Course Descriptions for Fall 2023 and Winter 2024

2023 is a particularly exciting one for LLIR. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary. Remember the 70s? You were probably partying to the music of Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones and singing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. You probably were wearing “Granny dresses” or bellbottoms and perhaps very short minis. The 70s were surprisingly turbulent years, and our fall course directors will all be looking back at them. We have invited some of our most popular course directors to present their views of the 70s in our year of celebrations of LLIR’s 50 years in existence. In addition, we shall be hosting a number of events at Glendon to mark our landmark anniversary.


You can download a printable version of the course description listed below
If LLIR cannot deliver a course as specified we offer you an alternative that is as similar as possible to the original course.

All courses are offered IN-CLASS ONLY. There are NO ONLINE courses.

Please select your courses carefully. You cannot change courses once you have registered.

LLIR Fall 2023 at Glendon
September 15 to November 19, 2023

[AM] Maple Leaf Rag: Canadian Culture in the 70s with Kate Taylor and Marni Jackson

Building on the youthful energy of the 1960s and nationalist enthusiasm of Canada’s Centennial year, the 1970s were a decade of cultural experimentation and institutional growth in Toronto. Movie buffs launched what would become the Toronto International Film Festival while actors and writers crafted a Canadian dramatic canon at the Factory, Tarragon and Passe Muraille theatres. Young visual artists turned to video and performance art, CanLit flourished and the expanding Canadian music, film and television industries made their home base in Toronto.
By 1979, the city had replaced Montreal as English Canada’s cultural capital.

In this lecture series, author and journalist Marni Jackson will recall her own experiences on the Toronto scene in the 1970s while critic and novelist Kate Taylor will look at the political, economic and demographic changes that made it all possible.

[AM] Toronto: 1970s and its Legacy with David Crombie
(This course is now full and no longer available.)

The 1970s played a pivotal role in the transformation of Toronto from a large North American city of the 20th century to a metropolitan centre of global significance in the 21st. Yet forces of change leading to this historic moment began long before and continue to echo today.  This course will trace that evolution as Toronto has:

·         Become a global gathering place of diverse people
·         Built a rich and responsive public realm and services
·         Reimagined its downtown and the unique value of its neighbourhoods
·         Forged a new economy
·         Learned to navigate the role of nature in urban life

[AM] The Music of the 1970s with Mike Daley

Popular LLIR instructor Dr. Mike Daley presents The Music of the 1970s, a course designed to explore the rich and diverse landscape of popular music from that decade. Through a selection of influential and iconic songs, we will trace the evolution of various genres and styles, and examine the cultural, social, and political forces that shaped the music of the 1970s. The course will cover a range of styles including rock, pop, soul, and disco, and will feature a mix of established and emerging artists from the period. We will delve into the stories behind the songs and consider how they reflect the changing times and the shifting attitudes of the era.

[PM] Inside Toronto’s Architectural Treasures with Marta O’Brien
(This course is now full and no longer available.)

Many of Toronto’s significant buildings have amazing interiors that are usually closed to the public. In this course, we’ll go inside to discover beautifully crafted wood, plaster, and stone ornament while learning about interior architectural elements and the layout of spaces. Explore former mansions, stunning worship spaces, and grand former banks while hearing about their histories. Architectural historian Marta O’Brien has gained access and will share hundreds of photographs of these remarkable buildings.

[PM] The 1970s: 50 Years On with Eric McGeer

The hair and fashions of the 1970s shock and appall, but the decade that birthed LLIR must for that very reason be viewed as a watershed in human civilization. This fiftieth anniversary course recalls a time that seems like a hangover from the 1960s but deserves revisiting. The 1970s still echo. The end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the Carter years made for a tumultuous time in American history, opening the way for Ronald Reagan and a new phase in the Cold War. President Nixon’s visit to China and the death of Mao Zedong put that country on an upward trajectory, while the Soviet Union slipped into terminal decline. The Yom Kippur War and the Camp David Accords raised hopes for peace while stoking new conflicts exacerbated by the Iranian Revolution and the rise of terrorism. New countries in Africa and Asia encountered the opportunities and problems presented by independence. In Canada, the decade began with the October Crisis and ended with the country facing a referendum on Quebec independence. The computer revolution, environmentalism, and the human rights movement emerged as powerful influences on politics and society. Pet rocks and disco aside, the decade left its cultural legacy in films, books, art, and music. Which have stood the test of time, and which ones make us wonder what on earth we were thinking? How have reputations fared after half a century? Come relive that happening time and see what sense we can make of the oddly memorable 1970s.

[PM] World Affairs in the 1970s with Dr. Olivier Courteaux

The “Seventies” were a tumultuous time, marked by political crises, economic upheavals, and dramatic shifts in international relations. President Nixon’s decision to end the dollar convertibility to gold, followed by the oil crises of 1973 and 1979, ended three decades of uninterrupted postwar economic boom. In the U.S., the Watergate crisis of 1974, and the chaotic end of the Vietnam War with the fall of Saigon in 1975 undermined many Americans’ faith in their political institutions and the global standing of their country. As the narrative switched to a negative outlook, violence and armed conflicts erupted in many parts of the world, in part fuelled by heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In Canada, the decade began with the October Crisis and ended with the victory of the Parti Québécois led by René Lévesque. 1979 – the victory of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives, the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan – was a turning point in world history.

