- intercollegiate games will be scheduled throughout the day. (We do not know the specifics of the games yet but will be available on the school website, www.NTCI.on.ca, closer to the big day) with the senior football team playing at 2:00.
- the alumni can view the outdoor games from the stands or from the comfort of the staff room on the second floor, room 238. Grads are invited to come to the staff room throughout the day to meet members of the NT Foundation, student athletes and current and retired staff. As well, light snacks and refreshments will be available.
- vintage swag should be available for purchase.
- self guided tours of the school: check out the glory boards, new trophy cases, alumni courtyard and new facilities.
- post game reception at the granite brewery (southeast corner of Mt Pleasant and Eglinton with available underground parking!) from 5:30 – 8:00.
25 Bright Red Binders
When I took over the care of the NT Archives in the 1990s, they were situated in a former kitchen in the basement of the old school. At the time, I noticed a stack of binders piled high amid the rafters of the storage room. There were 25 of these bright red books, with gold lettering on the spines declaring that they were the Don Wright Collection. I had a huge job just trying to identify and organize the Archives, and so I left the binders to sleep where they were and focused on more immediate tasks.
Who Was Don Wright?
However, I did enquire of the Music Department, Just who was this Don Wright? I heard waves of accolades in reply. I was interested to learn that he was the father of Priscilla Wright, who leapt to fame with her rendition of “Man in a Raincoat”—in an arrangement performed by Don and his combo, The Septette (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEnZNsMdX3k). I remembered the song from the hit parade of my teen years—we all knew the words and sang the song. Little could I have suspected that I would be intimately connected to his music 50 years later!
But arranging and performing hit songs was just one aspect of Don Wright’s many remarkable accomplishments. When we had to move the Archives to the new school, I got the binders down from the rafters and inspected them. They contained the scores and notations of a good deal of the music he had written and arranged! I was not sure how these relics had arrived in the NT Archives, but I knew that they belonged somewhere more accessible and relevant than our small Archives room.
Discovering the Connection to NT
Once I examined the binders in detail, I saw there was definitely a connection to NT, and when I dug a bit deeper, I quickly discovered what it was. It seems that Don wrote and arranged a good deal of the music for all the high schools of the former Toronto Board. But he and NT’s legendary Jack Dow were particularly good friends—going all the way back to Jack’s student days at the University of Western Ontario—as reflected in the fact that the medleys for Maytime Melodies throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s were largely Don Wright arrangements.*
Two binders in the collection relate to North Toronto music, including what is probably the first arrangement of our school song, “Hail! North Toronto.” However it occurred, at some point many years ago, Don Wright seems to have given the binders to the NT Music Department as a temporary loan. I discovered a note in the back of one of the binders, asking that once we had used them they be lodged with the Don Wright Collection at the University of Western Ontario. They had languished at NTCI unremarked for donkey’s years! That was partly due to my own neglect and my ignorance of their significance.
The Collection Returns to Western
Over the last two years, Carole Whelan and I worked to elicit a response from Western University. Finally, to our surprise and great satisfaction, we received an enthusiastic reply from the Dean of the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western. So at the end of August 2015, we packed the binders in boxes and made the trek out to London to deliver them to the Music Archives, where they received a fitting welcome. So now, I feel very relieved and happy that they have found a good home.
*For more about the connection between Jack Dow and Don Wright, see the Foundation’s Spring 2007 newsletter (http://ntci.on.ca/foundation/files/news/FN-Spring 2007.pdf). For a complete list of Maytime Melodies medleys, see page 22 of the Melodies Forever program (http://ntci.on.ca/files/nt100th/NT_100th_music_program.pdf).
—Nancy Baines, NTCI Archivist
The Foundation knows that most strong alumni associations rely on the existence of vibrant class organizations. We know that several NT classes have been able to maintain their contacts over the years. The Foundation would like to encourage and support this concept by fostering the growth of class rep organizations.
To this end we we are sponsoring a workshop at the school for those NTCI alumni who are currently involved in organizing get-togethers for their classmates, and those who would like to have closer contact with their former classmates.
