All posts by whiffadmin

Terry Fallis, Author, November 26, 2019

“Terry Fallis writes just about the tidiest romantic comedic novels you can find on earth, let alone in Canada.” The Globe and Mail

A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of seven national bestsellers, including his most recent, Albatross (2019), all published by McClelland & Stewart (M&S).

His debut novel, The Best Laid Plans (2008),won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade.“ In January 2014, CBC aired a six-part television miniseries based on The Best Laid Plans earning very positive reviews. In September 2015, it debuted as a stage musical in Vancouver, produced by Touchstone Theatre and Patrick Street Productions. The High Road (2010) was published in September 2010 and was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Terry’s third novel, Up and Down (2012), was released in September 2012. It debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, and won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. Terry’s fourth novel, No Relation (2014), hit bookstores in May 2014, opened on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, and won the 2015 Leacock Medal. M&S published Terry’s fifth novel, Poles Apart (2015), in October 2015, opening on several bestsellers lists including the Globe and Mail’s. It was a finalist for the 2016 Leacock Medal. One Brother Shy (2017) was published in May 2017 and was an instant bestseller. Three days after his seventh novel, Albatross, was published, it broke onto the Globe and Mail bestsellers list.

In June, 2013, the Canadian Booksellers Association presented Terry with the Libris Award for Author of the Year.

Terry Fallis earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University (1983) where he became engulfed in university politics and somehow persuaded the undergraduates to elect him President of the Students Union.

After graduation, he turned his back on engineering and joined future Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s full time staff for the 1984 federal Liberal Leadership campaign.

He served on the political staff of the Liberal Minister of State for Youth, the Honourable Jean Lapierre, in the short-lived cabinet of Prime Minister John Turner. He stayed with Lapierre as his Legislative Assistant in opposition (1984-85) following the landslide victory of Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Party.

Terry returned to Toronto in 1985 as Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, Treasurer (now called Finance Minister) in the newly-elected Liberal Ontario government led by Premier David Peterson.

For nearly eight years (1988-95) after leaving provincial politics, he was a government affairs and communications consultant with the international PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, including stints as Vice President running the Ontario government affairs group and finally President of Berger & Associates, a Hill and Knowlton subsidiary.

In 1995, he co-founded Thornley Fallis with Joe Thornley, a full service communications consulting agency with offices in Ottawa and Toronto. Terry also created and co-hosted more than 200 episodes of the popular business podcast, Inside PR.

For more than 25 years, Terry has counselled corporate and government clients on various fronts including crisis communications, media relations, issues management, marketing communications, public opinion polling, public affairs, stakeholder relations, etc. He has also written speeches for CEOs, cabinet ministers, and other community leaders.

A homebuilt hovercraft plays a supporting role in The Best Laid Plans. Terry has always had a thing for hovercrafts.

Terry is a sought-after speaker, sits on a number of boards, and lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Learn more about Terry: Terry Fallis can be reached at

Tony Davis, Associate Emeritus Professor, U of T, Geography and Planning, “Putting the Brakes on Global Warming”, January 28, 2020

Our climate is determined by the interactions between internal mechanisms (plate tectonics) and the receipt and processing of solar radiation. For most of geologic time that has conditioned a world much warmer than the current one with a larger greenhouse effect. Contemporary global warming reflects our inadvertent interference with the natural balance, mostly through the burning of fossil fuels. So far mean global temperature has increased by only 1.5 C over the last 70 years, but climate models predict that the world will warm by as much as 4C by 2100. What impact will that have? Can we stop it happening? Can we redress the situation?

Tony Davis is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Toronto. He labels himself as an environmental historian. His research focussed on the reconstruction of past environments using pollen analysis. Much of this work supported archeological investigations. His passion is teaching. Since his retirement he has become very active with lifelong learning groups in Mississauga, Etobicoke and with the group at Innis College. Recently he has presented a series of lectures on climate change to Third Age Learning groups in Burlington and Guelph.

Bern Grush: An Adult Conversation about Autonomous Vehicles: Conflicting Narratives about the autonomous vehicle future

Bern Grush is the Chief Innovation Officer at Harmonize Mobility, Inc. He is an author, innovator and entrepreneur in the fields of autonomous vehicles, parking reform, and road pricing. He is the principal author of the 2018 textbook “The End of Driving: Transportation Systems and Public Policy Planning for Autonomous Vehicles”.

In 2017, Bern was named Toronto Star Wheels’ Newsmaker of the Year for his RCCAO report “Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation: Automated vehicles can influence urban form, congestion, and infrastructure delivery” which Maclean’s magazine called “…fascinating and carefully argued…” He has been described as the top, current independent thinker on autonomous vehicle deployment.

Bern holds degrees in Human Factors and Systems Design Engineering from the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo, and has published over 400 papers and articles on urban transportation issues.

Conflicting Narratives. There are (at least) 15 oft-repeated narratives about the future of automobility and its automation. Each is polarized creating dissonant understandings of possible, realistic, desirable or unacceptable futures. These will tend to confuse, dilute and delay planning responses to these potential changes.”

