Diana Bishop (’71)

After a highly successful career in Canadian media and now heading up The Success Story Program, a personal branding business, NT alumna Diana Bishop has published her memoir, Living Up to a Legend: My Adventures with Billy Bishop’s Ghost. As the grand-daughter of WWI flying ace Billy Bishop and the great-great-granddaughter of Timothy Eaton, Diana grew up in a home that was far from ordinary. In her highly readable and often poignant book, she shares her grandfather’s powerful legacy and, although he died when she was only three years old, the profound influence he had on her life as well of that of her father.

The book and Diana’s story has been featured in both the Toronto Sun (http://torontosun.com/2017/06/04/living-in-the-shawdow-cast-by-first-world-war-hero-billy-biship/wcm/d095d36b-8544-42e8-959c-918d8f648a9a) and the Globe and Mail (https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/leadership-lab/billy-bishops-grandaughter-we-have-never-been-hungrier-for-responsible-focused-authentic-visionaries/article35356583/). Published by Dundurn Press, Living up to a Legend is available at Chapters-Indigo, Amazon and directly through Dundurn Press.

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Gordon Stanley Davies  (’53) (1933-2017)

Born in 1933, Gordon lived a rich and full life. He attended North Toronto in the glory days of Jack Dow and played violin in the school’s fledgling music program, although science ultimately proved to be his passion. After completing his PhD in marine biology at the University of California, he returned to Canada and accepted a position at the University of Waterloo in Canada’s first Environmental Faculty. He played a significant role in preparing Canada’s first Environmental Assessment Process, worked with Thomas Berger on the McKenzie Valley Pipeline inquiry and headed up Kenya’s Wildlife Planning Unit, which was responsible for establishing new national parks in that county.

Gordon had two sons – Erik (born in Nigeria) and Ben (born in Vancouver) – with his first wife, Anita D’Aoust. In 1989, Gordon suffered a life-altering stroke but, although partially paralyzed, continued to teach, work and travel. In 1996, he attended the Maytime Melodies 50th anniversary concert at Roy Thompson Hall and reconnected with Kay Smythe (née Charles, also ’53) – his first girlfriend at NT! – whom he had not seen since graduating. Kay and Gordon were married in Muskoka at a ceremony enhanced by a stirring rendition of John Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” which had been performed at the 50th Maytime Melodies concert.

In living with a stroke-related disability, Gordon realized that there were no books written from the perspective of survivors. He took on the challenge of filling this void by interviewing other stoke survivors. Using a single finger to type, he documented their stories and his in What’s Your Handicap? A Guide to Stroke Recovery, published in 2014.

Known for his gentle humour and quiet wisdom, Gordon passed away peacefully on June 9, 2017, with his wife, sons and stepson at his side.

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Alumni Are Always Welcome

At the end of the 2016–2017 school year, two alumnae from the class of ’63, Virginia Gibb and Marilyn Kidd, came back to visit their alma mater. They were pleased to see that their names were still displayed as Ontario Scholars in the hallway. In a letter of thanks, Marilyn remarked, “It was wonderful to see all the changes in the school as well as all the souvenirs of the past. It’s great that the school keeps its treasures and passes on a sense of history of the place for future generations. NT inspires a lot of loyalty in its students past and present. ‘True, ever faithful,’ as the song goes.

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Nancy Steinhauer (’88) Pushing the Limits

When educator Nancy Steinhauer (’88) reconnected with a fellow NT alumna, editor Martha Kanya-Forstner (’87), who knew that the result would be an exciting new book? Pushing the Limits: How Schools Can Prepare Our Children Today for the Challenges of Topmorrow was co-authored by Nancy and lawyer and educational researcher Kelly Gallagher-Mackay (who attended NT before completing high school at Earl Haig) and edited by Martha Kanya-Forstner. The book draws on Nancy’s years with the Toronto District School Board as a teacher and principal and Kelly’s work as research director for People for Education to provide “a vision of what schooling can and should look like in our rapidly shifting world.” Highly readable, and of particular interest to parents and educators, the book highlights success stories of diverse and sometimes marginalized students and their innovative teachers in classrooms and schools where the future is now.

Nancy is currently principal of the Mabin School, one of Canada’s first Ashoka Changemaker Schools; Kelly is an assistant professor of law and society at Wilfred Laurier University. In 2016, Martha took on the role of editor-in-chief of McClelland & Stewart and Doubleday Canada and vice-president of Penguin Random House Canada.

