Archives of Ontario at York offering free tours

Archives of Ontario

The Archives of Ontario, located at 134 Ian MacDonald Blvd. at York University’s Keele Campus, has been collecting, preserving and making available the history and documentary heritage of Ontario and its people since 1903.

Free one-hour tours of the Archives will be offered every Wednesday at 11 a.m., between Sept. 13 and Oct. 25.

Tours of up to 15 people will be led by the Archives’ staff through one of the largest archival facilities in Canada. Collections consist of a wide variety of records, including unique, multifaceted records donated by individuals, businesses and organizations that illustrate the province’s history and development. These date back to the 16th century and include everything from hand-written letters and diaries to books, maps, architectural drawings, city plans, photographs, films, sound recordings, electronic documents and more.

The Archives are also home to the eclectic Government of Ontario Art Collection, which has over 2,800 original works of art and antique furnishings that can be found in legislative buildings in Toronto and in government offices throughout the province.

The tour will include a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the Archive’s vaults, preservation lab and reading room, as well as a personal tour of the exhibit ANIMALIA, which features fascinating records from the Archives’ collections that explore humankind’s changing relationships with animals.

Faculty and students who take the tour will also have the opportunity to learn more about applying for a researcher card, using the microfilm and digital collections, and getting started on research with the assistance and expertise of the reference staff.

Register for a tour online by visiting

For more information, contact Danielle Manning, outreach officer, at or visit

AGYU exhibition celebrates York prof’s prolific career

students walking in hallway

This month, the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) launches its new exhibition, Tim Whiten: Elemental Fire, celebrating the prolific career of the York University professor emeritus.

The exhibition, on display from Sept. 15 to Dec. 3, brings together more than 14 cultural objects from the past four decades of Whiten’s distinguished career, including works in glass and on paper, and a new installation created specifically for this exhibition.

Guest curated by Liz Ikiriko, former AGYU curator and the inaugural curator of collections and art in public space at the University of Toronto’s Art Museum, Elemental Fire considers how the material transformations of fire appear in Whiten’s work as forms of alchemy, risk, play and energetic power. Often alluding to notions of time and faith through histories of storytelling and spirituality, Whiten’s work asks observers to consider primary questions of their bodies, their presence and their value in the current moment.

Tim Whiten wide portrait courtesy of Mehraban Mehrabani
Tim Whiten, photo courtesy of Mehraban Mehrabani

Elemental Fire is part of a multi-venue retrospective, running from 2022 to the end of 2023, celebrating Whiten’s extensive career, developed as a partnership between the Art Gallery of York University, the Art Gallery of Peterborough, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery and the McMaster Museum of Art. This series of exhibitions shares the nomenclature “elemental” and is thematically united by the classical elements of air, water, earth and fire – a reference to Whiten’s interest in alchemical practices.

The Elemental Fire opening reception takes place on Sept. 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the AGYU. The exhibition’s other events include the following:

  • Curatorial walk-through with Liz Ikiriko: Saturday, Sept. 16, 3 to 5 p.m., AGYU.
  • Curatorial panel with Pamela Edmonds, Liz Ikiriko, Chiezda Pasipanodya, Fynn Leitch and Leila Timmins: Wednesday, Oct. 18, 3 to 4:30 p.m., online.
  • Respondent talk and spatial audio experience with Nehal El-Hadi and Zoma Tochi Maduekwe, with Liz Ikirko: Thrusday, Nov. 14, 7 to 9 p.m., offsite at Arraymusic (155 Walnut Ave., Toronto).
  • Elemental reading group with Farhia Tato: Oct. 24 to Nov. 28, 7 to 8 p.m., online.

Whiten was born in Inkster, Mich., in 1941. Self-described as an image maker and creator of cultural objects, his practice spans five decades. After receiving his master of fine arts from the University of Oregon in 1966 and serving military duty from 1966 to 1968, he immigrated to Toronto and began his teaching career in the Division of Humanities in York University’s Faculty of Arts.

