As we head into Canada’s sesquicentennial, we tackle the issue of nation building with a particular look at what are we willing to risk to make a more just and equitable country. Subjects we’ll be looking at include Geopolitics, Environment, Energy, Food, Health, Culture, Economics, Security and Education.

Download the Spur Toronto 2017 Programme Book here.



Event Schedule

  • Risk and Geopolitics
  • Is Kremlin-gate the new Watergate? As the US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is forced to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian influence in American politics, and each new days coughs up another undisclosed connection to Russian officials by President  . . .

  • 3:00 pm
  • April 9, 2017
  • Innis Town Hall
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $10
  • Tickets
  • Risk and The Economy
  • As the US looks set to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act (put in place to regulate Wall Street after 2008), Spur asks: how is financial risk quantified by those within the system, and what are the human factors – gut feelings,  . . .

  • 12:30 pm
  • April 9, 2017
  • OISE Auditorium
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $10
  • Tickets
  • Risk and Journalism
  • Alternative facts. Fake news. A newly combative media. Increasing risks for  journalists. What role has journalism traditionally played in speaking truth to power, and how has that been impacted by the digital tsunami that turned media on its head, and  . . .

  • 10:30 am
  • April 9, 2017
  • OISE Auditorium
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $10
  • Tickets
  • Films that Spur – A Vision: A Life of W.B. Yeats
  • The life and work of W.B. Yeats holds a particular place in hearts and imaginations across the world. This film is a response to that vast body of work – a visual and avowedly experimental ‘film-poem’. Using solely the words . . .

  • 6:30 pm
  • April 8, 2017
  • Innis Town Hall
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $10
  • Tickets
  • Films that Spur: Durcan – Dark School
  • Paul Durcan – The Dark School is an intimate and enthralling account of the childhood and youth of one of Ireland’s best-loved as well as critically acclaimed poets. Here for the first time, Paul talks frankly about his complex and . . .

  • 4:30 pm
  • April 8, 2017
  • Innis Town Hall
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $10
  • Tickets
  • Risk and The Environment
  • Flash floods in Toronto. Raging wildfires in Fort McMurray. The threatened Big One on the West Coast. Severe weather events have increasingly dominated news reports, given their unpredictable appearance and the huge cost to individuals and communities, both financially and  . . .

  • 2:00 pm
  • April 8, 2017
  • Gardiner Museum
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $5
  • Tickets
  • Risk and Health
  • Will Technology Advances Save Us? Medicine has successfully sequenced the entire human genome. So what?  Genome sequencing reveals our predisposition to inherited disease risk and enables identification of medications that are right for us individually. As innovation in healthcare marches  . . .

  • 12:00 pm
  • April 8, 2017
  • Gardiner Museum
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $5
  • Tickets
  • Risk and the Psychology of Collecting
  • Art-advisor, curator and author David Moos in conversation with Don Thompson, economist and author of the new book, The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market which uses the prism of the contemporary art market . . .

  • 10:00 am
  • April 8, 2017
  • Gardiner Museum
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $5
  • Tickets
  • Spur Presents a Night of Irish Music and Poetry
  • Spur presents a night of Irish poetry, storytelling, music and drink at the historic Heliconian Hall in the heart of Yorkville. Presented by Diaspora Dialogues with the support of Culture Ireland.   Doors open at 7PM and performance begin at . . .

  • 8:00 pm
  • April 7, 2017
  • Heliconian Hall
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $15
  • Students (with valid ID): $5
  • Tickets
  • Books That Spur: Denham Jolly on In The Black, My Life
  • In the Black traces B. Denham Jolly’s personal and professional struggle for a place in a country where Black Canadians have faced systematic discrimination. He arrived from Jamaica to attend university in the mid-1950s and worked as a high school . . .

  • 5:30 pm
  • April 7, 2017
  • Yorkville Public Library
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • Free
  • Registration
  • Books That Spur: Tom Nichols on ‘The Death of Expertise’
  • People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. Tom Nichols argues that these societal gains have helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual  . . .

  • 12:00 pm
  • April 7, 2017
  • Heliconian Hall
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $20
  • Students (with valid ID): $15
  • Sold out
  • Books That Spur: Lynne Olson on ‘Last Hope Island’
  • “Olson is our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.” – Former US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright Spur sits down in conversation with Lynne Olson, The New York Times bestselling author of seven books of history.  . . .

  • 5:30 pm
  • April 6, 2017
  • George Ignatieff Theatre
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $10
  • Students (with valid ID): $5
  • Tickets
  • Spur Toronto 2017 – Full Festival Pass
  • Spur Toronto 2017 runs April 6 to 9 at venues in and around the Yorkville and U of T neighbourhoods.   Our theme this year is Risk. As we head into Canada’s sesquicentennial, we tackle the issue of nation building . . .

  • 5:00 pm
  • April 6, 2017
  • Spur Toronto
  • Spur Toronto 2017
  • General admission: $100
  • Tickets

Speakers, Performers, and Moderators


RBC Emerging Scholars

The RBC Emerging Scholars Program is an opportunity for 100 young Canadians (aged 18–30) across the country to contribute to a national conversation on politics, art and ideas by enjoying and contributing to the inclusive and intellectually vibrant atmosphere of Spur Festival. Learn more

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