The book and its authors have been featured:

Pushing the Limits is available in bookstores and through Penguin Random House (http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/258497/pushing-the-limits-by-kelly-gallagher-mackay-and-nancy-steinhauer/9780385685382/).

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NTCI Music Department & Foundation at Elvino Sauro Celebration

On September 30th, a celebration was held at the Toronto Skating, Curling and Cricket Club to remember the life of Elvino Sauro, who graduated from North Toronto Collegiate in 1952. Ron Wakelin, chair of the NT Foundation, spoke of Elvino’s involvement and the love he held for his high school. North Toronto was such an important part of Elvino’s life, and he always remembered a loan he received as a student to buy a trumpet and take music lessons.

In the past few years, he showed his gratitude by giving very generous endowments to our music program through the Foundation. After the speeches, 16 NT students, led by music teacher Liz Monteith, played some themes from movies. This was a fitting tribute to a man for whom film had been a lifelong love. After their performance the band played the school song, and over half of those in attendance rose to join in.

One interesting fact that emerged among the many tributes to Elvino was that he had a keen interest in gardening and planted a vegetable garden every year for over four decades. In some ways, this may be an apt way to remember Elvino: a person who planted seeds, cultivated healthy crops and lived to enjoy the results of his efforts.

While Elvino is no longer with us in body, the seeds he has sown will continue to bear fruit for generations to come. Many have benefited from the life of Elvino.
He will not be forgotten!

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NT’s Dragon’s Den – October 2017

Last week the Foundation hosted our Semi-Annual Dragon’s Den, where students ask for funding for their various clubs. The Foundation gave out a total of $3500.00 to a variety of clubs.

As usual, the Foundation was happy to support Grafitti, the student newspaper – a long-established publication at the school. The Foundation also saw the merit in donating to the Prom Committee, who will set aside a lump sum of money to help those students who need financial assistance for this costly but memorable event. The Robotics Team received support for the cost of building their robots, as well as subsidizing the cost of attending competitions around the GTA.

For the first time, the Foundation donated money to the Archery Club. This club, affiliated with the NTCI Archery Team, received funding that will go towards the purchasing of bows and arrows, which often need replacing. Archery is currently one of the fastest growing sports in high schools around the province, and the Foundation is happy to promote its growth at the school.

In keeping with a long-standing tradition, the school’s annual Remembrance Day assembly, which is funded wholly by the Foundation, once again received support.

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2017 Commencement Award Recipients

At this year’s Commencement on October 6th, the Foundation was pleased to present the following awards:

  • Betty Bealey Laureateship in English: Cassidy Bereskin
  • Hal Brown “Triple A” Award: Jocelyn Rough        
  • Kerr Trophy for Young Women: Katherine Aw
  • Sifton Trophy for Young Men: Jake Ballantyne
  • R.R.H. (Bud) Page Valedictory Award: Jake Ballantyne
  • Senator Keith Davey Award: Joshua Chong               
  • Gibbons Prize in French: Alice Liang        
  • NTCI Foundation Centennial Scholarship: Oceana Sinkovic

The total amount awarded was  $3,525.00. Thanks to all who donated and made this support for our students possible.

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Homecoming Concert – First in Every Way!

HOMECOMING CONCERT – FIRST IN EVERY WAY!

For those of you who were able to attend the inaugural Homecoming Concert on October 14th, you know just how lucky you were to be there. Alumni and guests were treated to an intimate concert with Jim Cuddy (’74) and The Skydiggers, including Andy Maize (’78) and Josh Finlayson (’82), along with special guests Devin Cuddy (’05) and Charlotte Cornfield (’06).

The evening started with music by Charlotte Cornfield, who mused that in Grade 10 she had been asked “not to return” to the NT Orchestra, after she’d missed a Kiwanis Festival event for a recording gig instead. Devin Cuddy, son of Jim Cuddy, and talented artist in his own right, played some soulful songs on the piano, and thanked a teacher at NT for encouraging him to follow his passion and pursue a degree in music.

