It was better when?

Moderator: Mike Ash
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 week starting at 2:00 PM on October 29th, 2018
Location: Huron Shores United Church, 25 Main St., Grand Bend
Notes: Traditional peer learning participation expected
How many times have you heard someone of our generation say “I’m so glad to have lived in the best of times, because the future doesn’t look so good.” We look back on our formative years with great nostalgia and fond memories, but was it better? I It must have been better, gas was only $0.37 cents a gallon! Let’s look objectively at aspects of life then, now and going for-ward, and try to get the real story. Perhaps the next generation will also see “the best of times”.

Possible Topics

The cost of things
Standard of living
Personal safety and security
Job opportunities
The quality of work life
Personal growth and development
Health care
Leisure and recreation
Work / life balance
Your personal experiences
The nature & relationships within families
Societal & political structures
Aspirational vision and goals
The advancement of the common good
The United Nations
International relations
Ethics and truth
The role of science
Human rights
Gender equality
Mental health & emotional well being
The nature of society
The urban / rural divide
The polarization of society
The changing goals of each generation

Spring 2018, Potpourri Events

April 9,  10:00 AM to noon, Pine Dale Motor Inn


Two members of the eighth Winters generation in Canada are taking the family history in whole new directions. Michelle Winters, a translator, writer, painter, demonstrated to the whole of Canada that the two official languages of our country can successfully – and even dazzlingly – be combined, through her first novel, I am a truck, a Giller Prize finalist. Cousin, Philip Winters, with a strong sense of environmental mission leading to a life of growing and brewing, will speak to his eye-opening arctic cruise with his father, Hank. Two Winters, alike in age and origins, are our fascinating guests for this event.

Members $5, non-members $10 at the door.

April 16,  Blyth, Ontario


Road trip: Cowbell Brewery, Blyth, Ontario. Learn what is unique about this beautiful, family run, state-of-the-art facility and what craft brewing is all about. Besides the beer is too good to pass up!

Car pool leaves at 11:00 am from the Pet Smart parking lot, arrive at the brewery for lunch of your choice and at your cost.  A guided tour follows at a cost of $15 / person. There is no PIL fee for this event.

Please meet at the parking lot before 11:00 AM with $15, to sort out who is going with who.  If you can drive please contact Mike Ash to verify that we have enough vehicles – 519-238-6747 or

April 23,  10:00 AM to Noon, Pine Dale Motor Inn


Join Sid Huff to discover fascinating New Zealand. The most common things Canadians say about New Zealand include, “I’ve heard it’s beautiful”, and “I’ve always wanted to go there.” Sid will explore similarities and differences between New Zealand and Canada and emphasize the many aspects of New Zealand’s striking beauty. You will definitely want to go there!

Members $5, non-members $10 at the door.

April 30,  10:00 AM to Noon, Pine Dale Motor Inn


Science is beginning to discover what the ancients knew all along: trees talk, look after one other, and feel pain. They also help humans live healthier lives. Ultimately, they may help to save the planet. Max and Pat Morden are current Chairs of the Lakeshore Eco-Network, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the planting of native trees, and raises awareness around issues of biodiversity and climate change. Join Pat and Max to learn more about the crucial role trees play in our world and what can be done to preserve and sustain them.Members $5, non-members $10 at the door.

May 7,  Kleinburg, Ontario


The McMichael’s iconic collection consists of over 6,400 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and contemporary artists. Current exhibits include Inuit sculpture and Inukshuk art, and the Gallery Director’s special selection of Canadian art. Enjoy Canada in a unique way. Details: Bus transportation (limit 16), lunch and gallery fees of $95 are due by April 16th. Departure 9:00 am from the Pet Smart parking lot.

Preregistration is mandatory, and we regret there can be no refunds after April 16.

Register with Jean Weigand  or 519.237.3418 by April 16, 2018.


Pinedale Motor Inn is located at 107 Ontario Street South, Grand Bend.

Discoveries: Inspirations, January 15, 2018

Moderators: Karen Bowes-Sewell and Sybil Tinker
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 weeks, Monday, Noon to 1:15 PM, January 15 to February 12
Location: Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format: Videos and Discussion

Tales of grief and woe are showcased routinely in the daily news. The hopeful story is far more elusive and appears as an afterthought, given a little nod by the grace of more serious affairs. Such a worldview is arguably lopsided and could be characterized as “Chicken Little Syndrome”.  This course offers inspirational stories as an offering of light in the dark days of deep winter. Please join us to consider ingenious solutions to intractable social problems, original thinking that reveals links between music and architecture, the value of play and storytelling, and more.

