• The Educational Centre for Northeastern Ontario
  • A Remarkable Journey
  • According to Baba
  • Cambrian College's New Leader
  • Literacy and physical fitness at Lake Laurentian Conservation Area
  • The Power of Play – Awaken the Child Within
  • Visions Entrepreneurship Fair
  • In the Footsteps of the Group of Seven
  • Science Café
  • Roaring Runners

Enrollment 2014:

Laurentian University: 6,300 full-time (undergraduate and graduate)
Cambrian College: 4,188 full-time / 951 international students
Collège Boréal:  974 full-time (Sudbury campus)

Mining has long been the backbone to the local economy.  And while no one will challenge that premise, Greater Sudbury is much more than a hard rock mining town.  The economic landscape has indeed changed.  The city’s three post-secondary institutions are just as valuable as the nickel mined beneath the Sudbury basin.  Sudbury is the educational centre for Northeastern Ontario and post-secondary education has a role to play in the overall economic development of Greater Sudbury.  More than 12,400 full time students are enrolled between Laurentian University, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal in the 2014/2015 academic year.

According to David Robinson, economics professor at Laurentian, each student contributes $30,000 annually to the local economy. The amount takes into account a number of factors including tuition, books living expenses and entertainment.  That means in this year alone, post-secondary students – excluding those enrolled in private colleges – are injecting more than $372 million into the Sudbury economy.

Student spending goes beyond university and college hallways, because housing, food, entertainment and transportation are all vital to student life.  Providing services to college and university students is big business too.

Last year property owner Paul D’Aloisio transformed a six-storey former office building in the downtown into a student residence. The 50 units at 50 Lisgar St. are at full capacity. D’Aloisio says the student residence market is a good one.  And other businesses seem to agree. The building was recently sold for $5.5 million to the Toronto based company, CHC Realty Capital Corp, which has plans to develop more student residences in the downtown core.

Meanwhile economic leaders in the community say students and post-secondary institutions do more than enhance the economy.  Jeff MacIntyre, chairman of Downtown Sudbury says students are one of the reasons Sudbury has a thriving downtown. They are strong supporters of the downtown hospitality industry and bring a certain creativity to the city, says MacIntyre.  “They come in and they’re willing to try anything. They spend a lot of time downtown and end up spending a lot of money here. The hospitality industry has done extremely well thanks to the students.  They’ve added a new feeling to Sudbury.”

Chairman of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Geoff Jeffery says post-secondary students and an educated workforce lead to innovation and growth in a community, which is also helpful in attracting potential businesses.  “Having post-secondary institutions in the community presents a ready workforce for businesses who might be considering Sudbury as a location to build,” says Jeffrey.
“Having post-secondary students available to start working in the community presents a great opportunity for Greater Sudbury Development Corporation and the Chamber to speak to businesses considering locating to Sudbury and market that as an advantage.”

Darren Stinson, chairman of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation says university and college faculty and staff play an equally important role in fueling the economy. He points to a 2012 study from the University of Ottawa that reveals faculty, staff and retirees spend 75 per cent of their earnings in the region. And given that Laurentian University is one of the largest employers in Sudbury, that percentage is considerable. “And as these institutions grow and bring on more staff and researchers and support staff to support those people, that makes a significant contribution,” says Stinson. “ You don’t have to look very far to see a community that grows, grows with their university.”

Geoff Jeffery
• Chairman of Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
• Partner with Weaver Simmons and head of the labour and employment law department.

Important to note: Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce has 1000 members which represents about 40,000 employees in Greater Sudbury.

Lifelong Learning
“Our members are employers and they want their employees to be committed to lifelong learning because people who are learning see opportunities to innovate and that allows them to distinguish themselves from the competition and results in businesses being more successful. An increase in learning increases your flexibility and adaptability in terms of job opportunities and the opportunity to expand your horizon and increase your income.”

Lifelong Learning in his Profession
“By nature of our profession we are compelled to participate in continuous learning. But we do it anyway because it’s the only way to keep up and stay competitive.”

Post-Secondary Students
“That brings the opportunity for innovation, for growth in the community. They’re a great source of new employees for our businesses and ones that are trained and learning new and innovative ideas that can be applied in our members workplaces and allow our businesses to grow.”

