George Brown College Seniors' Association | George Brown College

About the Seniors' Association

The Seniors' Association is an independent, not-for-profit organization affiliated with George Brown College.

The Association has its own Constitution and By-laws and elects a Board of Directors composed of volunteer officers, committee chairs and members-at-large.

The Association offers seniors innovative programs of a cultural, educational, and recreational nature that serve lifelong learning needs and interests. Each winter and fall – a variety of lecture courses are offered and also each spring and fall we have a series called Great Treasures. Courses are usually 10 weeks long

We provide opportunities for voluntary participation in the activities within the Association and for collaboration with community programs.

Each year several scholarships are awarded to students entering second year Gerontology studies and the Nursing Program. We also provide a bursary to mature students in the George Brown Theatre School and the Financial Services School. The recipients are selected by the Faculty. These scholarships and awards are supported by our membership on a continuing basis and are administered by the George Brown Foundation.

Please Note: Cancellation for any course must be received no later than 10 business days prior to the beginning of the course in order to receive a refund. A $10 administrative fee will be charged for each course cancelled.


Great Treasures The Soviet Experiment: Russia's Tumultuous 20th Century

Great Treasures registration opens on July 4th 2018

From the Bolshevik Revolution to Putin, Russia's history in the 20th and early 21st centuries has been nothing short of tumultuous.
As the 20th century began, St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire. A quarter century later, Moscow became the capital of the Soviet Union, with St. Petersburg renamed Leningrad; by the end of the century, the Soviet Union had crumbled, Leningrad transformed back into St. Petersburg, and Moscow became capital of the Russian Federation, with a new, modern-day dictator at its helm.
We will examine how this head-spinning historical trajectory plays out in Russia by focusing on the evolution of Russian culture – including art, music, literature, film, architecture – from Soviet to post-Soviet times.
This course will explore the early part of the 20th century, from the 1905 Revolution to Stalin's reign of Terror, to Khrushchev's thaw, Brezhnev's stagnation, and Gorbachev's perestroika, in order to help us make sense of Putin's current socio-political climate in present-day Russia.

September 26 Twilight of Empire: Russian culture at the turn of the 20th century Background of Russian history leading up to the 1905 revolution and the rise of socialist movements. Cultural splendour and the rise of the avant-garde in Russia comes hand in hand with imperial decay.

October 3 Revolutionary Energy Russia had not one, but three revolutions – the first in 1905 and two in 1917. The end of the Romanov dynasty and the rise of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. How Russian modern artists, poets, writers, theatre directors embraced the spirit of the Revolution. St. Petersburg renamed Petrograd; capital of Russia moves to Moscow.

October 10 Visions of Utopia and Homo Sovieticus The formation of the Soviet Union after the death of Lenin, the rise of Stalinism and the Socialist Realism doctrine for the arts. The emergence of a new cultural icon, and a new human being: the invincible Homo Sovieticus. Five year plans, forced industrialization, Stakhanovites, collectivization. Petrograd renamed Leningrad.

October 17 "Life has Become More Joyous": Stalinism in Russia Terror, the gulag, the purges and the barbaric 1938 show trial of the former Bolsheviks. And in the midst of Stalinist terror, musical comedies thrive in the Soviet Union. Propaganda and the creation of an entertainment industry. Dmitri Shostakovich.

October 24 The Thaw De-Stalinization After the Great Patriotic War and the death of Stalin, Khrushev's regime erases the stains of Stalinism, and what

October 31 Stagnation and the Ruins of Utopia: Living in the sham that is Brezhnev's Soviet Union Olympics in 1980. Maintaining a façade amidst the disintegration and erosion of Soviet ideology.

November 7 Glasnost, Perestroika, and the End of the USSR: Moving toward a new order Opening up toward the west, dismantling communism, Gorbachev's reforms, Yeltsin, and the 1993 coup. Leningrad becomes St. Petersburg again and the Soviet Union collapses.

November 14 Beyond Communism: Putin's Russia and his new cult of personality Russian nationalism and rewriting the country's Communist past. Corruption. Post-Soviet art and literature. Where is Russia headed now? What does it mean to live in Putin's Russia today? Reflections on the "Soviet Experiment."

Fall 2018 Registration opens on Monday, June 11th at 11:00 AM


ITALIAN $45.00
With Luciana Benzi

Mondays: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm September 10th - November 19th
Room -108 – St. James Campus

No Class October 8th (Thanksgiving) Course extended one week

Our Italian studies continue for those who have good basic knowledge of the language and wish to build on their skills. Basic grammatical aspects and vocabulary will be reviewed before the introduction of all new material. Classes will give priority to language practice with particular attention to pronunciation. Some homework is required. We welcome students new to the class. Though they should have reasonable knowledge of Italian, we are glad to help them integrate with our class.