For 39 years, Whiten inspired thousands of students in their creative pursuits. As an award-winning educator and Chair of York’s Department of Visual Arts, he has contributed to generations of the Toronto arts ecology. His work has been exhibited across North America, from MOCA, Toronto, to ICA, Boston, and the Colorado University Art Museum, with his work in public collections at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of York University and the de Young Museum in San Francisco, among others.

Of his many accolades and awards, he is the recent recipient of the 2022 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the 2023 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Artistic Achievement.

For more information about the exhibition, visit Tim Whiten: Elemental Fire | Art Gallery of York University (

LA&PS welcomes York alumnus Shyam Selvadurai as writer-in-residence

open book with glasses and pen

York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) welcomes its Fall 2023 writer-in-residence, the award-winning Canadian writer and York alumnus Shyam Selvadurai, with a reading from his new novel, Mansions of the Moon, on Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m. in the McLaughlin Junior Common Room (MC 014).

Shyam Selvadurai
Shyam Selvadurai

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Selvadurai moved to Toronto with his family in 1983. He earned a BFA in theatre directing and playwriting from York and an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.

Selvadurai is the author of Funny BoyCinnamon GardensSwimming in the Monsoon Sea and The Hungry Ghosts. His work has won the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Lambda Literary Award and the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for the the Governor General’s Literary Award. He is also the editor of Story-Wallah: A Celebration of South Asian Fiction and a comprehensive anthology of Sri Lankan literature called Many Roads Through Paradise.

In 2012, in conjunction with the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, Selvadurai began Write to Reconcile, a project bringing together emerging Sri Lankan writers to write on the issues of conflict, peace, reconciliation, memory and trauma in relation to Sri Lanka’s civil war and the postwar period. The project resulted in three anthologies: Write to ReconcileWrite to Reconcile II and Write to Reconcile III

“I’m thrilled that Shyam Selvadurai will be joining us this fall,” said LA&PS Dean J.J. McMurtry. “His work speaks for itself. It is deeply personal yet universal, touching on issues related to family, belonging and freedom of expression. Our students and Faculty will benefit greatly from his expertise and guidance.”

The Writer-in-Residence Program connects faculty, staff and students with a professional writer for feedback, critiques and support. Four meetings per week are available by appointment through Calendly. In addition to providing consultations, Selvadurai will be hosting public readings, panel talks, writing workshops, classroom visits and other events. 

On Oct. 25, Selvadurai will host a panel discussion with fellow authors Janika Oza and Larissa Lai. On Dec. 7, he will host acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta for a screening and discussion of her new documentary film, I Am Sirat.

To register for any or all of these events, to book a manuscript consultation or to learn more about the Writer-in-Residence Program, visit Fall 2023 Writer-In-Residence: Shyam Selvadurai at LA&PS (

Students receive summer research conference awards

woman presenting

At the Faculty of Science’s annual undergraduate summer research conference, students received awards in recognition of oral and poster presentations they gave on summer projects they worked on.

More than 60 students from the Faculties of Science, Health, and Environmental & Urban Change attended the Faculty of Science Summer 2023 Undergraduate Research Conference to present their projects, reflecting work ranging from bee conservation and biochemical innovations to quantum computing and more.

The conference was an opportunity for recipients of other summer undergraduate research awards (including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Summer Research Awards, the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards, the Earle Nestmann Undergraduate Research Awards and the York Science Scholars Awards) to share projects they have worked on. Students’ presentations were judged by faculty members as well as postdoctoral and graduate students, and the winners for best presentations were announced at the end of the event. Health students were announced in a separate category.

First place winners, from left to right: Hannah Le, Jessica Latimer, Patrick Hewan

The following science students received awards for their oral presentations:

  • Hannah Le, a third-year chemistry student, won first place for the project “Value-Added Vat Orange 3 Dyes for Functional Materials Development,” supervised by Thomas Baumgartner, professor of chemistry;
  • Chiara Di Scipio, a third-year biology student, won second place for the project “Investigating the signaling cascade of a CAPA neuropeptide in the Malpighian tubules of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster,” supervised by Jean-Paul Paluzzi, professor of biology; and
  • Isaac Kogan, a first-year biology student, won third place for the project “Using Machine Learning to Interpret LFIA Results,” supervised by Sergey Krylov, professor of chemistry.

