The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.

HAT Forum Saturday 28
November 2015, 11:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. W., Room 8-200
Topic: Guns vs. Flowers

The title of this Forum is a reference to this viral video:

In crisis situations, take guns as a metphor for any response involving
hostility or conflict, and flowers as a metaphor for any life-affirming

Can flowers ever defeat guns? What does it take? In what circumstances are
flowers ineffective? How do we find flowers in the face of guns? And should
we even try? Do you have any favourite examples of flowers responding to

HAT Monthly Speaker
Saturday December 12, 2015
1:30 – 3:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west
Room TBD
Speaker: Thanh Campbell
Topic: Operation Babylift:
Last Flight Out of Saigon

Nguyen Ngoc Minh Thanh Campbell was born in Vietnam and came to Canada at the age of 2 as part of the last flight out of Saigon in 1975 with 56 other orphan children. Their story was captured numerous times in the media. Thanh has been invited to be a guest on CBC Radio, TVO, CityTV and Canada AM, sharing his life story with the nation. The 57 orphans’ story has also been covered by many newspapers including the Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun and Saigon Newspaper.

Most recently Thanh has written his autobiography titled Orphan 32. As a result, Thanh has been invited as a keynote speaker to numerous business groups, conferences and schools across Canada. His presentation has been described as amazing, enthusiastic, passionate, authentic and uplifting. In 2014, Mr. Campbell was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club in recognition of his outstanding commitment to the community. Thanh Campbell is a talented and inspiring speaker, with a fascinating story of how a Vietnamese baby became a Vietnamese Scottish Canadian and was eventually reunited with his biological family. It’s a remarkable story of life, love, family and self-discovery.

Go-Vap orphanage in Saigon where Thanh was sent for his safety.

HAT Forum
Sat Nov 21st 2015 11:00-1:00 p.m.
519 Church St Room 304
Topic: Loosening Prejudice

 How can we acknowledge prejudice in our perceptions of the world, people, and issues around us?
   - Acknowledge to ourselves.
   - Acknowledge to others.

What might help us modify or change our prejudice?

Are there strategies we might use in our Forum and other discussions to work towards loosening the hold of prejudice upon us?

How does witnessing diversity in action affect our prejudice?

HAT Forum Saturday, Oct 31 2015
11:00am to 1pm
519 Church St. Room 304
"Belonging: Becoming a Part of Canada’s Future"

HAT Forum
Saturday, Oct 31 2015 11:00am to 1pm
The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. Room 304
"Belonging: Becoming a Part of Canada’s Future"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett
The concept of Belonging in a national context refers to “being rightly placed” in a society – to know that you deserve to be recognized by a country, to feel as if you are recognized. There is a dual aspect of you belonging to the country (that “it” has some expectation of you, can judge you, can change you) and the country belonging to you (that you can have expectation of it, can judge it, can change it).
The degree to which you feel all of these things as a citizen or resident of Canada can be determined by many factors from birthplace to personality but there is no doubt that these feeling affect your connection to Canada, your happiness in being here and your willingness to participate in building its future.
1.    Describe your feelings of Canadian Belonging, why they might be this way and how they have affected your life.
2.    In what ways could you say strong feelings of Belonging are a positive? A negative?
3.    In what ways could a lack of Belonging be a positive? A negative?
4.    Do you view your sense of Belonging as changing or static? What circumstances lead to this?
5.    Some view having innate feelings of Canadian belonging conveyed by first to be a form of privilege. That being so sure of your belonging blinds you to others’ struggles to belong.
6.    With HAT embarking on a Sponsorship Agreement for a Syrian Family a important questions might be:
·         is it worthwhile to have a plan to try to engender a sense of belonging in our Family? How might we accomplish this if we wanted to?
·         Is it enough to cater to their physical well-being and leave them to sort their mental needs out for themselves?
For more background, listen to this fascinating audio presentation from CBC Radio’s “Ideas” program 

HAT Forum Saturday, Oct 24 2015
11:00am to 1pm
519 Church St. Room 304
"The HAT Forum: Questions for the Future"

HAT Forum
Saturday, Oct 24 2015 11:00am to 1pm
The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. Room 304
"The HAT Forum: Questions for the Future"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

​The HAT Forum is one of HAT's core programs. Since the beginning, The Forum has been a source​ of education and community for our members.  But we must not be complacent about its future. With the internet and media so easy to use, we need to ensure that The Forum adapts to remain a relevant and vibrant feature of our members' and the wider communities' lives.
1. What questions need to be asked of our members to serve our members in the best way?
2. How can we cast our net wider to appeal to members and guests alike?
3. What topic changes and format changes are necessary to properly service our community and keep the Forum thriving?
4. Are there features of The Forum (time, place, manner of discussion etc.) that may be holding people back or turning them off attending?

History of Humanism

History of Humanism

When:          3 evenings : October 28, November 4 and November 11
Time:           7 p.m.
Where:         Don Heights, Unitarian Congregation.  
                   18 Wynford Drive, Unit 103, Toronto, ON  M3C 3S2 (near Don Mills and Eglinton)
Registration:  Minimum of 10 people  Please e-mail 
                     or call the office at 416-444-8839 to register.
Cost:             Free  

Learn about the beginnings of Humanism and how it has changed over the years.  
The first session will describe the some history and the relationship to Unitarianism.
The other two will look at the relationship of humanism to Unitarianism, Paganism, Christianity etc.

