Posted by: Anne Balaban | August 20, 2013

EdgeWalk–at the CN Tower–an amazing experience

EdgeWalk--at the CN Tower--an amazing experience

Imagine being at the top of the world!
On Saturday August 17th, I was.
I was scared and thrilled at the same time. I met a thirteen year old and a ninety year old, both celebrating their birthdays, by experiencing the EdgeWalk….and they were not scared, so I was not scared either! I was sure they were both plants for psychological effect.
It is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 5 ft. (1.5 m) wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod, 356m/1168ft (116 storeys) above the ground. We walked in a group of six, while attached to an overhead safety rail via a trolley and harness system. Our guide was encouraging, knowledgeable and fun! We leaned back over Toronto with nothing but air and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath us.
EdgeWalk took about 1.5 hours, with the outdoor walk lasting approximately 30 minutes. Yes, I even received a certificate of achievement to prove it.

Posted by: Anne Balaban | July 14, 2013

Book Review of “Life Code” by Dr. Phil


I will be reviewing Dr. Phil’s book and would like to extend an invitation to all of you.

The following is the promotional material.





Please join us for fruit, pastries and tea as Anne Balaban reviews Dr. Phil’s new book


Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World will empower you to become a leader of your own life, and just as importantly, protect yourself and those you love.
“Life is a game- and you will either be a player or be the one played,” explains Dr. Phil. “Yesterday’s rules and expectations about relationships, emotions and interacting just simply don’t apply any more, not like they used to … and those who figure that out and adapt to the current world will have an incredible edge.” This book will create an urgent awareness within readers, and help them become street-smart and savvy.

In the Front Auditorium


Please purchase tickets at the information desk.

1003 Steeles  Avenue, West, Toronto, Ontario M2R 3T6

Tel:  416-2112 X 124     Fax:  416-225-2097

Luminato took place this year from June 14 to 23. The multi-arts festival took over city parks, theatres and public spaces for 10 days this year with the goal of introducing new art from around the world to Torontonians. I attended the tribute to Canadian singer/songwriter legend Joni Mitchell at Massey Hall.

Joni, who turns 70 on November 7th, was honoured by a wide variety of artists, where each took their turn at the microphone, backed by an eight piece band led by drummer Brian Blade, jazz guitarist Bill Frissel and an amazing percussionist Jeff Haynes. Mitchell, removed her shoes, appeared front and centre (at the end of the evening) recited a poem inspired by the words of Emily Carr, This Rain, and actually performed, backed by the entire lineup of performers. Among those that performed her works, with their own unique arrangements, were Kathleen Edwards, Rufus Wainwright, Liam Titcomb, Cold Specks and  Glen Hansard. As part of the audience, I felt I was witnessing something special. Both Edwards’  last-minute addition of Big Yellow Taxi and Wainright’s dramatic version of All I Want stole the show . It was a wonderfully energetic and an inspirational evening. We, the audience, spontaneously sang  Happy Birthday at the very end of the night.


Mark Morris is one of the most important creators of dance theatre in the world. The Mark Morris Dance Group presented his masterpiece, L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato at the Luminato Festival. This year, contemporary dance has made the biggest impression on me.

What impressed me about the production was the interesting way it blends baroque music with modern dance. Most of the dance is abstract, and yet, I found it amusing when the dancers embody birds around trees, the chasing of the hounds and even the creation of a fireplace with their bodies.

I attended  the pre-show talk before the Luminato performance and found the background and contextual information very important in understanding the production.

It’s high-brow art that’s also fun.

According to  Stanley Fefferman, “here’s the genius of Mark Morris: no matter how amazingly complex or daring the forms, his dances always seem simple, direct, not needing interpretation. The dancers are the music, the music is the feeling, and we the audience get it.”

I am new to dance and found it very enjoyable.

Posted by: Anne Balaban | June 17, 2013

The Power of Laughter


Donna Cansfield, MPP, hosted a Complimentary Tea in Celebration of Seniors’ Month and I was the special guest speaker. The Topic was “The Power of Laughter”.  Remember “Old age is not for sissies” (Bette Davis). 