After a long intermission, where NT alum gathered in the atrium to reminisce and catch up with old friends, alumni were treated to a lively concert by The Skydiggers that included some top-notch dancing in the aisles, and wonderful tales by lead singer Andy Maize. Maize recalled a bus ride to the Santa Claus Parade with the Marching Band, where music teacher Mr. Krueger had repeatedly reminded the musicians not to take their cases off the bus, as there would be nowhere to put them once the parade started. In typical Grade 9 fashion, Maize had ignored the repeated requests and ended up with his trumpet case on Bloor Street. While he couldn’t remember exactly what he had done with the case, he did remember Mr. Krueger’s choice words in response to his stupidity.

For the final act, Jim Cuddy took the stage with The Skydiggers to perform his own music, as well as some of his popular Blue Rodeo tunes. Cuddy, probably one of NT’s most famous alumni, confessed that he wasn’t really open about his musical talent in high school. In fact, Grade 11, when a friend he ran into in the “alley” on his way to audition for Maytime Melodies challenged him (“You?!”), he chickened out. Luckily, he eventually mustered up the courage to share his talent with the rest of us. In the final number, surrounded by The Skydiggers, Cuddy laughed that he never would have hung out with these “minor-niners” in high school, but that time had allowed them to finally come together.

No doubt, it will be the great music that most of us remember about the evening. But beyond that, it was the stories – the shared stories – that meant something to all of us. Because even if we didn’t all turn out to be rock stars, we all remember what it was like to be a minor-niner, afraid to walk up the alley, and in trouble with Mr. Krueger, or someone else, because we did something just a little stupid.

Special thanks to all of the artists, as well as Tammie Presnal Jennings (’82) and Lisa Pen (’82) for designing the logo for our swag, Phil Presnal (’85) for being our amazing sound technician, Peter Bombaci (’85) for being the awesome MC, and Principal William Mack for allowing it all to happen!

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Jeffrey “Jeff” Turnbull (’70)

Over the years, NT Alumnus Dr. Jeff Turnbull has been in the news on a number of occasions. The highly respected doctor spent nine years as part of the faculty at the University of Western Ontario, where he also chaired the Division of Internal Medicine and served as deputy chief of the Department of Medicine. In 1991, he was recruited to the University of Ottawa and served as vice-dean of medical education for several years. He was also a key figure in the Educating Future Physicians for Ontario Project, and served as president of the Medical Council of Canada. He was appointed chair of the Department of Medicine in 2001, and in 2008 he became chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital. He has been the recipient of many honours and awards including the Order of Canada (2007).

During the 90s, Dr. T, as he is known, became increasingly interested in providing better care to Ottawa’s homeless population. To this end, he helped establish Ottawa’s Inner City Health Project and has served as its medical director since its inception. This initiative has won numerous awards and received national as well as international acclaim. Working with the homeless has become Jeff’s driving passion, and it is for this reason that he has recently been in the news. At a time when he could think about retiring, Jeff is stepping down from his position at The Ottawa Hospital to spend more time working with the homeless. For full details, check the following videos:

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Red & Grey Day / Homecoming 2017

October 12 and 13 were certainly busy days for North Toronto and its alumni. These two days, which preceded the very successful Homecoming Concert on the 14th, were set up to attract former students to reconnect with each other and visit or revisit their alma mater.

Mary Kay (Hartman) Winter (’61), Nancy Caldicott (’61) and Stephen Hartman (’57) took in a tour of the school
Mary Kay (Hartman) Winter (’61), Nancy Caldicott (’61) and Stephen Hartman (’57) took in a tour of the school

Red and Grey Day on the 12th featured a number of sporting events and a reception in the staff room for alumni. Various memorabilia from different years were on display for everyone to look over, eliciting recollections of past events and classmates. Afterwards there was a get-together at the nearby Granite Brewery, run by NT’s own Sam Keefe (’06).

The Class of ’57 gathered at the Rose and Crown.
The Class of ’57 gathered at the Rose and Crown.

The next day, the alumni were treated to a Show and Share event where people identified former classmates from old photos or brought their own memorabilia. A wide range of classes were represented, and people came from as far away as British Columbia and even New Zealand. An added feature to the day was a number of tours of the school led by current students in the PAL program. For many of those present it was their first view of the new school, and they were impressed with the facilities and also grateful that the design still included features of the former building. In the evening, a number of classes got together at various venues across town.

Class of ’87 gathered at the Monarch Tavern
The Class of ’87 gathered at the Monarch Tavern (owned by NT alumnus Evan Georgiades,  ’87).

All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity for NT grads to relive the spirit of NTCI!

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