Study & Interest Groups

Exploring Indigenous Education                 
Fitness, Physical 
Focus on GWI: Our International Arm
Literature Study

Welcome to the CFUW-Ottawa Study & Interest Groups! Registered members are welcome to join the groups below or those listed under Service Groups and Club Projects.  Contact the group convenors by logging into the web page at the top right of this page.  Once logged in, select Member-only from the contents list on the left hand side and look for Study & Interest Group Convenors

Browse the monthly schedule of activities.

If you have questions contact the Study & Interest Group convenor at

After 5 Network

This interest group (A5N) gives women who are working or studying during the day the opportunity to network, mentor, socialize and have fun in a supportive environment.  We meet in members’ homes and discuss agreed upon topics.

Third Wednesday evening each month

National Gallery Study Group (Fee)
From October to April, tours of the National Gallery will be held on the last Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Friends of the Gallery - $30, non-friends- $50.
Last Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.

This group meets to learn about a broad range of Canadian topics from antiques to art, from social history to contemporary issues.  Like the topics, the format varies but usually it includes a guest speaker or an interactive project lead by a member of the group, followed by tea and discussion.
3rd Monday, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Couples Gourmet
This is a Couples' dinner group that meets for dinner at members' homes seven times a year, usually on the third Saturday of the month. There are five different dinner groups, which rotate, so that everyone dines with most other people. The hostesses decide on the menu and assign the recipes. All expenses are shared equally.The season begins with a Cocktail Party and ends with a BBQ. The group has a list of "spare" couples who fill in for others when needed. A wonderful group!
3rd Saturday, evening

Dining Out
This group combines lively conversation with dining out at Ottawa area restaurants. Reservations are arranged by rotating members of the group.  We try out new and trendy restaurants as well as old favourites.
3rd Wednesday, evening  6:30 p.m.

Supper Club
The Supper Club is a casual dining experience organized by rotating members of the group.  Meet new people and enjoy good conversation.
4th Wednesday at supper time, 6:30 p.m.

Easy Gourmet (Fee)
We meet monthly at a group member's home and an assigned team prepares easy gourmet dinners that usually include four courses and associated wine pairings. We have had many enjoyable menu themes and discovered wonderful recipes.  Be stimulated gustatorily and conversationally by joining Easy Gourmet. (maximum 16)
1st Wednesday, evening.

International Cuisine (Fee)
Group I
This group learns about the cuisine of different countries, tries out recipes and enjoys good food. Members share the responsibility of planning menus, cooking and hosting. The recipes are discussed after the meal and each member gets a copy of the recipes used that evening. 
1st Wednesday, evening
Group II
We approach our annual culinary outings by choosing an in-depth theme to co-ordinate planning and menus.  Over the years we have practiced and demonstrated various cooking techniques and looked at regional cuisines of particular countries.  This past year we went on a "spice journey" around the world.  For 2015-16 our guiding theme will be cheeses.
1st Wednesday, evening

Lunching Out
From October to June we meet at a variety of area restaurants, often with an international flavour. We endeavour to keep the cost reasonable. It is a good way to meet people and talk over the affairs of the day. It is also a chance to try different restaurants.
3rd Tuesday, 12:00 noon

Sunday Brunch
CFUW Brunch Group
 On the 1st Sunday of the month from October to June (excluding December) a very social group of CFUW members meet to chat and try out the brunch at local restaurants both new and old favourites.  Reservations are arranged by the convenor or by members of the group.  We meet at 11:30 a.m. and depending on whether it is a buffet or a served meal, we usually finish by 1:30 to 2:00.
1st Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Environment, Toxins & Health

The Environmental Toxins and Health Study Group researches and discusses scientific articles on chemicals in the environment that are reportedly detrimental to health. 

Selection of topics is guided by members’ interests and current environmental concerns.  The Group has broadened its early interest in household and personal care products, and is now exploring how some practices of the food industry may be contributing to undermining the nation’s health.  In addition, the Group is examining the effect of climate change on human, animal and environmental health.   

Meetings of the Group are held in members’ homes at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month.



