Reunion Announcement: Calling All Members of the Class of ’69…

To celebrate “50 Years Later”, exciting plans are in the works to hold a Class of ’69 reunion this coming October. At this point the exact timing and location of the event is TBD although the tentative plan is to hold a dinner event at a Toronto venue and include a visit to the new school.

To make sure you don’t miss out, watch the NTCI Foundation website for more information and/or contact any of the organizing committee:

Ralph Halbert (’48) (1930-2018)

On December 4, 2018, Canada lost a noted visionary and philanthropist, Ralph Halbert. Born in Toronto in 1930, Ralph graduated from NTCI in 1948 having been both a strong student and athlete. He went on to attend the University of Toronto, graduating in 1954 with a degree in dentistry, and continued his studies at the University of Chicago in Illinois, specializing in orthodontics. He practiced in Toronto for about ten years but gradually reduced his practice to focus on real estate developments. He and his partners established Glen Corporation, which developed residential communities, business parks and commercial developments throughout the GTA, including Bayview Hill in Richmond Hill and, in conjunction with Cadillac Fairview, the Promenade shopping centre in Vaughan.

With the success of his business dealings, Dr. Halbert began to giveback, as he made sizable contributions to educational and innovation programs in Canada and Israel. Deeply committed to the value of higher education, he believed in the importance of innovation and how that could be achieved through collaboration between universities across national boundaries. According to Janice Stein, founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, “It has taken the world 25 years to catch up with Ralph Halbert’s vision… His great achievement was to bring together networks of scholars.”

Ralph was a board member of Fulbright Canada, an educational exchange between Canada and the U.S. but was best known for his work fostering connections between Canada and Israel. In 1977, as the President of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, Ralph and his wife Rosyln established the Programme of Canadian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Renamed The Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies in 1995, the centre “fosters research and promotes the understanding and knowledge of Canadian civilization in all its aspects among Israeli academics and the public at large.”  (Dr. Halbert discussed his work with the Centre for Canadian Studies in an interview posted on YouTube, http://www.cfhu.org/video/the-halbert-centre-for-canadian-studies-at-the-hebrew-university-of-jerusalem-building-bridges).

At the University of Toronto’s Munk School, Dr. Halbert sponsored the Halbert Exchange Program, promoting collaborative research between the University of Toronto and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem through the Halbert Network Fellowship for young faculty, the Halbert Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Exchange Program for graduate students. He and his wife also supported scholars through the Roz and Ralph Halbert Professorship of Innovation at the Munk School’s Innovation Policy Lab.

In 2012, Ralph Halbert demonstrated his support of Jewish Studies by establishing the Ralph & Roslyn Halbert Fund for the Centre for Jewish Studies to support the exchange of ideas in the areas of classical Judaism, Jewish thought and philosophy, Jewish history and modern Jewish culture. However, his philanthropy was not confined to areas of scholarship as he was a co-founder of Ramat Hasharon Israel Tennis Centre in Israel that encouraged both Israeli and Arab children to learn respect for one another through playing tennis.

In Canada, Dr. Halbert was one of the early backers of the Canadian Open tennis tournament (now known as the Rogers Cup) at York University. He and his wife were also supportive of filmmaking and were early financial supporters of the Festival of Festivals (now known as the Toronto International Film Festival). Also interested in the visual arts, the Halberts were both benefactors of the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. Ralph lived a rich and full life for 88 years and leaves behind an everlasting legacy as an exemplary family man and philanthropist who truly made an impact.

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Save the Date: An NT Athletics Fundraiser

In an effort to “Connect the Past with the Present to Build Towards the Future” in support of North Toronto Athletics, an event is being held on April 25th 2019 at Safari Bar and Grill to connect alumni, staff and current NT parents. The event promises great food, good friends, celebrity alumni and a Silent Auction as well as a memorable gift for every ticket holder!      

Help us maintain and further the legacy of sports success stories at North Toronto–tickets are only $30.00. Get your ticket and you too can be part of the action!

For more information and tickets:

https://northtoronto.snapd.com/events/view/1138475

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Alumni in the News – Joseph “Joe” Cressy (’03)

A Toronto City Councillor for Ward 10 (Spadina-Fort York) since 2014, NT alumnus Joe Cressy was re-elected in the 2018 municipal election by one of the widest victory margins of any Councillor in the city. Although he is one of the youngest City Councillors, he has already held various appointments, including to the Toronto Board of Health, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation Board of Directors, the Sub-committee on Climate Change and Adaptation, and the Parks and Environment Committee, as well as being Toronto’s Youth Equity Advocate. 