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Red and Grey Day)
Time: 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.
Location: NTCI, exact location TBA (meet in staff lounge – 2nd floor)
This workshop will be led by Martha Drake, Executive Director of Advancement, University of Toronto Schools.
If you are interested in attending this workshop or if you would like help in connecting with your classmates—and organizing a class rep organization—please contact Stan Pearl (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lisa Cain (email@example.com).
Two NTCI’s best athletes have retired from their respective professions this spring and capped off amazing athletic careers.
Ryan (’05) is a gifted athlete (NT Athlete of the Year) who could have played both basketball and football at the university level. In fact, Ryan was voted the top basketball player in Metro Toronto in his graduating year, a class that was dominated by a group of talented players from the big basketball power in the city, Eastern Commerce. Despite this recognition, and much to the chagrin of his basketball coach, Ryan opted for a football scholarship to New Hampshire, where he distinguished himself as a first-rate defender in the NCAA and got the attention of CFL scouts. Ryan played six years in the CFL, mostly as a starter, with Hamilton and Edmonton, and he finished his terrific career with a Grey Cup victory in last year’s championship game. What a great way to finish one’s professional career! Ryan will now pursue a second career in the medical profession, a passion he has had since his high school days.
Kevin (’08) is perhaps one of the best players ever to wear the red and grey uniform at North Toronto. Despite many offers to play college basketball, Kevin opted to play at Carleton, where he would learn the game, become a magnificent defensive player and a team leader, all in due course! It took nearly four years to become a starter on the Carleton team, but Kevin’s play was exceptional and he played a key role in the success of the program. Overall, Kevin won five national championships as a player and two more as an assistant coach with the team. All this athletic accomplishment took place while Kevin was working on his Master of Arts in philosophy. Very few athletes garner this much success—a tribute to Kevin’s talent and determination. Kevin has returned to Toronto where he now works for the YMCA’s newest facility in the Canary district next to the Distillery area.
Both athletes have represented NT very well with their work habits, their commitment to becoming excellent student athletes and their dedication. Although they never played on the same team, they would have been a delight to watch and coach! Congratulations to Ryan and Kevin on their terrific achievements. You have made us very proud!
“Back to school” is a time for goal setting, and the NTCI Foundation has set its goals high. Please contribute to the scholarships, extra-curricular activities and heritage represented by our new initiative: a trophy case that will display our symbols of excellence in academics, arts, athletics and citizenship.
As we look forward to acknowledging the accomplishments of our graduates at Commencement on Friday, October 7, we hope you will join in to contribute to their scholarship fund. As we anticipate the enthusiasm, energy and skills of a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, we invite you to become a part of it. And this year, we will install a new trophy case to display our heritage of excellence. More details can be found in the 2016 Foundation newsletter (http://ntci.on.ca/foundation/files/2016/NTCI-FN-2016-web.pdf).
Please mail your gift to: The NTCI Foundation at 17 Broadway Ave., Toronto, ON, M4P 1T7 or use Canada Helps for online gifts. Specify the Celebrating Excellence Campaign. All contributors will receive tax receipts (for amounts over $25) and be acknowledged in the spring 2017 newsletter.
Generous donors will be acknowledged on a plaque on the trophy case itself:
- Spirit Sponsor: $250 and above
- NT Norseman: $500 and above
- Pentagon Patron: $1,000 and above
- Naming rights for the trophy case in the Commons: $8,000
Hail North Toronto!
And if you want to absorb some of that spirit, don’t forget Red and Grey Day at NTCI on Thursday, October 13. We will be there to fill you in on the details.
In the meantime, if you have questions, please email Nancy McFadden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all know that NT grads are out in the world making a difference. Just as we were finalizing our content for this issue, we received the following inspiring report from Harry McMurtry (’81) and knew it simply had to be shared among the NTCI alumni community:
My first day at NTCI was 40 years ago. These many years later, my connection to the school and its alumni remains as strong as ever. My NTCI roots run deep: I spent five years at the old campus; my mother attended the school as did all five of my siblings; and I keep in touch with dozens of its graduates. NTCI was (and still is) a special place. More importantly, it produces special people.