Exploring Indigenous Education

(Beginning in Fall 2017)

Statistics and news reports seem to indicate that our current educational systems are failing many indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Metis) students. The challenges indigenous students face are many and complex, yet there are also stories of achievement and accomplishment. In its information-gathering stage, this external outreach group will meet monthly to report on research members have undertaken and to hear from a variety of speakers – Indigenous community members, educators, government representatives – to help us understand the current educational environment for indigenous students and possible pathways for enhancing opportunities for these young people so that they may realize their potential and make a contribution to their communities and country. With this foundation, our medium-term objective will be to identify a specific education project in Ontario that we may support in partnership with local educators and indigenous leaders. 

Co-convenors: Patricia Bays ( and Martha Musgrove (

Fitness, Physical                
Gatineau Trails - Year-round Outdoor Activities 

The Gatineau Trails group offers members seasonal activities: hiking in the fall, cross-country skiing in the winter, and biking in the summer.  In the shoulder seasons members enjoy urban walking in various Ottawa neighbourhoods.  Members join in some or all of the activities depending upon their interests.

The Gatineau hills have sections of rugged terrain for hiking and some challenging hills while skiing.  Whenever possible we try to offer options for those who wish a less strenuous outing.

 Communication of activities and special events is done via email.  Generally for hiking and skiing we meet at a designated Gatineau Park parking lot, while for cycling we meet at various locations around the City of Ottawa (for skiing some members choose to meet at the Visitors Centre in Chelsea). The normal meeting time is weekly on Tuesday mornings at 9:45 am for a 10:00 am departure from the designated parking lot. Usually we eat a packed lunch together and return to the City around 2:00 pm.

Our special events may include: occasional pot luck lunches, overnight stay at a cabin in Gatineau Park, a moon light ski, bicycle maintenance / safety clinics, a three to four day bicycle trip, and other events that members may decide to organize.

There is a $7.00 fee to cover a range of expenses associated with running the Group; and members are responsible for their own Gatineau Park ski pass fees.

For more information click here.

New members are always welcome to join us as we stay fit with our outdoor play.
Weekly, Tuesdays, 9:45 am start

We are a very small informal group of about 20 to 25 members who meet one morning a week to ski at Camp Fortune.  Although we usually meet on a Friday I encourage everyone to use the email list to ask if any one wants to meet on another day. Our group includes intermediate to expert skiers and is committed to a healthy use of winter and good conversation on the lift.
Friday mornings       

Members use both traditional and modern snowshoes. No special skills are required and new members are welcome. We use NCC trails throughout the Ottawa region, with outings of about 1 hour led by various members of the group.

Weekly, Mondays 11am, January - mid-March (alternate day due to weather may be determined as required)

Snowshoeing (Weekends)
Weekend outings rotating on trails in Nepean, Gloucester, Kanata & Ottawa lasting 1 - 1.5 hours.  All levels welcome.
Saturdays or Sundays to be decided by the group when the snow flies.

Walking, Trail (Hiking)
The Trail Walking Group meets Mondays at 11 a.m. It is an opportunity to explore a variety of trails in the Gatineau and in the city with friendly people who enjoy being outdoors. Do come and join us.  (Bring lunch/snack)
Weekly, Mondays 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (approx.) during the fall and spring months


Focus on GWI: Our International Arm

Graduate Women International (GWI), our international arm, advocates for women's rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality secondary and tertiary education. GWI works toward a world where 100% of girls and women achieve education beyond primary school. Focus on GWI gives members a chance to design the group’s activities for the year. We work to understand the reality for girls and women in other countries and at the broad international level. At each meeting, members present some aspect of a situation that deserves our attention and understanding and then lead a discussion. We share this knowledge with our membership through the Carillon and on this website. 

GWI Advocacy and Projects: Reports and Information

GWI UN representatives - Full report on meetings held online: click here

To watch a video of a Flashmob initiated by one of or GWI representatives as a side event to the International Day of the Girl Child 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland, click here

Report on meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women 61, United Nations, New York March 13-24, 2017 by Hally Siddons, who attended as a GWI representative: click here.

Report on meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women 62, United Nations, New York March 12-23, 2017 by Hally Siddons, who attended as a GWI representative: click here.

GWI's Bina Roy Partners in Development Projects PowerPoint presentation: click here.

 Members will meet in the home of a member on the first Tuesday evening of the month from  October to June (except January).



