and family members of our award winners. Their pride was palpable. Support from school staff members who attended was truly appreciated. 

 We were honoured to have five representatives from the Mary Macdonald family present at the reception. Joan Hunter presented the Mary Macdonald Scholarship with a very touching tribute to her aunt. 

Thank you to the great number of our club members who joined us in celebrating these incredible young women. 

We wish all our award winners continued academic success and are looking forward to hearing from them as they transition to university life.  

Respectfully submitted,
- Chris Ward


Nick Mount ON The CanLit Boom of the 60s June 17

On Monday June 17 Nick Mount, U of T Professor of English Literature, gave us an engaging talk on CanLit.

The unique circumstances that lead to the development of CanLit were most interesting, as well as the contribution of individuals in the media such as Robert Fulford of the Toronto Starand Robert Weaver of CBC’s Anthology. Nick does not believe that we will see a similar phenomenon in Canadian literature again.

Everyone enjoyed hearing about favourite books and authors from the past, and being introduced to Canadian authors we may have missed. The library has both paper and ebook copies of The Torontonians  by Phyllis Brett Young, which Nick mentioned.  Many members are looking forward to reading Nick’s most recent bookArrival: The Story of CanLit.

Nick’s talk renewed many members interest in CanLit so hopefully a Canadian novel or book of poetry will be on everyone’s summer reading list. 

-Susan Anderson 

Stratford Festival Theatre Outing June 13

Armed with umbrellas, the intrepid ones braved fog and rain, at times, a deluge, for the Stratford trip on June 13.  We saw Othelloin the afternoon at the Festival Theatre. It was an excellent production with actor Michael Blake as Othello conveying the overwhelming jealousy and catastrophic obsession so well.  The role of Iago was played brilliantly with such conniving hatefulness.  We all very much enjoyed the play.  

Some of our members returned on the early bus while the rest set off for dinner and the second play Private Lives at the Avon Theatre.  I found this production lacking in the sophistication that is usually part of a Noel Coward play, but we certainly enjoyed the witty repartee.  

Reports of the Raptors final game filled the bus on the way home:  such tension followed by great joy at the victory as reported by people’s cell phones.  All in all, a long but satisfying day!

Thanks to Kathy Nolan-Garner has offered gallantly to be the convenor of the Stratford trip next season.

- Susan Freeman

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On June 12th, the UWC hosted our first Book Social at the Faculty Club.  Over 60 women attended and, over a glass of wine, bought a wonderful selection of summer reads.   The room was full of good cheer, literary banter and laughter.  Ellen Thompson also had her beautiful Ecochic necklaces on offer.  

The proceeds of the sale will go to our UWC Foundation.  After expenses, we made over $1440.  Thanks to everyone who attended and brought guests.  Special thanks to Tori Brown and daughters Maisie, Candace, Olivia and Anna who so kindly helped out.
- Marianne Anderson

Out & About - The Textile Museum of Canada May 29

I was able to tell Corinne Murray, our docent for the tour and a UWC member, that she had added 110% to my appreciation of the work of Nadia Myre!  The artist’s handwork balanced indigenous and colonial themes and a wide range of styles.  What did that red net mean, and what was the story behind the beadwork?  We admired wallpaper with colonial and indigenous motifs, and a range of items made from recreated fragments of clay pipes.  


The visit was followed by a delicious dim sum lunch at Lai Wah Heen, where we smartly asked Ellen Thompson to order for us. We quickly discovered who was or was not comfortable with chopsticks, and enjoyed the food and the conversation in the quiet atmosphere of the restaurant.  

- Elizabeth Mowat



On Monday, May 13th, there was a good turnout to hear our Dinner Speaker, Dr. John Percy, speak about how Toronto became a “centre of the universe” for astral research and development. We heard about the city’s history with astronomy, dating back to the 1840s. That included Canadians such as Sir Sandford Fleming, who pioneered global standard time, to Helen Sawyer Hogg, who encouraged women to pursue science in the 20th century and popularized astronomy. The event displayed the impact of both Canada’s and Toronto’s relatively unknown astronomy community on the world.

- Ruth Matheson

The 40th Annual General Meeting of the CFUW Ontario Council May 10 -11

Ana Bailão, Deputy Mayor of Toronto, arrived at the Faculty Club on Friday night to help us open the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the CFUW, Ontario Conference to a packed room of delegates coming from all over Ontario. As an emigrant to Canada at the age of fifteen, unable to speak English, she could empathize with women who are struggling to gain a foothold in Canada. Her words were inspiring and gave a shining example of what could be achieved through integrity and hard work.

