My Puppet Passion

Friday, 28 September 2018

Speaker: Noreen Young

Lecture title: My Puppet Passion

Lecture Summary

puppeteer-noreen-young-with-only-a-fraction-of-her-creationsTo have a professional career doing the things that you love to do is truly a gift in life. I count myself so fortunate that I was given that opportunity.

A career in television puppetry is admittedly unusual.  People are curious because the don’t know a lot about puppetry and I’m often asked, ‘How did you get started?’

Come and find out   Let me tell you about the different types of puppets there are and the type of puppet that I like to make and perform with.

There are tales to tell about the television shows I worked on like Hi Diddle Day,  Sesame Park, Readalong, Today’s Special, The Noddy Shop, Under the Umbrella Tree and others.  What goes on behind the scenes?  How do you prepare and produce a TV show with puppets?

And let me tell you about my latest project – a puppet opera!

Bio: Noreen Young

Noreen Young
Noreen Young

As award-winning puppeteer and puppet builder, Noreen Young has been involved in numerous television productions during her long career, most notably, “Under the Umbrella Tree”, a children’s series that ran on CBC, The Disney Channel and Canal Famille, and which is now streaming on YouTube at CBC’s Encore.

Noreen was Artistic Director for Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival which ran in Almonte for 12 years from  2005 to 2016.  She was instrumental in bringing many professional puppet troupes from around the world to perform in our town.

In 1995, Noreen was awarded The Order of Canada for her contribution to puppetry and children’s television.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Noreen now resides in Almonte.

Slides: Noreen Young Gallery

Looking for Trouble: Natural Disasters in the Middle Ages

Friday, 27 April 2018

Speaker: Kirsty Schut

Lecture title: Looking for Trouble: Natural Disasters in the Middle Ages

Lecture Summary

What kinds of natural disasters occurred in Europe during the Middle Ages? How did people understand and react to them? And how does a modern historian go about answering those kinds of questions anyway? As we are reminded regularly at home and in the news, human beings are never in complete control of their environment. Medieval communities too were regularly afflicted by floods, earthquakes, droughts, storms, disease, and other trials and tribulations. To study how people in the past dealt with catastrophic natural events, historians need to look at a broad range of sources, using tools from the natural and medical sciences as well as social, economic, and intellectual history. After surveying the kinds of sources that are available for studying medieval natural disasters, we’ll take a look at a particularly bad year: 1348.

Bio: Kirsty Schut

Kirsty Schut

A native of Lanark Highlands, Kirsty Schut holds a Bachelor of Humanities from Carleton University and is currently finishing up a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. She is interested in the history of ideas and institutions, especially the ways that ideas discussed in medieval universities were transmitted to the broader public. Her favourite part of her research is working with medieval Latin manuscripts, which she does whenever she has the chance, be it online, in European libraries, or right here in Canada. When not researching or writing, she likes to dance and call for contra dancing.

Easing the Pain:  What we know about chronic pain management

Friday, 23 March 2018

Speaker: Marjorie Corisine

Lecture title: Easing the Pain:  What we know about chronic pain management

Lecture Summary


Throughout the course of our lives, many of us develop some sort of chronic pain. Sometimes we are able to resolve the pain.  Sometimes we must endure the pain knowing  that the condition may persist or worsen, for example, hip or knee pain that is not bad enough for surgery… yet. Many factors influence how we react and respond to pain conditions; pain that is manageable for one person can be intolerable for another. Sometimes, for instance, pain can be a constant reminder of an accident that caused it, or can remind us of a relative who had the same condition and did not manage it well. Pain also limits our activities and independence, making us feel much older than our chronological age.


Bio: Marjorie Coristine.

Marjorie Coristine

Marjorie Coristine is a licensed Psychological Associate who has been working with people who have pain conditions for nearly 20 years.  She conceptualizes the road to recovery as “a thousand little cures”.  She completed the Canadian Pain Management Certification Program in 2013.  She is in a private practice (Ottawa West Health Group) and consults on multi-disciplinary teams to help facilitate the recovery and lifestyle adjustments of people who are suffering from an illness, health condition, or injury.

Lecture Notes: Easing the Pain

E = MC2: Explanations and applications of Einstein’s relativity theory

Friday, 23 February 2018

Speaker: Carson Mok

Lecture title: E = MC2: Explanations and applications of Einstein’s relativity theory

Lecture Summary

E-mc2Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is one of the two pillars of modern physics. Rigid ideas about time, space and mass were bent in his famous equation, E = MC2. The theory has influenced physics research for over 100 years, predicting many phenomena that have been experimentally verified. It has also guided the design of everyday devices such as your GPS and keeps the International Space Station in the sky.  My lecture will explain Einstein’s famous equation in plain English, and discuss some of its uses in today’s world.

