Past Speakers
Jill Bennett - Adventurer and CKNW 980 Vancouver Talk Show Host

Talk Title: The Camino de Santiago Walks

April 11, 2024

We were entertained by Jill Bennett with her talk about the Camino
de Santiago (The Way of St. James).
The Camino is a series of Pilgrimage routes that were established in the 9 th
century after the discovery of the bones of the Apostle St. James in Galicia
Spain. The routes can start anywhere in Europe and end in Satiago de
Compostela at the Cathedral where it is believed that St James is buried.
The Camino has been declared a Unesco World Heritage site.
Jill has walked three of the routes, (the Camino Frances 1.5 times). She
had a wealth of information and experience to share with us. We were
treated to images of the beauty of Spain, France, and Portugal during her
presentation. As well as some of the history of the pilgrimage itself.
I wonder how many feel challenged to walk at least part of a route. I am
sure she has piqued the curiosity of many of our members.

Doug Brien
J. Randy Attwood, Astronomer - Educator

Talk Title: The Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024

March 14, 2024

In anticipation of the total solar eclipse on April 8, Applewood Probus was entertained by Randy Attwood, from the Mississauga Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada at its March meeting.

Randy began by explaining the mechanics of an eclipse. Contrary to popular belief total eclipses are a relatively common astronomical event. A total eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun causing the Moon to block our ability to see the Sun, and the Moon to cast a shadow over the Earth. Given the fact that the Moon completes an orbit of earth once a month, each new moon could result in an eclipse.

As Randy explained this doesn’t happen for two reasons: the first is that the Moon’s orbit varies by 5 degrees up or down, and the Moon’s distance from the Earth varies. Normally, coincidence of the plane and the distances among Earth, Sun and Moon occurs 2-4 times  a year. Perfect coincidence occurs only about once every 18 months. This coincidence of course can occur anywhere in the world, the rarity is that the coincidence occurs where YOU happen to be. Of great significance is that one of those rare occurrences happens on April 8/24 across Mexico, the central US and southern Canada.

At about 3:20 pm the path of totality (when the Moon completely covers the Sun and casts its shadow over the earth) passes directly over Niagara Falls; all that’s needed for perfect viewing is clear skies. The next local isn’t until 2044.

Randy then discussed what we could expect to see, including shadow waves on the ground and the spectacular diamond ring effect known as Baily’s Beads. Randy stressed the safety aspects of observing the eclipse. You should never look at the Sun without approved sola glasses. The much greater danger occurs when the Sun is observed with amplification such as binoculars or telescopes, this should NEVER be attempted even with solar glasses unless the device is equipped with solar filters.

While Randy was asked to speak about the eclipse, he’s a recognized expert in all things astronomical. He demonstrated his expertise by giving a ten minute dissertation on the Apollo program and the contributions made to it by Canadians.

As a parting gift Randy gave out solar eclipse glasses. There was an emerging consensus that we should invite him back to talk about the Moon landings.

Paul Taylor

Shelley Babin, President and Chief Executive Officer – Atura Power

Talk Title: Hydrogen Fuel as Part of the Green Energy Transition

February 8, 2024

Ms. Babin discussed how Atura Power is developing the market for green hydrogen (hydrogen gas released using green hydro) as part of Ontario’s transition to a lower carbon economy. 

She mentioned their Niagara hydrogen facility (using hydro from one of the Beck generating stations), a Windsor underground storage facility, Miway’s plans for fueling some of their buses with hydrogen and Atura’s vision for a hydrogen highway along 401 to Montreal. 

She concluded her talk with an update on Ontario Power Generation’s plans for four 300 mW Small Modular Reactors at their Darlington generating station’s facility with in-service dates of 2036.

Shelly brought a video to share, which available here:  Atura Power (about 1/3 of the way down the page)


Atura Power is a leader in Canada’s energy transition through its safe and reliable operation of
Ontario’s largest fleet of combined cycle natural gas turbine powerplants, and the development
of low-carbon hydrogen production and battery energy storage centres.
Prior to her appointment at Atura Power, Shelley was Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Chief
Legal and Ethics Officer, and led the company’s Environment, Social and Governance work. In
2021, under her leadership, OPG’s Law Division was named the Energy and Resources Law
Department of the Year by the Canadian Law Awards, and Shelley was awarded Tomorrow’s
Leader by the Canadian General Counsel Awards in 2018. She practised commercial litigation at
a large national Bay Street law firm prior to joining OPG.