Growth is Key
“Growth in the community is key because it allows us to increase our tax base, reduce the tax burden on the entire community and presents an opportunity for business to grow as well.”

Attracting New Business
“Having post-secondary institutions in the community presents a ready workforce for businesses who might be considering Sudbury as a location to build. Having post-secondary students available to start working in the community presents a great opportunity for Greater Sudbury Development Corporation and the Chamber to speak to businesses considering locating to Sudbury and market that as an advantage.”

Being Connected
“Educated people in the community tend to be engaged citizens; they tend to know more at the decision making at city hall and they want to be involved in the community. “


Jeff MacIntyre

• Chairman of Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area (BIA)
• Marketing Director at Fuel Multimedia

Post-Secondary Students
“Students make a huge difference. The impact is an added creativity to the downtown. They bring in a new vision to the city. You have imported ideas from other cities coming in, people that are open to trying new things. “

Impact on Downtown
“Their view of downtown in completely different than anyone originally from Sudbury. They come in and they’re willing to try anything. They spend a lot of time downtown and end up spending a lot of money here. The hospitality industry has done extremely well thanks to the students.  They’ve added a new feeling to Sudbury. I don’t think you would see the success of the sushi restaurant or the Laughing Buddha without the support of the student population. Because there is a place for those new unique businesses to grow, that spread throughout the city. Ten years ago you had one sushi restaurant downtown and now they are everywhere.”

Laurentian School of Architecture
“There are more people on the streets, which makes downtown a safer, more engaging place. You see these students interacting with businesses across downtown from the office supply stores to grabbing a quick bite to shopping in one of the niche stores looking for something unique.”

An explosion of creativity
“There’s definitely a design district growing downtown – you are seeing more and more design firms popping up downtown and having that creativity that comes with the School of Architecture students, pushes our boundaries.”


Darren Stinson
• Chairman of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation
• Veterinarian at Chelmsford Animal Hospital

Post-Secondary Students
“It’s an incredible economic driver for our community. We have three very well respected post-secondary education institutions that have students in the thousands and growing.

Added Bonus
“Some recent studies from the University of Ottawa (2012) indicate that staff and retirees spend about 75 per cent of their earnings in the region. That’s pretty significant. And as these institutions grow and bring on more staff and researchers and support staff to support those people, that makes a significant contribution. You don’t have to look very far to see a community that grows, grows with their university. The University of Guelph is a fantastic example; that university has seen consistent growth for decades and is probably the main economic driver of the community.
The number of people employed as a result from all of our institutions, which is very significant number of people in that sector. We should be very proud of that and we should be working to cultivate that sector to ensure continued growth. “

Institutions Diversify
“They all diversify to offer programs whether they be athletic or professional development programs. They diversify to support some of the quality of life initiatives for our community; they are the location of the events happening or directly involved in contributing to that. They are more than just an employer, they’re an integral part of the community.”


Jennifer Therrien is set to graduate from high school this coming June from the N’Swakamok Native Alternative School.  The 26-year-old has her eyes set on a post secondary education in the health field.  “Either college or university but something in the medical sciences,” Therrien said about continuing her education.

It’s been a remarkable journey for the single mother.

Therrien didn’t show much interest in an education until she was pregnant with daughter Isabella. Living on her own in Toronto at 15-years-old, Therrien was struggling to make ends meet and juggling two jobs. Completing high school wasn’t on her radar until she realized that finishing high school was key to providing a good future for her family.

Therrien adopted the mantra: Learn More. Live Better.

Obtaining a high school diploma improves a person’s chance of finding a job by 25 per cent, while a post secondary education dramatically improves employment outcomes.  Sadly, current statistics show that 10 per cent of Canadians drop out of school while 30 per cent of aboriginal youth living off reserves don’t finish high school.

But the N’Swakamok Native Alternative School is making a difference in the lives of an at-risk population, ultimately removing barriers to employment.  The alternative school, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, is a partnership between the Rainbow District School Board and the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre.

The school board provides the teaching staff while the Friendship Centre provides the space and two staff members: a native educational support worker and clerical support worker. To attend the school, which is free, students must be First Nations, Metis or Inuit, and out of school for a period of time. Students work independently, either online or through textbooks, and at their own pace on courses that include native content.