A few highlights:

Definitions of old age from the youth’s perspective.

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?  Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. (Camille, age 10)

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?  Both don’t want any more kids.  (Lori, age 7)

HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?  Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.  (Ricky, age 10)

Stories written by Andy Rooney and Erma Bombeck were a great hit.

Remember the Serenity Prayer:

G-d, grant me:

 The Courage to change the things I can,

The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and

The Wisdom to know the difference.

There are several parodies: The following was the audience favourite,

“God grant me the Senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,

The Good Fortune to run into the ones I do,

And the Eyesight to tell the difference.”

Many in the audience (SENIORS) wanted to “get even” with their children (BABY BOOMERS) who constantly nag them “for their own good”.

The best joke of the night: “Forgot My Glasses”

Yesterday my daughter again asked why I didn’t do something useful with my time. Talking about my “doing something useful” seemed to be her favourite topic of conversation. She was “only thinking of me” and suggested I go down to the senior center and hang out with the guys.

I did this and when I got home last night I decided to teach her a lesson about staying out of my business. I told her that I joined a parachute club. She said, “Are you nuts? You’re almost 82 years old and you’re going to start jumping out of airplanes?” I proudly showed her that I even got a membership card.

She said to me, “Good grief, where are your glasses!” This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club.” “I’m in trouble again, and don’t know what to do…… I signed up for five jumps a week.” I told her. SHE FAINTED.

Life as a senior citizen is not getting any easier but sometimes it can be fun……Oh… the power of laughter!!!!!!!


There is nothing like a photograph of personal significance to share a memory, inspire empathy or trigger an emotion. Candid family/class photos, to awe-inspiring nature scenes to thought-provoking moments….. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

The following is a STUNNING BBC COMMERCIAL. At the end of a long day, it’s a

great  reminder of that beautiful world out there. Phenomenal photography!


Posted by: Anne Balaban | June 11, 2013

Lifelong Learning: Psychology of Summer

 Seneca, the Latin philosopher wrote, “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”

The explosion of technology has resulted us all to recognize that learning is a continuous, permanent, lifelong pursuit. As an educator, I have found that the person who has curiosity, who learns by doing, thinking and experimenting is the one who understands this process best.

            Lifelong learning is the ongoing, pursuit of knowledge. It is self-motivated. It enhances social inclusion and personal development. Today learning can be seen as something that takes place on an on-going basis from daily interactions with others and/or in the classroom. So, with that in mind, consider taking time for yourself this summer
Take time out this summer with a Learn4Life course.

I will be teaching course # 60919, Psychology of Summer. Topics to be discussed will include Canada Day and the need to belong; Impact of First Love; Sibling Rivalries and Emotional Eating.
Register today at  Classes begin the week of July 2, 2013.
TDSB Continuing Education is your partner in lifelong learning.


Posted by: Anne Balaban | May 31, 2013

Community Matters: Get Involved, Just Do it!

 While being interviewed, I was asked if I take my own advice on “Getting Involved” in the community. The answer is YES! The last few months I have been very busy following the advice I give to all my students.  Learning, meeting people and gathering research to make all my classes, workshops and lectures fun!

Motorcycle picturewalking group2Olsen's fashion show mcPublic Speaking Judge at the Legion HallI have been a Judge at The Annual Public Speaking Contest, part of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Education program, hosted a  Fashion Show Olsen Europe Summer Collection 2013 with Donato Salon + SpaDon Mills, walked with the Running Room group, participated at 31 Division – Toronto Police Service Community BBQ and helped build a home for Habitat For Humanity Toronto.

Thank you to everyone who joined me in making all the events in the community such a success!

Yes, I fell off the motorcycle, tripped on the runway, made many legionnaires laugh out loud, walked in the blizzard and even hammered my own nail!! Not perfect at all, but I got involved, laughed, had fun and did it anyways!!!!!!

So stop talking about it, Just Do it!

Please Note:

I will be teaching the Psychology of Summer Course for the Toronto District School Board,

Please join me on Saturday June 15th for a Book Signing event “Common Sense is UnCommon” at Chapters, Bayview Village at Noon.

