Volume 06 | August 2020

GBCRA Monthly News and Updates
Please Note : G-mail seems to be clipping this newsletter short. To view the entire newsletter, click on the button at the bottom of this email which says " View Entire Message ." We are not sure why this is happening, but we will attempt to correct it for the September newsletter.
We Reached Out and You Reached Back
by Barb Dunlop

The Board of Directors felt it was important to contact our members to confirm that they are staying safe and healthy. Thus, I undertook this project to contact many of our members with the hope that my calls would confirm everybody is busy and safe or, if anyone needed help or advice, we could be there to offer assistance. I am pleased to report that we have an extremely active membership with access to a support network of family members, neighbours and/or friends. 

In my conversations with members, I asked questions such as, “Are you bored?” and a few answered "yes" but I found that most members were reading more, gardening more, taking up a new hobby or becoming involved with a previous hobby, walking and hiking, chatting with their neighbours outside, learning new computer and/or social media skills, changing their shopping habits to online, decluttering and were in frequent touch with family, neighbours and friends. Activities included Zoom meetings, webinars, Netflix films, and frequent golf and bridge games.
For part, I met many new people, discussed their roles in the College, heard all about their families, and discovered things to do in retirement years. I look forward to connecting  again by Zoom or at some time soon during our regular events.
I remain interested in reaching out to members about their activities during the COVID era. If I haven’t yet contacted you. and you have some COVID stories to share, please contact me at 647-268-7956. 
Barb Dunlop

Message from the Co-Chairs


We hope that everyone has been enjoying the lovely summer weather. We have been trying not to fuss about the occasional very hot spells, remembering how much we look forward to long warm days when we are in the midst of winter. The mornings are already dark a bit longer and we will soon start to see the sumac leaves turning red, the traditional early sign of fall around here even while we are still fully in summer. 

Just as this spring and summer have been atypical in so many ways, September already looks different from what we usually expect. For those of us who have spent much of our lives working in education, it often feels like the new year really begins around Labour Day even though the calendar year doesn’t change until January. Retirees who have been wondering how the College is planning to deliver programs in the coming fall semester will find an update in this newsletter.
As you may know, GBCRA receives an annual stipend from the College each year that helps us cover our expenses. The cancellation of spring-summer intake and many other changes related to COVID-19 makes this a challenging time financially for the College. In light of this, we are particularly grateful to Anne Sado and Leslie Quinlan for renewing the College’s support for the fiscal year 2020-21. We appreciate this very tangible recognition of the retirees’ past and present contributions to the College. We also thank Sylvia Rossi for her ongoing conscientious attention to our requests for information and follow up.

Our temporary shift to holding GBCRA meetings and clubs on Zoom is likely to continue for the coming months. Large in-person events are still a concern and may remain so for a while. However, we want to offer opportunities for members to see one another – if only virtually for now – and to share in activities. Therefore, we will be offering some online events over the fall, which are described in more detail in this newsletter. Further information will also be forthcoming as we go along. Our members also have wide interests and belong to many other organizations. You may know about something that might interest the broader GBCRA group. If there is something that you have seen or have thought about that could be enjoyed remotely, please let one of us on the Board know and we will see what might be possible.
You may have noticed that, unlike previous years, this newsletter has continued to arrive during this summer. Similarly, the Board, which normally takes a break during the summer, has continued to meet via Zoom. With so many of the usual summer pursuits less accessible or cancelled altogether, we decided to make an extra effort to reach out and stay connected with members as best we can.
We look forward to seeing many of you at least virtually at our activities in the months ahead. We know that this is not possible for the few of our members who are not able to access material online. We are thinking of you, too, and are happy to remain in contact with occasional phone calls until we can offer in-person events again. For those who can join our online events, please read over the details in this newsletter and on our website, note the dates in your calendar, and plan to join in. We look forward to seeing you!

Dianne and Georgia  

GBCRA Goes Virtual
Upcoming Events
It appears that it will be a while before we will be able to meet face to face to enjoy one another's company, hear a presentation, grab a bite to eat and drink, and catch up. But fear not! The GBCRA Board of Directors has been working to put together a fall schedule of events and presentations. We can't do much about the food and drink, but we can provide you with ways to stay in touch with one another. Put these dates in your calendar now so you can join the fun!

September 9, 2020
2:00 PM

The 10 year-old gospel-singer from Detroit who later became one of the best-selling musical artists of all time with a career spanning over 60 years, 18 Grammy awards, and hits like “Respect”, “A Natural Woman” and “I Knew You Were Waiting”. She has been described as the fiery voice of an artist, a civil rights activist and humanitarian icon who “helped define the American experience” (Barack Obama).