The next morning, we were again given an inspiring glimpse into the life of yet another determined woman. Our Former Premier, Kathleen Wynne, held the audience in rapt attention from the moment she stepped up to the microphone as she related her life story, with all its peaks and valleys, in humble yet impressive words that everyone could relate to. As she concluded, the audience jumped to their feet to give her a standing ovation. With the presentation of three very interesting workshops on Saturday afternoon and delicious food served by the Faculty Club, the delegates left happy and ready to take their enthusiasm back to their home clubs.

Many thanks to Pat Joyce and her Committee for an enlightening two days of empowerment.

- Rosemary Hales.

Out & About at Hart House April 24

On April 24th members met at Hart House in the Gallery Grill and enjoyed a nice lunch before commencing a tour of Hart House’s Permanent Art Collection. Our guide walked us through various areas at Hart House and provided information about the variety of artworks. When the tour concluded after 45 minutes, we had only seen a portion of the extensive collection of art.  The art is changed from time to time, a reason to revisit the Collection and have lunch at the Gallery Grill at a later date.

- Wendy McCallum

2019 AGM April 15


Our Annual General Meeting was held on April 15. So many of you chose to attend and support the actions of the Board of Directors. It was great to see.

The auditor’s report was accepted and John Quigg, of Nethercott Co. was appointed for the next year. The treasurer presented the financial report and the budget for this year. A motion was passed to add another $30,000 to our charitable giving in 2019. The new constitution was written to meet the impending guidelines for not for profit organizations and was worked on by our committee and our lawyer, Shelina Ali. The constitution was approved as passed by the Board of Directors at their March 4 meeting, as published in an e-mail to all members on March 15. The president thanked the committee for their sterling work and thanked all of the members of the board for their wonderful contributions in the past year.

Now that the new UWC (Toronto) Foundation has its charitable status and the new constitution is approved, the Board can concentrate on all of our charitable works, our scholarships and all of the great activities that are enjoyed by our members. Here’s to us!!

- Susan

This year’s AGM was concluded with thanks and a presentation of flowers, to our President Susan Freeman, on behalf of the UWC Board and members. As President, Susan has willingly accepted enormous responsibilities and has encountered many challenges since her term began. Whatever the nature of the job, Susan has tackled it with enthusiasm, vision, a positive spirit and a great deal of hard work. Susan never gives up. She is tenacious, and for that, we can all be grateful. Her tireless leadership has made our club what it is today, active, engaged and growing.

- Jane

Out & About to the Heliconian Club March 26

On March 26th, 15 members and guests of UWC enjoyed a memorable evening at the historic Heliconian Hall in the heart of Yorkville.

Before the Talk, Artist on Fire, we viewed an art exhibit tribute to Joyce Weiland (1930-1998) a ground breaking Canadian filmmaker and mixed media artist. Members of the Heliconian Club also presented their work that reflects on Joyce’s life and art.

Frances Patella, a photo-based mixed media artist, and former assistant to Joyce Wieland, related stories giving us an insight into Wieland’s life and studio practice. She shared how her work has been impacted as a result of her time with Wieland, and reminded us of how female artists in Canada have often been ignored, forgotten and marginalized.

Special UWC guest, Betty Ann Jordan, joined us that evening. Founder of Art InSite tours, Betty Ann is an arts writer, commentator and cultural tour expert.

Thanks again to the Heliconian Club for a warm welcome, fabulous refreshments and enjoyable evening.

- Martha Dove

International Dining - Sabai Sabai March 13

Sabai Sabai turned out to be a big success. It’s only flaw was the sound level and the poor acoustics. The food was outstanding. The owners are part of the family that owns the popular Pei Restaurant and both rely on Northern Thai cuisine. We accidently broke into two groups. The first group all ordered their own dish. The second and larger group decided to do just one order with diners being able to taste and sample from four different dishes. Sabai Sabai’s most popular dish, by a landslide, is their Pork Gra Prao. It was very good. But another star was their Thai BBQ chicken.

Thanks to Ellen Thompson (who spent a majority of her youth in Thailand) for recommending the place and, also to Elizabeth Black for discovering the BBQ chicken. It really was outstanding.

- Susan Le Roy

Spotlight on Us- Joan Connolly February 20

Make no mistake!  Joan Connolly is an artist.  Joan braved the inclement weather and drove from Aurora to be our Spotlight speaker on February 20th.  She has been the proprietor of Pine Door Salon, for over 30 years, offering a wide range of skin care services.  Joan is a skilled technician with multiple advanced certificates in skin care aesthetics and a business degree from Seneca.  Regardless of a client’s age, Joan uses a technique that is not about disguising age, but rather allows everyone to put their best face forward.  The evening talk was informative and fun, followed by dinner in the pub.


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On January 9, nineteen of us met at Ruby Watcho on Queen St E to kick-start our 2019 International Dining adventures. Opened in 2010 by celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford, renowned for her culinary expertise and a long time star on the Food Network, this restaurant brings back simple wholesome food. Co-Chef Lora Kirk has international culinary experience and has won many awards. She returned to Canada in 2010 to join Chef Lynn, and is an advocate for supporting local farmers and growers.