Students can access programs offered by the Native Friendship Centre such as the healthy babies and children program and housing and employment services.  Therrien enrolled in the program in 2010 but then stepped away for a year when her daughter was born in 2011. She returned, with determination.  “The support system here is amazing; it’s made all the difference,” said Therrien. “I didn’t feel that in traditional high school.”  If her daughter was ill, Therrien was relieved to be able to work from home, or if she couldn’t find childcare, she could bring her child to school.

Jennifer Therrien and Laurie Dunn

Currently there are 60 students enrolled in the N’Swakamok Native Alternative School and they range in age from 17 to 40 years and older. Although students work independently, 20 hours a week of attendance is required. But that time is flexible with family and employment responsibilities.  “Students can do more hours one day and then if they need a day off to work, or work afternoons, they can come in when it fits their schedule, as long as they do their 20 hours a week,” said teacher Laurie Dunn.

All courses available in the traditional high school program are offered at the alternative school, including a physical education component. Students have free access to the YMCA. More importantly students can take advantage of co-op opportunities to gain valuable work skills and experience.

Students also have the chance to go on field trips, which provide teaching opportunities as well. A visit to Dynamic Earth for example, perked Therrien’s interest in careers available in the mining industry and the opportunity for women and aboriginal people to enter that field.

“There are a lot of hands-on experiences,” said Dunn.  “Students are at Science North today and that will fall into the science curriculum we have.”  Dunn has worked at the alternative school for six years.  “I like the sense of community – you really get to know your students and you get to work one-on-one with them,” she said.

“We’re like a family here,” added Therrien.

Going back to school and eventually pursuing a post secondary education not only improves Therrien’s chances of landing a good paying job but it sets a good example, helping to break the cycle of illiteracy.  Her daughter Isabella, who turns four years old in the spring, can’t wait to go to school like mommy.  That attitude is encouraging considering the literacy forecast in this country.

While 42 per cent of Canadians are semi-illiterate, that percentage is expected to increase by 2031 when 15 million will have low literacy skills. (Canadian Council on Learning, The Future of Literacy in Canada's Largest Cities report, Sep 8, 2010).

People at-risk include those from poor families and the long-term unemployed, seniors, native people, people with disabilities and racial and cultural minorities.



Stacey Zembrzycki’s grandmother was supposed to be just another person she interviewed while compiling research for a book on Ukrainians in Sudbury.  Judging from the title of the book, According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury’s Ukrainian Community, her grandmother’s involvement went beyond that of a mere subject. 

Stacey is a former Sudbury resident and historian now living in Montreal, QC. When she returned to Sudbury to interview Ukrainians about their experience here, she realized the process was much more complex that she imagined. No one wanted to talk to her. She was considered an outsider.  That’s when her baba Olga Zembrzycki stepped in and called on her friends to participate in the collection of oral history. (Baba means grandmother in Ukrainian).

Baba accompanied Zembrzycki to the interviews so that the Ukrainian men and women “would have a friendly face.” The elderly Zembrzycki took her task seriously and her participation grew deep – her kitchen table became decorated with post-it notes of potential interviewees.  “She started doing the interviews with me and it kind of got out of hand,” said Zembrzycki, who is an affiliate assistant professor of history at Concordia University.  “I felt bad because I couldn’t tell her to stay home because they were all her friends.”

It was an unconventional approach in the academic world so Zembrzycki was worried the book, which was also her PhD thesis, would suffer.  “She was so dominant in the interviews, she wouldn’t stop talking,” she said.  But her academic superiors saw baba as a “community insider” and although she was an important part of this oral history project, Zembrzycki underplayed her role in her formal thesis. 

“There are two layers to this story,” said Zembrzycki. “There’s baba’s involvement in our collaboration for better or for worse and there’s the social history of the community from 1901 to 1939.” 

According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury’s Ukrainian Community is the first book published about Ukrainians outside of Western Canada.  Throughout the process of collecting oral history and writing the book Zembrzycki got to know her grandmother on a different level. It didn’t matter their academic background, it was a learning process for both involved. That’s part of lifelong learning and a key focus of Greater Sudbury Learning City Initiative.

