Grounds for Thought

Coffeehouses have always been spaces that attract the more serious thought or thinker, as opposed to the more serious drinker. They combine the spiritedness of an alehouse without the (vast) potential for alcohol's mayhem.

As engines of socialization fueled by the brain stimulant of caffeine, coffeehouses have throughout their existence served as sharp-edged but sober gathering places for the exchange and circulation of information, ideas and views, hence their at times being referred to as "Schools of the Wise" and "penny universities".

For example, back in the day, London, England's thriving coffeehouse scene of the 17th and 18th centuries provided an intellectual arena for great and otherwise (male) minds — female minds of either description were generally excluded — to gather, even across class, to discuss, debate and shape the world we live in today. If famed British essayist, biographer and cultural critic, Samuel Johnson — regarded as one of the greatest figures of 18th-century life and letters — wanted to take the temperature of his time, he'd head to his local coffeehouse, a place he defined as "a house of entertainment where coffee is sold, and the guests are supplied with newspapers." A description that suggests Johnson equated coffeehouses with ideas and, by extension, "connotations of alertness, sobriety and volubility," according to Markham Ellis, author of The Coffee-House: A Cultural History.

To that end, inspired by the tradition of the great coffeehouses of yore, we pulled the plug on WiFi at Green Beanery in the hopes of re-energizing face-to-face interaction [see: No WiFi]. And now we're taking that controversial (some would say outrageous) move one bold step further with a public discussion series called Grounds for Thought to be held on the last Tuesday of every month, beginning this month on June 28 at 8 p.m.

Grounds for Thought will feature guest speakers offering "provocative perspectives" on a range of topics. Our first topic is one many of us already hold views on: Toronto Hydro and, in particular, sky-rocketing Hydro bills. Details follow below.

Our Hydro Bills Will Soar 18% This Year

A Green Beanery Grounds for Thought discussion, held at the Green Beanery store and cafe on the corner of Bathurst and Bloor streets on June 28 at 8 p.m.

Economist Brady Yauch of Consumer Policy Institute [NOT pictured] explains why Ontario has North America’s worst record in controlling power prices.

To whet your pre-discussion appetite, read: "Toronto Hydro customers face 18% rate hike in 2016".

Grounds for Thought: mark your calendars and see you there! 

Come early to be sure to have a table. No admission charge.

For more information, contact us at

Lisa Peryman
Lisa Peryman


Lisa Peryman has worked with Greenpeace Australia and The Wilderness Society (Australia). She studied journalism in New Zealand and book and magazine publishing in Canada. Her background includes reporting and editing for daily newspapers and trade magazines, as well as creative copywriting for broadcast. Lisa is continuing her studies in Canada and currently works with Probe International as an editor and writer. Earnings from Green Beanery operations support the work of Probe International, a Canadian charity that works with citizens' groups around the world to protect their lands and their livelihoods. Probe International is a Canadian trust.