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!


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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Celebrating Excellence: Keeping the Spirit Alive

It has been an exciting fall for the NTCI Foundation. Our first major Homecoming event culminated in the concert Saturday night, starring Jim Cuddy and The Skydiggers. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to watch multiple generations of NT musicians perform some of their best-loved music to the many generations in the audience. Let’s keep the spirit alive by making a lasting contribution to our scholarship fund.

The Celebrating Excellence campaign concludes at year end. As a result of contributions to date, we have been able to set up the new trophy case, restore some of the most iconic trophies and contribute over $3,500 to the scholarship fund at Commencement in October. We have decided to increase that amount by 10 percent next year. This will bring NTCI awards recognizing academics, athletics, arts and leadership more in line with current costs. We hope you will consider making a donation; one hundred percent will go directly to the scholarship fund.  

Generous donors will be acknowledged on a plaque on the trophy case itself. All contributors will receive tax receipts (over $25).

Pentagon Patron: $1,000 and above

NT Norseman: $500 to $999

Spirit Sponsor: $250 to $499

Naming rights for the trophy case: $8,000. This is available to an individual, family, team or a graduation class.

Please mail your gift to: The NTCI Foundation at 17 Broadway Ave, Toronto, ON, M4P 1T7. Specify the Celebrating Excellence campaign. If you have questions, email Nancy McFadden at nancyanddoug.mcfadden@gmail.com or 647-351-2850.

Thank you so much. We cannot support this legacy of excellence without you.

Year-End Bonus:

Gifts of $100 or more qualify for a free concert T-shirt (specify size); an NT pop socket or our NTCI centennial history book. If you donate $250 or more, you may select two. These NT heirlooms can be picked up in Room 412 at lunch and after school from Mark Kinoshita. Please contact Mark at mark.kinoshita@tdsb.on.ca to arrange a time and then check in at the office before going up. 

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NTCI Homecoming Concert: Behind the Scenes

NTCI Homecoming Concert: Behind the Scenes                                       

IT HAPPENED! It actually happened! After months and months of planning, emailing, phoning, texting, arranging and discussing – NTCI’s first inaugural Homecoming Concert took place in the school auditorium!

It took an incredible team of people to create this event:  we worked with agents, lighting and sound technicians, our NT principal, swag people, design people, and many, many more, all of whom made this journey exciting at each stage. Along the way we met up with other NT alumni – Devin Cuddy’s agent, Bryan Boake (’05); the Skydiggers’ sound technician, the wonderful Phil Presnal (’85); and overall amazing, incredible swag designers Tammie Presnal Jennings (’82) and Lisa Pen (’82). (We love the cool little “Norseman dude”!) These are just some of the alumni who helped make this event a true success.

And then, after months of preparation – contracts, riders, rentals, logistics of every imaginable stripe – we moved into the school and it hit home that this night was going to be amazing! Throughout the day, the artists came for their respective sound checks, and Lisa, Jamie, Mark and Kirsten had the privilege of sitting in the auditorium and just listening, in awe of the talent onstage, not to mention the quality of the sound, thanks to the acoustics of the auditorium and Phil’s enhancements. Surreal!

Working backstage with all the artists and our amazing MC, Peter Bombaci (’85), was a real treat. Everyone was laid back yet so professional. They all were excited to look around the music rooms and  try to find their photo up on the walls. Some remembered their time at Maytime Melodies, others their time on the field, while others just remembered how they felt overall during their five-year stay at NT. All of them remembered Mr. Russell, a teacher all of them had had, and when he asked if he could come backstage, everyone welcomed him with open arms. They talked about winning and losing City Championships, that one play that ended the game – and the games that are still a “thorn” in Mr. Russell’s side. The stories and the laughter backstage were wonderful!

When the night was upon us and everyone was piling into the school, it was exciting to see old friends and the smiles on faces of everyone who had come to reunite with their school. And that was really the goal of Homecoming Weekend: bringing everyone together to see one another, get connected or reconnect – and enjoy some alumni music along the way!