The son of former Toronto City Councillors, Gordon Cressy and Joanne Campbell, Joe was born and raised in downtown Toronto as part of a family whose defining values focussed on community building and public service – values that continue to drive and define him. NT Foundation board member Lisa Cain recently asked Joe about his time at NTCI.

As with so many others, my years at NT were a formative experience. As I think back on them a flood of memories return. Teachers, who were more like mentors, like Ms McConnachie and Ms Whelan, who instilled an interest in politics and social justice in me. Years of playing football, rugby and soccer with wonderful coaches like Mr Smith taught me the importance of teamwork. I remember the moments of student activism where I joined with fellow students to host forums and demonstrations against the war in Iraq. We were kids at North Toronto, but even then we believed we could change the world for the better. I grew-up at North Toronto. As with every teenager, it was a time of personal discovery, and not without its challenge. But as I think back, I can’t express how grateful I am to North Toronto (the teachers, coaches, students and administrators) for setting me on the path that I continue to walk down today.

In December, Joe was featured in Toronto Life where he opened up about the panic attacks and anxiety issues that ultimately led him to seek treatment. Explore the following link to read the whole story: https://torontolife.com/city/life/years-ignored-panic-attacks-convinced-fine/?fbclid=IwAR0vNMWu63unXaGNzg96hW3WNUvp2Rbxo5pUHWlgm3Qa3aFBgZvaZsgc00o.

We salute Joe for sharing his mental health issues and wish him well.

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Alumni In The News – Paul Raff (’86)

The Paul Raff Studio, headed by architect and NT alumnus Paul Raff, has won a prestigious 2018 CODAworx Award for the artwork “Atmospheric Lens”–an architectural feature at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre subway station.

Commissioned by the TTC for the Toronto-York Subway Extension as part of an official mandate to recognize the importance of the user’s experience in the new infrastructure, this public artwork is being recognized as successfully integrating art into interior, architectural, or public spaces.

This award is one of many that Paul and the Paul Raff Studio have received. In 2001, he became the youngest ever recipient of the Ontario Association of Architects’ Allied Arts Award for lifetime achievement and in 2009 was awarded the Allied Arts Medal by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Congratulations Paul!!

https://res.cloudinary.com/codaworx/image/upload/w_780,h_550,c_fill/v1400510474/project/5b1074b6476f5-vaughan-metropolitan-station-3.jpg

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NTCI: A School In Demand…

This time of year, the office staff of NTCI is busy collecting applications from potential future NTCI Alumni–grade 8 students who would like to spend their next four years at North Toronto. This is nothing new as each year hundreds of applications are received from students out of the North Toronto catchment area.

While students who are “in-district” (i.e. within the catchment area boundaries), are able to simply select North Toronto, those “out-of-district” must apply, even if they are just across the street from an in-district student. To date, the out-of-district applicants from NT’s feeder schools (Deer Park, Glenview and Hodgson) or those with siblings at NTCI have automatically been accepted; the remaining applications are at the mercy of a lottery for placement.

It is ironic that in 2003, when the old NT building was being considered for demolition, the TDSB considered NTCI as a good candidate for rebuilding as it was on the TTC line and would allow out-of-district students, specifically those from the former North York, to attend easily. At that time, it was the norm that over two thirds of the school population came from out-of-district, having won their place at NTCI through the lottery process. In 2009, there were 600 applications for 270 places.

Today, the tables have turned. As more condos are built in the area, the school’s population is more and more in-district. Last year about 500 applications were received for only 200 places; this year will be similar. But unlike the past, fewer and fewer places are available for the lottery.

The TDSB plays it safe and erects signs around new developments saying that moving into the new building does not guarantee that students will be able to attend a local school. So far this has not been the case, but with NT’s enrolment increasing each year, there may soon be a lottery for even feeder school students!

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More on the Ostrander Trophy

Many thanks to the alumni who contacted the Foundation with information pertaining to the Ostrander family, and their likely relationship to the trophy. ((Link to the original post)

Toronto historian and former Foundation member Mike Filey (’61) shared his thoughts on the origin of the trophy:

L.V. Ostrander (b.1889) started his single store jewellery business circa 1914. Over the years the chain expanded to 18 stores, one of which I remember being on Yonge St. not far from our school. The founder sold the business to his younger brothers in 1942, a group that included Kenneth. The latter served Ward 9 (that included the North Toronto community) from 1955 -1966. Did Kenneth attend NTCI? Did any of the Ostrander crew? Was the trophy donated in memory of their mother? The search continues….

Other alumni wrote about Ostrander’s involvement in community activities, including the business sponsoring a baseball team at Oriole Park. Mike Tzekas (’69) wrote that he played with that team. From other alumni, we learned that family members lived in North Toronto’s school district with both Jackie (’62) and Bill Ostrander (‘68) attending NTCI.