Shelley holds her ICD.D designation and sits on the board of Global First Power, a joint venture
between OPG and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation with a mandate to construct and operate a
small modular nuclear reactor in Ontario.

Bryana McLaughlin - Senior Coordinator, Capital Projects, Credit Valley

January 11, 2024

Talk Title: Serson Creek and the Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area

The waterfront between Marie Curtis Park on the east and the developing residential area on the former Lakeview Generating Station lands is being re-shaped into a 26-hectare forest, meadow, and wetland with trails, a teaching amphitheater, and an observation promontory.  Construction includes a scale model to ensure a design that protects the shoreline, refurbishing Serson Creek, and planting tens of thousands of trees and native plants.  In a presentation with videos and slides, we were given a glimpse of the premier conservation area scheduled for opening in 2025.

You have probably never heard of Serson Creek, until recently a "lost river". This small Mississauga waterway disappeared into pipes underground some sixty years ago in the name of urban development. It has recently been restored and daylighted, flowing above ground into Lake Ontario and is home to fish once more.

This is just one small aspect of the new Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area, a vast 26 hectare lakefront greenspace being created just a few kilometers east of the Port Credit Yacht Club. Containing three coastal wetlands, meadows, a forest, and shoreline habitats, this new space will be a hub for passive waterfront recreation, and a hotspot for wildlife migration and a green oasis in the heart of the city.

It will not open to the public until 2025, but Bryana Mclaughlin will give us an inside look at Credit Valley Conservation’s construction progress and vision for the new Conservation Area.

Ted Barris CM

November 9, 2023…Lest We Forget

Title: Battle of the Atlantic: Gauntlet to Victory – by Ted Barris

Ted Barris: Member of the Order of Canada, author of 20 non-fiction books, half of them on Canadian involvement in wartime histories.

Ted’s presentation on the Remembrance Day meeting was on his latest book entitled "The Battle of the Atlantic- Gauntlet to Victory". Our monthly meeting began with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’ and the bugler playing the ‘Last Post and Reveille’ and a two minute silence.

Ted Barris was introduced; and his presentation was outstanding! He has a highly energetic style that kept our members fully engaged for an hour. In WWII one battlefield that held the key to victory or defeat was the North Atlantic. It took 2074 days and nights to determine the outcome, but the Battle of the Atlantic proved to be the turning point of the Second World War.

The conflict was fought against German U-Boats that were attempting to destroy the Allied transatlantic Merchant Navy supply convoys between Halifax and Liverpool in Britain. Support and escorts for the shipping was provided by the Royal Canadian Navy and bomber–reconnaissance aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Ted had the audience spellbound as he told the history of the battle. In 1939, at the outbreak of the war, Canada’s navy had 13 warships and about 3500 sailors. During the dangerous Atlantic crossings, the RCN grew to 400 ships and over 100,000 sailors in uniform. By the end of the war in 1945 it had become the 4th largest navy in the world. Ted’s presentation was not only about the facts and figures of the battle but more importantly about the Canadian men and women who bravely fought in the Battle of the Atlantic that proved to be Canada’s longest military engagement of the war.

He talked of the Merchant sailors and the conditions they had to endure; the drive to build Corvettes to protect the supply ships; the wartime strategies to combat the fearful U-Boats; the technical innovations to detect submarines; and the vast geography of the North Atlantic.

We heard about letters sent from sailors to their families across Canada; we heard of the cramped conditions inside the Corvettes, the food rations, and those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

Ted weaved the human element of the historical siege, from a Canadian point of view, into his high energy and enthusiastic presentation. His book, and many others that he has written, are a well worth and enjoyable read.

