Engaging Canadian Seniors


This page is updated as information becomes available.

Workshop 1 – Saturday, April 15, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET on Zoom

COMPLETED. View the video recording here.


The Power of Food: How Recipes Preserve Memories with GIULIA DE GASPERI

The most profound and significant memory can be found within the simplest recipe. We will share recipes that are meaningful to us, and we will learn how even very few ingredients can hold the memory we cherish the most. Please bring a recipe which is linked to memories.

Giulia De Gasperi is an editor and non-fiction writer who focuses on issues of inclusivity and well-being.

Workshop 2 – Saturday, May 13, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET on Zoom
View the video recording here.


The Many Definitions of Family: Reflecting and Journalling with CHRISTOPHER DIRADDO

Family is such an important part of our culture; it plays a large role in the stories we tell. But which family stories are not being told? And what does it mean to be a part of a family? How do we create honest depictions of those we share our lives with? In this workshop, we will reflect on what makes a family and explore what more can be done to expand that representation. 

Montrealer Christopher DiRaddo is the author of the novels The Geography of Pluto and The Family Way. He is also the founder and host of The Violet Hour Reading Series & Book Club.

Workshop 3 – Friday, June 16, 2023, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET on Zoom


Indigenous-Italian-Canadian Connections: Reflecting and Sharing with PAOLO FRASCÀ & ANGELA NARDOZI

Paolo Frascà and Angela Nardozi, co-directors of the Indigenous-Italian-Canadian Connections Project at the University of Toronto, will consider the following questions. What is the relationship of Italians to colonialism in Canada, the United States, and beyond? What are the responsibilities that Italians must honour to pursue better relations with Indigenous Peoples? What might Nation-to-Nation relationships between Italian and various Indigenous Nations look like? 

This discussion is inspired by the work of scholars such as John Borrows (Anishinaabe), who teaches on the contemporary value of the Guswenta/Two-Row Wampum, an agreement between Settlers and Indigenous Peoples forged at Niagara in 1764 to live in peace and friendship while not interfering in one another’s path. The conversation is further guided by Indigenous initiatives that advocate for Land Back and for a return to treaties. We are also inspired by the work of the Hon. Frank Iacobucci on Truth and Reconciliation and on Indigenous representation in the justice system.

Paolo Frascà was born in Calabria and moved to Toronto at thirteen. He lives in Toronto / Tsi Tkaronto, Treaty 13. He teaches Italian language and culture, sexuality studies, and Italian-Canadian studies at the University of Toronto. He is active in the community through initiatives such as the Endangered Language Alliance of Toronto and Italian-Canadians for Black Lives.

Angela Nardozi Ph.D., OCT., is a guest on Turtle Island, with both sides of her family originating in Italy. You can find out more about her coaching, consulting, and work in Indigenous education at www.angelanardozi.com.

Workshop 4 – Wednesday, July 19, 2023, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET on Zoom

COMPLETED. View the video recording here.

Queer Spaces in Canada as Inspiration for Creativity: An Intergenerational and Cross-Gender Approach with VINCENZO PIETROPAOLO & LIANA CUSMANO


Vincenzo Pietropaolo and Liana Cusmano are the creators of the exhibit Unveiling the Queer-Italian-Canadian Experience, a literary and photographic collaboration.

Vincenzo Pietropaolo has published over a dozen books that explore social issues. He is a contributing editor at POV Point of View Magazine, and a member of The Writers' Union of Canada.

Liana Cusmano (they/them/iel/lu) is a poet, spoken word performer and arts educator. They are the author of the novel Catch and Release (2022). Twice Montreal Slam Champion, Liana is also Fiction Editor at carte blanche and Associate Editor at Accenti Magazine.

Workshop 5 – Friday, September 15, 2023, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET on Zoom


Crossing the Line: Writing About Coercive Control with HEATHER McGUIRE

Through the documentation of our stories, we can develop clarity of our lived experiences. In this workshop, we will explore writing about difficult topics and identifying problematic behaviours. A survivor of domestic abuse, workshop leader Heather McGuire will share knowledge gained from experience and research.