Given the connection between the Ostranders, particularly Kenneth, and the community of North Toronto, we are confident that the trophy is connected to the family who established Ostrander’s Jewellers. However, we are still unsure as to which member of the Ostrander family donated the trophy and why it supported young women in athletics. If you are able to add to what we now know, please contact Ron Wakelin, Chair of the North Toronto Foundation: rwakelin@utschools.ca.

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Charity Week: An NT Tradition!

For NT alumni, it’s hard to think about our days at North Toronto without conjuring up memories of Red and Grey Day, Maytime Melodies or receiving the latest copy of Graffiti in homeroom. The same is true for Charity Week, an annual tradition at North Toronto that continues to be a hallmark of NT’s student initiatives.  

Charity Week has certainly changed over the years, but the purpose remains the same. Students choose a charity that they feel passionate about, and often, something that is relevant to the times. Two years ago, students chose Shine Bright, an organization supporting youth struggling with mental health issues, and most recently selected Forests Ontario, an environmental non-profit with a mission to make forests greener and healthier. The students then raise money for the charity through various fundraising events within a dedicated time frame: this year’s Charity Week was the fourth week of January.  

Some of us may recall past Charity Week fundraising events such as the teacher dunk tank, the “lip-sync”, or, the semi-formal at the St. Lawrence Market. However, today’s students have other events including a multi-cultural luncheon hosted by the Classics department, a raffle, and “home form booths” selling everything from pizza to “o-grams” (e.g. sing-o-grams, kiss-o-grams) and services. Not surprisingly, the student service auction no longer exists, likely a sign of these more politically correct times! Regardless, it is wonderful that Charity Week is still very much a part of the North Toronto experience.

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Are You a Whiz with Words?

If you are – and have editing experience – the North Toronto Foundation, the voice of NTCI’s alumni needs your help! We are in need of an alumnus interested in joining the Board’s Communications Team to take on the responsibility of being our editor. Formal training as a copy editor is preferred as responsibilities include ensuring clarity and consistency in all print materials including:

  • letters
  • brochures
  • articles for the Foundation’s  website
  • content for the annual newsletter

The Board meets at NTCI six to eight times during the school year on a Monday or Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. From time to time, the Communications Team may meet informally before a regularly scheduled meeting. For more information and/or to express your interest in this opportunity, please contact Ron Wakelin, Chair of the North Toronto Foundation: rwakelin@utschools.ca.

 No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.
– H.G. Wells

A good, let alone a great editor is an obsessive autocrat with a will of iron, who rewrites and rewrites, cuts and slashes, until every piece is exactly the way he thinks it should have been done.
Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

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The Ostrander Trophy

This impressive trophy was awarded to young women for Proficiency and Leadership in Athletics. First presented in 1939, it was last awarded in 1975.

The origin of the trophy is a bit of a mystery. The inscription reads that it was presented to N.T.C.I. for Proficiency and Leadership in Athletics. It might have been donated by the Ostrander family, owners of Ostrander’s Jewellery, a well-known Ontario chain. Although the main Toronto store was on Queen Street near Yonge, their North Toronto location was on the east side of Yonge at Castlefield, so it could well be that there was a strong connection between the Ostrander family and North Toronto CI. *

A look at the trophy reveals the names of all the accomplished young women who had the honour of receiving it. Two winners from different times, Nina Lancaster (1947) and Mary Ellis (1974) were randomly selected for a closer look. According to the 1947 yearbook, “Nina – always bubbling over with enthusiasm for sports… Dancing eyes and a merry laugh are the first impressions of Nina – Headed for Honor [sic] Science at U. of T.” While additional information about Nina was not found, such was not the case for Mary Ellis. Her intriguing yearbook entry includes: “adidas, football shoulders, moon boots, ice cream parties, Vermont, Frans, Hubert!” and ends with “Queens”. Her school records indicated that she moved to Whistler after graduating from NTCI. Sadly, further research revealed that Mary Elizabeth, known to her friends as “Mary-Liz” passed away on December 4, 2009. Her obituary highlighted that she lived in Banff during the 80s, attended the University of Calgary, was a member of the U of C rowing team and after receiving her B. Sc., pursued a career as a pharmaceutical representative for Novo Nordisk. Her obituary also mentions the fact that she was the NTCI Female Athlete of the Year when she was in Grade 13 so it is clear that receiving the award meant a great deal to her.
* If you are able to contribute information regarding the Ostrander Trophy’s origins, please contact Ron Wakelin, Chair of the North Toronto Foundation: rwakelin@utschools.ca

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