Volume 06 | May 2020

GBCRA Monthly News and Updates

Virtual Events
These are a few activities that continue virtually
Book Club
The Book Club meets virtually on the last Friday of each month. This month's book is "Becoming" by Michelle Obama. Click here to join in the discussion
Bridge Club
The Bridge Club continues meeting virtually each week for lessons and practice. Novice players welcome. Click here to join the group.
Classical Music Club
Joseph Sharon is offering his classical music workshops virtually. Click here to send Joseph an email so he know you want to attend.t
Theatre Club
The Theatre Club has cancelled the Stratford trip this year, but you can see fabulous productions by the Stratford Company for free. Click here to access.
Cooking Classes
Chef Kenzie Osbourne is offering on-line cooking classes to GBCRA Retirees. Click here to go to Kenzie's web site
The National Ballet Company of Canada is launching a new series titled "Dancer Diaries".
Click here to access the Live Instagram productions
Social Distancing Festival
Dive into this list to find a wide array of Musical, Theatrical, and other cultural events. All are free
Click here to access
Virtual Tours
They don’t call it the world wide web for nothing. We have plenty of content, stories, and characters to lose ourselves in during  this time of social distancing . Click here to access
Quarantine Soirees
Organizations and musicians across the world are live streaming concerts from their homes, or from empty halls, so that every one can still access music. Click here to access
Message from the Co-Chairs

Greetings! We hope everyone is doing well as we all continue to stay home as much as possible and to keep our distance from others. While it is certainly not the same as being able to be together in person, we have been finding ways to be together virtually. Board meetings are now on Zoom and we are checking in together a little more often than usual to be sure we are meeting members’ needs as well as we can despite the challenges and cancellations. Most of us have figured out how to mute and to use Gallery View on our devices, and we are still learning. We have shared a lot of helpful advice (e.g., “It’s probably at the top of your screen on the left. Try that.”). This is oddly reminiscent of the informal ways many of us learned to use computers in the first place so many years ago, with tips and tricks shared by colleagues and friends.
The Bridge Club moved its activities online very quickly and is meeting even more frequently than they had been. We look forward to hearing about how their skills are progressing. It certainly sounds like they are having fun.
After cancelling the March meeting, the Book Club met through Zoom for April and plans to do so again in May. It is different from meeting in person, but it is very nice to see and hear others, even if it is just on the screen. Of course, you have to provide your own snacks and wine if you want it, so the atmosphere is not quite the same as it is when we are together. 

Please explore the many links and suggestions in this newsletter. If you find other interesting sites or ideas that you would like to let others know about, please use the feedback link above to let us know so some of them can be shared in future newsletters. We would also be delighted to get members’ contributions about things you are doing now or some memories about your time at the college or both.
We hope you all stay well, stay safe, and are enjoying the warmer weather. 

Georgia and Dianne

COVID-19 Information for GBCRA Retirees

The CAAT Pension Plan

How has the current economic situation and COVID-19 affected The CAAT Pension Plan? Click here to visit the CAAT Pension Plan website for more information and to register for their upcoming information session.

General Information about COVID-19

Click here to find out what essential services are operating in Ontario

Click  here  for the latest information on the City of Toronto's state of emergency, as well as COVID-19 health advice.

Click here to find out about Financial and Social Support in Toronto

Toronto.com  is covering the impact of the corona virus from a variety of angles.

Ways to Get Involved
One George Brown Retiree decided to raise funds for those who are struggling during this pandemic. Read her story below

Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Activities
Crystal Kotow-Sullivan

What would I do during this extraordinary time, that I would not otherwise do? This question crossed my mind at the beginning of March. We were hearing about social isolation and people travelling home early from vacations. I had just returned from a week in California, just as things began to escalate. I saw a few face masks in the airport. Starbucks would not fill my coffee cup. 

We began having family brunch on Sundays with 12 households. Our Zoom brunches have been as raucous as they are in person. We haven’t learned to use mute yet. At the first brunch somehow I blurted out that I thought I might shave my head, if I was going to be isolated at home. My daughter said over the miles…” I thought so, too.” So we had a laugh with everyone on Zoom that day and forgot about it. 

My daughter and her family had just returned from a week in Arizona for March Break. They were in quarantine for 14 days. At the end of the quarantine, her husband was returning to work in the hospitals and one of them had a case of COVID 19. So it was decided she and the three kids would move in with us. During the first week, she and I were out walking and she asked about shaving my head. I said I was still thinking about it because I did not want to be 100 years old and think, regretfully, ‘Why didn’t I shave my head during the pandemic?” My daughter suggested we do a fundraiser…and so we did! Over the next three days we raised $1200 for the Salvation Army. My son suffers from schizophrenia and the Salvation Army has been his home off and on. It has been a safe place for him to be and they have fed and clothed him. They have been the angels in his life. 

So, on the Monday, my daughter did the deed. We were live on Facebook and had a great laugh and were grateful for the money people so generously gave for the cause. Lucky for me, my head is a good shape, I have some great earrings and some beautiful hats!! Really, though, I must say I love the freedom of not worrying about what my hair might look like every morning and it dries in fifteen seconds!

So during these extraordinary times, what are you doing differently? I hope for those of you who are living alone, that you are reaching out to others via facetime, Zoom or other technology that we have these days. 

A Volunteer idea from the Shaw Festival

Be An Angel

With the uncertainty hovering around the world today, human connection is more important than ever.
Be an Angel - take someone under your wing and check in on them daily. Choose a person who is isolated, struggling with anxiety or housebound and simply reach out. We may be physical distancing, but that doesn't mean we have to be alone. We are stronger together even if physically apart. Or if you would like to be touched by an Angel, send us an email with "Angel" in the subject line and we will set it up for you.

With thanks to Mary Hill, member of the Shaw Festival's Board of Governors for this idea.
Some members have asked how we can best assist those who are in need right now. Non-profit community services need volunteers to help them deliver essential services.

Register via  volunteertoronto.ca   or  sparkontario.ca  to receive alerts of volunteer opportunities .
On-line Resources - Visit Our Web Site

We continue to add online resources that you might find useful during this period of social isolation. Please visit us at www.gbcra.org While you are at it, perhaps you have helpful information to share with others.

To share yours simply send Bob Cox an email with the pertinent information.
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: Laura Lothian-Bryant , Jennifer Cooke
Director of Scholarships: Anne MacKenzie-Thompson
Director at Large: Barbara Dunlop
Director at Large: Debbie Plested
Director at Large: Denise Pontone
Director at Large : Ron Sluser
Director at Large: Trish Robinson
Newsletter Design and Publication: Bob Cox

Editors: Anne MacKenzie-Thompson, Georgia Quartaro, Dianne Diniz, Debbie Plested, Bob Cox

This Month's Contributors: Bob Cox, Joan Reynolds, Crystal Kotow-Sullivan, Georgia Quartaro, Dianne Diniz, Jennifer Cooke

To submit an article or give us feedback click here