The following science students received awards for their poster presentations:

  • Jessica Latimer, a fourth-year chemistry student, won first place for the project “Practical Accuracy Assessment of Equilibrium Dissociation Constants,” supervised by Sergey Krylov, professor of chemistry;
  • Sarah Powell, a fourth-year physics student, won second place for the project “Theoretical particle physics on quantum computers,” supervised by Randy Lewis, professor of physics and astronomy; and
  • Yash Shrestha, a second-year biology student, won third place for the project “Exploration of altered synaptic pruning in an autism model mouse,” supervised by Steven Connor, professor of biology.

Within the Faculty of Health, the following students received awards:

  • Patrick Hewan, a psychology student, won best oral presentation for the project “Microstructural integrity of the Locus Coeruleus is related to decision-making in older adults,” supervised by Professor Gary Turner; and
  • Mira Bhattacharya, a second-year cognitive science student, won best poster presentation for the project “Neuronal Correlates of Flexible Decision Making,” supervised by Professor Liya Ma.

Read more about the students and their projects in the conference program booklet.

Updated: AGYU to debut public art series with City of Markham

York University's Accolade Galleria, Keele Campus

Update: New information after publication of this article indicates the Sept. 10 launch event has been cancelled, and the first edition of this program entitled “Bicycle” will not proceed. Continue to read YFile for further updates on this project.

The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) has partnered with the City of Markham to launch a two-year public art series called Façade, in which four artists will be commissioned by four different curators to each develop a 127- by 32-foot photomural for the west façade of the Markham Pan Am Centre in Markham, Ont.

A 2023 artwork by Julian Yi-Zhong Hou called "Bicycle"
Julian Yi-Zhong Hou, Bicycle, 2023 (detail)

The series invites four artists to explore the performative potential of an architectural element as public space and to contemplate the layered identity of a place through the lens of their artistic and theoretical concerns.

Each of the artworks presented in Façade will bring a distinct perspective to this series, in both artistic approach and content. The projects will be unveiled consecutively, beginning with Bicycle by B.C.-based multidisciplinary artist Julian Yi-Zhong Hou, and be curated by Yan Wu, public art curator for the City of Markham.

The rest of the series will include work by northern Minnesota- and Chicago-based visual artist Andrea Carlson, curated by AGYU assistant curator of exhibitions Clara Halpern; and Berlin-based artist Aleksandra Domanović, curated by AGYU director and curator Jenifer Papararo; with a final project curated by Mariam Zulfiqar, director of British arts organization Artangel.

“This collaboration between the AGYU and the City of Markham’s Public Art Program reflects the essence of the project Façade itself – a liminal space where exterior and interior meet, where rigid dividing lines open and where art becomes a bridge to the public,” said Papararo. “Just as the artworks in this new public art series address complex issues of belonging and identity, the partnership between the AGYU and the City of Markham’s Public Art Program invites us to reimagine the potential of education, culture and its impact in defining communities.”

Chosen as the architectural host of Façade, the Markham Pan Am Centre is a multipurpose community and aquatics centre designed to serve as one of the venues for the 2015 Pan American Games, and is adjacent to where York University is constructing its new Markham Campus, scheduled to open in 2024, which will focus on technology and entrepreneurship, hosting programs in science, engineering, the arts and more.

A family-friendly launch event, free and open to all, will kick off the Façade public art series on Sept. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Markham Pan Am Centre. The event will feature drag performances by Haus of Devereaux, with a special guest appearance by Lady Boi Bangkok; tarot card readings by FASTWÜRMS; I Ching readings by Yam Lau, associate professor in York’s Department of Visual Art and Art History; food trucks; and the big reveal of Yi-Zhong Hou’s new photomural.

