Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Until further notice all classes are being held remotely. Spring/summer registration and fall admissions remain open.  More information >>

Dean's Message to the Community (updated 03/23/2020)

Online Lectures

Summer Registration Opens Online Only June 22, 2020

Fall Registration Opens Online Only August 4, 2020


Registration and Payment Procedures

  1. Registration for ALL lectures is available here. Scroll down for lecture descriptions.
  2. Instructions on How to Register Online
  3. What to do if you have forgotten your Athena username or password
  4. There is a $10 fee per lecture payable by credit card.
  5. The lectures are given online using Zoom. The link to access the lecture will be sent the day before the lecture starts. The registration closes at 10 AM the day before the lecture starts.
  6. If technical problems arise, it is possible to cancel a registration for a lecture without penalty up for up until 12 hours AFTER the lecture is held. After that time, no refunds will be permitted.


L 320 Tolstoy and the Battle of Austerlitz

Time:    Wednesday, July 8, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Denis Thompson

In his classic work, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy describes the actions of some central Russian characters during their crushing defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz (Book 3, Chapters 11 to 19). The lecturer will compare Tolstoy’s version of events with the current accepted history, including some photos from a recent battlefield tour of the site.

L 321 The Spies of World War Two (Repeat)

Time:    Wednesday, July 8, 1 p.m.
Presenter:   Ben Sperer

The story of the spies we never heard about during the war but who played a crucial, even decisive role not only in the many battles but also in the outcome of World War Two.

L322 The Shakers: More than Furniture Makers

Time:    Wednesday, July 8, 3:30 p.m
Presenter:   Nancy Barr

Join a virtual tour of Shaker communities from Kentucky to Maine. This group of egalitarian, celibate Christians was founded by Mother Anne Lee and numbered over 6,000 in the 1800s. They were entrepreneurs, inventors and builders of colorful barns and sublime furniture. Discover what made them unique.

L 323 The Weather Report: Then and Now

Time:    Wednesday, July 15, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Rick Jones

How are weather forecasts made? How are they updated? This lecture will answer these questions. Rick Jones will outline the evolution of weather prediction from early 1900s to current techniques involving Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP). He will cite some examples from his long career in meteorology.

L 324 The History of the English Pub

Time:    Wednesday, July 15, 1 p.m
Presenter:   Paul Jennings and Katherine Moore

The MCLL pub is open. Bring your pints. This talk will look at the history of an institution often thought to be typically English - the pub. We will trace the origins of the pub from medieval inns, taverns and alehouses through the development of the pub in all its varieties: gin palaces, urban beer houses and village pubs up to the present day. Paul Jennings is the author of The Local: A History of the English Pub and A History of Drink and the English 1500-2000.

L 325 How to Determine Your Ancestry

Time:    Wednesday, July 15, 3:30 p.m.
Presenter:   John Felvinci

This lecture will review the methods which various organizations use to determine your ancestry. We will discuss the DNA analysis, how the mitochondrial DNA can reveal the female ancestry and the Y chromosome the male one. We will look at the different haplogroups and find out how they determine a person’s genetic history.

L 326 Tyrol: Land in the Alps

Time:    Wednesday, July 22, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Harold von Cramon

A discussion of the history, political division, towns, mountains and food, of a most beautiful area in the Austrian Alps.

L 327 The Rise and Fall of the German Empires

Time:    Wednesday, July 22, 1 p.m.
Presenter:   Ben Sperer

For seventy-five years during the 19th and 20th centuries, Germany was the hub of extraordinary commercial, military and cultural growth, but also of aggressivity, which eventually lead to its downfall and almost complete destruction, only to rise from its ashes to follow a path of respectability and peaceful progress.

L 328 Are We Alone in the Universe? (Repeat)

Time:    Wednesday, July 22, 3:30 p.m.
Presenter:   Tim Skene

This lecture presents current scientific knowledge about extraterrestrial life – what it needs to exist, where it might be found and some forms it could take. Topics include the Fermi Paradox, the Drake Equation and planetary science. The many rare but essential conditions for life on our home planet will also be revealed. Finally, we’ll see why it could be a very long time, if ever, before the question is finally answered.

