Study & Interest Groups


Exploring Indigenous Education


Fitness, Physical 
Focus on GWI: Empowerment Through Education
Literature Study/Book Clubs
Movies and Theatre

Welcome to the CFUW-Ottawa Study & Interest Groups! Registered members are welcome to join the groups below. Other groups such as Diplomatic Hospitality, the Madrigals and HIPPY can be found on the External Outreach Groups page.

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 Group Convenor Contact Info

Browse the monthly schedule of activities.

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


National Gallery Study Group (Fee)
From October to April, two tours of the National Gallery will be held on the last Wednesday, one at 10:00 a.m. and one at 11:00 a.m. Friends of the Gallery - $40, non-friends- $100.

Last Wednesday (except December), 10:00 a.m. and 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' and singles dinner group that meets for dinner at members' homes six or seven times a year, usually on the third Saturday of the month. Hosts meet to decide on the menu and assign the recipes to those who are to dine. They vary from gourmet meals to potluck to buffet style dinners for larger groups. Hostesses need not cook. All expenses are shared equally.  The season begins with a Cocktail Party and ends with a BBQ or Cocktail Party.  Join our festive and fun group.

3rd Saturday, evening (or Sunday if preferred by a group)

Dining Out
This group enjoys fine dining 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 while enjoying amiable conversation. (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

The themes for the group this past year included: An American Christmas Eve – Feast of the Seven Fishes; Valentines Dinner – Chocolate what else; Sicily – Italian meal with no pasta; a Corpus Christi feast and finally our wrap-up meal in June was a Chinese Home Cooked Meal.

In addition to exploring recipes from different countries, our group chooses a community outing each January as part of our calendar of events. This year we took our talents to the superb kitchen of the Parkdale Food Centre and prepared food for various programs offered by the Centre.

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

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.


Climate Change and Biodiversity 

Climate change and biodiversity loss are the defining challenges of our time.  As individuals, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of these problems. Yet, there are choices we can make and actions we can take to contribute to solutions. 

Let’s talk about it.  Our goal will be to identify areas where we can reduce our carbon footprint, protect biodiversity, and make a difference individually and as a society to the health of the planet.  We will share our ideas with other CFUW members through the newsletter and promote them to a wider audience where appropriate.  A women’s perspective is very much needed.  Come and join the discussion. 

2nd Monday of the month, 7:30pm


Exploring Indigenous Education
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. 

4th Friday, 12:30-2:30 pm

Fitness, Physical                

Gatineau Trails - Year-round Outdoor Activities 

The Gatineau Trails group offers members weekly activities year-round: hiking in the fall and spring, cross-country skiing in the winter, and cycling in the summer.  Members can join in some or all of the activities depending upon their interests. All levels are welcome. We meet on Tuesday mornings at 9:45 am and finish around 2:00 pm.

We also have many special events that include: overnight ski-and-stay at a Gatineau Park cabin, ski lessons, moonlight ski, cycling lessons, a three day fall bicycle trip, pot luck lunches, and other events.

There is a $7 activity fee and members are responsible for getting their own Gatineau Park ski season pass. 

New members are always welcome. Join us for Fun ... Fitness ... and Friendship!  For more information click here.

Weekly, Tuesdays, 9:45 am  


We are a very small informal group of about 20 to 25 members who meet every Friday during the winter to ski at Camp Fortune.  Our group includes intermediate to expert skiers and is committed to a healthy use of winter and good conversation on the lift.

Weekly, Friday mornings

Snowshoeing in the Wild

Snowshoes + Energy + Love of the Outdoors & the Wild = Fun Adventures! 

Bring your snowshoes for a two hour walk on ungroomed trails around Ottawa and Gatineau.  Following this, enjoy a well-earned coffee or lunch together.

Every snowy Saturday morning, 10am to 1:00pm      

Walking City Trails 

Discover Ottawa! Each Monday morning (at 10am), this group will walk around and explore the trails and neighbourhoods of Ottawa. All levels of fitness are welcome.