Cost: Free to paid members
To Reserve a Spot click here to let Joseph know you are attending. Let him know which presentations interest you.

October 7, 2020
2:00 PM


Save the date! Please join us for a fun-filled afternoon of Zoom Bingo on October 7th at 2:00 PM. 

Our kitty will be divided between Bingo prizes and GBCRA's Student Scholarship Fund. Looking forward to seeing everyone there

Cost:  $5 per card - maximum 6 cards
To Reserve a Spot click  here
November 4, 2020
2:00 PM

Icons of Canadian Popular Music

Explore how popular music has been shaped by Canada. Hear the sounds of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and many more great Canadian musicians.

Cost: Free to paid members
To Reserve a Spot click here to let Joseph know that you are interested

December 1, 2020
2:00 PM

A Winter Wonderland of Yuletide Favourites

It’s the holiday season! The classic sounds of Bing Crosby, the jazz of Vince Guaraldi, and the flair of Elvis Presley!

Cost: Free to paid members
To Reserve a Spot click here to let Joseph know you are interested

December 16, 2020
2:00 PM

George Gershwin: Jazz in the Concert Hall

A central figure at the crossroads of jazz and classical, he naturalized jazz in classical music with works like Blue Monday, Summertime, I got rhythm, and of course his “jazz concerto” – Rhapsody in Blue.

Cost: Free to paid members
To Reserve a Spot click here to let Joseph know that you are interested

Coming Soon!!!

On-line Silent Auction
Our Goal: $800

Even though we cannot come together face to face, we will not be deterred - Our Annual Silent Auction supporting the GBCRA Scholarship Fund will go forward!!!

We are currently busy collecting items that we think you might be interested in purchasing either for yourself or as gifts.

If you have new or gently used items that you could donate, please send a photo to Anne MacKenzie-Thompson at
In order to help you participate more, we are offering a short training session on the basics of Zoom.

Not Sure You Know Enough About Zoom to Participate?

All of the activities listed above, as well as our clubs and meetings are happening on-line via Zoom.

Click here to let us know you want to participate.

GBC Copes With COVID-19
by Jennifer Cooke

As retirees of George Brown College, many of you may be wondering what is happening at the College in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The education of our children and youth, from day care & elementary schools up to the colleges & universities, has been greatly affected by the pandemic of COVID-19. Institutions are dealing with an uncertainty never experienced before, as they try to plan and implement possible solutions to ensure that the education of our students continues. Not a day goes by when one does not read, see or hear about possible remedies and how to implement them. The restrictions implemented by government and health authorities to protect the population at large such as physical distancing, wearing of a face mask, hand washing & quarantining etc. all have to be considered in planning for the safety and wellbeing of students and staff if they are to return to the classroom.

According to the College's postings to the GBC community, George Brown College recognizes the uncertainty and concerns that both staff and students have been experiencing over the past four months and is striving to address all the issues by seeking out the most effective solutions. As there is no definite prediction as to how long the present situation will last, the College is organizing its planning and decision making based on 3 guiding principles:

1) health and safety of all students ( both local and international) , and its employees
2) commitment to delivery of quality education
3) adherence to the guidelines of our government and health authorities

Consideration of these principles will determine the pace, timing and degree of re-opening of the campuses. For the fall semester, it has been determined that the primary method of delivering course content will be via remote and alternative delivery methods. This will result in minimal use of campus facilities. Students and employees will primarily work from home during the fall semester.
Needless to say, many courses require hands-on practical experiences where remote learning is unable to achieve the required outcomes. Therefore, these courses have had to be suspended for this fall semester.

Some may be wondering about those students who had been participating in practical experiences before the COVID-19 restrictions were imposed. Fortunately, most of these students are completing those courses through carefully organized experiences developed by the College in the form of pilot projects that maintain the guiding principles, and are thus enabling the students to complete their program course requirements.

A major concern for both students and employees is acquiring the information and direction relating to their programs and courses. In other words, “What is going to happen?"

The College has set up an extensive and informative website to give direction and advice to students and employees in all areas. This includes: programs that are open, closed or suspended; how to register for a program; fee payment, student residence accommodation; issues relating to international students and their status; program delivery methods; virtual student counselling, tutoring, and career advising. The website also includes answers to several specific questions on a variety of topics relating to programs, courses and student status. All of this information can be obtained at the GBC website.