To all who worked onstage, backstage and behind the scenes: You all kept “alive the spirit of N.T.C.I.”  “Our North Toronto led the way” that night, and and we can’t thank you enough!

by Kirsten Sixt

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Elvino Sauro (’52) (1932-2017)

With the passing of Elvino Sauro on September 8, 2017, NTCI lost a great friend and benefactor. Born on October 2, 1932, Elvino was a student at North Toronto during the days of the legendary Jack Dow. A loan from the school enabled Elvino, a talented and enthusiastic trumpet player, to buy a trumpet and take private lessons. He took a part-time job at Dominion bagging groceries to pay it off, but he never forgot the generous gesture.

After graduating from NT, Elvino pursued film, his other passion, by enrolling in the radio and television arts program at Ryerson. On Saturday nights during the winter and spring, he also played quite regularly in the dance band at Balmy Beach Canoe Club and jobbed around with various non-union bands. He also performed with the Ryerson marching band and at some football games with the University of Toronto Band. After graduating from Ryerson, he played in a dance band at Clevelands House in Muskoka then worked as a TV producer in Sault Ste. Marie.

A variety of media-related positions in various locales followed until 1964, when he dropped in to see Ryerson’s Direction of Extension Programs (now Continuing Education) to see if there were any films courses in the calendar. As it turned out, they were short an instructor, and Elvino was hired! By his own admission, he had a knack for explaining things to people, so it was no surprise that by the 1968–69 academic year, he was teaching a full daytime course load at Ryerson and was hired full time the following fall. He never looked back, and by the time he retired in 1998, Elvino was director of the film studies program. His memory will live on at Ryerson, as he established the Elvino Sauro Film Award, granted annually to a fourth-year film studies student.

In his retirement years, Elvino demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning as he pursued a wide variety of continuing education courses. He even bought a trumpet and started playing again in order to be part of NT’s Memories Forever 100th anniversary alumni concert at Roy Thompson Hall in 2012. Always generous, he also funded the medley and the concert program for this special event. This was in addition to his generous donation to the Heritage Court during the building of the new school and his volunteer work to digitize audio and visual records from NT’s archives.

Elvino’s ongoing financial support of NT’s Music Department led to the establishment of the Elvino Sauro Music Award in the 2013–14 academic year. In keeping with his own experience, the award helps financially needy but promising music students in grades 9, 10 and 11 pay for private lessons, music camps and other music enrichment

He leaves behind his wife, Linda, and extended family, including many nieces and nephews. In keeping with his wishes, a celebration of life for family, friends and colleagues is being held at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club on Saturday September 30th from 2–4:30 p.m. Elvino’s enthusiasm and inspirational outlook on life will be greatly missed, but his generosity and commitment to giving back will continue to benefit students at both NTCI and Ryerson University.

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Alan Ogilvie (’55) (1936-2017)

Alan Ogilvie, one of the key organizers of NTCI’s 75th Anniversary, passed away in Collingwood on July 4, 2017, after a short illness. He was born in Toronto in 1936, and his interest in music – an interest that continued all his life – blossomed at NT, where he played the cello in the school’s fledgling music program.

After graduating from NT, Alan studied engineering at the University of (Class of ’59). He then founded and ran Ogilvie Consultants Limited for 35 years until his retirement. Alan was a man of many interests, an avid sailor and skier who travelled extensively to participate in sailing competitions and to search out “good powder”!A kind and gentle person, he possessed a great sense of volunteerism – as evidenced in his work with many arts organizations including NTCI, the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra (in which he was also a performing member) and other groups. He also passed his love of music on to his sons, Andrew and Cameron, both of whom also graduated from NTCI.

A celebration of Alan’s life was held on Saturday, July 15th in Collingwood, followed by a reception at the Toronto Ski Club. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Diane, his two sons, three grandchildren, and two sisters as well as all who had the privilege of knowing him.

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