Toronto Pursuits 2020: Pivot Points | July 12 to 17, 2020

Come for the books, stay for the people. Toronto Pursuits is a cultural salon in the sun for inquiring adults from across North America. Be part of a convivial community that gathers to read, watch, listen to and discuss compelling literature, art, music, and film. Study works that move, provoke, unsettle, and inspire. Wrestle with questions and ideas that matter. Meet old friends and make new one at one of Canada’s most distinctive literary events.

Choose one of our lively, focused, and participatory seminars, which are the anchor of the week. They run Monday to Friday in the morning and are followed by an excellent buffet lunch. Afternoons and evenings are devoted to social and cultural activities on and off campus—talks, literary quizzes, museum visits, and concerts are just a few options to choose from. There’s a free and open approach at Toronto Pursuits that’s relaxing and stimulating at the same time.


Seriously Funny: The Fantastical World of François Rabelais
with Denise Ahlquist
In Remembrance of Me: Jesus Before Christianity
with Emanuelle Burton
E.M. Forster: On the Cusp of Modernity
with Nancy Carr
The Great (R)evolution: Darwin’s On the Origin of Species
with Mark Cwik
And Take Upon Us the Mystery of Things: The Poetry of King Lear
with Rosemary Gould
Impressionism: From Seeing to Feeling
with Wendy O'Brien
The Beethoven Symphonies: Aging or Ageless?
with Rick Phillips
Nietzsche, Freud and Derrida: Putting the Post in Post-Modernism
with John Riley
The Proper Study of Mankind Is Man
with Gary Schoepfel
Women Spies in Cold War Fiction
with Joyce Wayne
Jane Austen's Emma
with Mark Cwik
Stratford Shakespeare Festival Weekend


A perfect prologue to Toronto Pursuits is a weekend of world-class theatre at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival with hosts Pat and Gary Schoepfel.

Go to Stratford



Request Our 2020 Brochure from Our Partner Worldwide Quest


Toronto Pursuits 2020 is from Sunday, July 12, to Friday, July 17, 2020. All seminars take place at Victoria University, part of the University of Toronto.

The registration cost is C$1520. Registration includes one seminar Monday, July 13 to Friday, July 17, coffee and newspapers all week, five buffet lunches, afternoon speakers, a five-day opera lecture series, film screenings, guided walks, two cocktail receptions, a travel bazaar, a new participant orientation on Sunday, and a range of other cultural and social activities. All costs are subject to the 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

A few optional activities are not included in the main cost (e.g., museum visits); most of these can be paid on site. Look for more details in spring 2020.

The cost of the afternoon seminar is C$200 for those already signed up for the full Toronto Pursuits program and C$400 for those taking the seminar as a standalone option. The standalone option includes the seminar and all evening activities. It does not include lunch or afternoon activities. More details will be announced when registration opens in fall 2019.

DISCOUNTS — one per person

  • Participants who have attended Toronto Pursuits at least five times receive a C$215 discount.
  • Register with a friend, and if one or both are first-time participants, each receives a C$215 discount.


A C$300 nonrefundable deposit plus HST is required. For the afternoon seminar, full payment is required at registration. Refunds are issued for cancellations made before June 1, 2020, minus the C$300 deposit for morning seminars and a C$25 administrative charge for the afternoon seminar.

Per Toronto Summer Music Festival policy, concert tickets are nonrefundable, nontransferable, and nonexchangeable.

Please see our Registration and Cancellation Policy and our Privacy Policy for full details on refunds and cancellations.


We encourage you to read the seminar descriptions carefully to make sure the topic and amount of reading are a good match for you. You can always find all readings listed on each seminar page and get details on length using book ISBNs. You are free to change your seminar before July 1, 2020, provided there is space in the seminar you want to move to and you are able to complete any preparation required. After July 1, we cannot accommodate any change in seminar.


Participants are responsible for booking their own accommodations. Most out-of-town participants stay in student housing at the University of Toronto or at our partner hotel, the InterContinental Yorkville.

The InterContinental Yorkville is a newly renovated four-star hotel located at 220 Bloor Street West, just 500 metres from Toronto Pursuits on the Victoria University/University of Toronto campus. Book at our group rate here. Rates are valid from July 8 to July 19, 2020; to book outside these dates, please contact Leticia Kruk directly at 1-416-324-5875. Group rates are available for booking until June 13, 2020 and are subject to availability. Please book early!

Rowell Jackman Hall offers basic dormitory accommodation at Victoria University. In most cases, washrooms are shared with one to three other people. Bedrooms are air-conditioned. The 2020 single room rate is C$80.25 plus taxes per night and the double room rate is C$107.00 plus taxes per night. Registration details and terms and conditions will be available in midwinter 2020. Please read all terms, conditions and standards carefully before you book; it is your responsibility to make sure this accommodation is right for you.

Participants can also stay at Massey College dormitory accommodation, 600 metres from Victoria University where Toronto Pursuits takes place. Bedrooms have fans; common areas are air-conditioned. Washrooms are shared with one or two other people. Prices, registration details, and terms and conditions will be available in midwinter 2020. Please read all terms, conditions and standards carefully before you book; it is your responsibility to make sure this accommodation is right for you.


We have also put together a page on Preparing for Your Seminar that gives more information on how to get the most from your seminar and what you can expect from the experience.



Travel Adventures for the Mind
with The world's best books, art and music as Your guides