Weekly, Mondays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (approx.) 




Focus on GWI: Empowerment Through Education

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. Members are able to design the group’s activities for the year. We work to understand the reality of education for girls and women in other countries and at the broad international level. At each meeting, members present some aspect of an issue that deserves our attention and understanding and then lead a discussion. We share this knowledge with our membership through the Capital 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, 2018 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. We meet at 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

Alternating Wednesdays, 12:30-3:30pm

Non-duplicate - Mondays

Alternating 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, 12:30 p.m.

Modern Board Games

Anyone tired of Monopoly or Clue, cribbage or backgammon?  Join the new Modern Board Games group. The purpose of this group is to learn and play the newer games on the market, to challenge our minds, and of course, to have fun!

Some examples of games we will play are Settlers of Catan, Castles of Burgundy and Ticket to Ride.  Any game that you would like to bring and teach us to play would also be welcome.

1st Wednesday of the month, 1-4 pm



Historical Study

The group meets from October to May (except January) on the first Thursday of the month, from 1.00 to 3 pm . Members prepare visual and oral presentations on a topic of their choice within an overall  theme collectively agreed upon annually. This year the group explores the theme of Migrations through the centuries until our own times.  Examples of suggested topics include the Vikings, the Jewish Diaspora and the Irish Potato Famine, but the theme is wide open and bound to inspire lively presentations and discussion. The group will be meeting once again at the New Edinburgh Square Senior Residence.

1st Thursday, 1-3 pm

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/Book Clubs

Literature Study Groups 

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. 

2019 - 2020 Book List

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooney

The Rising Tide by Mark Frutkin

The Muse by Jessica Burton 

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman 

A Gentleman From Moscow by Amor Towles 

The Husband Hunters by  Anne de Courcy 

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier 

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall

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. 

2019-20 Reading List

October 8            The Golden Age by Joan London 

November 12       A Certain Justice by PD James

December 10.      My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

January 14.         Suzanne by Anais Barbeau-Lavalette

February 11.        Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

March 9               We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

April 14.              The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

May 12.               The Underling by Ian McKercher

2nd Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.

Group III

Literature Group III meets on the third Tuesday evening of the month at 7:30 at various women’s homes.  This group is for women who live east of Bronson Ave.  We read an eclectic mix of books including classic, prize winners, and books recommended by friends. We make sure all the the books are available (in various forms) at the Ottawa Public Library.  Come join us and find out the interesting selection of books we are reading this year!

3rd Tuesday, 7:30pm

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 the second Tuesday of each month at 1:00 pm at one of our members' homes to share refreshments and discuss the chosen book. The books are chosen by the members in May for the following year.  Our group chooses books from a wide genre of fiction, non fiction, mysteries, classic and modern. Each month a member of the group reviews one of the books and we all contribute to a lively discussion with a variety of viewpoints. 

Book choices for 2019-20 season

*The Dinner by Herman Koch

*The Lightkeepers Daughter by Jean Pendziwol

*The Boat People by Sharon Bala

*Becoming by Michelle Obama

*I Am A Truck by Michelle Winters

*Educated by Tara Westover

*The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the Worlds Happiest People by Helen Russell

*An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

2nd Tuesday, 1:00pm

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, 1:00 - 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, 1049 Bank St.  Fee $20.

Reading List

Sept. 10                Leonardo da Vinci, Walter Isaacson

Oct. 8                    The Chosen Maiden, Eva Stachniak

Nov. 12                 Victor & Evie, Dorothy Phillips

Dec. 10                 Small Island, Andrea Levy

Jan. 14                  Longbourn, Jo Baker

Feb. 11                  17 Carnations, Andrew Morton

Mar. 10                  Steal Away Home, Karolyn Smardz Frost

Apr. 14                  A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

May 5                    A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles 

+ book presentations for 2020/21             

June 9                   Social evening + book selection for 2020/21

2nd Tuesday evening, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Movies and Theatre 

Saturday at the Movies

Become inspired … be entertained … increase your knowledge … share a bonding experience, and even some popcorn.