Logistical Information about the RCYC City Clubhouse

Helpful Information about the RCYC City Clubhouse, 141 St George St, Toronto, M5R 2L8 (Map)

(1) Best Entrance: St George Street. Cloak room to right, Registration desk just inside in the entrance hall. Bar in the Model Room, also on your right.
(2) Club Parking: The RCYC club parking lots to the east of the Club and in the Club basement are for members only. Continue reading Logistical Information about the RCYC City Clubhouse

Regarding the tragic fire at the B&R February 14, 2017

“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.” Winston Churchill

Dear Fellow Whiffers,

As you undoubtedly know, on Valentine’s Day, much of the Badminton and Racquet Club was destroyed by a massive fire, in which thankfully there were no serious injuries. The club facilities will be unavailable for what will probably be an extended period. Our sincere sympathies to the injured firefighter, the B&R Members and Staff.
Continue reading Regarding the tragic fire at the B&R February 14, 2017

Beth Beattie: Why we need leaders in our community to publicly disclose their mental illnesses, September 24, 2019

In 2002, Beth Beattie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The stereotype of people living with bipolar disorder is that they are inherently unstable and unreliable. Beth did not want to be thought of in those terms as a lawyer. As a result of stigma, both societal and self-imposed, she did not share her story outside her family and closest friends for 14 years.

Beth was not alone in her seclusion. The statistics on the number of mentally ill people in Canada is astonishing. One in five Canadians are living with mental illness right now. 50% of people will experience a mental health crisis by the time they are 40. Only one-third of those people seek help for their mental health conditions.

In 2017 Beth made the decision to disclose her illness to colleagues. After receiving considerable support at work, she quickly began speaking and writing on the topic of living and working with mental illness. Beth has made presentations to thousands of lawyers in the public and private sectors. She has also made presentations to schools, corporations and at various levels of the Ontario government as well as the British Columbia Prosecution Service.

Through all of the work she has done, Beth has seen the necessity of leaders in our community, be them professionals, senior executives, teachers, religious leaders, etc. disclosing their mental illnesses. It is through role models speaking out that other people with mental illness will be motivated to reach out and get the help they need. When isolation ends, stigma is reduced.
Beth was called to the bar in 1994. After being a litigator at Fasken Campbell Godfrey for eight years she joined the public sector. She is currently senior counsel at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General Civil Law Division, Ministry of Health Branch. Beth has a broad-based litigation practice and has expertise in the areas of Coroner’s inquests, human rights, forensic and civil mental health, OHIP eligibility and long-term care home compliance. Beth has a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in alternative dispute resolution.

Since January 2018 Beth has been a friend of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign. Her story has been featured on television, radio, print media and billboards across the country.

Beth is a founding member of the Mental Health Illuminati, a group of lawyers with lived mental health experience, which provides programming in the Ministry of the Attorney General and beyond. 

Beth is on a mission to help improve the lives of those living with mental illness as well those who care for them.

Media Links
Lexpert article, August 28, 2019 “Hypocrite, Heretic or Heroine? Why I Believe Senior Lawyers Should Disclose Their Mental Illness at Work”

Podcast “Shaking Off the Mental Health Stigma” March 26, 2019, interview with Dr. Julie Macfarlane

Bell Let’s Talk Page 2018-2019

CBC Metro Morning Radio, June 21, 2018, interview with Matt Galloway (No longer available at CBC Radio)

CTV primetime special aired January 31, 2018, “In Their Own Words”

Globe and Mail article dated August 29, 2017 “I’m Finally Out of the Mental Health Closet and Have Never Felt So Free”

The Search for Earth-like Planets, Dr. Michael Reid, Associate Professor of Astronomy, University of Toronto, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, April 30, 2019

Biographical Information
Dr. Michael Reid is an Associate Professor of Astronomy in the University of Toronto’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He earned his PhD from McMaster University and did post-doctoral work at the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii before joining the faculty of the University of Toronto. His expertise is in making astronomy accessible to everyone, using non-technical language. He also works as the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, where he organizes events and programs designed to share cutting-edge astronomical research with the public.

Presentation: The Search for Earth-like Planets
For thousands of years, people on Earth have wondered whether we are alone in the cosmos. Until very recently, we couldn’t even know whether there were other planets orbiting other stars. But the technological advancements of the last twenty years have transformed our understanding of our place in the universe. We now know of thousands of planets orbiting other stars. How similar are these planets to Earth? Do any of them actually host life forms of their own, and could they support life as we know it? And how soon will we know? In his presentation, Dr Reid will explore what we know about Earth-like planets – and what big mysteries remain.

Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey: “China, Alluring Panda or Pandora’s Box” March 26, 2019

Whiff member Chris Twigge-Molecey P.Eng., Ph.D., FCAE, FCIM, will give a talk on “China, Alluring Panda or Pandora’s Box.”

Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey retired in 2013 from full time work at Hatch Ltd. where he worked for 42 years. He joined Hatch in 1971 and has held a wide range of both technical and management positions. His technical contributions have included implementation of technology development programs management of R&D programs as well as design and commissioning of full scale metallurgical plant. He lead the development of Hatch business in several overseas markets including Russia, Chile and China. He was a member of Hatch’s board of directors from 2007 to 2011.
Continue reading Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey: “China, Alluring Panda or Pandora’s Box” March 26, 2019

Sue Lougheed Thompson: The Paradox of a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – A Personal Reflection, February 26, 2019

Sue Lougheed Thompson: The Paradox of a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – A Personal Reflection
Sue Thompson, Harry McMurtry and Dr. Ross Sugar on their 500 Mile Walk in 2016.
Sue Thompson is a physical education teacher, but in the summer of 2016 she took on the endurance challenge of a lifetime. She, along with two other people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), walked 500 miles in 45 days from the Bronx to Toronto to demonstrate what all people with the disease can achieve.
Continue reading Sue Lougheed Thompson: The Paradox of a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – A Personal Reflection, February 26, 2019