“I learned about her social world,” said Zembrzycki, “and the kind of community she grew up in Sudbury which I don’t think exists anymore.” 

Baba and Stacey Zembrzycki

Baba’s father settled in the Donovan in the 1920s, a vibrant multicultural community, where many men worked just up the road at Frood Mine.  Often Ukrainians would have to get a priest to testify they were good Catholics and not Communists in order to get a job with Inco Ltd at the time.  “It was an incredible community with an incredible sense of family because everyone was an immigrant. Their neighbors became family. But the community was divided.”

Ukrainians were divided into groups depending on their political affiliation. The Ukrainian Progressive or Lefts lived on Spruce Street, while those affiliated with Roman Catholics, Ukrainian National Federation and Orthodox Church lived elsewhere.  “They didn’t even know why they hated each other,” said the historian. “When you asked people, they said, “I don’t know, my parents hated them.” 

This is the first book that all Ukrainian groups are published in a story together, she said. 

According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury’s Ukrainian Community is $32.95 and available at Sudbury Paint and Custom Framing on E

lgin Street.

The book is officially released January 15, 2015 and will be available at Amazon and Chapters.  The website www.sudburyukrainians.ca accompanies the book and includes an analysis of the process and audio clips.  The “web of stories” is to be read with each chapter in the book, so that the reader can also listen to the actual interview. The photo gallery includes images not printed in the book.






Cambrian College’s new leader says he’ll be looking for public input in the coming months as part of developing a strategic plan for the institution. Bill Best arrives in Sudbury with more than 20 years experience working in post secondary education in New Brunswick and most recently at the New Brunswick Community College in Fredericton where he held senior positions.Mr. Best officially took over his role as Cambrian’s president Aug. 5 and will have the task of overseeing the college’s new five-year strategic plan. Shortly after assuming the position, he identified three key priorities: 
  • to foster a dynamic working environment.
  • to strengthen strategic partnerships
  • to engage community partners in order to contribute to the socio economic growth of Northern Ontario.  Mr. Best says he’s ready for the adventure.
Q  You identified community consultation as an important part of creating the college’s strategic plan. How do you see this unfolding?
A  Over the next academic year, we’ll be looking for significant engagement from different stakeholders in the community and the college and asking them about the future of Cambrian College, inside the context of today’s society and the future of post secondary education. We’re looking for thousands of people to get engaged and use different mediums, not just traditional face-to-face but using social media and some wacky stuff as well to grab people’s attentions. 
Q  Unusual methods of engagement?
A  We’re looking at different styles and methods. One of the things we’re talking about is a blank canvas being put in different places around the city, and in the college, with some questions on it and with some markers, letting people write their answers on them. I’m sure we’ll get a little bit of graffiti but maybe some of the graffiti will be great ideas. 
Q  You’ve worked in the college system for some time. How has the college experience, the college system, changed in the last decade?
A  That’s a good question but I would turn that around and say that is the question. How has post-secondary education evolved in the last five or 10 years? Does it actually reflect the changes in society? Has it kept pace? Has it fallen behind, or is it ahead? Those are the type of questions we have to ask ourselves as we go through the strategic planning process. 
The world has changed a lot and I think that’s what we really need to work through, not just through a strategic plan perspective. I believe all post secondary education has to be having the conversation of what is the future of post secondary education, what is the future of society and is it in alignment and are we listening. 
Q The focus of the Learning City initiative is lifelong learning, with the theme Learn More, Live Better. Do you envision this philosophy as an important part of the future of Cambrian and of post secondary educational in general?
A My belief is that the mandate of the college is about accessibility. Colleges were established back in the 60s to provide accessible, regional and local education so people could gain the skills to be job ready. I think the real question is, how has the terminology of accessibility changed. For instance the pace of society is changing regularly, people have multiple jobs and experiences and being retrained. I think we must ask what does access mean? How can we be accessible to people who are currently employed? I know I’m answering your questions with questions but that is the stage we are at. Those are the questions we have to really explore over the next eight to 10 months. They critically formulate the context of where Cambrian should go as we digest that feedback.