L 329 Bleak House

Time:    Wednesday, July 29, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Andrew Macdougall

Andrew Macdougall will perform a reading from the Dickens novel Bleak House, as originally performed by Emlyn Williams.

L 330 Music in Art (Repeat)

Time:    Wednesday, July 29, 1 p.m.
Presenter:   Thelma (Timmy) Cohen

Through the ages, music has played an important role in the visual arts. We will look at works of art from the earliest times to Mondrian, who painted his famous Broadway Boogie Woogie, and listen to the music that inspired these works of art, in order to experience the relationship between these two forms of artistic creativity.

L 331 Nadar and Paris’ Artistic Scene, 1850 to 1890’s

Time:    Wednesday, July 29, 3:30 p.m.
Presenter:   Wendela Stier

Nadar (1820-1910) was a pioneer photographer and balloonist, as well as a caricaturist and journalist. We will be looking at Nadar’s life, his work, and some of the personalities from his portrait collection, which represent a who's who in the arts of the rebellious mid- to late 19th century Paris.

L 332 Global Travel in the Post Pandemic Age

Time:    Wednesday, August 5, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Peter Liontos

Join Peter Liontos, as he explores the risks and rewards that travel will present once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, he will provide links to virtual travel destinations so we can start the dreaming.

L 319 Lessons We Can Learn from the Coronavirus Crisis

Time:    Wednesday, August 5, 1 p.m.
Presenter:   Nadia Alexan

The coronavirus pandemic is a wake-up call that nature is sending us to stop pillaging and ravaging Mother Earth, in our frenetic quest for eternal growth and unfettered consumption. We need some humility to enable us to live in harmony with the other inhabitants of our planet.

L 333 Swiss Rail

Time:    Wednesday, August 5, 3:30 p.m.
Presenter:   Muriel Herrington

Swiss Rail ranks #2 worldwide in infrastructure, and #1 in Europe in performance. This lecture presents the history and development of Swiss Rail and some of the present day features. It is based on a presentation Muriel Herrington gave for the Railways study group in 2019.

L 334 Brexit 3

Time:    Wednesday, August 12, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Dennis Creamer

This is Dennis Creamer’s third lecture on BREXIT. Brexit has finally happened, but Covid-19 is a big distraction. This will be a full review of the Brexit story with some speculation as to the future.

L 335 Discover Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Time:    Wednesday, August 12, 1 p.m.
Presenter:   Marna Murray

This amazing woman was an African-American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, and writer. A book of poetry published when she was 20 and her better-known novel Lola Leroy established her as one of the earliest published African-American women writers.

L 336 The Dynamic Impact of Art on Mankind

Time:    Wednesday, August 12, 3:30 p.m.
Presenter:   Edouardo Cabrera

Let’s explore the powerful impact art has in our society from its recreational effects to its extended reach deep within our everyday lives. Allow us to discern its catalyzing influence in the emotional, philosophical, spiritual and political fields.

L 337 Connections to Africa: McGill, University of Ghana and MCLL

Time:    Wednesday, August 19, 10 a.m.
Presenter:   Nii Addy, Brian Webber

This panel discussion introduces the life journeys and projects of MasterCard Foundation (MCF) scholars and Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) who have studied or carried out research at McGill and the University of Ghana. The sessions will also explore how members of MCLL can contribute, through their life experiences, to inter-generational joint-learning initiatives.

L 338 Will the Second Generation Please Rise

Time:    Wednesday, August 19, 1 p.m
Presenter:   Max Beer, Deena Dlusy-Apel

The film Will the Second Generation Please Rise is based on a series of interviews with children of Holocaust survivors. It looks at the work they have done to keep alive the memories of their parents’ ordeals during World War II. Many of the interviewees are artists, writers, poets and filmmakers. The film, to be watched prior to a ZOOM discussion, highlights their work.

L 339 Arras, France: City of Art and History

Time:    Wednesday, August 19, 3:30 p.m.
Presenter:   Thérèse Bouchez

Apart from their love of music, what do the XX century nuclear scientist Louis Leprince-Ringuet and the XIII century poet Adam de la Halle have in common? Both lived in Arras, France, my native city - a name synonymous with tapestry hangings, where downtown architecture exemplifies Hispano-Flemish style and which holds many more historical and artistic treasures.