On Sunday May 26th, as part of the Doors Open Toronto event, I had the privilege to visit Toronto Emergency Medical Services Headquarters, at 4330 Dufferin Street, Toronto.

It is a modern emergency services headquarters, housing a state of the art Central Ambulance Communications Centre where employees respond to approximately 800 emergency medical calls per day for the City of Toronto. The building also contains a full garage and maintenance centre for 145 ambulances and a paramedic ambulance station. I got an inside view of the work and life of an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Paramedics and Operations Support employees for the City of Toronto. I had an incredible view inside emergency vehicles both innovative (a kneeling ambulance) and vintage (a 1953 Packard ambulance) both were available to see.

I met and interviewed Toronto Emergency Medical Services Paramedics, Emergency Medical Dispatchers and Operations Support staff. I had a tour of an ambulance station, a Communications Centre and the maintenance garage. I had the opportunity to learn how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator and how to perform Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. I saw the inside of an ambulance and a multi-casualty bus.  I was fascinated by the Toronto Emergency Medical uniforms which were on display.

Today, I became aware of an emergency situation and because of the knowledge and practice I received on Sunday, I felt totally confident of the actions necessary and I responded. Sunday’s experience gave me the knowledge of what to do and the strength and confidence to actually do it!!!!  It was an incredible feeling.

Interviewed new recruit.

Interviewed new recruit.


Congratulations to Toronto’s Doors Open Event and the wonderful work done at the Toronto Emergency Services Headquarters.

Good Luck Charlotte on your new job at the headquarters.

Posted by: Anne Balaban | February 19, 2013

Portrait by Internationally-acclaimed artist Marta Alvarez

Portrait by International artist Marta Alvarez

One of my most precious possessions is the above portrait, which was painted by Marta Alvarez. The portrait was gifted to me as a surprise and I hold it very close to my heart.

Marta was born in Chile and moved to Canada in 1972. In addition to her passion for painting, she has developed a love for psychology; and, fortunately for me, became my student in 2000.

She is an internationally recognized artist, and has had portraits commissioned in Canada, Spain, the United States and Chile.

Marta, like all of us, has faced many challenges in her life, and she is a true testament to the happiness that comes from living life to the fullest and being positive. She is now happy in her retirement.

I am truly privileged to call Marta my friend.

Motivational Speaker, Barry Shainbaum, was a guest speaker in our class and truly hit a home run! Congratulations!

Motivational Speaker, Barry Shainbaum, was a guest speaker in our class and truly hit a home run! Congratulations!

Barry Shainbaum was a special guest in our class.  He added a unique perspective on many mental health issues, including shock therapy. He was truly inspirational and has gained a special following from all the students who have become loyal fans of his radio show.  Thank you again.

Informative participants!

Informative participants!

Posted by: Anne Balaban | February 3, 2013

The Ten Second Reaction: Psychology Matters

Psychology Class

Psychology Class

The ten seconds reaction.

This term we are studying many psychological theories and verifying them through our everyday observations.  A recent topic:  Is there a correlation between how we look and how we are treated?

On Saturday mornings I get my exercise by walking with a  group from the local “Running Room”.  Due to a tight schedule, I do not have a chance to change my clothing  before teaching my psychology class.  I noticed something immediately… From the moment I passed through the school’s doors, I perceived that I was treated quite differently when wearing exercise attire.  So I asked “Do looks Matter?”; “How long does it take to notice a difference?”; and “Is there a Correlation?”.  Well, 50 researchers (my peers, supervisors and students) all provided their input and yes, there is a correlation – and it took ten seconds to notice.  Great work everyone.

In our psychology class, we yet again affirmed that looks do matter.  Looking your best every day is something to consider.  Thank you to the wonderful staff at Donato Salon and Spa.

Other future topics this semester: Instant Gratification; Toxic Personalities; MBTI; Personality Dimensions and  New Baby Lab Research on Nurture and Nature… topics to engage,  inspire and make you think.

I would like to thank all of my participants for being amazing students and, yes,  the teacher has learned from all of you.

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