Led by Tom Brown.

For more information go to

N.B. This event is hosted by the Don Heights Unitarian Congregation, not by the Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT). 

HAT Monthly Speaker
Saturday, October 17, 1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 8-170
The Syrian Refugee Crisis

Topic: The Syrian Refugee Crisis: What can we do? What should we do?
Speaker: Suzanne Silk Klein is a former university professor and retired provincial civil servant. Much more germane to this talk, she is co-chair of the Congregation Darchei Noam Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Committee, a learning opportunity that has generated a lot of activity lately.  She will give a little background to this Syrian crisis and tell us what she and her group are doing to help make things better. Please join us for an elucidating and hopeful talk.

HAT Forum Saturday Oct 3rd 2015 11:00 - 1:00 at 519 Church Street Rm 304 "Carding or Street Checks - A Humanist Perspective"

HAT Forum
Topic:  “Carding or Street Checks – A Humanist Perspective”
Location: The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. north of Wellesley, Rm 304 
Time: 11:00 to 13:00
Proposer: Richard Dowsett
Currently in Toronto, the practice of “Carding” a.k.a. Street Checks, has been suspended pending review of its detrimental effects on the community, possible racism or unconstitutionality and ineffectiveness as a policing tool.

Other jurisdictions (Peel Region, Hamilton) have refused to discontinue it against the advice of their civilian oversight boards, activists and experts (ombudsman, former Chiefs-of-Police and Attorney Generals).

Some facts as per research by The Globe:
  On average, in 2014 police forces had stopped 0.86 per cent of their jurisdiction's 2011 population.
  The majority of police forces that disclosed the length of time they keep records on community members who are stopped and questioned, reported keeping records indefinitely.
  All but two police forces interviewed have no formal procedure in place to guide interactions between officers and community members who are stopped and questioned.
Departing Ontario ombudsman AndrĂ© Marin’s reported that “the detrimental effects of street checks on individuals and the community are simply too great to justify this practice.”

Here is a very informative short video by The Star called “Known to Police” about how carding works:
1.   1. What are the pros and cons of Carding as it has been recently employed in Toronto?
2.   2. What personal or close experience do the members have of carding, if any?
3.   3. According to Humanist principles, on what grounds could carding be criticized? On what grounds could it be upheld?
4.   4. Is there a way to change carding such that the criticisms are properly addressed?
5.   5. Is it reasonable in social questions such as this, to weigh utility versus harm and decide in favour of the weight of evidence or is any harm unacceptable?

HAT Forum
Saturday Sep 26th 2015
11:00 - 1:00 p.m.
519 Church Street Room 304
Topic: Increasing the Responsiveness of Government in Canada

HAT Forum
 Topic: Increasing the Responsiveness of Government in Canada
Location: The 519, 519 Church Street north of Wellesley, Room 304 Time: 11:00 to 1pm
Proposer: Richard Dowsett
- One of the knocks on the current political system has been its lack of responsiveness to the will of the people. Can the use of Ballot Initiatives (as in the State of California) be employed here to increase responsiveness between elections?
- What are the upsides of citizen input via plebiscite, referenda and voter ballot initiatives?
- What problems do you see with them?
- By what criteria would you decide what questions would get on the ballot?
- What questions would you like to see on the ballot for the coming Canadian Federal election?
- Could Ballot Initiatives become a progressive element to speed social change?

HAT Forum: After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

HAT Forum
Saturday 19 September 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Proposed by: Moses Klein

After Catherine Rodd's talk last week, how do we see Canada's progress in terms of the objectives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

(1) Has the paradigm for relations with aboriginal peoples changed since the days of residential schools?

(2) What can non-aboriginal Canadians do to achieve a more mutually respectful relationship with aboriginal Canadians?

(3) What can aboriginal Canadians offer non-aboriginal Canadians?

(4) What can non-aboriginal Canadians offer aboriginal Canadians?

(5) Are you optimistic about the future of the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians?

HAT Monthly Speaker
Saturday, September 12, 1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. West, Room 4-414
Speaker: Catherine Rodd, Toronto-based video producer

HAT Monthly Speaker
Saturday, September 12, 1:30 – 3:00
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 4-414
Speaker: Catherine Rodd, Toronto-based video producer
Topic: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A Personal Perspective

The closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Catherine Rodd is a Toronto-based video producer. She covered the event for the United Church, one of the parties to the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This is the single most important issue before all Canadians. Truth and Reconciliation may be our last chance to get it right. The time has come to fundamentally alter the role aboriginal people play in Canadian society.

HAT Forum
Saturday Sep 12th 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Room 304 519 Church Street -
A discussion of Bill C51

N.B. Forum ends at 12:30
to allow forum attendees
to go to HAT
Monthly Speaker Meeting at OISE 


What is your opinion about Bill C51?

What are the positive aspects of this Bill

What are the negative aspects of this Bill?

HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.