L 340 Sicily

Time:    Friday, September 18, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter:   Harald von Cramon

A PowerPoint presentation and travelogue on the history, art and food of this most beautiful island in the Mediterranean

L 341 Open Mike Workshop

Time:    Friday, September 18, 10:00 a.m
Presenter:   Freda Segal

Each person presents one or two songs, with or without an instrument. An audience could come to listen and discuss the songs. Therapeutic exercise for all in a time of crisis.

L 342 Dr. Rafia Ghubash: A Female Version of Uniqueness

Time:    Friday, September 18, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Nadia Khawandanah

Another tale of female success from beyond the dunes of the Arabian Desert. The lecture presents Dr. Rafia Gubash, a Dubayi psychiatrist and epidemiologist, and her achievements which have won her international recognition, with special emphasis on her unique museum ‘House of Women’ which acts as a cultural centre documenting the role of women in the United Arab Emirates.

L 343 Patient’s Rites by Issa Ibrahim. A Therapy Session and Mental Health Journey Set to Music and Film

Time:    Friday, September 18, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   John Oster

Mr. Ibrahim spent nearly two decades in a mental hospital after descending into psychosis. The film exposes the familiar tropes and stereotypes associated with the mental health community while opening a dialogue about preconceived and prejudicial ideas, stigma, the realities of the mental health system and how openness can aid in respecting psychiatric survivors. Mr. Ibrahim will participate in the post-screening panel.

L 344 Kyrgyzstan – A Glimpse of Central Asia

Time:    Friday, September 25, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter:   François Labonté

Discover a very interesting country of Central Asia where traditional customs and games will surprise you and let you appreciate the life of a people that live on the Silk Road. The lecture will feature a brief review of the country’s history, short videos and a Q&A period.

L 345 Women in Dickens’s Life

Time:    Friday, September 25, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Lise Dubé

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870, yet his work is still widely read. This lecture will reveal a man who was always ready to lend a hand to the women in his family, to his siblings and children, to his mistress, as well as to others outside his circle.

L 346 The Tigers of Ranthambhore

Time:    Friday, September 25, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Richard Lock

A recent ‘photo safari’ to the Ranthambhore National Park of India prompted more reading and a wish to share with others the history and the current – and threatened – condition of these wonderful animals.

L 347 My Sculptures: From Montreal to Carrara to Pietrasanta and Back

Time:    Friday, October 2, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter:   Romano DeSantis

A personal journey involving an activity that started as an occasional pastime and developed into a serious interest, a passion or an obsession according to point of view. With the what, how, where, with whom, and the eventual outcome of the activity. And with a lot of pictures.

L 348 Short Stories by Ben Sperer

Time:    Friday, October 2, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Ben Sperer

Ben's Short Stories are partly based on events that happened to him during his long and interesting life and partly fiction about a variety of family situations that all contain moral challenges or unexpected twists.

L 349 Some Key French Paintings from Poussin to Cezanne – Influence and Meaning

Time:    Friday, October 16, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter:   Robert White

We will explore how key artists learned from each other and their exploration of the painting craft. Similar subjects by various artists, or by the same artist at different times, will show the interaction of shape and colour. Difficulties with colour rendition on websites will be examined.

L 350 Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts, Philanthropist

Time:    Friday, October 16, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Lise Dubé

A friend of Charles Dickens, Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts, after inheriting £1.8M in 1837, dedicated her life to helping in the development of projects to better humanity. She became one of the best known philanthropists in 19th century England where she is still celebrated.

L 351 A History of Drink and the English

Time:    Friday, October 16, 1:00 p.m
Presenters:   Paul Jennings and Katherine Moore

This talk explores the reality of English drinking habits across five centuries to the present day. What did they drink, how much, where, and do they deserve their reputation? It sets drinking habits in the wider economic, social, political and cultural context. Paul Jennings is the author of The Local: A History of the English Pub and A History of Drink and the English 1500-2000.

L 352 What’s Wrong with Debt?

Time:    Friday, October 23, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter:   Tony Frayne

As we all know, government expenditures have been skyrocketing this spring as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Can the Canadian and Quebec governments sustain the resulting debts indefinitely, or is punishment in the form of austerity programs appropriate or inevitable? Or does it all depend? If so, on what?

