Speakers' Corner

    Future Speakers

    • November 6, 2019 ~ club members David and Helga Zimmerly will talk about their fascinating year in Khartoum in the second year of the reign of Omar al-Bashir, who recently was forced out of power in that country. They will speak about witnessing the effects of his harsh rule. Using David’s photographic images, they will give an illustrated talk on their time there – a mélange of cultures and exotic events – Sufi whirling dervishes, Filipino cockfights, Nuba wrestling – in the midst of starvation , displacement and civil war. David and Helga spent 10 years exploring the world in their 35 ft. cruising sailboat before settling here in Perth. Their adventure in Khartoum was just one the adventures they experienced in their 10-year odyssey. For a glimpse of their adventures, please click here for a sample from their e-book “The Voyage of Erasmus Volume 1 - Ottawa to the Arctic.

    Speakers In the Recent Past

    • October 2, 2019 ~ Maggie McDougall from Spectrum Cannabis, the medical division of Canopy Growth, provided an educational presentation on medical cannabis. She discussed cannabis legislation, the uses of medical cannabis, safe and responsible use and accessing medical cannabis.

      Maggie is local to Smiths Falls and surrounding area with deep roots in the community. As the Community Engagement Specialist, she is excited to combine her passions for Canopy Growth, building community, and cannabis for wellness. She began her career at Canopy Growth in Customer Care, where she gained valuable brand and product experience. She's passionate about education around making informed decisions, whether for wellness or recreational use.

    • September 4, 2019 ~ Probus Perth member Audrey Cole gave a presentation on supported decision-making ~ "Guardianship or Equality? Is there a choice?" In the growing consciousness of human rights of the post WWII era, the inherent discrimination in traditional notions of guardianship surfaced in the then developing disability rights community. Generally speaking, amongst all other citizens, only people with severe intellectual disabilities were subject from the age of majority onwards to the often arbitrary loss of equality and legal status inherent in guardianship law. Unfortunately, beyond their immediate families and supporters, few people cared. Thus, from the earliest days of the family driven Community Living Association, the search for alternatives to traditional guardianship has been on the agenda. Despite those decades of effort, we are not yet there for everyone but the notion of an accountable, world wide, concept of supported decision making is now firmly embedded in Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which Canada and many other countries have now ratified. Ultimately, our still oppressive provincial laws in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada are required to comply. Similarly, we seniors, often by the decisions of others, can find ourselves under guardianship with no equal status in society. Some of us may already have unwittingly chosen that future status by means of Powers of Attorney. Why? If we in Canada can be seen as a leader of a world wide movement that now ensures that people with intellectual disabilities cannot lose legal capacity status solely on the basis of cognitive incapacity, surely we should ensure the same for ourselves.
      Read Audrey Cole's informative speaking notes.

    • Pamela StaggJune 4, 2019 ~ Pamela Stagg with her presentation ~ A walk on the wet side:  What makes wetlands valuable? Pamela Stagg took us on a walk through local wetlands – and through the financial benefits that wetlands contribute to our economy and our lives. We saw and heard the creatures of wetlands in this colourful and eye opening presentation.

      In a nutshell, Pamela Stagg is a naturally creative individual. The story of her life is the articulation of her creative inspiration and artistic sensibility. Her passion and intellectual interest in the natural world have been the mainstay for her success as an artist, teacher, amateur field naturalist, radio host and nature program producer. Pamela’s artistic creativity led her to discover that she had a talent as a botanical artist, drawing and painting plants and flowers in very precise and authentic representation. In 1991, Pamela won the Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal at Kew Gardens, the world’s top prize for botanical painting. That event transformed her hobby into a second profession and she soon exhibited work on both sides of the Atlantic, illustrated a book on roses and was commissioned by the Royal Canadian Mint to design their trillium gold coin. Eventually she was asked to teach botanical painting and subsequently became instrumental along with other botanical artists in founding the Botanical Artists of Canada Society.

      Since her retirement, Pamela has re-focused her creative interest as an amateur field naturalist, she has travelled frequently to the Yukon and northern British Columbia and she has gained an extensive understanding of a wide variety of eco-systems about which she is always happy to share. As an avid birder, she teaches bird identification and has created a wide variety of presentations interest to field naturalist clubs and organizations that support and protect Nature. In fact she has a weekly nature program for the new Prince Edward County radio station, CJPE 99.3 FM called The Country Naturally.

