A small room in a hotel in Canada's poorest neighbourhood was transformed into a university lecture hall on Wednesday night.

The University of B.C. is offering its Humanities 101 program to people who can't afford post secondary education.

The hotel room was packed as volunteer philosophy teacher Jonathon Wender delivered the first free lecture in the series. The subject was Plato's allegory of the cave.

Wender says everybody is a philosopher, and it doesn't matter what neighbourhood is home.

"I tried to get away from the idea that people from the Downtown Eastside are somehow dysfunctional or less human than people who live in Shaughnessy or Point Grey," he says.

Humanities 101 has been in place for three years with professors from UBC and SFU volunteering their time. The expanded free lectures on the Downtown Eastside will continue for the next few months.