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Profile 2 - Christine Overall

By Christine Hamelin with photography by Bernard Clark

Gene O'ReillyPhilosopher Christine Overall, interested in everything and everyone, has spent five decades exploring ethical and gender issues while inspiring her students. Now newly retired, she seems to have an even broader life, with more time for friends, family and travel, but she will continue to explore a variety of philosophical issues and share her views with the public.

Christine grew up with two younger brothers in a small bungalow in Scarborough. “Everyone lived the same way; there were no models of a wealthy lifestyle,” she says, although she did admire a friend whose house had two bathrooms. “I thought that would be fabulous!” Her father, Tim, was a repairman who fixed, among other things, electron microscopes, and her mother, Dorothy, stayed home when the children were young, but then worked at the registrar’s office at University College, University of Toronto.

Christine’s childhood was difficult. “There’s no point in sugar-coating it; it wasn’t a very happy home.” Still, she has positive memories. Her parents brought the children to the library every weekend. “I still have a book of children’s poetry that my father read to me; I have read it to my children and grandchildren.” Also, when they discovered Christine had some musical ability, her parents paid for flute lessons. . . .

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