More than 8,000 people packed a Toronto conference room Monday for Oprah Winfrey’s first broadcast in Canada. The sold-out event brought the media icon together with such “life experts” for a taping of two episodes of Lifeclass: The Tour on Winfrey’s OWN Network. Here’s my timeline of events from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre:
9:01 a.m. The school of Oprah is in session. Entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson gapes at the crowd from the stage: “This looks like the largest stagette I’ll ever appear at.”
9:13 Spiritualist Deepak Chopra is our first period teacher. “As you’re listening to me, become aware of the listener. … That’s your soul.” My soul is growling. No. That’s my stomach.
9:45 Kernel of truth from host Jessica Holmes: “God gives us everything we need. Well, China gives us everything we need.”
9:48 Inspirational author Iyanla Vanzant explains the commentary from your boss and mother. “If you don’t tell the truth to yourself about yourself, other people will tell it to you and you will hear it as criticism.”
10:25 I think this is biology class. Bishop T.D. Jakes, the pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Tex., compares people to poultry: those who dwell on their pasts are like chickens who, er, eat their own poop. “You’re eating what you should be excreting and it’s stopping you from flying,” he says. “If you’re an eagle and you’re meant to fly, stop running around like chickens.” All this talk about chickens is making me even more hungry.
10:58 Tony Robbins takes the stage. This man is 6-foot-7. Talk about personal growth.
11:24 “What does it take to succeed? It’s hunger. A hunger for more. Who’s here with me? Say ‘I.’ ” I!
11:29 Robbins encourages us to cheer, to make the sound of being in love. The crowd moans like a cow. Robbins is not impressed so they play the song We Found Love. So the sound of love is Rihanna?
11:50 “In a moment, I’m going to ask you to celebrate like your local team has won.” The audience murmurs. I imagine they are confused, “Huh? The Leafs, win?”
12:17 p.m. Across the aisle, Marty McGuire daubs at her eyes. Seeing Oprah is on the 67-year-old Halifax resident’s bucket list. “There’s God, there’s Elvis and then there’s Oprah,” McGuire’s partner, Chris Cunning says. “No, there’s Oprah, God and then Elvis,” McGuire says. “I’ve followed all of her shows.” “She has VHS tapes to prove it,” Cunning adds.