One of those special people is Sue (Lougheed) Thompson (’83). On May 7, 2016, Sue and I will embark on our quixotic journey from New York City to Toronto to raise money for Parkinson’s research. The walk is the centrepiece of a project called 500 Miles for Parkinson’s, which is also aimed at boosting awareness of this neurological condition. Both Sue and I have been diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD). We will be joined on the 500-mile walk by Dr. Ross Sugar of Baltimore, MD, who also has YOPD. We created a video to promote the walk (https://youtube/WQSd4KjK4xI). (The video was made before Sue and Ross joined the team.) The walk will be preceded by a launch event in New York City on May 6, and followed by a celebration in Toronto on June 22. To learn more about the walk and related events, please visit our website: fivehundredmiles.org.
Few schools, public or private, can boast of more successful
alumni than NTCI. I do not think that this occurred by accident. I believe that the values instilled at NTCI serve its graduates well throughout their adult years: pursuit of excellence, creativity, diligence, community engagement, and empathy. All of these values have contributed to the creation, organization, and anticipated success of 500 Miles for Parkinson’s.
NTCI alumni have infiltrated every aspect of 500 Miles:
- Financial support: Ian Hull (’81), Janet (Macrae) MacInnis (’55), Andy Filipiuk (’81), Ria (Macrae) McMurtry (’52), James Swayze (’82)
- Graphic art: Bernice Lum (’82)
- Volunteer coordination: Kirsten Sixt (’83) and Julie Cowan (’83)
- Administrative support: Lisa Pen (’82)
- Organizational support: John McKay (’81), Adriana Christopoulos (’81), Ben Hawkins (’81), Phil Hargreaves (’81) and Geoff Linton (’81)
- One of our celebrity ambassadors, Ashley (Nicoll) Holzer, attended NTCI.
- We are also receiving support from across the continent: Jim Maedel (’81) in Vancouver; and Harvey Levine (’81) and Simon Halls (’82) in Los Angeles.
You too can participate in this undertaking. You can become a sponsor, donate, buy tickets to an event, or volunteer. I believe that participating in charitable activities has concurrent benefits: it advances the cause; it makes your community stronger; it strengthens friendships; and it nourishes your soul. At the very least, it spreads a little of that Red and Grey magic.
—Harry McMurtry (’81)
For generations, people who care about North Toronto Collegiate have collected NT memorabilia. Each time I am in the Archives room, I try to lure in the students who have lockers nearby to admire the riches within. Just last week, I chatted with Sophia Rutherford, a second-generation NT student, and was able to show her the 1970s collection from her parents’ era. The Archives is mostly a mystery room to present-day students—but it is a fascinating trip down memory lane for alumni.
We have a remarkable collection, going back to 1912: photos, programs, plaques, trophies, uniforms, scrapbooks, pennants and crests, school pins, rings, hats, recordings, tapes, CDs, newspapers and yearbooks. And, of course, some unique items that would be the centrepiece of any collection. For example, we have Colin Farmer’s 35-mm camera, the footballs from the 1941 and 1944 Toronto City Championship games, and the shovel used to break ground for the new school. These resources were invaluable during the writing of the history of NT, Hail, North Toronto. They are also a wonderful resource for reunion materials and other research.
This Is Your Collection
Alumni frequently donate gifts that need to be incorporated into the collection. We recently acquired, for instance, more of Colin Farmer’s collection of photos, of which we already had quite a few. Colin and his enthusiastic Photography Club documented a huge swath of NT history in film and snapshots. The ever-important Maytime Melodies records and Kiwanis festival certificates were donated by the Music Department and digitized by Elvino Sauro, a very generous NT alum.
From Roy Hiir (’60) we received, among other things, a sweater crest in garnet and grey, the original NT colours before red and grey replaced them. Margaret Clarke contributed photos of the 1941 and 1944 football champs, which she had cherished all these years and which have finally come home to NT.
