An intimate evening of conversation

What's the Big Idea is a different kind of series...

Part presentation, part moderated salon discussion, with a diverse line-up of guest speakers and topics that are meant to spark lively discussion, spirited debate and new ideas, in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Add a glass of wine from Henry of Pelham and the local lens of our eclectic moderators, and you have a provocative mix that offers an evening you won’t easily forget. Don’t miss the launch of the premiere series: and bring a friend, to continue the discussion on the way home!

$15 for students
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery, 1469 Pelham Road, St.Catharines
Free parking
Price includes light snacks and one glass of wine


October 16, 2018 9:30 AM

Presented by:
360 Energy & Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI)
The Albany Club, Toronto, Ontario
January 10, 2019 8:00 PM

Grant LaFleche and Kathy English

Presented by:
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery and Armstrong Strategy Group
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery, 1469 Pelham Road, RR1, St. Catharines

Behind the Byline: Truth Trust and Local Media

Join moderator John Armstrong, and have your say, as we discuss trust, truth and transparency in the media with Toronto Star Public Editor Kathy English and award-winning St. Catharines Standard journalist Grant LaFleche. As a public editor for Canada’s largest daily newspaper Kathy acts as the liaison between the paper and the public, ensuring the highest standards of ethics in journalism. Grant will offer a behind the scenes look at how the Standard got the All the Chair’s Men story and talk about the use of anonymous sources and the investigative process. Other subjects we will cover include the importance of local news, “news deserts” and the rise of partisan news sources.

Grant LaFleche is an award-winning investigative journalist with the St. Catharines Standard. He has been nominated for 23 Ontario Newspaper Awards and three National Newspaper Awards. His 2017 investigative series, The Wolf in Priest's Clothing, won the Ontario Newspaper Award for feature writing and the National Newspaper Award for local journalism.

More recently, Grant’s investigation into regional government, in a series of stories called All The Chair’s Men, played a major role in triggering an Ontario Ombudsman’s investigation into the Niagara Region and the 2018 municipal election. His work appears in TorStar/Metroland Niagara newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator and Toronto Star. Grant hosts the Inside The Newsroom podcast.

Kathy English has been the public editor at the Toronto Star since 2007. Prior to this role, she reported and edited for six Canadian daily newspapers, launched websites for two Canadian media companies, SunMedia and Transcontinental Media, and served as a tenured faculty member at Ryerson School of Journalism.

Kathy was the 2018 recipient of  Western University’s Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Asper Fellowship. During the fellowship she taught a graduate seminar course on critical issues in digital media literacy, tackling issues of truth in news, media literacy and the disruption of the mainstream media landscape.

English, who holds an MA in Canadian history from Western University, is also currently an executive board member of the Canadian Journalism Foundation and serves on advisory boards for the Ryerson School of Journalism, the Sheridan College journalism program, and the board of Informed Opinions.

March 21, 2019 9:00 PM

Peggy Baker C.M.

Presented by:
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery and Armstrong Strategy Group
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery, 1469 Pelham Road, RR1, St. Catharines

Figures in Motion with Peggy Baker, C.M

Join Peggy Baker for an intimate presentation in which she delves into photographs that capture the history of contemporary dance, to reveal intriguing parallels with major visual arts movements of the 20th century

Local interdisciplinary artist Elizabeth Chitty will lead the discussion with Peggy.

Peggy Baker is acclaimed as one of the most outstanding and influential contemporary dancers of her generation.She began her professional career in Toronto in 1974, as a founding member of Dancemakers, toured internationally as a prominent member of Lar Lubovitch’s celebrated New York company throughout the eighties, and joined Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris for the inaugural season of their White Oak Dance Project in 1990, subsequently forging important creative relationships with Paul-André Fortier (Montreal), James Kudelka (Toronto), and Doug Varone (New York) through numerous performance projects. She established Peggy Baker Dance Projects in 1990, and for the first 20 years she dedicated herself to solo performance, winning rapturous praise for the eloquence and depth of her dancing, and accolades for her collaborative partnerships with extraordinary musicians and designers.

Ms Baker has been honoured with numerous awards for her extraordinary achievements and contributions including the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement (2009), the 2006 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. She is a 2017 fellow with the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy.

April 25, 2019 8:00 PM

Catherine Hernandez: Scarborough

Presented by:
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery and Armstrong Strategy Group
Henry of Pelham Estates Winery, 1469 Pelham Road, RR1, St. Catharines

Catherine Hernandez's debut novel Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press), is a moving multi-voiced story about a neighbourhood that refuses to fall apart in the face of poverty and crime. Weaving together the stories of three children growing up in difficult circumstances with the stories of three adults who are doing their best to help them out, Scarborough is a vibrant and emotional novel.

Moderating a discussion with Catherine and the audience will be Ronald Cummings, Assistant Professor, Brock University.

Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, activist, theatre practitioner, award-winning author, and the Artistic Director of b current performing arts. Her one-woman show, The Femme Playlist, premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2014 as part of the afterRock Play Series co-produced by b current, Eventual Ashes and Sulong Theatre. She has served playwright residencies at Theatre Passe Muraille, Carlos Bulosan Theatre, Shaw Festival Theatre, Blyth Festival Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Nightswimming Theatre. Her plays Kilt Pins and Singkil were published by Playwright’s Canada Press. Scarborough won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards and Evergreen Forest of Reading Award and longlisted for Canada Reads. Catherine was named one of 17 Writers to Watch by CBC Books.