Presentations not required.

Introduction to Drawing, January 15, 2018

Moderators: Richard Sewell
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 weeks, Monday, 2:00 to 4:00 PM, January 15 to February 12
Location: Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format: Instructional

Learning to draw can be understood as a collection of experiences to which we can pay attention rather than a set of skills to be acquired. We begin with a focus on how we participate physically and move on to an object that catches our interest enough to want to draw it. Finally, we reflect on the process of interpretation, the choices we made, and perhaps something about what worked for us and what did not. We differentiate, enjoy and learn. Please join us for a  practical and reflective process that can be taken away to explore at home. Materials fee: $10.


Discoveries: Journeys, February 26, 2018

Moderators: The presenters
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 weeks, Monday, Noon to 1:15 PM, February 26 to March 26
Location: Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format: Videos, Presentations and Discussion

Life is an intriguing journey, and especially in the later stages of our lives, we are perhaps more able to reflect on its ups and downs with equanimity. This course encourages us to consider stories from our lives that we found particularly meaningful, maybe trans-formative, and hopefully worth telling. Revisiting and sharing life stories, especially in a group, is known to be a powerful way to build happiness and resilience. So please join us to consider the ups and downs of a few tales of note and share some of your own!


Energy, February 26, 2018

Moderators:  Mike Ash
Registration Fee:  $25
Time:  5 weeks, Monday, 2:00 to 4:00 PM, February 26 to March 26
Location:  Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format:  Presentations and Discussion

Course Summary with Suggested Topics

We take it for granted and use it all the time, but what do we know about energy? According to Einstein energy and mass are directly related (E = mc2).  Energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed.  If an object acquires energy (e.g. heat) its mass will increase slightly. There are over a dozen forms of energy – mechanical, electrical, nuclear, radiant, chemical, magnetic, potential, gravitational, etc.  We need energy to live and perform work.

What does this all mean in our world?  Let’s explore some aspects of energy that we may not normally be aware of and examine the implications for today and tomorrow.  How do we plan for our future requirements; is there anything more important?


Discoveries, Or is it in the Technology?, Oct. 30, 2017

Moderator: tbd
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 weeks, Monday, Noon to 1:15 PM, October 30 to November 27
Location: Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format: Videos and Discussion

The word technology makes some of us wince.  It suggests an uncomfortable world that is passing us by.  We grapple with the computers in our stoves and washing machines and Technologywonder if tomorrow will present us with an insurmountable new difficulty.  Still, medicine promises us treatments without surgery and commerce offers us cars that drive themselves. There is much to love and much to fear about technology. Let’s look into it for a reasonable compromise.

Presentations not required.

Heroes, Oct. 30, 2017

Moderator: Don Santor
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 weeks, Monday, 2:00 to 4:00 PM, October 30 to November 27
Location: Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format: Group Participation

Terry FoxEveryone has heroes.  They are someone we admire or respect for what they have done or for what they are.  Heroes are part of a nation’s history.  They are woven into the culture and become part of the national identity.  Sometimes heroes become role models and we try to emulate them.  Other times we simply admire them for their accomplishments.  What makes a person a hero?  What does a person have to do to deserve that status?

Who are Canada’s heroes? Who are yours?  This course will examine the     heroes who contributed to the Canadian identity as well as the heroes you  admire.

Presentations optional


Discoveries, It’s All in the Design, Sep. 18, 2017

Moderator: Nancy Winters
Registration Fee: $25
Time: 5 weeks, Monday, Noon to 1:15 PM, September 18 to October 23
Location: Pine Dale Motor Inn
Format: Videos and Discussion

DesignDesigners are among the most creative of our species and we think of them as somehow more than mere mortals.   But consider that the pen you are writing with, the shirt that you are wearing, the book you will read tonight, the dishes you will eat from, the toy you will buy for your grandchild’s birthday are all the creations of very specialized designers.  For this first five weeks we will find them everywhere, and examine their huge influence on our lives.

Presentations not required.