But not only alumni donate artifacts to the Archives. I have recently received material from Hal Brown’s family, including his famous red-and-grey coaching jacket, which still sports the muddy imprints of the equipment he carted around on the backfield of the old NT while coaching our athletes, among them Lucia Jenkins and Mary Nishio. Well after he retired, Hal continued to coach our track and field team, wearing that jacket. To me, it epitomizes his devotion to NT and is more valuable than jewels—a priceless, unique expression of the man Hal Brown was.
Are You a Closet Archivist?
It is my pleasure to be able to help acquire and conserve this bounty in the special Archives room at NT, but I could certainly use some help in making it accessible to anyone who wants to peruse it.
Nowadays, we can search online for NT memorabilia and acquire it if it is reasonable. That is one job to be done.
Former students and teachers are very good about leaving us their records, yearbooks and memorabilia when they are cleaning out their closets. These all need to be catalogued and integrated into the collection. Another project is trying to identify the activity and vintage or year of photographs— there are literally hundreds of them waiting to be dealt with so they can be properly catalogued.
So there is enough work to keep us busy for years to come! We have a wonderful record of the proud NT heritage right here in the school. It is indeed a treasure trove.
If you would like to help with this important work, please let us know by either post or email (subject line: “Archives”). Our contact information is on the last page.
—Nancy Baines, Archivist
Last November, the Foundation invited students seeking funding for their various clubs and endeavours into the socalled Dragons’ Den. The evening of presentations, planned and executed both intelligently and professionally, made one thing very clear: the kids are alright! Once again, NTCI students proved that they are reaching for the stars as academics, athletes and musicians.
The groups applying for grants gave some background on their respective clubs, and explained what they hoped to do with the grant money and why they felt they deserved funding.:
- The Robotics Club needed funds to purchase the materials for creating, constructing, programming and testing a robot. Most of us on the Foundation have a less than perfect grasp of the field of robotics, but we all agreed to partial funding. (Not surprisingly, the club did well at the VEX Robotics Competition.)
- Graffiti, the newspaper we all remember fondly, has now expanded its scope to include a digital version and made two separate presentations. One came from Digital Graffiti, asking for money towards various technological resources, including camcorders and software, to help launch this new digital edition of the newspaper. Print Graffiti asked for help with its printing costs—difficult for a free school newspaper to fund on its own.
- The Symphony Orchestra and Choral Ensemble asked for help in funding an enriched workshop, available to all music students, towards the goal of performing Mozart’s Requiem at this year’s Maytime Melodies. (It was the 70th edition and a landmark achievement, which you can see and hear at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2nR66Y54e5Wzm-9z1mEJl6hJyYIGS12w.)
So what did the Dragons’ Den actually agree to? Because of
the generosity of your donations, the Foundation was able to
give Digital Graffiti $450.00 and print Graffiti $900.00. The
Orchestra and Chorus received $1,000.00, and the Robotics
Club $200.00. In all, the Foundation gave $2,550.00 towards
programs that were not only deserving but also representative
of the Foundation’s mission.
In the newsletter we wrote:
A three-and-a-half-minute student-driven video outlining the Foundation’s activities is currently in production. Its creator, grade 12 student Leah Meddaoui, who’s been head of video production for Digital Graffiti, designer for the NTCI Prom and student council video manager, dropped by our meeting in May and showed us an impressive sneak preview. Stay tuned—we’ll post details on the NTCI Foundation website as they become known.
Well here it is:
Thank you to Kirsten Sixt for coordinating the production of this video.
The 70th edition of Maytime Melodies featured a wonderful performance of Mozart’s Requiem (Friday and Saturday) featuring Emily D’Angelo (NT’12) who was a winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finals. . The Gala Event on Saturday (the first Saturday performance in a number of years) was hosted by NT graduates and included a song auction in addition to the class glee choirs.
All 3 nights of Maytime Melodies are available (as are the 2014 & 2015 performances) on Youtube: