Public Lectures

 Orillia Library logoIN CONVERSATION with Lakehead

at the Orillia Public Library – 2016-2017 Series


Tuesday January 17, 2017 - 6:15 pm

Normal School/Teachers College/Faculty of Education: The Evolution of Teacher Education in Simcoe County 

Dr. Frances Helyar, Lakehead University Orillia, Faculty of Education

Since the inception of common schooling in Ontario, attitudes toward teacher training have shifted, encompassing multiple stakeholders. Recurrent themes include the tension over theory versus practice, and questions about the control of teacher education. In this talk, Dr. Helyar provides a survey of the history of teacher education in Ontario, concluding with some insights about the present and future of teacher education in Simcoe County.

Frances Helyar is the Chair of Education programs at Lakehead Orillia, and teaches courses about the history, philosophy and sociology of education. She is an educational historian whose research focuses on New Brunswick. She is currently on sabbatical and is writing a book about Acadian education from 1900 to 1940.


Tuesday February 21, 2017 - 6:15 pm

Between a Rock and a Hard Place - the Fate of the Arctic in the Third Millennium A.D.

Dr. Florin Pendea, Lakehead University Orillia, Departments of Sustainability Sciences and Geography

This lecture will involve an open discussion about climate change, carbon woes, and the unbalance between society's needs and the limited carrying capacity of the Circumboreal North. Dr. Pendea will share his interest and experience in the ecosystems of the North and their relationships to environmental changes in the past and to the sustainability challenges of today.

Florin Pendea teaches Environmental Science and Geography courses at Lakehead University Orillia. His research focuses on the human dimensions of environmental change in Subarctic Prehistory. He seeks to find out if “paleomodels” of sustainability used by Northern societies over the millennia are still relevant today.

Dr. Florin Pendea

Dr. Florin Pendea takes samples from an ancient Arctic lake bed in Siberia while describing the process to students and collaborators.


Tuesday March 21, 2017 - 6:15 pm

An Orillian at War: Ernest Nelson and the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I

Dr. Michael Stevenson, Lakehead University Orillia, Departments of Interdisciplinary Studies and History

Using private war diaries as a primary source, this presentation highlights the experience of Ernest Nelson during the First World War beginning with his enlistment in February 1916.  Nelson provided evocative accounts of his combat experience that serve as a stark reminder to modern society of the remarkable sacrifices of Canadian soldiers in the CEF.

Michael Stevenson is an Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University Orillia.  His research interests are in the military and diplomatic history of Canada and the life of the British philosopher Bertrand Russell.


Tuesday April 18, 2017 - 6:15 pm

Is Frankenstein a Monster?  Mary Shelley’s Complex Construction of Monstrosity

Dr. Alice den Otter, Lakehead University Orillia, Departments of Interdisciplinary Studies and English

Although popular culture continues to remind us that Frankenstein is about a scientist creating a new human being out of body parts and bringing it to life, this story does not fully engage with the complexity of Mary Shelley’s original novel in which this story originated.  Who is the real monster in the novel?  Why did Mary Shelley write this “blood-curdling” tale, and what has popular culture missed about the story?  To what extent does the story revise our perceptions of monstrosity and yield other, more hopeful messages beyond that related to the horror of cloning and ‘playing God’? 

Alice den Otter has taught in the English Department at Lakehead University for 20 years – ten in Thunder Bay and ten in Orillia.  She specializes in British Romantic Literature and particularly enjoys exploring literature by William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Anna Barbauld, and Mary Shelley. 


Tuesday May 16, 2017 - 6:15 pm

The Unconscious in Everyday Life: Dreams, Slips, and Jokes

Dr. Les Fleischer, Lakehead University Orillia, School of Social Work

We are greatly influenced by thoughts, feelings and memories that we are not aware of. Yet the unconscious mind regularly reveals itself in many aspects of everyday life. This presentation will focus on how everyday events such as dreams, slips of the tongue, bungled actions, and jokes can help us understand ourselves better and improve decision-making, thus contributing to happier, more fulfilling lives.

Les Fleischer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Health and Behavioral Sciences, at Lakehead University in Orillia and is a Psychoanalyst in private practice. His research interests and scholarship are in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, dreams, mental health, and the education of mental health professionals.

All events are FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC

Registration is required for all events. Register at the Library, 36 Mississaga St. E., by email: or by phone: 705-325-2338.