The Teaching and Learning Exchange (TLX) that supports faculty to ensure high quality education and the use of technology has been expanded to give 24/7 HelpDesk service as they plan for the Fall semester.

Throughout the summer, the GBC Strategy and Planning Team continues to plan and work towards the ultimate goal of the gradual re-opening of the College as conditions permit.

All colleges and universities globally are facing these issues to a greater or lesser degree. Toronto is unique in many ways due to its population density and diversity. Some Institutions in other parts of our province may advance more quickly depending on the effects of the COVID-19 virus in their region .

Club News

Bridge Club

Our Bridge Club continues to meet on-line. Catch the photos to the right to see what playing on line looks like!!

According to the participants, "It's almost as good as meeting in person, but not quite." The current members began as total novices and have clearly advanced. However, the club is looking for those who have no experience and want to learn. If that's you, contact Laura.

Book Club
The Book Club has wrapped up for the rest of the summer, but will resume meeting again in September. Ever optimistic, they are hoping to be able to meet face to face soon, and are already signing up to host a meeting complete with food and wine!

September's book is " Older Sister Not Necessarily Related," by Jenny Heijun Wills. The meeting is scheduled for September 25, from 1:00-3:00PM via Zoom. If you are interested in joining for one or more of the meetings, click here to go to our web page for a complete listing of books and dates for the year. Remember, you don't need to attend all of the meetings - come to as many as interest you! Click here to let us know you want to attend.

Classical Music and Theatre Clubs
Both of these clubs have been temporarily suspended due the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to resume meetings as soon as it is safe to do so.
Time for a Silent Auction - We are Looking for Gently Used or New Items to Auction Off
by Anne MacKenzie-Thompson
Like many, during these unprecedented days, I’ve been cleaning out closets and finding lots of things I’ve never used and now plan to give away. Then, this thought occurred: maybe some of these items could be used in a ‘virtual’ silent auction or perhaps a garage sale with bidding that would help raise money for our scholarship fund. For example, there are some dishes I’ve never used, or that brand new purse someone gave me, but I’ve never used. Maybe you’re downsizing and have a table or bookcase that you plan to give away. These items are stacked up eagerly awaiting another life. 

Our goal is to contribute $800 to the GBCRA Student Scholarship Fund for the year 2020. There are 3 ways you can help:
  1. Make a donation to the fund
  2. Donate items to the Auction
  3. Make bid at the Silent Auction

To donate an item, simply take a photo of the item, write a brief description, assign a value and suggest an opening bid. That's all there is to it. Please help us. We need your stuff!!! Send your photos and descriptions to Anne MacKenzie-Thompson
GBCRA Congratulates Our Newest Retirees and Extends a
Warm Welcome to
The George Brown College 2020 Retirees
Marie Madill-Payne - Faculty
William Fitzpatrick - Support
Faye Johnson - Faculty
Elizabeth Ornoch - Support
Paul Ruppert - Admin
Deborah Dunbar - Admin
Sheldon Hargrove - Support
Paul Tong - Support
Eva May - Support
Roger Maurer - Faculty
William Knox - Faculty
Mary Bianchi - Support
Lori Cranson - Admin
Brian Waters - Faculty
Frances Ross - Faculty
Barbara Thistle - Faculty
Brenda Pipitone - Admin
Sara McCormack - Support
We have not been able to contact these people. If you happen to know how to get in touch with them, would you kindly introduce them to us by inviting them to join GBCRA by visiting our web page and signing up for our newsletter.
The GBCRA Board of Directors
Co-Chair: Dianne Diniz
Co-Chair: Georgia Quartaro ,
Past President: Bob Cox
Director of Communications: Anne MacKenzie-Thompson, Bob Cox
Treasurer: Joan Reynolds
Director of Membership: Debbie Plested , Jennifer Cooke
Director of Scholarships: Anne MacKenzie-Thompson
Director at Large: Barbara Dunlop
Director at Large: Laura Lothian-Bryant
Director at Large: Denise Pontone
Director at Large : Ron Sluser
Director at Large: Trish Robinson

Designed and produced by: Bob Cox

Reviewed by: Anne MacKenzie-Thompson, Georgia Quartaro, Dianne Diniz, Debbie Plested, Joan Reynolds

This month's contributors: Bob Cox, Georgia Quartaro, Dianne Diniz, Anne MacKenzie-Thompson, Jennifer Cooke, Barbara Dunlop, Laura Lothian Bryant, Debbie Plested

We welcome article submissions and feedback by clicking here