    • John McKentyMay 1, 2019 ~ John McKenty, Chair of the Stewart Park Festival, presented a behind the scenes look at the Stewart Park Festival and the volunteer base that keeps it going. The Stewart Park Festival is designated one of the top events in the Province of Ontario. Behind every successful event is a dedicated team of volunteers with an excellent organizational team. John McKenty has tirelessly provided leadership and direction to this group and has created an event that thrives on local volunteerism, partners with local organizations and gives back to the town of Perth. John was awarded the 2018 Perth Medal for contributions to the community, a much deserved honour.

    • Andrew HammondApril 3, 2019 ~ Andrew Hanlon's presentation was all about Guide Dog Training. Andrew is a qualified Guide Dog Trainer and Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. He first worked with dogs while serving in the Military and later as a Pup Manager in the Royal Marines in the United Kingdom. In 1993 Andrew made the life changing decision to accept a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor apprenticeship in England, where he experienced tremendous professional success and met his wife, Wendy. He worked his way up to District Team Manager in Leeds before emigrating to Canada in 2006. He proudly entered this CNIB trained dog initiative at its outset, a direction that has proven to offer many more opportunities and choices to blind and partially sighted Canadians. As Director of training for the Canadian Guide Dog school, Andrew continues to be impressed by the incredible passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved in this program.

    • March 6, 2019 ~ Robert Dick with a presentation on Light Pollution entitled “Blinding Light – Bring Back the Night”. The presentation will address the proven impact of artificial light at night on the ecology of animals and plants, on our own biology, vision, and our brain, and will consider what we can do to minimize this impact. For over a century, astronomers have known about the impact of artificial light on the night sky, but this knowledge was just the tip of the iceberg. Studies into the effects of light on our biology and mental functions are revealing a more profound physical impact.
      For more information on Robert Dick click here and for more information on his topic about light pollution click here.

    • February 6, 2019 ~ This month there were two keynote speakers at our meeting including:
      • Pauline Fitchett, the Executive Director of the Perth Enrichment Program for Older Adults (PEP), will speak about the reasons behind the development of the program, how the program was established, and the benefits of those who are involved in the program. Pauline has been the Executive Director of PEP for over four and a half years. Before this position, she was the General Manager of the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce for more than three years. This position gave Pauline the chance to connect with many different people, non-profit organizations, and the community itself.

      • Jamie DoolittleJamie Doolittle, Probus Canada Treasurer and the Director for Ontario-District #1 visited the club as part of his duties as District Director. He spoke entertainingly about the origins of Probus and about the growth of Probus Clubs both in Canada and internationally.

    • January 9, 2019 ~ Vickie Kaminski, the Acting CEO of the Perth and Sniths Falls Dstrict Hospital, spoke about the successes of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital and the future direction of hospitals. She has had a remarkable career at the centre of the hospital systems of several jurisdictions. A nurse by training, Vickie became the first CEO of the amalgamated hospitals of Greater Sudbury in Ontario, went on to be the executive head of the entire Alberta hospital system, then to a similar position in Newfoundland and Labrador and finally to another deputy minister level position in charge of all the hospitals of South Australia. Upon her retirement back to Canada, Vickie agreed to lead PSFDH on an acting basis. The hospital has been very fortunate to attract Vickie as our acting CEO during the prolonged absence of Bev McFarland.

    • December 5, 2018 ~ Hugh Chatfield spoke on “The Tunnels of Perth.” Hugh had a long career as a member of Scientific Staff at Northern Electric’s R&D Labs in Ottawa, and at various hi-tech companies and his own consulting and video firm. He has, with his wife Mary, operated a retail store in Perth, and has been fascinated with Perth History for many years. He has produced a number of documentaries, including “Daniel’s Journal - History Rewritten” which deals with Perth’s history.
      Although these video were not included in his presentation, they provide a sesnse of his early quest for the tunnels of Perth:

    • November 7, 2018 ~ Club member Gary Smith spoke on “Diplomatic Life in Cold War Moscow and the 1972 Canada-Soviet Summit Hockey Series. Gary is a former career diplomat who served over 30 years, more than 20 of which were served abroad. His postings took Gary and his family on a series of around-the-world adventures of varying cultures, climates, schools and political environments. He served at the UN in New York, the Soviet Union, at NATO HQ, Israel, India, Germany, Indonesia, and Ottawa (as Director of Arms Control and Disarmament, among other positions). After leaving government he served as Vice-President (Advancement) at York University, and as an elected official in Central Frontenac. He is currently a Director on The Board of the Former Ambassadors Association, based in Ottawa. Gary is one of the principle authors of "Declassified", a book containing excerpts from the personal notebooks of former Canadian diplomats, which is available at the Booknook, 60 Gore Street East in Perth.