Bio: Carson Mok, Ph.D.

Carson Mok

Carson Mok is originally from the Toronto area, graduating from York University with PhD in Applied Physics in 2013.  He is currently employed in the high-tech sector providing business development and leading technical research projects.  With a diverse background in opto-electronics, he is a passionate advocate for science outreach, especially in physics.  He is now putting down roots in Almonte with his wife and two boys.

Slides: Einstein explained

Tales from the Woods

Friday, 26 January 2018

Speaker: Ron Ayling

Lecture title: Tales from the Woods: the Wonderful World of Trees

Lecture Summary


With the use of slides and ‘pass around samples’ we’ll look at the often fascinating, and sometimes weird and unusual, world of trees. We’ll start off with the broad ecosystems of Ontario, and why they are where they are. But the main focus will be on our local trees and shrubs, native and introduced. There will be some oddballs from near and far, some that are important and others that should be avoided. And along the way, key features will be shown and explained to help in identification.

Slides: Tales from the Woods

Bio: Ron Ayling, Ph.D.

Ron Ayling

Dr. Ron Ayling is a graduate of the Faculty of Forestry of the University of Toronto – where he later taught dendrology (the study of trees). He received a PhD in plant physiology from the Australian National University but spent most of his professional life in international development, especially with IDRC (International Development Research Centre) and as a consultant to CIDA. In his retirement years, he is the editor of The Forestry Chronicle, the journal of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, and locally, he is the chair of the Tree Committee for Mississippi Mills.

Community Development: Not for profit!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Speaker: Mike Coxon

Lecture title: Community Development: Not for profit!

Lecture Summary

communityOur communities and our lives are enriched through the work of non-profit organizations. But what are these organizations? Why do we need them? How are they run? What do they do? Who pays the bills? And what is their future? I will try to answer these questions by taking a look “under the hood” at one local, non-profit organization: Lanark County’s own Mills Community Support Corporation, where I worked as CEO from 2008 until my recent retirement. I will present a brief history and philosophy of the organization from its beginnings in the 1970s, offer stories about some highs and lows of our community development projects, and speculate about possible futures of the non-profit movement in our community.

Presentation slides: Creating the Future

Bio: Mike Coxon

Mike Coxon

Mike did his undergraduate work in Recreation Administration (Waterloo) and graduate work in Rehabilitation Administration (San Francisco) and Adult Education (OISE/U of Toronto). Over the past 30 years, he has been the Executive Director of several organizations which provided community health and social services. He has taught in the Developmental Services Worker programme at Georgian College in Orillia.

Raised on Porridge and Pond-Water: A boy’s life in the Ottawa Valley seventy years ago

Friday, 27 October 2017

Speaker: Terry Currie

Lecture title: Raised on Porridge and Pond-Water: A boy’s life in the Ottawa Valley seventy years ago

Lecture Summary

I was born in deepest rural Carleton County in the middle of the last century, and raised on the original family farm in a manner more like the 1920s than the 1960s. My family managed the intricacies of life without electricity or running water, when “shank’s mare” meant walking to a destination, often many miles away. Members of my family included a clan of odd, eccentric and downright weird uncles and aunts. The rural landscape included many old people living alone in cabins, getting by on the milk of a cow and the eggs of a half-a -dozen hens, living lives of idiosyncrasy. Church on Sunday was the big social occasion of the week, but getting there often presented a challenge. The local one-room school was the centre of kids’ lives and most community activity. Life and death, birth and marriage all took place in a tightly knit web of community quite alien to the modern world. My lecture will tell the stories of rural life set in the long-lost natural back-ground of the Valley of little farms and big families.

Bio: Terry Currie

Terry Currie was raised on his family’s 1841 homestead farm in what was then Fitzroy Township, Carleton County. He embarked on a career as a high school teacher at Almonte District High School, where he was Head of the French Department and Head Coach of the Almonte Thunderbolts football team.

During the 1990s Terry wrote two parish histories for local churches. In 2002 he completed his Master of History degree at the University of Ottawa. His Master’s thesis became his first publicly distributed book, “The Ottawa Valley’s Great Fire of 1870”. Since then he has written or edited two more books of local history. Terry has produced a video documentary, “St. Peter Celestine Roman Catholic Church, Pakenham: the Jewel of the Ottawa Valley.” He continues to lead guided tours of this unusual and significant church for groups interested in local history. He still lives on the family farm and continues his research in History of the Ottawa Valley.