The October Crisis 1970
Nixon in China 1972
Energy crisis 1973
Nixon resigns August 1974
The fall of Saigon April 1975
The election of the Parti Québécois 1976
Apple and the digital revolution 1977
The Camp David Accords (1978): peace in the Middle East?
Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady”, becomes PM, 1979
The Iran Hostage Crisis & the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, November 1979

LLIR Winter 2024 at Glendon
January 12 to March 15, 2024

[AM] Missing in Action! Untold Stories of Canadians’ Participation in Historic Moments with Ted Barris

Columnist Robert Fulford once wrote, “History is a party to which Canada has not been invited.” Whether it’s our youth (a nation of only 155 years), our lack of self-confidence (we’re not a British lion or an American eagle) or our global reputation as quiet peacemakers not warriors, Canadians never boast about their accomplishments making history. Yet, if one examines the past more closely, Canadians have played pivotal roles in momentous events, particularly in wartime.

In this lecture series, Ted Barris will explore: 1) the role of the humble steamboat in assuring Confederation; 2) the unpredicted victory at Vimy Ridge in WWI; 3) how a Canadian scheme in WWII ensured victory in the air war over Europe; 4) what Canadians did in the famous Dam Busters raid; 5) the leading roles Canadians played in the Great Escape; 6) what Canadians accomplished on D-Day that other Allied forces did not; 7) why Canadians are considered “liberators” to the Dutch; 8) how Canadians assisted in the first-ever defence of the UN Peace Charter in Korea; 9) what has made Canadian veterans leaders in understanding PTSD; 10) how Canadian naval, merchant, air force and civilian know-how won the longest and toughest battle of WWII, the Battle of the Atlantic.

[AM] The Kitchen: The Meaning of Hearth and Home with John Ota

This course is a journey through history in search of the perfect kitchen design.  The journey will focus on the kitchen as the centrepiece for describing the history of the North American house, kitchen design, roles of men and women, food, cooking and recipes.  Each lecture will focus on a tour of a significant house, including those of Julia Child, Georgia O’Keeffe and Elvis Presley.  By using historic documentation, photographs and architectural drawings, we will analyse the architectural exterior, interior rooms, the life of its inhabitants and then focus on the kitchen.  Key topics to be addressed will include the origins of the kitchen and its historical development, architectural layout, the invention of kitchen appliances, the origins of different foods, drinks and cooking methods.  Each lecture will then move to offering practical advice, itemizing the historical features that could be incorporated into a contemporary setting and contribute to making a perfect kitchen.  The objective of this series is to review the history of the kitchen and the architectural development of the house.   As well, it will provide a history of how we lived in the past so as to better understand our present in terms of food supply, comfort and the meaning of home. Ultimately, this series is designed to provoke discussion that will have a positive impact on the future of kitchen design, cooking and nutrition.  

[AMA History of Indigenous Canada: Why this Matters Today with Alison Norman
(This course is now full and no longer available.)

This course will examine the history of relationships between the Indigenous people of Canada and the settler population who arrived beginning in the 17th century. The focus will be on explaining the complex legacy of colonialism and how its impacts are still seen today. Key topics will include an introduction to traditional cultural, political and economic systems of the First Nations; the loss of Indigenous lands and the creation of reserves through the treaty process across the country; the involvement of the churches and the residential and day school systems; the roles that Indigenous leaders played in fighting for the rights of their communities; and how colonial processes have resulted in injustices that still linger today. The course will attempt to debunk some common myths and assumptions and will help participants to work towards truth and reconciliation.

[PM] Who are the Slavs? with Stan Kirschbaum

In February 2022, Russia launched a massive military operation on a neighbouring state, Ukraine. What is startling about this event is that the Russians, a Slavic people, proceeded to wage war on another Slavic people, the Ukrainians. Why did they? Are there historical precedents? Aren’t the Slavs a specific ethno-linguistic group of peoples who have so much in common that such an action is not only surprising but should be unthinkable? Hence the question: Who are the Slavs? What do they have in common? What distinguishes them one from another? Is the war in Ukraine, also seen as a test of democracy and European stability and security, merely a specific and singular occurrence? If it is, why is that the case and what do the other Slavic peoples have to say? This lecture series will seek to answer these questions by looking at the origin, the languages, the religions, the culture, and especially the modern history of the Slavic peoples of Europe. Each Slavic nation will be presented so as to establish its place in European history, understand the factors that underpinned the decisions and drove the actions of its leaders when faced with challenges, and assess the local, regional, and international consequences.

[PM] The History of Comedy with Andrew Clark

For as long as there have been people there’s been comedy. The oldest Egyptian hieroglyphic for laughter dates to 2900 BC and the Old Testament has 26 references to laughter, including Chapter 18 of Book of Genesis when Sarah, aged 90, laughs at the news she is going to be a mother. This course will examine the evolution of comedy and explore the recurring motifs and styles that have survived through the ages. We’ll explore Indigenous humour. We’ll examine how Roman rhetoric relates to modern stand-up comedy, how vaudeville and music hall have been reborn on Tik Tok and Instagram. We’ll also do deep dives into the history of Canadian comedy, from the soldiers’ concert parties of the First World War to radio comedy in the 1930s and 40s, as well as the birth of stand-up comedy, the rise of Boomer humour in the sixties and seventies as well as alternative comedy of the 1990s. Along the way, we will make time for in-depth study of seminal comedic works such as Groundhog Day.