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50+ Festival

group of senior adults

Thriving Together: Make the Most of Aging with The Chang School

Join us at our annual 50+ Festival for free workshops, lectures, and performances about enhancing life after 50. We’ll have exciting presenters from Programs 50+, Baycrest, The Cognitive Aging Lab (CAL), The Memory and Decision Processes Lab (MAD), Act2studioWORKS, The LIFE Institute, and SingWell to share research about aging well and how you can use it to stay healthier, longer. Enjoy both in-person and online events where you can discover many fascinating, diverse perspectives on active aging. Topics include defying dementia; coping with cancer; aging in marginalized communities; and the power of curiosity and helping others. We’ll also showcase a wide variety of ways to have fun and stay active. Older adults will share how cooking brain-boosting food, or even trying your hand at choral singing, live theatre, or drag, can help you feel great. All our events are free – and lunch is included.

June 24 and 25: In-person events
9:00 a.m. EDT: registration and refreshments
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EDT: events
Ted Rogers School of Management, 7th Floor
55 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

June 26 and 27: Online events
Space is limited for these free events! Sign up today to secure your spot.

In-Person Events

Monday, June 24, 2024: Day One
Time: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EDT
Ted Rogers School of Management, 7th Floor
55 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

RSVP for Day 1 Now

9:00 a.m. EDT: registration and refreshments

10:00 a.m.–10:15 a.m. EDT
Korean Drumming Ensemble Performance

Students from the Programs 50+ Korean Drum Ensemble course will open the festival by showcasing the songs they learned with instructor Charles Hong.

10:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m. EDT
The Directing Project Act2studioWORKS and ACT II STUDIO Advanced Scene Study

Two short plays by Toronto-based playwright Dave Carley are brought to life in this act2studioWORKS production featuring directing and acting students from Programs for 50+’s The Estelle Craig ACT II STUDIO

Close Harmony
Two talented musicians go from small-town Belle, West Virginia to Las Vegas, hoping to make the big time. Will they succeed?
Cast: Brenda Stewart and Morris Jacobs
Director: Nance Gibson

Blinded by the Light
It’s mating season, and for this couple it’s been a real journey to get home.
Cast: Holly Kirkconnell, Marilyn Tate and Paul Wernick
Director: Cathy Shilton

Act II Studio Advanced Scene Study

Scenes from Waiting for the Parade by John Murrell
Instructor: Diana Reis

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EDT
Coping with the Big C: Challenges and Opportunities

In Canada, nine out of 10 cancer cases occur in people over 50, yet few are prepared for the emotional aftermath of a cancer diagnosis. Drawing on his 30-year experience as an oncologist, Dr. Charles Hayter will discuss the diverse ways in which people react to cancer, the challenges that stand in the way of effective coping, and the surprising ways in which cancer can be an opportunity for growth in patients and their families.

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. EDT
Healthy Eating Cooking Demonstration and Lunch with Chef Tommy McHugh

Chef Tommy McHugh of the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) will demonstrate how to build a healthy, easy-to-prepare food bowl with fresh ingredients.
Tommy McHugh is Executive Chef at the TRSM, has served as Executive Chef for all seven Il Fornello restaurants and was most recently the Executive Chef at STK in Yorkville.

1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. EDT
"I know what I want": Motivation and Successful Aging *This event will be livestreamed

Memory and Decision Process Lab researchers – led by Director and Professor, and Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Aging Julia Spaniol – will discuss current studies about age differences in curiosity and the benefits of curiosity for cognition and wellbeing. There will also be a discussion on the connections between helping others and cognition and wellbeing.

2:30–3:30 p.m. EDT
Aging in Marginalized Communities: Are We Happy or Lonely? (Brought to you by the Cognitive Aging Lab) *This event will be livestreamed

Dr Lixia Yang, Director of the Cognitive Aging Lab and PhD student Mariah Lecompte presents current research that asks how resilience and social support matter in later life. They will present studies on psychological wellbeing among Chinese older adults during the pandemic, with a specific focus on the effect of resilience, social support, and discrimination, along with the status of loneliness among older adults, some risk factors, and effective interventions.