Social Bridge
This is a fun group of intermediate players. Members wishing to improve their bidding and playing skills will enjoy the games and wonderful company. Sandy Hill Community Centre.
Wednesdays 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. from first Wednesday in Sept. - 2nd Wednesday in June 
Couples - Duplicate
2nd Friday, evening

Couples - Regular
1st Saturday, evening
Non-duplicate - Regular
Various afternoons and evenings
Non-duplicate - Mondays
Weekly, Monday afternoons
The game of Mah-Jong has evolved from the original Chinese form and has been adapted to various cultures.  It is a challenging, engrossing, fast moving, mentally stimulating game.  It requires a versatile mind to complete a hand with the highest score.  There is no universal game, but once the basic procedure is understood, players find no difficulty in adapting their game to another country's version.  

Mah-Jong sets consist of 144 colourfully designed tiles of ivory, bone or plastic.  The ideal configuration is four players per square table.  The four players can set their own time limits and predetermined rules.  This allows for opportunities to increase the complexities of the game at ones own pace.  The expert can play with advanced rules; the newly initiated can have their own simple version and add on new rules gradually as they become more proficient.  Since it is a social game, one can freely exchange small talk and enjoy each others company. 
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m.


Historical Study
Every year, the History Study Group chooses to study a particular theme centered on a series of events or people selected from different historical periods and/or different cultural and geopolitical environments. Each season, the highly motivated members of the group undertake to research and present - using printed and audiovisual material – some sixteen different subjects drawn from the vast history of humankind. The meetings are held at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre, 300 rue Des Pères Blancs, Vanier.
1st Thursday, October to May 6:30 - 9 p.m. (January-February, 12:30-3 p.m.).

Tea, Tales and Treasures
We meet in a member's home on the fourth Thursday of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Each member brings a treasure or tale to share.  We have a delightful time looking at and talking about the treasures or listening to and discussing the tales.  Following the presentations afternoon tea is provided by our host and co-host.
4th Thursday, 1:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Literature Study
Literature Study Groups (See list of books for 2016-17 after the last group)
Group I
When we meet, we enjoy a cup of tea, some sweets and each other's company before "launching" into our book review. To date, most of us have been pleased with our choice of books, a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. 
2nd Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.
Group II
This group is composed of women who love passing on insights about books, sharing afternoon snacks and connecting with each other. We tend to concentrate on fiction, but always vote to include at least one non-fiction selection. The requirements to join us are that you like to read, will read the chosen book before we meet, and enjoy the company of other women. 
2nd Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.
Group III
Literature Group III meets on the third Tuesday evening of the month at 7:30. An eclectic mix of books is read and discussed, including children's, classic, prize winners, and books recommended by friends. Some of these books are available on tape in the Ottawa Public Library. 
3rd Tuesday, evening
Group IV
Our group meets monthly at 1:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. We have a list of eight books to read during the year, and each month one member reviews a book, with discussion following. The meetings are held in members' homes, and we begin with light refreshments. 
2nd Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
Group V
We meet at members' homes to share refreshments and discuss a book chosen by our members.We love variety: fiction and non-fiction; classic and modern; serious and comic. Each week one member provides the review and we always have a variety of viewpoints to contribute to the  discussion.
2nd Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.

Group VI
This group is for those members living west of Bronson Ave. who are seeking an evening book group. We meet 9 times a year in members' homes.  Our evenings begin with refreshments and time to socialize.  A member then reviews the chosen book and this is followed by a group discussion.  Books for the following year are chosen at a pot-luck dinner in June.
3rd Tuesday evening, 7:30 p.m.

La Literati - Group VII
Lively discussions, food, and fun bring this group together in member’s homes.  The wide variety of interests in the group are reflected in the member’s choice of books:  fiction and non-fiction; classic and modern; serious and comic.  Each member presents their chosen book and leads a discussion of varying opinions. Books are chosen in the spring and fall.
3rd Thursday evening, 7:00 pm

Crime Fiction Book Club
The group moves into its third year introducing our readers to a wide range of crime/mystery authors and the sub-genres.  We meet monthly at the Alta Vista Library, 2516 Alta Vista Drive.  Each month a member will present a chosen book followed by discussion and exchange of related information (book events, new titles, books read, etc.).  Tea and friendship also promised.
4th Wednesday, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Historical Fiction Book Club
We read literate historical fiction, non-fiction, and biographies that cover a wide variety of countries and time periods; historical romance will not be considered.  A brief presentation precedes the discussion and may include biographical information about the author and/or the historical context in which the story is placed.  We meet downstairs at the Sunnyside Library. 
2nd Tuesday evening, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Literary Studies Book List 2017-18.jpg