The trails at Lake Laurentian Conservation Area are not just for hiking anymore.
A self-guided story time trail was unveiled at the end of August with children's author Frank Glew of Kitchener in attendance. His book Samuel's Important Message can be read along the trail that begins just outside the Nature Chalet. The book was reproduced onto 12 large weatherproof signs and posted to trees for hikers young and old to read and enjoy.
This initiative called Tales on Trails was made possible through a partnership between the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area and Rainbow Routes Association.
Earlier this year Greater Sudbury Library staff took notice of a similar project by the Petawawa Public Library Ontario when they attended a Library Association conference in Toronto.
Jessica Watts, outreach program and partnerships coordinator with the Greater Sudbury Library proposed the idea to Rainbow Routes executive director Deb McIntosh who suggested Lake Laurentian Conservation Area as an ideal spot.
Tales on Trails is geared to families and young children, encouraging them to stay active all year round and read together. It's easy to Learn More, Live Better. The unique trail is accessible – it costs nothing. All you need is a pair of running shoes – or rubber boots. (However for those who've never navigated Lake Laurentian Conservation Area's trail system, you can't take a stroller through the story time trail. If you're taking a baby, a carrier is probably your best option.)

Aside from promoting literacy, Glew's book carries a valuable message for children, teaching the importance of looking after the earth.
It's not too late to visit the story tale trail.
"We want to leave the signs at Lake Laurentian for at least a season," said Watts.
"We have an idea to post a story in the winter time."
Watts said that new story will be posted at the same location or along a new section of trail used by skiers and snowshoers in the winter.
"Eventually I would like to have them all over the city, on different trails that could be used at different times of the year," said Watts. "For now we're focusing on a winter story that we can pair with a winter sport."
Watts will also be looking to see whether there are any children's books from local authors that are suitable.
Sponsors are being sought to cover the costs of printing the signs.


Early childhood education is evolving and moving away from direct instruction.
Even school curriculum today encourages children to explore, interact and learn through play.
The second annual Learning Spark, a festival celebrating the importance of children’s play, takes place Saturday Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bell Park in the Mining Monument area. The event is free.
“Children are competent, capable and curious,” says a local expert in early childhood education. “If we give them the opportunity, they will fulfill the experience and the discovery themselves.”
Noreen McChesney is the Best Start Hub manager in Greater Sudbury and an advocate for play-based learning.
She says the play-based approach demonstrates the capability children have to discover and learn on their own initiative.
“Experiential learning is so much easier,” says McChesney. “It requires a lot more creative thought and provocation on the part of the adult, but it is so much more rewarding and fulfilling to see what the child is experiencing.”
About 1,200 people attended the inaugural Learning Spark last year, which is organized by the City of Greater Sudbury’s Learning City Initiative.
The event is part of the Learning City Initiative's goal to make lifelong learning a priority in our community.
Children of all ages – alongside their parents or guardians ¬– have the opportunity to explore different activities set up around the park. In this fun, unstructured learning environment there are no rules or step-by-step directions. Under adult guidance, children are encouraged to take risks and use their own instincts. The Loose Parts Play Area, for example, invites children to pick up, create or use objects of different textures, shapes and sizes.
“There is no wrong or right way to use the materials,” says McChesney.
“The way the materials are used is appropriate to each child.”
But children must be supervised and given some informed guidance. If you give a two-year-old a hammer, you must show that child how to use the tool as well ensure it is appropriate for little hands.
If you would like to set up a Loose Parts Area in your home or backyard, use everyday materials – you don’t have to go out and buy expensive, brightly coloured materials.
“We’re cutting up logs, getting hammers and nails, leftover eavestroughs, rubber bins and kiddy pools, filling them with water and allowing them to pour and measure and get wet,” says McChesney.
Remember creative learning means getting messy!

Here are some ideas to play at home with the kids:

•Make different colored ice cubes with food colouring and throw a couple in the bathtub.
•Mix corn starch and water in a bowl for children to play with. Let them experiment with other ingredients.
• Play “I Spy” around the house, on a walk or in the city.
•Let your child hammer some real nails into a piece of wood. (Note: long roofing nails work best)
• Dump a pile of sand in the yard and let your child explore – you don’t even need to provide shovels or buckets ¬– let them use their hands, or whatever else they can find around them to dig.
•Don’t recycle that cardboard box just yet – let your child build, construct and decorate the box.