One Saturday a month, the Movie group will get together to enjoy a film at the Bytowne Theatre (or Mayfair Theatre). There will be a good mix of movies (selected by the convenors), including foreign films, documentaries, historically based shows and many others. Afterwards, we will head to a nearby restaurant for dinner and talk about the film (optional)

Saturday afternoon, once a month (date and time emailed monthly)

Ottawa Little Theatre

This group will welcome a new season of plays and enjoy several entertaining evenings together. Members will meet before the play and during intermission to chat about the play.

The 2019-20 season includes:  the comedy-drama, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner;  Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution; the comedy The Ladies Foursome; and the classic thriller Gaslight.

Wednesday evening, once a month (date/time emailed monthly)


Music Appreciation

The group meets in members' homes.  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 afternoon, 1:00 p.m.                                                                                                              


Digital Photography

Live Life . Take Pictures . Relive Memories . Repeat  (Anonymous).

Come discover the art of taking photographs with an amateur group of fun loving women. Let’s learn together, grow skills and take pictures to savour life’s precious moments.  Creative  digital  photography is not about about “depth of field but depth of feeling.”  Learning will take place in a supportive environment with a monthly meeting format that will offer thematic topics and photo shoot opportunities.  No expertise or specialized equipment is required to join.  Members may use a complete range of equipment, including basic point and shoot digital cameras, tablets and cell phones.  Please bring to all meetings.

3rd Monday of the month, 7-9 pm

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 Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. Dr. Samar, a physician and 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. Our support for these women became more critical than ever with the withdrawal of the international forces in 2014 and the resulting change in media focus.

Our goals are to continue to learn about the realities of life in Afghanistan, to raise awareness in our community and beyond about ongoing challenges that face women and girls in their fragile country, to advocate for their rights, and to raise funds for their tertiary education.

We are very fortunate to have access to excellent speakers for our monthly meetings from government, universities, Global Affairs Canada, NGO’s working in Afghanistan, the Embassy of Afghanistan and young Afghans and the military. The presentations are excellent with good discussions to follow. We also have one meeting dedicated to reviews of current books on the realty of life in Afghanistan.

Our belief that education will empower Afghan women and girls has led us to our projects for fundraising scholarship funds for young women studying at the Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education (GIHE) in Kabul. GIHE was founded by Dr. Sima Samar to ensure a pool of educated women was available to take leadership roles in future Afghan governments. Classes are co-ed and human rights and democracy are part of the curriculum. Thirty one girls have already graduated from Gawharshad on UWHAW scholarships, another 5 will do so in 2018 and 2019, and 25 in 2021. We look forward to not only continuing to support young Afghan women, but to see them graduate and be a success in their community and country. This June, UWHAW announced its first postgraduate scholarship, the Fran Manning Scholarship in Law for a Gawharshad graduate, in memory of Fran Manning, a dedicated and founding member of our group.

Our members have developed an impressive network of connections and as we start our ninth year, we have appreciated the support of the last three Canadian Ambassadors to Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, Kenneth Neufeld and Francois Rivest who have met with and communicated with us during their postings in Afghanistan. We have been honoured to meet with Her Excellency Shinkai Karokhail, the Ambassador to Canada from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during her posting. This summer we met two incredible Afghan women, members of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan visiting Global Affairs Canada and heard of their experiences first hand.

Our activities are stimulating and rewarding as we continue to learn while enjoying the company and fun of our members, believing that 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 members 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. 

3rd Thursday, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.



Writers’ Workshop

Our group meets once a month in fall and winter to write, to learn, to hear, to tell stories, and to critique, usually 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, book fairs, the publishing industry) for writers. Several of us have published books while participating in the Writers' Workshop Group and some distributed worldwide (see list). Others are just beginning their writing journey, and some are midway.

Time:  4th Monday, 7:15pm

Monthly schedule of CFUW Ottawa Groups                                                      




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