3:45 p.m.–5:00 p.m. EDT
Becoming Miss DeWitt

An interactive performance with Miss DeWitt, a gender artist with pedigree featuring a focus on Canadian women, “ask a drag queen” talk-back, and an educational look at how she became Miss DeWitt, understanding pronouns, and the what and why of Pride.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024: Day Two

Time: 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT
Ted Rogers School of Management, 7th Floor
55 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

RSVP for Day 2 Now

10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EDT
Defy Dementia: Empowering You to Reduce Your Dementia Risk *This event will be livestreamed

Learn how to safeguard your brain health as you age with this inspiring public panel discussion led by Dr. Allison Sekuler (Baycrest, Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation), with special guests Dr. Tricia Woo (McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences) and Ron Beleno (a person with lived experience of caregiving). You’ll learn how you can take charge of your brain health and reduce your dementia risk. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A and accompanied by interactive booths and live demonstrations all about brain health.

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. EDT
Cooking Demonstration and Lunch

Enjoy a brain-health cooking demonstration inspired by the Brain Healthy Food Guide with Chef Tommy McHugh and experts from Baycrest.

For more information, check out the Brain Health Food Guide Recipe Library.

1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EDT
Singing and Healthy Aging

Join us for an enlightening session as we delve into the transformative power of singing and healthy aging. Presented by The SingWell Project co-directors, Dr. Frank Russo and Dr. Arla Good, we will explore the empirical evidence of the benefits that singing imparts on social, psychological, and physical wellbeing as we age. Get ready to experience firsthand the joy and vitality that singing can bring to individuals of all ages. Whether you're a seasoned vocalist or a complete novice, this session promises to provide practical insights and inspiration for integrating the benefits of singing into your journey toward healthy aging.

3:15 p.m.–4:15 p.m. EDT
The 50+ Singers

Under the musical direction of J. Rigzin Tute, the 50+ Singers, a choral ensemble with a mix of trained and novice voices, bring their love of music and later life learning to the stage. They perform regularly at long-term care homes in the city, spreading joy to the residents, volunteers and staff.

Online Events

The Federal Dental Plan: What Do We Know?
The Federal Dental Plan rolled out on May 1, 2024 for Canadians over 70. Join this discussion to understand the impact. Learn more about qualifications, options, and what to do if you need a dentist.
Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Time: 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. EDT
Location: Online Through Zoom

Cybersecurity and Fraud: Prevention and Solutions
Cyberattacks and internet fraud are prevalent and often difficult to prevent. They include accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users via ransomware; or interrupting normal business processes. This talk will offer insights on financial scams, e-transfer and telephone and text scams, and the role of AI in this type of fraud. As older adults are often the first target, the discussion will be around current information and research, as well as getting practical tips on staying safe, or, if you are a victim, what to do next.
Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Time: 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Online Through Zoom

Stress Management and Aging
Stress is a natural phenomenon that we all experience. Stress is not inherently bad for us. In fact, a bit of stress is healthy, as it allows us to adapt to our environment. Chronic stress, however, can have negative impacts on the body and mind. This panel will discuss the factors that correlate with perceived stress and tools that may help us manage stress. This presentation is facilitated by Dr. Alexandra J. Fiocco from the Stress and Healthy Aging Research (StAR) Lab and Dr. Danielle D'Amico from the Rotman Research Institute and the Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health & Wellness at Baycrest.
Date: Thursday June 27, 2024
Time: 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. EDT
Location: Online Through Zoom

Phone: 416-979-5103

50+ Festival is brought to you by:

TMU logo
Baycrest logo
CAL logo
act 2 studio works
LIFE Institute logo
MAD logo
SingWell logo