Delivering fame and glory

Dan Levy (’02) can add one more (red and grey) feather to his cap. In addition to his many hard-earned successes, he’s lived up to the words of his school song.

In September, Schitt’s Creek won a record-setting seven trophies at the Emmy Awards. Levy, who co-created the series with his father Eugene, personally took home trophies in three categories: acting, writing, and directing. Not bad for someone who says he started to find his voice in an OAC1 English class taught by Anne Carrier at North Toronto.

“Ms. Carrier had an innate ability to make you want to strive, both academically and intellectually,” he told Richard Ouzounian for a piece on Carrier in the December 2016 issue of Professionally Speaking, the journal of the Ontario College of Teachers. “She created a safe space for ideas to be shared, concepts to be discussed and options to be expressed without fear of failure or embarrassment.”

Levy characterized high school as a “tricky time.” He knew he wanted to write and make his voice heard, but lacked the confidence to make things happen. After finding the school’s theatre program, he excelled as co-host of the school fashion show, and looked for other opportunities that were similar.

Things started to click for Levy while working on an assignment on Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water. “Instead of delivering another generic assignment, I took a risk and decided to mimic the book’s unique narrative structure to convey my ideas.”

He did an excellent job, recalled Carrier, saying it wasn’t a traditional approach, but an extraordinary examination of the nature of social satire. “He had a real attunement to it.”

While waiting out the pandemic in Toronto at the home of his parents, Levy has been leading fans through “Indigenous Canada,” a 12-week course covering Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada, reported Catherine Porter (’91) in The New York Times.

According to Porter, the free, online program doesn’t include any professor interaction. However, every Sunday afternoon, Levy broadcasts a meeting with “professors from the university to go over the lessons.” Hours before his Emmy win, she wrote, he was online for that week’s discussion.

Levy is not the only television comedy writer to come out of NT. Fellow NT alumni Ins Choi (’92) wrote Kim’s Convenience, a play about a Korean-Canadian family and their convenience store in Regent Park. He later adapted it into a highly successful CBC show of the same name

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Christie Mary Blatchford (’70)

Renowned Canadian journalist Christie Blatchford was a force to be reckoned with.

Born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, she had already started high school when her family moved to Toronto, where NTCI was her school of choice. After Grade 13, Christie studied journalism at Ryerson, and was named the leading journalism graduate.

She started at The Globe and Mail in 1973, making headlines as Canada’s first female sports reporter, and would go on to write for all four major Toronto newspapers during her exemplary career. In 1998, she was recruited to The National Post, where she remained (except for a short return to The Globe) until being diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2019.

Christie was more than a reporter and columnist. She was a regular on the CFRB 1010 radio station and authored a number of non-fiction books including Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army. Based on her experiences during a 2006 visit to Kandahar, Afghanistan, the book won the Governor General Literary Award in 2008. Other awards included a National Newspaper Award and the George Jonas Freedom Award.

Her last achievement was her induction into the Hall of Fame of Canadian Journalism in December 2019. Too ill to attend, she received her award in bed, delivered personally by Mayor John Tory.

She died in Princess Margaret Hospital surrounded by family and friends on February 12, 2020.

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A special tribute to Barbara Kamienski (’71)

Loyal friend, trusted colleague, brilliant musician, stellar editor, beloved wife and mother—these are all phrases that describe Barbara Kamienski, a much loved and respected member of the North Toronto Foundation Advisory Board who lost her battle with cancer in June 2019.

Born in Winnipeg, Barbara was nine when she moved to Toronto with her mother. She soon distinguished herself at John Fisher Public School where, through the itinerant music program, she began her life-long love affair with the French horn.

At NT, Barbara continued to excel, staying in the top five of her class and winning awards. Musically, she was partly responsible for the senior orchestra successfully performing two challenging pieces of repertoire, as both featured significant French horn solos.

After graduating from NTCI, Barbara’s love of music led her to Germany to pursue a career as a professional musician. She always maintained that the lessons she learned at the school served her well during her 20-year career in leading orchestras. Even after returning to Canada in 1999, Barbara’s former colleagues hired her back for tours when extra French horns were needed!

In Toronto, Barbara played in several local orchestras and chamber music ensembles. She also returned to school, graduating from Ryerson University’s Publishing Program with Honours. Barbara indexed and edited many large projects and is credited in over one hundred publications in multiple fields of endeavour.

She also nurtured and edited her father’s memoir: Hidden in the Enemy’s Sight: Resisting the Third Reich from Within. Published in 2008, it revealed that before becoming an art critic, columnist, and editorial cartoonist for several newspapers in Winnipeg, Jan Kamienski had been a member of the Polish resistance in the Second World War.

