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From aging to sex education to the battle over bike paths: University of the Streets Café unveils its winter 2024 season

The Office of Community Engagement brings Montrealers together for dialogue on engaging and thought-provoking issues
February 12, 2024

A group of people in discussion in a cafe Photo by Marion Ellisalde

Concordia’s University of the Streets Café is launching its winter 2024 season on Valentine's Day, the third edition since a pandemic-induced hiatus. Taking place in a laundromat café in Rosemont, it promises to be a friendly and spirited questioning of the primacy of romantic relationships in our society.

This stimulating six-event series of public conversations will continue into spring in neighbourhoods throughout the city.

Alexandra Pierre, who coordinates the series for the Office of Community Engagement, invites one and all to attend.

“This season, we are asking crucial questions that affect our lives. We invite neighbours, friends, students, researchers, activists and other curious people to come together to share experiences and gain fresh insights into the complexities of our world,” she says. “As our communities become more and more polarized, this kind of dialogue is even more important.”

From dating apps to disability justice

On March 11 in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, the provocative question will be asked, “Swiping right: Are dating apps stereotype factories or love algorithms?” Participants will be invited to share their reflections on the evolving landscape of romance in the digital age, scrutinizing the impact of the marketing of dating apps on our desires.

The event on March 28 takes place at Head and Hands in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It will ask what needs to be done in our communities to move beyond “accessibility” as a buzzword and genuinely achieve disability justice.

Just in time for spring cycling season, the April 11 conversation at an independent bookstore in Little Italy will ask whether bicycle paths are being built for sustainability or to appeal to middle-class voters. This event will be held in a part of Montreal where neighbours have had intense conflict over the expansion of bicycle paths. 

On April 25 at the Verdun Women’s Centre, the event will ask the question of what constitutes a “good life” for our aging population. From caregiving to leisure to autonomy and agency, the public conversation will discuss how to adapt to the upcoming unprecedented demographic shift, when one-quarter of Quebecers will become older adults. 

This provocative season will culminate with an event in Montreal’s Gay Village on May 8, challenging the idea that sex education is just for kids. It will probe the question of the importance of continuing to learn, relearn and unlearn ideas about sex as we age. 

Since its inception in 2003, University of the Streets Café has hosted more than 400 bilingual public conversations. As a flagship program of Concordia University’s Office of Community Engagement, these events are free and open to participants of all ages, backgrounds and levels of education.

Visit the University of the Streets Café website to learn more about programming and last-minute scheduling updates.



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