Heather McGuire is a short story writer and the author of the forthcoming memoir Living as a Ghost in My Marriage.

Workshop 6 – Friday, October 20, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET on Zoom


Finding Your Voice: Words, Images and Performance with ANNA CAMILLERI

This workshop will offer multiple entry points into poetic prose and narrative vignette writing, alive with sensory nuance. In a non-hierarchical environment that facilitates tapping into our authentic voices, new and seasoned writers will be invited to experiment with form and approach, and to share, listen, and take creative risks. 

Anna Camilleri has been working with performance, image, and text for 25 years. Her book works have been recognized with distinctions by the LAMBDA Literary Foundation, the Association of Independent Publishers, and the American Library of Congress. Anna is co-founder and artistic director of ReDefine Arts.

Workshop 7 – Friday, October 27, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET on Zoom


Writing and Dancing Across Cultures and Time Zones during Covid with JANE CALLEN

Dance the tango online together! Sense the passion beneath the words. Guided by Maestro Antonio Iantorno, listen to tango music and explore the possibilities that the dance holds for you. Hear excerpts of the memoir Tango on the Waves and join the discussion.

Jane Callen is a short story writer and novelist. Her short stories have appeared in Grain Magazine, Montreal Writes, Spadina Literary Review, CV7 Short Fiction Anthology Series, White Wall Review and Accenti Magazine. Jane’s noir thriller, Bernini’s Elephant, was published by Guernica Editions in 2023. She has recently completed the memoir Tango on the Waves about the struggles of a Tango Maestro in Milano during Covid 19, http://www.janecallen.ca

Workshop 8 – Thursday, November 23, 2023, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET on Zoom


Finding the Funny: How to Mine Your Life for Laughs with CAROLYN BENNETT


Have you ever been told that you should be a comedian? Now's your chance! In this 90 minute workshop, writer and comedian Carolyn Bennett will help you mine your life for laughs. Through writing exercises and sharing, participants will explore their comedy voice and discover the power of humour to relieve stress and bring people together. You'll learn some tricks of the trade while honing your observation skills. Come prepared to talk about your favourite comedians and comedy shows.


Carolyn Bennett cut her teeth performing at the Comedy Nest in Montreal, Just for Laughs, and Yuk Yuks. Selected TV credits include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC COMICS and Chilly Beach. Her debut novel Please Stand By was published in 2019 by Vancouver’s Now or Never Publishing. Bennett co-founded and performs at Hirut Hoot, a monthly stand-up showcase in Toronto at Hirut Fine Ethiopian Cuisine. She is also the founder of the Bright Lit, Big City literary reading series in Toronto.

Workshop 9 – Saturday, December 9, 2023, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET on Zoom


Exploring Identity: Coming Together Despite Our Differences with CELESTE TURNER


In this workshop, we will explore our individual and collective identities through reflection, journaling and sharing. What makes us who we are? How are we unique? How are we connected? The activities will allow us to forge validity and empathy for the experiences of all.

Celeste Turner
is the LGBTQ2+ Support Coordinator at the Community Health Centre in Niagara Falls and a member of the Alliance’s Rainbow Communities Advisory Group.

Workshop 10 – Friday, December 15, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET on Zoom
Click HERE to register.

Writing Away the Pain: Reflecting and Sharing with ELIO IANNACCI & LICIA CANTON


In this workshop Elio and Licia will guide you to reflect on and write about your emotions. You are not alone. Together we will write away the pain disappointment or frustration.

Elio Iannacci
is a journalist, poet and active member of the LGBTQ+ community. 


Licia Canton is a short story writer who leads healing through writing workshops.

*Open to Canadian seniors and Canadian seniors living abroad. Limited to approximately 10 participants per workshop.

The project is made possible through the financial support of Employment and Social Development Canada as part of the New Horizons Seniors Program.