Cummings Centre offers 100 programs via Zoom

A Black woman sits in a wicker chair beside a bookcase, reading her phone.Photo by Malcolm Lightbody, Unsplash

Membership includes access to the Cummings Centre’s virtual library and its 260 videos.

When COVID-19 hit back in March, the Cummings Centre adapted by offering all of its programs and its virtual learning library on the Zoom platform and it turned out to be a boon in terms of participation.

“Our numbers are a lot bigger,” said Cummings Centre programming and communications director Brenda Yuen. “Instead of limitations imposed by the size of the room – 25 people for a fitness class – we had, all of a sudden, 125 people.”

To encourage registration and participation, the spring and summer programming was offered free of charge and it was available to anyone, locally and across North America.

Volunteers have been available to help members learn the Zoom platform, and for participants who may not have computer access or skills, it’s possible to arrange to listen to courses and lectures on the phone. Teachers who needed help were coached on how to teach classes on Zoom.

With the launch of the fall program in September, about 100 programs have been available live on Zoom. There is a minimal fee of $25 until the end of March 2021 to become a member, which also gives members access to the Cummings Centre’s virtual library and its 260 videos. Most programs require a membership but some are for members and guests, who may pay a slightly higher fee.

The reception from participants has been enthusiastic, prompting Anita Steiner to write a testimonial to Cummings staff: “The past few months have been difficult for all for us, and there are no words to describe my appreciation for all that the Cummings Centre has done and continues to do keeps us all ‘happy and entertained.’

“The exercise classes with Annette and Maria have truly been a lifesaver and my weekly Hebrew classes with Bracha are a joy – not to mention the many other online zoom classes I participated in.”

Wellness classes and lectures have attracted a lot of interest, and some members are taking part in a different morning exercise routine every day of the week, says communications and membership manager Janice Besner.

Wellness classes are offered for those who are fully mobile, and others adapted for those who need special attention, including people with multiple sclerosis, orthopedic issues, Parkinson’s, or those recovering from strokes. These programs are included in the fall brochure, available online.

One-on-one personal training with a professional kinesiologist trained for the 50+ population can be arranged through the centre.

The programming includes hands-on lessons in the fine arts and crafts, health and wellness, lectures, and continuing education. Early registration is recommended.

Oct./Nov. Zoom courses and events

Oct. 8 and 29 – Culture maven David Novek looks at comedic team Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and on Oct. 29, the career of Barbra Streisand.

Oct. 14 – Learn about forensic psychology in the legal system from Concordia U. professor Jack Hirschberg, who at 10 am focuses on issues related to profiling and crime, custody and access to children in divorce, and mental health.

Oct. 15 – Paint Night begins at 7 pm with artist Noa Neeman, who will guide you in creating a piece of art. Register by Oct. 12

Nov. 5 – Gaby Orbach teaches you how to create trendy jewellery with your own beads and supplies.

Nov. 2 and 16 – Political scientist Csaba Nikolenyi of Concordia U. examines recent developments affecting Israeli politics, starting at 10:30 am.

Nov. 3 – As part of the Armchair Travel series, at 2 pm take a visual tour in a Live Safari in South Africa through Kruger National Park followed Dec. 8, 7 pm, with a visit to London and its jewels.

Nov. 5-19 – Folk singer/guitarist Janie Respitz entertains and explains, in three sessions at 2:30 pm, part of her discovery series on Jewish American folk singers.

Nov. 12-Dec. 10 – Political scientist Stan Nachfolger examines major global issues, in three sessions at 11 a.m.

Nov. 24 – Historian Donald Cuccioletta, a lecturer at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, analyzes the Nov. 3. U.S. election.

Info: 514-342-1234 or

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