“We’re delighted that AMPD Professor Yam Lau will be a part of the AGYU’s exciting series in Markham,” said Sarah Bay-Cheng, dean of York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), “and we look forward to future collaborations, with the opening of the Creative Technologies program in fall 2024.”

Façade photomural on-view dates:

  • September 2023 to March 2024: Bicycle by Julian Yi-Zhong Hou, curated by Yan Wu, public art curator for the City of Markham.
  • April to September 2024: Project by Andrea Carlson, Curated by Clara Halpern, Assistant Curator, AGYU.
  • September 2024 to April 2025: Project by Aleksandra Domanović, Curated by Jenifer Papararo, Director/Curator, AGYU.
  • April to September 2025: Project curated by Mariam Zulfiqar, Director, Artangel, U.K.

Free bus transportation will be available from downtown Toronto (Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street West) to the launch event, subject to capacity; contact Maria Won at to register. For more information about the Façade launch event or the public art series, visit

Two Schulich professors organize prestigious finance conference

The Northern Finance Association (NFA) Annual Conference, the largest finance research conference in Canada and one of the world’s best known, is being organized this year by two Schulich professors who also serve as co-vice-presidents of the NFA Board of Directors – Professor Lilian Ng, Scotiabank Chair in International Finance; and Associate Professor Yelena Larkin. The conference is being held at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto from Sept. 8 to 10.

I am proud to co-organize Canada’s premier finance research conference with Prof. Lilian Ng,” said Larkin. “I’m happy to continue Schulich’s strong ties with the NFA and promote finance research excellence.”

Lilian Ng and Yelena Larkin
Lilian Ng and Yelena Larkin

Since its inception in 1989, the NFA Conference has been hosted in various parts of Canada and has grown significantly. This year’s event has already experienced record-breaking participation, with about 1,300 paper submissions and 132 papers selected for the program.

The keynote speaker is Professor Lauren Cohen, the L.E. Simmons Professor in the Finance and Entrepreneurial Management Units at Harvard Business School, and conference participants are coming from all over the world.

The Schulich School of Business has maintained a long-standing relationship with the NFA, as both an event sponsor and donor. Schulich professors Mark KamstraPauline Shum and the late Gordon Roberts have also held positions on the conference’s board, and Shum and Roberts organized the conference in Toronto in 2007.

For more information and to register for the conference, visit

Fall orientation continues with welcome events for all students

A group of five York University students walking down York Boulevard in the fall

The new academic year at York University begins on Sept. 6, which means York’s 2023 Transition and Orientation programming is already underway, welcoming new community members with a mix of fun and informative events.

In addition to the orientation sessions YFile highlighted last week for Black, mature, transfer and international students, here are the details about the remaining 2023 Orientation events – all with a focus on decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure all students feel welcome and supported at York.

Open Doors York

Open Doors York will bring the entire University community together in a large, festival- and exploration-style day, on Sept. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Key partners on the Keele Campus will open their office doors for new and returning students to visit, learn and maybe even walk away with some freebies. And that’s not all – in the York University Commons, expect a carnival-style atmosphere featuring music, games, snacks and giveaways.


From Aug. 26 to Sept. 8, York students, staff and faculty can enjoy specially priced meals from participating campus food vendors. Yorklicious is a great opportunity to explore the wide variety of food options on campus and get a great meal for $10 or less. Participating vendors include:

  • Sushi Shop
  • Campus Bubble Tea
  • Z-Teca
  • Great Canadian Bagel
  • Mac’s Sushi
  • Break Café
  • 416 Grill
  • Rasoi
  • ChopD and WrapD
  • Grill House
  • Chef’s Table
  • Crepe Delicious
  • Chungchun Rice Dog
  • Insomnia Cookies
  • Basil Box
  • Osmows
  • Orange Snail
Students enjoying a meal together on York University’s Keele Campus

Indigenous Student Orientation

The Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) will welcome incoming Indigenous students to York with three days of specialized events and activities from Aug. 23 to 25, including a harbourfront boat cruise. Students will meet CISS staff and learn about the services and programs offered by the centre. For more details and to register, visit the CISS Events & Activities page.

