One of the College’s most popular activities has been a series of weekly talks held at the Faculty Club during the academic year. The presenters are often Fellows reporting on their recent work, but outside speakers are also invited. The topics are wide-ranging and cover a broad spectrum of disciplines and subjects. The format calls for an approximately one-hour talk followed by a coffee break and then a discussion period. The talks are usually recorded and made available as either streaming or downloadable podcasts. The discussion sessions, which are often very lively, are not recorded. The sessions are so popular that seating is limited and Fellows are given priority although others are welcome if space permits.
Although the weekly talks have proven to be very popular some Fellows have sought opportunities for more direct participation in discussions of particular topics and issues. To this end a more-or-less monthly series of colloquia has been established. A committee selects topics which participants, limited in number to about fifteen, are expected to become informed about prior to each meeting. A reading list, featuring readily-available sources, is circulated to participants ahead of time. Topics range over a wide variety of disciplines and much of the interest generated by this series arises from the opportunity it provides for Fellows from very different fields to interact with one another.
Many years before Senior College was established the Senior Scholars Committee of RALUT (Retired Academics and Librarians of the University of Toronto) organized an annual day-long gathering to hear a distinguished panel of experts present papers on some theme. These annual Symposia proved popular and they have been continued by Senior College. There is ample opportunity for the audience to question speakers and add their own comments. Over the years, the Symposium Committee has arranged outstanding programs on such themes as “Immigration and Multiculturalism”, “Challenges Facing the City”, “The Brain and Us” and “Life and Death”.