Speaker - Peter Sloly

October 12, 2023

On monthly Thursday October 12th meeting a room packed with Probus members enjoyed a thought-provoking presentation by Peter Sloly.  His topic was “Policing and Public Safety”.
Peter is the CEO of Sloly Solutions, a company providing strategic advice to governments and private and public sector organizations.  

Peter’s career began as a soccer player where he rose to play professionally and made an appearance with the Canadian national team. In 2011 he received a Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame award for his leadership on and off the field.
Peter has a BA in sociology, an MBA, plus professional development certificates from US and Canadian universities and multiple policing and justice agencies.  He served twice with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo. 
Peter joined the Toronto Police in 1988, where he remained for 27 years, rising to Deputy Chief in 2009.  He resigned in 2016 to pursue a career in the private sector, then moved to Deloitte Canada to lead their Security and Justice practice.
In late 2019 Peter was recruited to become Chief of the Ottawa Police Service at a time when progressive civic leaders wanted major reforms to the force’s policing practices. The challenges Peter took on were significant. With his career record of commitment to crime prevention, community, and progressive policing Peter seemed a perfect fit for this job.  He was also a demonstrated champion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.  Peter’s personal motto of "Others before self; Compassion for all" illustrates his values.
Peter shared his major career experiences with our attentive group. His presentation illuminated how big challenges can best be managed by adherence to a coherent plan which enjoys the support of key stakeholders.
In Ottawa, Peter made immediate progress in improving public trust and implementing a city-wide community policing strategy.  However, in early 2022 the so-called Freedom Convoy occupied central Ottawa, and that protest quickly escalated to a national security crisis.  
Despite the Ottawa police’s success in preventing death, rioting or serious bodily harm, it became evident that significantly more officers were necessary to remove the occupiers from Ottawa’s streets.  Eventually the federal government invoked emergency measures as 2200 officers from across Canada began arriving.  The occupation ended peacefully, with the one highly visible casualty being Peter Sloly’s job as the Ottawa police chief.
The broad theme emerging from Peter’s remarkable presentation is the value of sticking to one’s guiding principles and courage in the face of adversity. Our speaker’s record illustrates that he demonstrated these qualities through challenges encountered in Toronto, Kosovo and Ottawa; and in so doing he helped to advance a progressive and effective model of policing nationally and internationally.
Peter’s presentation enjoyed rapt attention from our Probus members. He left us with much to think about regarding how best to navigate through the many challenges we encounter in our lives. 
Speaker – Betty Franklin

September 14, 2023

Betty Franklin is a registered nurse who focuses on the subject of mental fitness and well being.  The title of her slide presentation (The “F words in our life) refers to Finance, Fun, Faith, Friends, and Fitness. Ms Franklin’s excellent use of slides outlined how these “F” words relate to each other in our lives and taken together make us what we are as a person. She outlined how any individual can live a healthy, balanced and abundant life by maximizing the effectiveness of these different components.   In her presentation she used an automobile as an example of our lives.   If looked after, treated properly, and well maintained, it can remain a shiny, “good as new” object that will continue to operate “forever”.  On the other hand, if we do not consider all the parts of our lives (the “F” words), and insure they are all “working” for us together, in unison, that car (our life) can deteriorate quickly. 

Betty’s comments left all of us thinking about our own lives and where we may need to balance the five different ‘F’ words in our lives.  This was a very thought-producing speech, presented in a very professional and relaxed manner, that left us wanting to hear more.
Speaker - Bob Pinet

August 10, 2023

Title: Les Acadiens et des Acadiennes / The Acadians

I was inducted to Applewood Probus on Nov 10 2022
Following are highlights of my speech:
-My family BackGround
-First arrival 1603
-Historical Timeline 1606 to 1700
-The years 1700 to 1755
-The Deportation from NS 1755/1758
-The Deportation from PEI 1758
-The Cajans
-The pardon from Queen Elizabeth 2013
-The 1900 to 2023.
- Acknowledgments
To see Tom's slideshow click here
Speaker via Zoom - Tom Axworthy

July 13, 2023

Tom Axworthy addressed our July 13, 2023 meeting at Applewood United Church.

He spoke on Zoom from his home in Winnipeg.