The visions entrepreneurship fair allows for 8th grade students to get a taste of owning their own business and selling their own products. Throughout the Rainbow District School Board, Students participate in school wide “Entrepreneurship Fairs” where they compete to see who can come up with the best product or service.

These fairs are in tradeshow formats, where the students build and operate their own tradeshow booths. The top students/ideas per school are selected by the teachers, and are sent to the Visions Entrepreneurship Fair.

What makes this fair special is the students actually create and sell their product to the fair attendees. This helps the students understand the idea of profit, and drives them to be excited and passionate about their idea. The students are also judged throughout the day, and receive awards recognizing different aspects of the business (sales ability, best tradeshow etc).

The Regional Business Centre sent one staff member to attend and help out during the event. This staff member was responsible for helping out with booth setup, take down, registration and lunch. The Centre also contributed by having t-shirts designed and purchased for the students. The 70 shirts were handed out at the event for the students to wear throughout the day.


What began as a summer family camping expedition turned into a 36-year journey for Sue and Jim Waddington.

The Hamilton, Ont. couple released their first book, In the Footsteps of the Group of Seven, with the help of the Art Gallery of Sudbury. The book details the Waddingtons’ quest to retrace the trips into the raw yet beautiful Canadian landscape made famous by artists A.Y. Jackson, Franklin Carmichael, Arthur Lismer, Lawren Harris, A.J. Casson, J.E.H. MacDonald, Tom Thomson, and Frederick Varley.  The release of the book coincides with the Art Gallery of Sudbury’s Festival of the Seven, a summer long festival to celebrate Franklin Carmichael and the Group of Seven’s importance to the Sudbury, Killarney and La Cloche areas.

The Waddington family was camping in Killarney Provincial Park in the 1970s as Sue, a traditional rug hooker, was replicating one of A.Y. Jackson’s paintings of the area.  “I chose to do Hills Killarney Nellie Lake and when I was doing it, I wondered whether Nellie Lake really existed,” she says. “I looked on the Friends of Killarney map and saw that Nellie Lake was up near Willisville on the west side of Killarney Park. So the next year we packed up our kids and went in for a week to Nellie Lake and while climbing the hills found the same scene that was painted a long time ago.”

They visited the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in an attempt to find the coordinates of more scenes captured from the Group of Seven artwork. But the Waddingtons soon discovered no one knew the exact locations.  “We thought the only way to do it was to find them ourselves,” says Jim. “So we planned our canoe trips around trying to locate these paintings. It turned out a lot of them were done in the Sudbury region.”

The Waddingtons never fathomed their expeditions and photos would end up in a book but interest generated through public talks and presentations at the McMichael gallery was enormous.  The Art Gallery of Sudbury found value in their research and helped the couple obtain the rights to republish the original works in a book.

“We’ve found maybe 400 places now,” says Sue, “We don’t know if there’ll be another book because we’re too busy giving talks on this book.”  But the journey continues.  “We’re still compiling research, looking for places and adding to our collection,” says Sue.

The Waddingtons and the Art Gallery of Sudbury invite the public to visit Grace Lake, near Willisville, an area favoured by many of the Group of Seven artists, particularly A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael. These plein-air excursions involve a boat ride and 30-minute hike. Participants can paint, draw, photograph or explore the inspirational landscape.

Why should you participate? Aside from walking in the same footsteps as famous Canadian artists, learning through the arts fosters creativity and will also help you acquire a positive learning attitude to support a lifetime of learning. This equation is part of the City of Greater Sudbury’s Learning City initiative, which encourages the sharing of expertise, knowledge and experience. When you learn more, you live better.

There are two day trips scheduled this summer: July 25 and Aug. 22.

For more information about the Plein Air Excursions to Grace Lake, call the Art Gallery of Sudbury at 705-675-4871.


You don’t have to be a scientist to join the discussion at the next Science Café.