Barbara loved NTCI and was deeply involved in planning the school’s 100th anniversary festivities in 2012. She willingly edited Memories Forever, which chronicled the history of the renowned NTCI music program. This led to joining the NTCI Foundation Advisory Board as editor. She is greatly missed.

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Michael (“Mike”) Lee Tzekas (’69)

NTCI lost a loyal, long-time supporter of the school when Mike Tzekas passed after a long battle with cancer. Born in Greece, Mike immigrated to Canada at the age of four. After attending Deer Park Public School, he became part of NT’s close-knit class of ’69 and was involved with the planning of its 50th reunion.

Mike had a successful career with Xerox Corporation before turning to politics. He was first elected to the City of Scarborough Council in 1991. He held that position until 1998, when Scarborough amalgamated with Toronto. He continued as Toronto councillor for Scarborough Wexford until losing to Norm Kelly in 2000.

During his time as a councillor, Mike was credited with getting Ellesmere Community Centre built and ensuring that plans to regenerate Terraview Park and Willowfield Gardens Park were carried out.

Always proud of his Greek heritage, he served as a president of AHEPA’s Sons of Pericles and of the Pan-Macedonian Association of Ontario Inc. Known for his philanthropic work, he was recognized in 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for his dedication and many contributions to his community.

He passed away on February 12, 2020.

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Air Marshall Chief Sir David George Evans (’41)

Sir David Evans was a Second World War pilot and decorated senior commander of the Royal Air Force (Britain). Born in Windsor, Ontario, on July 14, 1924, David was educated in Toronto at Hodgson Public School and NTCI.

David joined the Royal Air Force in 1943 and trained as a pilot in Canada. After receiving his commission in April 1944, he flew fighter ground-attack missions and was one of the first RAF officers to enter the Belsen concentration camp.

After the war, he had a rich and varied career with the RAF, where he advanced quickly. In 1977, he became Air Officer Commander-in-Chief of Strike Command, with the additional NATO appointment of Commander-in-Chief UK Air Forces.

Evans retired from the RAF in 1983 to pursue a second career as a director of British Aerospace. His many honours included the CBE, a knighthood (despite the Canadian government’s policy against Canadians taking such honours), and the King of Arms of the Order of the Bath.

Evans was also an athlete of some significance. Most notably, he was the pilot of Great Britain’s bobsleigh team for the Commonwealth Games, World Championships, and the 1964 Olympic Games. On another occasion he represented Canada in the Commonwealth Winter Games and won two bronze medals.

Sir David Evans passed away on February 21, 2020.

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Donna Britten (Wakelin) (’58)

Donna’s life motto was that you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. She lived each day with a grateful spirit and taught those around her to never lose their own voice. A voracious reader, Donna was also a skilled pianist, exceptional communicator, and a passionate teacher.

While at NT Donna was active in sports, music, and the G.A.A. She married classmate Jim Britten and they had a strong 53-year marriage. After graduation Donna briefly taught elementary school and was fondly remembered as the favourite Grade 7 teacher by a number of students from the class of ’68 at their 50th reunion.

Her teaching career was shortened when her middle child developed physical challenges, and she became an advocate for people with disabilities. Donna was past president of Community Living Toronto and also served in various capacities at the provincial level. In 2017 Donna received the Anne Oliver Award for her outstanding contributions to the work of Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs.

Donna passed away on March 24, 2020

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Buy a mask and support the Foundation

Purchase a limited-edition NT mask for $20 at https://soft-masks.ca/ntci and $7 from every purchased mask will be donated to the Foundation. In addition, 20% of sales from all other masks purchased from Soft-Masks by NT alumni or friends of NT between November 16 and December 16 will be donated to the Foundation.

Be sure to write NTCI in the Special instructions for seller when checking out, so funds can be directed to the NTCI Foundation.

Soft-Masks is owned and operated NT alumnus and Advisory Board member Lisa Cain (’82) and her business partner Sue Fisher (’84). Featuring high quality adjustable elastics, the masks are made from 100% cotton fabric, and hand sewn here in Canada.

With most of NT’s extracurricular activities on hold and other Foundation sponsored events cancelled for 2020-2021, the Foundation gave each student and 2020 grad a limited edition red and grey masks silk-screened with the NT logo. The masks were (will be) distributed to all students in November at the quadmester change, and to the 2020 graduating class after their virtual Commencement.

When you buy a mask, you’re not only showing a little school pride, you’re also helping us support our students during this critical time!