Tom is one of our own. He joined our club several years ago.

He is an active participant in our book club and a regular attendant at our monthly Senior Common Room zoom meetings. He is a valued member of our Speakers Committee.

He kindly agreed to fill in the speaking spot for our July meeting when it is difficult to attract speakers and attendance is diminished because of summer vacations .

His topic was “Leaders I have known .“

He categorized leaders into those who are effective at getting things done, those who are effective at bringing about change, and those who are truly great at transforming things.

He focused in on his experiences with Helmut Schmidt who was the chancellor of Germany in the 1970s and was determined to bring about European reconciliation and cooperation so that France and Germany would never go to war again.

Next he spoke of the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, who stood up to Argentina in the Falklands War and was one of the first leaders to recognize that Gorbachev “was someone I can do business with.”

He talked about Ronald Reagan and his role in ending the Cold War with Gorbachev.

He considered Jean Chrétien who won 3 majority elections and knew how to get things done. He, balanced the budget and eliminated yearly deficits, came up with the Clarity Act,  and kept us out of the Iraqi war.

Finally, he told us about Pierre Trudeau and his role in handling  the Quebec FLQ terrorist crisis, Canadian unity, and the Charter of Rights and Freeeoms with the notwithstanding clause.

It was a thoroughly informative session with Tom sharing his insights on leadership and specific instances of leaders he has encountered over his career.

Paul Moore

June 8, 2023 I Person - Tom Herstadt
Title: 2nd Line West - A True Story

Tom is an owner/operator of a lighting business, but unlike most of us has a calling that transcends his day-to-day occupation - the need to tell as many people as he can about his mother, and the way she lived her life, in the hopes that we might follow her lead, at least in small part.   He shared only glimpses of Margie’s life – for the whole story you must read his book – but we saw enough to understand what a saint she was.  Example: Encountering a homeless woman just before Christmas, Margie asked if she was going to be with family over the holiday.  The answer was no.  She had no home or family to go to. Margie brought her home to spend two weeks with her and her children to feel some Yuletide joy.
Tom’s story was equally about himself, although he might deny that if asked.  When his mother died in 2011, he came to the understanding he must tell her story, write a book and become a public speaker despite believing he could never do either one.  He managed, and is now trying to get a movie made about Margie as well.
It was an uplifting and spellbinding session.  Tom concluded, and prepared to answer questions.  The whole audience sat mute, mesmerized, unable to muster a single one. 
Mike Miller
May 11, 2023 In Person - Kevin Donovan - Toronto Star Investigative Reporter

Title:  The Barry and Honey Sherman Case

Kevin was born and raised in Toronto and graduated from University of Western Ontario in 1985 with a degree in Political Sciences.  He is the Toronto Star’s Chief Investigative Reporter who, for 38 years, has investigated governments, charities, businesses, lawyers, doctors and many other groups and individuals.
When he was assigned the Bernard and Honey Sherman Case, the initial determination by the police was that it was a murder of Honey by Barry followed by Barry’s suicide through hanging.  However, upon review Kevin and his Investigative team it was determined that the case was actually a double homicide.  Working closely with senior executive from Apotex, the pharmaceutical company founded by Barry Sherman, a more detailed assessment of the case was undertaken including the engagement of another coroner to review the initial autopsy.  Although a number of weeks had elapsed since the original autopsy, further examination determined that Barry and Honey wrists had been tied prior to their deaths.  That plus the sitting positions of the bodies when discovered eliminated any possibility of a murder/suicide.
It was only when this discovery was published as front-page news in the Toronto Star did Mark Saunders, the then Toronto Chief of Police, become involved.  Part of Kevin’s investigation involved petitioning the court to unseal hundred of sealed documents from the police investigation.
The case remains unsolved and the Toronto police say that the Sherman Estate is embedded and central to the murder investigation.  The police investigation highlighted a number of flaws and Kudos to Kevin and his Investigative Team who have been a major contributing factor to the ongoing investigation.  Kevin remains personally involved in the case and continues to petition the court to unseal additional documents from the investigation.

Bob Buckner