Music Appreciation
The group meets in members' homes, with an average attendance of 15.  A general theme is chosen at the beginning of the year (eg. The Sound of a Country, or the Romantic Movement in Western Music).  Members sign up to make presentations from October - May (except January) on topics relevant to the overall theme (eg. The Music of Newfoundland, Schubert's Songs, or the Argentinian Tango).  Presentations are typically illustrated with videos, YouTube clips and CDs, all of which make for lively and informative sessions. We welcome new members and new ideas for enhancing the enjoyment of music in all forms.
1st Tuesday evening, 7.30 p.m.


University Women Helping Afghan Women

UNIVERSITY WOMEN HELPING AFGHAN WOMEN (UWHAW) Study and Interest group was created by members deeply affected by the message Dr. Sima Samar delivered about the plight of Afghan women at the 2010 AGM in Ottawa. Dr. Samar, Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, spoke of their strength, the fragility of their basic human rights and freedoms, and the need for the continuing support of the international community. With the withdrawal of the international forces in 2014 and the resulting change in media focus, our support for these women is more critical than ever.

The focus of UWHAW is learning, advocacy and support.  We continue to educate ourselves and others about the issues faced by Afghan women and girls, advocate for the protection of their human rights and freedoms, support their education in various ways, and try to counter the cynicism and misinformation on the subject that pervades.

Our Study Group activities include monthly guest speakers from government, universities, Global Affairs Canada, NGO's working in Afghanistan, the Embassy of Afghanistan and young Afghans, and the military. We have truly interesting sessions with good discussion to follow.

In addition to our ongoing study, we are involved in many other activities that identify us also as an External Outreach Group (See External Outreach). Some members write letters to newspapers and political leaders when appropriate. Others raise awareness as they can, locally, nationally and internationally and through social media (UWHAW Facebook and Twitter). Together we fundraise and host social events to provide scholarships for young Afghan women to attend The Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education a university founded by Dr. Samar in Kabul.  There is now an opportunity for members to link up in the CFUW National Afghanistan Study Group, and internationally doors have been opened to us through GWI (formerly IFUW) who has already posted us on its website us further legs as we possibly work with other NFAs who can complement our efforts.

Going into its sixth year now UWHAW through CFUW National was instrumental in getting the story of Afghan women on the GWI (IFUW) Triennial agenda in Istanbul in August 2013.  It also started the process and continues to support the development of an Afghan graduate women’s affiliate of Graduate Women International. In 2014 UWHAW presented a Parallel Session at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. We have spoken at neighbouring clubs, the WG-USA AGM in Salt Lake City, and the CFUW AGM in Quebec City and American Association of University Women in Connecticut. The Hon. Chris Alexander spoke of UWHAW as one of the most continuous and selfless supporters of Afghan women and encouraged us to “stay the course”.  Sally Armstrong said we should be proud of our work and achievements and they are making a difference.  We continue to work closely with Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, who appreciates the focus UWHAW puts on Afghanistan, saying that it helps not only the Afghans but it strengthens her work.

Our activities are stimulating and rewarding as we continue to learn while enjoying the company and fun of kindred spirits, knowing all along we are making a difference, however small. Join us the first Thursday afternoon of the month! (let us know if daytime is a problem) We welcome new and returning member as we carry on this fascinating work. 

1st Thursday, 1:00-3:00 p.m.     Venue: A member’s home or as announced


World Religions

World Religions members are curious about other religions. Similarities between the many disparate religions of the world and our own religion are noted.  Insights both historical and religious of other religions often offers a new perspective about our own faith. Presentations and discussions often take place at a place of worship, but can be at a member's home.  Members of this group have been Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, and more.  Women of all faiths are welcome to join and learn about the hundreds of different religions and belief systems that we have in our shared earth. 

Alternating Third and Fourth Thursday, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Writers’ Workshop
The group meets to hear and critique the written work of one or two members each time. We give each other information on various readings, workshops and organizations (e.g. Canadian Authors' Association) for writers.
Last Wednesday of the Month


Monthly schedule of CFUW Ottawa Groups                                                      




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