L 353 The Elusive Universe of Quantum Mechanics

Time:    Friday, October 23, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Edouardo Cabrera

Quantum mechanics explains the physical laws of subatomic particles and makes possible the everyday electronic devices that have become indispensable for our everyday lives. Even though Quantum Physics has been known about and applied for over a century, full understanding of it continues to elude us. Let us explore its mind-bending principles that shine a new light into our world.

L 354 Who Was Dona Garcia Mendez Nasi?

Time:    Friday, October 23, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   John Felvinci

Gracia Mendes Nasi (1510 – 1569), was one of the wealthiest Jewish women of Renaissance Europe. She married Francisco Mendes/Benveniste. She was the aunt and business partner of Joseph Nasi, who became a prominent figure in the politics of the Ottoman Empire. She developed an escape network that saved hundreds of conversos from the Inquisition. She was also known by her Christianized name of Beatrice de Luna.

L 355 Africa: Past, Present and Future

Time:    Friday, October 23, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Rick Stapenhurst

A quick overview of pre-colonial African history, the European 'scramble for Africa', subsequent geographical anomalies (why is there a 280 mile long, 20 mile wide panhandle of Namibia stretching out to Zambia and why is Lesotho completely surrounded by South Africa?). Recent, current and future economic/development trends will be discussed.

L 356 Thermal Cures: Yesterday and Today

Time:    Friday, October 30, 10:00 a.m.
Presenter:   Thérèse Bouchez

In Antiquity, thermal springs were known to improve wellness and to heal all kinds of ailments. Brought back into fashion in the XIX century, thermal cures became a social right in Europe in the 1930s. Today, some countries fund physician-prescribed thermal cures, while others ignore this therapy. Quackery? Mere fad? Alternative medicine? Let’s see…

L 357 Probability: Puzzles, Paradoxes and Surprises

Time:    Friday, October 30, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Martin Coles

We all have an innate sense of the likelihood of various possible events. But there are times when our sense of probability lets us down. In this lecture, former math teacher Martin Coles will elucidate a variety of puzzles and surprises from the world of probability. There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this lecture, even though there might be brief moments that remind you of those high-school math lessons you dreaded so much.

L 358 The Industrial Revolution

Time:    Friday, October 30, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Ben Sperer

A movement that dominated the entire nineteenth century and totally changed the lives of millions of people on three continents, the Industrial Revolution ushered in the modern world.

L 359 Into the Northwest Passage

Time:    Friday, November 6, 10:00 a.m. (repeat from 2018.)
Presenter:   Audrey Speck

A 17-day expedition by ship up Greenland’s west coast, across to Ellesmere Island to Lancaster Sound and then down past King William Island to end at Cambridge Bay, NWT. A repeat of a presentation given in 2018.

L 360 The Paintings of Tom Thomson

Time:    Friday, November 6, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Joan Felvinci

A discussion of the art and life of Tom Thomson. He inspired the Group of Seven, who were Canadian artists active in the early twentieth century. We will talk about the genius of his paintings and the mystery of his early death in 1917.

L 361 Zero Waste – Is It possible?

Time:    Friday, November 6, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Elizabeth Robinson

Last fall, the City of Montreal announced a plan to go “Zero waste” by 2030. But what really happens to the contents of our recycling bins? This lecture will summarize what we learned during a winter 2020 study group – both from participant and moderator presentations and from guest speakers.

L 362 The Little Ice Age

Time:    Friday, November 6, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Wolfgang Schneider

What exactly was the Little Ice Age? Images of Dutch burghers skating on frozen lakes come to mind, and vague stories about Vikings having once lived in Greenland. We will explore what happened and when, and look into the factors that could have affected the climate between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

L 363 Travels in Greece

Time:    Friday, November 13, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Rosalie Acutt

An illustrated account of a trip to Greece in May 2019, featuring archaeological sites in Athens and the Peloponnese, and visits to several islands, including Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.

L 364 The World’s Freshwater Crisis

Time:    Friday, November 13, 1:00 p.m.
Presenter:   Hassan Elshafei

Freshwater is humanity’s most critical natural resource. Global demand for freshwater is outstripping reliable supply in many parts of the world. Also, global warming is projected to exacerbate shortages in already water-stressed regions. The parameters of the problem will be defined and the prospects explored.

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