From 1962 to 1976 Luciana Benzi taught the Italian language at the University of Toronto in the Department of Italian Studies, the School of Continuing Studies and the Faculty of Music. During these teaching years she wrote many articles on topics of the Italian language and literature and gave papers at symposia and talks on Italian culture at various institutions. She received a grant from the Italian government to research and prepare material for a textbook written by her on the principles of Italian phonetics for first year students of the Italian language.


FILM: THE ‘OTHER LISTS’ $45.00
With Andrew Close

Mondays: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm September 10th - November 19
Room 418A – St. James Campus

No Class October 8th (Thanksgiving) Course extended one week

This course looks at several films that appear on well-known lists—from critics, film institutes, and the general public—of some of the best movies ever made.
Many one would expect, films considered the ‘Greats’, but there are also many simple or common type/genre ones on respected sources. They may not contain world-changing techniques, stories, or styles of the ‘Greats’, but they are considered extremely important in film development.
What is it about these movies which places them on these lists? Largely, they are simply fantastic films, created by notable directors and producers, and starring some of the world’s best actors. They cover every genre type: comedies to westerns, drama to musicals.
The series begins with the silent era of the 1920s, but will focus on the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood and British films.


The Freshman (1925)

The Coconuts (1929)

Swingtime (1934)

42nd Street (1933)

The Ox-Bow Incedent (1943)

Cimarron (1931)

The Bank Dick (1940)

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)

My Man Godfrey (1936)

His Girl Friday (1940)

Pimpernel Smith (1941)

I See a Dark Stranger (1946)

Dodsworth (1936)

The Best Years of our Lives (1946)

Gaslight (1940)

Gun Crazy (1950)

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

It’s a Gift (1936)

Trouble in Paradise (1932)


Andrew Close is returning to present his ongoing series. He has been with George Brown College since 2002. He has taught in several different disciplines throughout the College, one of which has been the Film Studies course.  He has brought the world of film and how to view it through the study of film to many students. In the area of film, his interests lie in independent filmmaking, foreign filmmaking and the world of remakes.

OUR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES $45.00
With Dr. Bob Phillips

Tuesdays: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm September 11th - November 13th
Room 418A – St. James Campus

This lecture series aims to promote a clearer understanding of what indigenous peoples are, and the issues they face. A fundamental goal will be to leave participants with the conviction that indigenous people are contemporary, and are the equals of all other cultures.


Sept 11th Identity: What is Indigenous?

Sept 18th Indigenous History

Sept 25th Indigenous Art and Music

Oct 2nd Ceremonies: Potlach, Smudge, Pow Wow, Spirituality

Oct 9th The Grandfather Teachings

Oct 16th Treaties and the Law

Oct 23rd Child welfare: Residential Schools and the 60s Scoop

Oct 30th Contemporary Issues

Nov 6th Economic Development

Nov 13th Reconciliation


Dr. Bob Phillips (Great Bear) is a non-status urban Mi’kmaq. Although a traditional Pipe Carrier, Bob is also very contemporary and holds a PhD in Indigenous Studies from Trent University as well as an MA in Fine Art History from York.
Bob Phillips spent ten years as host of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Arts Review show, discussing art, culture and contemporary issues. He serves as an elder and lecturer concerned with Indigenous culture and issues in the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the KAIROS social justice organization.

BLUE GRASS, OLD TIME AND COUNTRY MUSIC $45.00
With Mike Daley

Wednesdays: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm September 12th - November 14th
Room 418A – St. James Campus

This course is an historical overview of bluegrass, old-time and country music and a discussion of the issues around this music, including authenticity, nostalgia, and the music business. We’ll trace the development of country music with ample audio and video examples as well as live musical demonstrations. We’ll hear and discuss music by the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Gene Autry, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, and many many others.


Mike Daley holds a PhD. in music from York University and has taught at Guelph, McMaster, Waterloo, and York Universities, as well as leading later-life courses at Glendon, Innis, and George Brown College. Mike has published scholarly articles on American popular music in international journals and has been a speaker at academic conferences from Normandy to Nashville. As a music producer at CBC Radio, Mike wrote scripts for Tom Allen, Eric Friesen and Shelley Solmes and programmed music for nationally broadcast radio shows. Mike has also toured the U.S. and Canada as a musician with Jeff Healey, the Travellers and others, and has appeared on dozens of recordings as a guitarist and singer.




PLEASE NOTE: The Great Treasures Fall Course, Russia Today, with Julia Zarankin, will be 8 weeks long, from September 26th to November 14th, with a reduced cost of $50.00. The course will include Russia’s relations with the U.S.


You will be sent separate information about this course and registration soon.

George Brown College Seniors' Association
St. James Campus Room -106
Tel: 416-415-5000 Ext. 2418
P.O. Box 1015 Stn. B Toronto, ON M5T 2T9
senex@georgebrown.ca