The popular public talk started in 2010 and features local experts – and regular citizens – weighing in on a variety of science related topics. So far these cafés, which are typically held at the Laughing Buddha, have served as a platform to discuss everything from forensic science to neutrinos and diabetes. The next Science Café will be held in early October 2014. Admission is always free. Typically six events are held throughout the year: three in the fall and then three in the spring. The lineup will be announced soon.

Attendance has grown over the years thanks to social media and word of mouth and now these events are held at capacity.

“The idea that you can get 65 people to come out on a Tuesday night in Sudbury and geek out about science and society is really exciting,” says Dana Murchison, staff scientist at Science North.
This isn’t a sit-and-listen type of lecture or panel discussion.

“The idea is to get the audience members to be active participants in the conversation instead of sitting and listening passively,” says Murchison.
“We design these events so that anyone who has an interest and an open mind can really get an experience out of them. We try and come up with topics that involve science and society in a way that is very accessible and anyone could contribute to.”

Murchison moderates the event, which is organized by herself and other staff members at Science North.  Not only do these discussions spark curiosity and intellectual conversation among attendees but it’s also a chance to boast about the talented professionals in our community. “It’s pulling people out of their labs, or out of their offices and putting them in front of the public where you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see these experts,” says Murchison.

And Sudbury residents are hungry for knowledge and the opportunity to engage in some interesting topics. “We have a lot of people who say they haven’t been able to have a big picture conversation like that since they left university,” says Murchison.

The cafés also provides Science North with the opportunity to reach out to a grown-up audience and encourage them to revisit and appreciate the science centre from an adult perspective. Science Café, like Greater Sudbury’s Learning Initiative, is part of the lifelong learning continuum. A Learning City promotes education on all levels while sharing resources and expertise, such as the knowledge imparted by panelists who lead this discussion. You are never too young or too young to participate in Science Cafés, which are accessible to the public by way of free admission and location.

Join the next discussion because when you Learn More, you Live Better.


Students at St. David’s Catholic School in Sudbury are raising not only their heart rates but their literacy skills too, thanks to a unique program that pairs running and reading.  When teacher Terri-Lynn Lepage realized that some parents were unable to read the letters of correspondence she was sending home, she saw the big picture when it came to literacy.  The reality is that 49 per cent of the population in Greater Sudbury has literacy skills below Level Three, which is the internationally-accepted level required to cope in a modern society.

St. David’s Roaring Runners Club is helping break that cycle in Sudbury. The program, and the teacher that started it, inspire Grade 2 to Grade 5 students to increase their physical activity while improving reading skills. “I was thinking of ways to engage our kids that weren’t expensive and I came across someone who was doing a running and reading program,” says Lepage who was competing in a marathon in southern Ontario when she became inspired.

Community volunteers along with parents and relatives, run with the students around the schoolyard during lunchtime and after school. They gradually build endurance and work up to running around the block in the Donovan/Flour Mill neighbourhood. “The kids love it because they have adults who want to run with them,” says Lepage. ”The kids don’t stop.” Students participate in two official races a year in the city. “For some kids it’s the first medal they ever won and then they wear it for weeks,” she says.

After running outdoors, students and volunteers go back into the building for a snack and reading. “They read to their volunteers and then sometimes their volunteer will read to them because many of them have parents who either can’t read or won’t read with them,” says Lepage. Students keep a running journal, and with the help of a volunteer, describe how they felt during the physical activity.

St. David’s Roaring Runners exemplifies Greater Sudbury’s Learning City initiative. Recognizing that groups exist with unique learning needs, the accessible program works to engage students at risk and their parents in life long learning, ultimately empowering them to Learn More, Live Better.

The running and reading club also engages parents better with the education community, by encouraging them to come into the school without the formality of a parent-teacher interview and just “hang out” with their kids, says Lepage. To build on the relationship Lepage started the cooking club to teach students – and parents – healthy eating habits. She sends home whatever they made together in school, along with a recipe.

“I can send home notes about eating healthy but if I send home some spaghetti sauce that kids made themselves, packed full of vegetables and a recipe, with ingredients that aren’t expensive, then maybe they will come with it in their lunch the next day.” Now other schools are taking notice of St. David’s Roaring Runners. St. Paul’s in Coniston and St. John’s in Garson have adopted the same program.