The dinner was a fixed menu shared by all. See the February newsletter for course-by-course details. Overall a lovely meal we would all highly recommend.

Out & about to the art gallery January 11

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Sixteen of our members gathered at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg on January 11 to visit the David Milne Exhibition. Even though it was a frosty day, everyone was in warm spirits as our docent , June, shared her vast knowledge of the artist's life and his painting technique. Luncheon after the tour, once it arrived, was delicious. Many thanks to the drivers, Marianne, Susan LR, Kathy, Ruth and Mary. Due to the enthusiastic response perhaps we should consider future art outings.

our festive party December 11, 2018

On December 11th, members of the University Women's Club and guests gathered for
their Annual Festive Party in the beautiful lounge at the Faculty Club.
Well-known actress, Lorna Wilson, delivered an eloquent rendition of O. Henry's
classic Gift of the Magi to the sold-out crowd. Following a sumptuous dinner,
pianist Becky Windhager entertained with a brilliant medley of familiar
Christmas melodies. The evening ended on a high note as gifts were presented to
representatives from Romero House to be delivered to their refugee residents. 

Memorial Luncheon december 6, 2018

The Memorial Luncheon on December 6th had an excellent turnout to hear Peggy Nash speak about Ending Gender-Based Violence. Members from all six Central Toronto Clubs were inspired by her messages: The fight for women’s rights is never over, it’s a comma not a period; and the more women gain positions of power, the less they will be viewed as vulnerable targets. This shares the tenets of the CFUW that is dedicated to advancing the status of women and supporting the education of women and girls.

Spotlight on Us - Lily contento November 20, 2018

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Over 20 of our members and guests had the pleasure of learning the skillful art of flower arrangement on November 20, from one of our newer members, Lily Contento. Lily highlighted real estate dynamics and the importance of visual appeal, in her presentation, “How Does Your Money Grow.” As an agent ( and the owner of an online flower shop (, Lily has successfully paired her professional expertise, recognizing the value of flowers as a staging strategy. Mary Aziz and Martha Dove were delighted to win the breathtakingly beautiful arrangements in the draw at the end of the evening.

International Dining November 13, 2018

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Eleven of us met up at Country Style a Hungarian restaurant on Bloor just east of the Bathurst subway. While the meals were very good, and the two wait staff were doing their best to put all of us at one table, the wait time for service was long. The dining room was full! I think all of us took home doggie bags as the servings were huge.

Annual Business Meeting November 5, 2018

On Monday, November 5, 2018 there was a good turn out at our Annual Business Meeting to discuss UWC Toronto's financial status and planned charitable giving.

UWC Treasurer, Kathy Nolan-Garner, presented September 2018's financial statements and gave an overview of past and present donations. She noted that since 2012, UWC Toronto has donated over $275,000. At the meeting, members approved additional giving in 2018 of $5,000 to CFUW 100 Year Anniversary Scholarship, and $2,000 for post-secondary scholarships to graduates in schools in the old city of York.

For 2019, members approved donating $30,000 to our new charity UWC (Toronto) Foundation to be used for post-secondary scholarships for students, as recommended by the Scholarship Committee and approved by Board of Directors of UWC (Toronto) Foundation.


The Adventures of a Third Culture Kid September 24, 2018

On September 24 UWC member Ellen Thompson shared the story of her life growing up overseas and her search for the perfect answer to the simple question, “Where are you from?” She took us on a wonderful journey covering Africa, Asia and Europe.

Golden memories Tea September 18, 2018

The Golden Memories Tea party was held on September 18th at the Amica/Balmoral Club to honour our senior members.

As Honoured Guests arrived they were welcomed with beautiful sweetheart rose corsages that had been lovingly made by club members the previous night under the guidance of the very talented Lily Contento. The sun shone through the atrium windows on the tea table laden with delectable goodies as Judith Lewis and Nancy Lunney graciously poured tea for everyone. After lunch, several of our senior members related past stories of the club in earlier days, much to everyone's delight. Many guests were thrilled to catch up with former friends.

At the close, some elder members asked "When can we do this again!

CORSAGE COMMITTEE September 17, 2018

The day before the tea, members met at Rosemary Hale’s home and worked long into the evening making beautiful rose corsages under the guidance of Lily Contento.  The corsages were given to our senior members at the Golden Memories Tea Party the next day.

The Stratford Festival September 6, 2018

On September 6, these Drama Queens enjoyed a wonderful day at Stratford, taking in The Tempest andTo Kill a Mockingbird.

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Summer Time is Patio Time

On three warm summer evenings, July 11, August 1 and 22, UWC members met on the Patio to relax, chat, meet new members, and reconnect with good friends.