Winter 2018
Letters to the Editor

Syrian doctor Khaled Almilaji’s story resonated with readers, as did Prof. Barth Netterfield’s article on science and faith

Regarding “How Did the Universe Begin?

Thanks for practicing tolerance and having the courage to publish something that’s likely going to offend a few people, but deserves to be heard nonetheless.

Gavin Singh
BASc 2006, Vaughan, Ontario


Please Stay in Canada, Dr. Almilaji

Your inspiring article about Khaled Almilaji (“For This Syrian Grad Student, a Fresh Start,” Autumn 2017) made me proud to be a U of T alum. I understand why Dr. Almilaji and his wife would feel the need to return to Syria to continue their important work, but I hope they consider staying in Canada as new citizens. Please update us on this couple in future issues.

Mary McLaren
BA 1979 Trinity, Midhurst, Ontario

The article about Dr. Almilaji and his journey to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T connected with me in a personal way. Years ago, I received my PhD from Brown University, and for more than two decades I held an appointment in public health at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine. At that time, my principal professional contributions were in women’s reproductive health in what was then called the Third World. Those efforts included programs with the same components that have engaged Dr. Almilaji in the Middle East. I am particularly cheered by the recognition of the importance of this work.

Richard Osborn
Professor Emeritus, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario


U of T Should Promote Cycling

It’s good to see that U of T is investigating the sources of Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions (“How Much Methane,” Autumn 2017). I suspect one of the largest will be automobiles. So the question arises: How do we help residents leave the car at home?

Making cycling safer is a crucial first step. The university should urge the mayor to expand Toronto’s bike lane network – not only on campus but across the city. The Bloor Street bike lane, which runs along the university’s northern flank, is especially important as it’s the network’s east-west backbone. The Bloor lane needs to be extended right out to the border with Mississauga. U of T should be a strong proponent of this at City Hall.

Gideon Forman
BA 1987 Victoria, Toronto


Cold Dry Summer

I enjoyed your article about the origins of U of T Mississauga (“It was 50 Years Ago Today,” Autumn 2017). I enrolled as a science student at Erindale College when it opened in 1967. At the end of my first year, I was asked by Principal Tuzo Wilson to take part in a research project in the high Arctic. I was on Devon Island for 11 weeks that summer with a researcher from Ohio State University, surveying the ice cap movements. We ate freeze-dried U.S. military food for the entire time, and there were no showers. It was a very interesting summer.

Will Draper
DDS 1972, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


Freedom of Worship

As a historian, I was deeply interested in and appreciative of Prof. Peter Russell’s broad-stroke overview of our Canadian heritage (“What Canada Got Right,” Autumn 2017). In one of his answers, he states that the 1774 Quebec Act was the first legal guarantee of freedom of worship in the world and that even Great Britain did not have such. The English Toleration Act of 1689, however, did guarantee freedom of worship for Protestants outside of the state church, though not for Roman Catholics. The Quebec Act was an advance on this in that it included Catholics – a small, though not unimportant detail, not clearly indicated by Prof. Russell’s answer.

Michael Haykin
BA 1974 Victoria, ThD 1982, Dundas, Ontario

Write to us!

U of T Magazine welcomes letters at


What readers tweeted about our Autumn 2017 issue


Andrew Pyper’s personal column about abandoning a career in law to become a novelist struck a chord:

Thank you for this. Have been in this world of law for 16+ years and time and again I think, “What if?”
Anita @anita_aav1

Wow! How lucky for us that you walked away from a life as a lawyer!!!!
Dianne Laheurte @DiLaheurte


A thank you from one of the people featured in our last issue:

Cool to be part of a “dynamic duo” with @a_pytlak. Thanks @UofT for educating & graduating us rebels.
Ray Acheson @achesonray


A Q&A with President Meric Gertler drew kudos:

Congrats Pres. Gertler 5+ yrs @UofT. “We can’t tell the difference between a domestic student and an international student at U of T” #LoveTO
G. Penalosa @Penalosa_G


And praise for U of T’s decision to accept Syrian doctor Khaled Almilaji as a grad student after his U.S. visa was revoked:

This helps make the world a better place and it also makes Canada a better place. You’d think other countries would realize this. #Sad
Steve Yurkiw @stevey1963


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