Senior College Excursions 2019

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One of the benefits accruing to Fellows and External Fellows is the opportunity to participate in Senior College excursions, which occur about once a month. These intimate events, with an enrolment limit of roughly two dozen, are often visits to laboratories, but as you can see in the descriptions of recent ones, involve much else besides.

We are indebted to Peter Hajnal and Linda Hutcheon for the details.

Thursday, January 31, 2019: Backstage tour of the Four Seasons Centre.

On the stage, presentations were given about opera performance with contributions from the technical staff. This was followed by a noon-hour piano concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, and then by lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Thursday, March 19, 2019: Guided tour of Osgoode Hall and Campbell House.

The Chief Curator described that history and architectural features of each wing of the Hall, including the mosaic floors, all public areas, the private meeting and dining rooms of the Benchers, the magnificent library which still holds the lingering scent of pipe smoke in its original cork floor, the unique American room of that library with its spiral staircase as well as the newer research facilities integrated with the old.

Lunch was served in the Great Hall, with its high ceilings, panelling, bookshelves and stained glass windows. Afterwards, there was a shorter historical tour of Campbell House, west across the street. Once the home of Upper Canada’s first Chief Justice, it has had a checkered past. For example, in the Second World War, a displaced Japanese family was housed in the attic. That sad period was featured in a special photo exhibition in the sitting room.

Saturday, May 11, 2019: Wandering the Waterfront

A very interesting and eye-opening waterfront field trip given by Professor Tony Davis of the Geography and Planning Department. He took us to key areas in Scarborough to see and hear how the natural landscape has been substantially modified by human activity We looked at several sites that illustrate the dramatic changes along the Waterfront- Bluffers Park, the Leslie St. Spit, Cherry Beach, the Port Lands, the Eastern Channel and the Don River. The tour took about 4 hours, with a chartered bus between stops but involving some walking. Dr. Davis prepared an informative booklet to accompany the talk.

Thursday, June 13, 2019: Scarborough campus walk

Al fresco dinner in a country-like setting at the Miller Lash house at UTSC, preceded by a walk (led by Jim Gurd) through parkland. The walk, from the Guildwood GO station to the Miller Lash house was approximately 5 km long.

Jim Gurd reported: “The event at UTSC went well, given the unwelcoming weather that we experienced. Eleven people signed up for the walk. Of these, 7 arrived for the walk on the day and 2 came only for dinner. So, 9 of 11 showed up. The walkers went through a serious downpour at the start of the walk but were prepared for the rain and arrived at UTSC in good spirits. Given the inclement weather, we ate, and dried off, inside a tent rather than on the patio in the sunshine as I had envisioned. Nevertheless, I think that we all enjoyed the event.”

Thursday, October 3, 2019: Visit to the lab of Professor Laurence Harris, director of the Centre for Vision Research at York University. The announcement read:

We have evolved and grown up in the constant presence of the gravitational pull of the Earth. Dealing with gravity is an essential element of our behaviour and our perceptions. Gravity information is picked up by organs in our skull and is used to maintain stability under the constant threat of gravity. Recently we have found that our brains use gravity not only for stability but also as a reference that helps us judge distances and even help establish ownership of our bodies. Cancelling gravity in low earth orbit removes the sense of “up” but may also have other far-reaching effects. I will describe some of my experiments investigating this remarkable “sixth sense”, including an ongoing project on the International Space Station. I will also demonstrate some of the equipment that we use to alter the relationship between our gravity sensors and other senses including a Tumbling Room and a room built on its side.”

Thursday, November 12, 2019, 10:30-12pm. We shall view and learn about the treasures housed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto. Conducted by Pearce (P.J.) Carefoote, director of the Fisher Library. He spoke at Senior College in January of last year about how medieval manuscripts came to Toronto. Already announced on the Senior College Fellows list.