    • October 3, 2018 ~ Our October speaker was a very well known Canadian, Major-General Lewis Mackenzie. During a thirty-six year military career he served in Germany with NATO forces and did nine peacekeeping tours of duty in the Gaza Strip, Cyprus, Cairo, Vietnam, Central America and Sarajevo. In 1992 he created and assumed command of Sector Sarajevo and with a small contingent of soldiers from 31 countries opened the Sarajevo airport for the delivery of humanitarian aid during the height of the Bosnian civil war. As a result he became the first Canadian to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. He is a frequent media commentator, newspaper columnist, and lecturer on leadership. As well, he is active in motor racing and in 2017 was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. The topic of his presentation was “Canada’s Peacekeeping Myth.”

    • September 5, 2018 ~ Our presenters were Douglas Nutall and Matt McCombs on the Tay River Dam Project in Perth. Douglas Nutall is a Senior Civil Engineer with Jp2g Consultants Inc. in Perth who is interested in investigating how to maximize social benefit while minimizing negative ecological impacts for any Technological Development. Matt McCombs is a Water Resources Engineer with Matrix Soluntions Inc. in Guelph, whose field is natural channel design, fish habitat design and restoration.

    • June 6, 2018 ~ our presenter was Brian Preston, a travelling Sommelier who spoke about a wide variety of topics related to wine. There was also an opportunity for wine tasting. Brian has been a certified Sommelier for over 17 years involved in wine, beer and spirits education, conducting private tours of Niagara and Prince Edward County wineries, including several visits to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. He works with individuals conducting private tastings, restaurants, and institutions presenting special food/wine tasting suppers and events. He has traveled extensively to several wine regions of the world, thus being referred to as The Travelling Sommelier.

    • May 2, 2018 ~ Jane Volspoke on the Outlook from the Bank of Canada. She discussed the role of the central bank in the economy, the recent evolution of economic and credit conditions and the outlook from the Bank of Canada’s perspective. Jane was appointed Regional Director (Economics) at the Bank’s Regional Office for Ontario in September 2008. In this capacity, she directs research and analysis on economic and sectoral developments in the region, including overseeing the Bank’s Business Outlook Survey in that province. She also plays a major role in the Office’s activities in communicating the Bank’s messages to a variety of external audiences and promoting an exchange of views on the economy and monetary policy. More details.

    • April 4, 2018 ~ Probian Buzz Boles spoke on “Bee Keeping in Uganda.” Buzz is a retired wildlife biologist now living in Portland, on Big Rideau Lake, and enjoying the good life of beekeeping and sailing. His presentation will be a bit of of a travelogue on related anecdotes of beekeeping, people and travel in Uganda, Cuba, the USA and Canada. It will provide some insights into the world of beekeepers, but it will not be a lesson on how to keep bees. Buzz  has sent along some additional information relating to his talk that may be of interest to members ~ see Declining Bee Population to Get Helping Hand , as well as Beekeepers refuse to put thousands of colonies in Fraser Valley blueberry fields

    • March 7, 2018 ~ Jordan Sinclair, Director of Communications and Media for Canopy Growth Corporation, with a presentation on the status of this company, based in Smiths Falls. According to the company, "Canopy is the world's largest cannabis production business. With the company since the early days, Jordan has played an integral role in the rapid expansion and global reach the company has established. As a member of the founding team at Canopy Rivers, a cannabis streaming company, he is at the forefront of the cannabis industry and brings specific insights into the market dynamics of Canada's fast-growing industry."

    • The February 7, 2018 meeting included a panel of presenters, each sharing new programs to support healthy living among seniors and sustaining independent living in our community. The presenters were: Catherine Ball, Physiotherapist and owner of Perth Physiotherapy, who focused on her expertise in mobility and quality of life; Shannon Baillon, Director of Community Services for the Town of Perth, and Lori Cameron, Acting Pool Manager and Aquatics Instructor from the Perth Indoor Pool, discussing the benefits of aqua fit and joint friendly programs; and Christine Wilson of Sweatergang Companions who discussed the wide ranging services her group provides to support seniors who endeavour to maximize their stay within their own homes.

      Catherine Ball

      Shannon Baillon

      Lori Cameron

      Christine Wilson

    • The January 3, 2018 speaker was Heather Church with a presentation on Aging Success Stories. Heather runs the Blue Heron Psychotherapy Services clinic in Perth. She has a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology, focusing in special education and has been working on a PhD in health and rehabilitation sciences. She is a board certified behaviour analyst (BCBA) and registered psychotherapist (RP) through the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She has specialized training in working with first responders and military personnel. Additionally, she has completed training in trauma, dementia and brain injury and has been working on a PhD. Read more.

    Complete List of Speakers 1996 to 2017

    For a complete list of Speakers and their topics from the inception of the club to the end of 2017,