York University students learning about Indigenous culture

Move-in Day and Parents & Family Orientation

Aug. 26 is the official residence Move-in Day. Parents and/or guardians can drop students off at their specific residence, where student volunteers will be waiting to help them move in. More details are available on the Housing Services website.

As the move-in is happening, parents, guardians and family members can attend the Parent and Family Orientation. There, they will receive a welcome from University staff and students, and they can take in a play performed by Vanier College Productions. The performance offers a humorous but heartfelt glimpse into the first-year university experience, while simultaneously introducing the audience to many of the supports and services that are on offer for students.

Afterwards, a services fair will allow parents and guardians to speak directly with University staff and learn about the resources that will be available to their students. There will be additional sessions available for parents of international students, plus a generic session on student finances that is open to everyone.

Orientation Week

This year, Orientation Week will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4. The week will include a variety of events, workshops and icebreakers designed for first-year students to get to know each other, as well as upper-year students in their colleges and Faculties.

A York University student participating in Orientation Week celebrations

For complete details and to register, visit the Orientation Week Events page. Students can use the college finder tool to determine which session they should sign up for based on their academic program’s college affiliation. Participating colleges and Faculties include:

  • Bethune
  • Calumet
  • Founders
  • Glendon
  • Lassonde
  • McLaughlin
  • New College
  • Schulich
  • Stong
  • Vanier
  • Winters

Academic Orientation Days

Academic Orientation Days will take place on Aug. 29 and 30. These mandatory sessions for all new students introduce their specific degree program and the resources available within their affiliated college and Faculty. They also touch on academic services, financial support and other vital tools to help facilitate a smooth transition into university life. Students can refer to the Transition and Orientation Events page for complete details and registration information.

YorkFest 2023

Each year, the York Federation of Students (YFS) aims to make YorkFest the largest back-to-school orientation festival held on a Canadian university campus. Details for this year’s YorkFest haven’t yet been released, but keep an eye on the YFS website for updates.

For more information about what’s happening at York in the lead-up to September and beyond, visit the Transition and Orientation 2023 website, which includes a schedule of events, the new student checklist, a college finder tool, student support services, information for parents, housing details and more.

New online workshop supports Black graduate student success

Woman laptop computer FEATURED

York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is hosting its inaugural Fostering Black Scholars Scholarship Success Workshop for incoming and current graduate students on Monday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon. This online event aims to create a welcoming space to share experiences and resources and build peer-to-peer connections.

One of the goals of the workshop is to share new funding opportunities that support Black scholars, including the Bennett Family Graduate Scholarship for Black and Indigenous Students, as well as many other scholarships and awards. Attendees will learn how to complete award applications and leverage all the resources available at York, both internally and externally. Additionally, the workshop will provide attendees with resources and guides for developing successful grant proposals, writing reference letters for scholarship applications and making their applications stand out.

Students will also learn about the self-identification forms and questionnaires implemented by FGS. The optional self-identification questions in award applications are important to determine eligibility for funding opportunities targeting specific equity-deserving groups and to implement funding equalization measures. Students can include relevant information in the Special Circumstances form on their applications to explain any personal circumstances (including gender, race, diversity, ability, sexuality, health disparities, educational access etc.) that have played a role in shaping their path, to allow for a fair assessment of their research productivity.

The workshop will feature talks from seasoned Black faculty members, including: Professor Andrea Davis, Department of Humanities; Professor Jude Dzevela Kong, Department of Mathematics & Statistics; and Professor Tokunbo Ojo, FGS associate dean of students.

Attendees will also hear from a panel of graduate scholars who hold prestigious awards, including: Joseph Agyapong, a PhD student in mechanical engineering and a 2023 Susan Mann Dissertation Awardee; Balikisu Osman, a PhD student in environmental studies and a 2020 Vanier Scholar; and Danielle Washington, a PhD student in nursing and a 2023 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Program awardee. The panellists will answer questions and speak about their personal experiences, scholarship successes and how to make the most of available resources.

