The Guelph Lecture – On Being Canadian: Janice Gross Stein and Brigitte Shim with Basia Bulat and Miriam Toews – January 9 at 7 PM

The immense breadth and capacity of the human imagination is greatly manifest in our cities. The density of urban life fosters innovative thinking and creative exploration that is possible through the sharing and remixing of ideas in close proximity. Urbanity, now encompassing 90% of Canadians, accounts for much of the technological proliferation and economic insatiability that paradoxically drives our ‘progress’ and undermines it. The next Guelph Lecture—On Being Canadian will start a conversation: How do we live in our urban environments, and how will these transform over the next decades?

On January 9, 2015, on stage at the River Run Centre, we are pleased to present two extraordinary leaders in the building of beautiful, inclusive, and vibrant cities around the world: award-winning architect Brigitte Shim and celebrated author and social scientist, Janice Gross Stein, each of whom has received numerous prestigious awards in their respective fields.

As one of the world’s leading experts on peace, crisis, and security, Janice Gross Stein is the Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science. In 2001, she was the Massey Lecturer and published The Cult of Efficiency. A prolific writer and public intellectual, her other publications include Networks of Knowledge: Innovation in International Learning (2000) and Street Protests and Fantasy Parks (2001). She is a contributor to Canada by Picasso (2006) and the co-author of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (2007). As a testament to her significant contribution to global affairs, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, and a Trudeau Fellow (2001). She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Law by the University of Alberta, the University of Cape Breton, McMaster University, and Hebrew University.

Brigitte Shim, along with her partner A. Howard Sutcliffe, formed their architectural design practice Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in 1994, reflecting their shared interest and passion for the integration and interrelated scales of architecture, landscape and interior and industrial design. They have received thirteen Governor General’s Medals and Awards for Architecture and an American Institute of Architects National Honor Award along with many other professional accolades for their built work ranging from projects for non-profit groups to public and private clients. Shim is also a Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. She was a board member of Build Toronto, the real estate and development corporation created to generate value from the City’s real estate assets and Mooreland’s Community Services – a Toronto non-profit charity helping inner city children and youth affected by poverty since 1917. She is a Senior Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto and their College Architect.

As always, we will be presenting some of Canada’s finest musical and literary talent. The 2014 Polaris short list nominated album, The Tall Tall Shadow, the third album by Toronto singer-songwriter Basia Bulat, is the bravest album she has made. Raw and spectral, heartbroken yet jubilant, these ten songs tell the story of a very hard year in the artist’s life and all the love that helped her through it. The Guelph Lecture: On Being Canadian is very excited to have Basia showcase songs from her new record and past recordings in an intimate, solo performance. As well, we are equally jubilant to bring award winning, Canadian author, Miriam Toews to the stage as our literary guest this year. Miriam lives in Toronto and is the author of five previous novels, including: A Complicated Kindness (winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction), The Flying Troutmans (winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize) and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life. In 2014’s Rogers Writer’s Trust Fiction Prize winning novel, and Giller Prize finalist, All My Puny Sorrows (Random House), she brings us the riveting story of two sisters, and a love that illuminates life. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. The book offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the journeys we share, from children to adults.

Also contributing to the lecture, Haroon Siddiqui, the Toronto Star’s editorial page editor emeritus and a member of the Order of Canada, will be the guest author for the essay in the program, titled “The Alchemy of Canada.” Last but not least, Robert Enright will be joing us as guest emcee and moderator. Enright is a Winnipeg-based art critic and curator. He has written for such art magazines as Border Crossings, frieze, Modern Painters and Contemporary, and is a frequent contributor to The Globe & Mail. In the winter he teaches in the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph where he is a Professor and holds the University Research Chair in Art Theory and Criticism. He is a Member of the Order of Canada.

This year’s event will be taking place at 7:00pm Friday, January 9, 2015 at the River Run Center. Tickets will be available as of 11:00am, September 15, via the River Run Box Office. For more information come visit us online at or contact Taylor Moran,