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Dear NTCI Alumni:

As the Covid-19 situation continues to unfold, members of the North Toronto community and I feel it is necessary that we do our part while healthcare professionals across the country continue to risk their lives for our safety.  

A few of my friends from Dartmouth have created a campaign in the USA called Fuel Our Heroes to raise money for healthcare professionals on the frontline.

This campaign has raised over $200,000 and that total is growing by the day. I, along with the help of fellow members of the NTCI Class of 2018, have decided to bring the campaign to Toronto.  

The Fuel Our Heroes Toronto campaign has partnered with Sunnybrook Hospital, to gather donations for their COVID-19 Research Response Fund. This fund will use the money we raise to buy protective equipment, groceries, and gas cards for the hard-working staff who are desperately in need of our assistance.  

We launched the campaign last week and have raised $3,500. With your help we hope that we can get closer to our goal of raising $10,000.

  1. Please visit our website, Fuel Our Heroes Toronto , where you can find more information about our campaign as well as a page where you can donate, or you can follow this link directly to the donation page: Donate Now.
  2. We ask if you could please SHARE this email with the NTCI community in a newsletter or email platform; this is our opportunity to make a difference.
  3. Your donations are essential to Fuel the Heroes of Toronto.

*We are partnered with Sunnybrook Foundation, a registered charity, and donations over $10 will receive an automatic tax receipt. Charitable Registration No. 899209118R0001*  

Thank you for your consideration.  

Sincerely,

  • Basile Montagnese
  • Marco Pannozzo
  • Matthew Grant
  • Gadi Rydlewicz
  • Blake Watson
  • Olivia O’Brien de la Torre

#TeamToronto #FuelOurHeroesToronto

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Annual NTAC Fundraiser – postponed

Hope to see you at the upcoming Annual NTAC Fundraiser on April 23rd 2020 @ 7pm! We have two great NT Alumni Speakers lined up for you this year! Come on out to hear RYAN HINDS & ARIELLE DUBISSETTE-BORRICED- both of these great athletes got their start at NTCI!

Here is the ticket link: https://northtoronto.snapd.com/events/view/1309833

Many thanks for your support!

Kirsten Sixt and Michael Colley

NTAC Co-Chairs

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Fiftieth reunion weekend features football, guided tours, and lots of time to mingle

Calling all members of the Class of ‘69: join us for our 50th anniversary weekend on October 25 & 26! Here are the details:

  • Friday afternoon @ 2:00: Join us at our new home field at the school, 17 Broadway Avenue, as our North Toronto Norseman take on their arch-rivals, Malvern. Kick-off is at 2 pm.
  • Friday evening @ 6.30: Enjoy an intimate evening at the historic Campbell House Museum, located right by the Osgoode Hall subway station. Renew old acquaintances and swap stories in a congenial setting. There will be a buffet dinner and a cash bar. Cost: $50. Get tickets here: https://bit.ly/2myqDRD.
  • Saturday morning @ 11:00: Meet us at the entrance to the school and join us for a tour of the new school (approx. 45 minutes). See how parts of the old façade have been retained and integrated into the new building. Cost: Free. Get tickets here: https://bit.ly/2l7PDim.
  • Saturday morning @ 12.00: Meet us at the entrance to the school and join us for a guided walking tour of the area around Yonge and Eglinton (approx. 45 minutes). Cost: Free. Get tickets: https://bit.ly/2n5NEeR.  
  • Saturday lunch @ 1:00: Join us for lunch at The Duke of Kent pub at the corner of Yonge and Roehampton. (You know you know the corner!) We will have the upstairs room all to ourselves. (You don’t need to have been on the school tour or the walking tour to join us for lunch.) The price includes a buffet lunch. There will be a cash bar. Cost: $25. Get tickets here: https://bit.ly/2ncsJHn.
  • Saturday evening: No planned activities; you’re free to get together in smaller groups.

Don’t forget:

  • You need to get tickets for each event you’re planning to attend (other than the football game). While there is no charge for either the tour of the new school or the guided tour, we ask you to register so we have a good idea as to numbers.
  • For the ticketed events, please use the links above, as the Eventbrite search only discloses two of the four events.
  • If you’re looking for a place to stay, consider the Roehampton Hotel at Mount Pleasant and Roehampton. Subject to availability, you may be able to secure a preferential rate of $149 plus tax (breakfast included – single/double occupancy), but you need to phone the hotel directly (1-800-387-8899) and specifically mention the NTCI 50th reunion.

We’ve posted photos and other information on our reunion blog: https://ntci1969reunion.blogspot.com/. We’ll post more, so check it regularly. Questions? Contact john.s.gillies@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!

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