This online event is hosted by the FGS Scholarships & Awards team, led by Richolette Freckleton, associate director of research, scholarships and awards. York University faculty and staff are encouraged to share event details with their incoming and current graduate students. For more information and to register, visit:

Fall orientation kicks off with events for Black, mature and international students

Four students walking on York University's Keele Campus in the fall

With fall term classes beginning on Sept. 6, the official start of the new academic year at York University is almost upon us. For students who are new to York, this is always an especially exciting and busy time, with a long list of orientation events to participate in and keep track of. 

The Transition and Orientation 2023 website helps with all of that, directing community members to the many events and activities happening in the lead-up to September and beyond. There, students will find:

  • a schedule of events and corresponding registration information;
  • the new student checklist;
  • a college finder tool;
  • an extensive resource guide of student support services;
  • information for parents and families;
  • housing and residence details;
  • contact information; and
  • important social media accounts to follow.

One of York’s top priorities is to ensure that all students feel welcome and supported in every way during their university experience. Guiding all transition and orientation programming is a focus on decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion. This means there will be many events designed specifically for priority communities, including (but not limited to) Indigenous, Black, international, 2SLGBTQIA+, first in the family, mature and transfer students.

Below are details about the first few events kicking off York’s 2023 Orientation. Stay tuned for more in YFile in the coming weeks.

Black Excellence at York University (BE YU) Welcome Event 

The BE YU Welcome Event is designed to celebrate incoming post-secondary students who self-identify as Black. The event’s theme is “BE YU and Getting to Know You,” and the intention is to delve into the Black student experience in post-secondary while building personal and professional relationships and celebrating the achievements of incoming York students. 

The BE YU Welcome Event will be held on Aug. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the University’s Second Student Centre. Incoming students who are interested in attending can register here. For more information about BE YU, visit

Mature and Transfer Student Orientation Sessions

Mature and transfer students can attend an orientation session either virtually on Aug. 17 or in person on Aug. 22. The session is intended to help ease their transition to their new school and increase their chances of success. They will have the opportunity to meet the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students (ACMAPS) staff, hear personal stories from other mature students, have mature student learning myths debunked, and connect with other mature and transfer students. For complete details and to register, visit the Mature and Transfer Student Orientation Sessions page

In addition to the orientation session, Ready, Set, YU! is another program available to mature and transfer students, providing access to transition coaches who can offer specialized support to help students meet their transitional milestones and successfully navigate campus resources. 

International and Exchange Student Orientation 

Incoming international and exchange students students are invited to attend the International and Exchange Student Orientation taking place on Aug. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There, they will learn about the various support services available to international students and have an opportunity to meet with on- and off-campus vendors such as banks, cell phone providers and more. For those who cannot attend on Aug. 28, the session will be repeated on Sept. 8 and 14.  

In addition, an optional event being offered is Shopping Essentials with York International on Aug. 27, where students can take a guided trip to nearby shopping centres to purchase any essentials they may need for the start of the school year. 

For complete details and to register for either event, visit the International and Exchange Student Orientation website.  

For more information about York University’s 2023 Transition and Orientation events, visit

Dahdaleh Institute summer interns to showcase global health research

Global health

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR) invites York University community members to its fifth Summer Global Health Intern Symposium on Aug. 30.

DIGHR poster

Throughout the summer term, Dahdaleh global health interns have been undertaking exciting research projects that address critical global health challenges.

On Aug. 30, eight interns will reflect on their internship and deliver a short presentation about the experience, knowledge and skills they have gained, and will share progress on their research projects, including:

DIGHR research
Global health interns
  • experiential-based simulation learning;
  • effects of resource insecurity on health outcomes;
  • mental and emotional health and wellness;
  • post-pandemic public health reforms; and
  • impact of human behaviour on antimicrobial resistance.

To learn more about this event, or to register to attend, visit

Lunch will be provided. All are welcome to attend.

The Dahdaleh Institute is currently hiring the next cohort of global health interns for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2023-24 academic year. All interested applicants are encouraged to visit the DIGHR website to learn more.