Category Archives: Alumni In The News

Inaugural Alumni Speakers Series event raises nearly $3,000 for student wellness at NT

On September 29, North Toronto alumni were treated to the inaugural NTCI Alumni Speakers Series event in support of the newly-established NTCI Wellness Fund.

The event, “Journalism in a Pandemic”, was moderated by David Brady (‘87), CEO of Cream Productions, and addressed the issues faced by journalists over the last 18 months.

Continue reading Inaugural Alumni Speakers Series event raises nearly $3,000 for student wellness at NT

Veteran political journalist Vassy Kapelos (’00) reflects on her career, time at NT

Vassy Kapelos (’00) has loved politics for as long as she can remember.

Vassy Kapelos 2000 Yearbook Photo

As a child, she would spend her evenings debating policy and current events over dinner with her family. After graduating from NT, Kapelos studied political science at Western University, before receiving a masters degree from Dalhousie University. Now, she’s one of Canada’s top political journalists and the host of CBC’s marquee political program Power & Politics.

Continue reading Veteran political journalist Vassy Kapelos (’00) reflects on her career, time at NT

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.

Continue reading Delivering fame and glory

Looking for NT’s Entrepreneurs

Are you an artist, writer, musician or inventor? Have you established your own business specializing in a unique product or service? If so, we would love to hear from YOU!

To further support NT alumni and share the many different career paths NT grads take, the Foundation is initiating a new feature highlighting entrepreneurial alumni. If you have started a venture that you would like to share with fellow alumni, please send a note to entrepreneurs@ntcifoundation.ca. We will get in touch with you and do a short Q&A to post on the website along with a brief bio, photo, and your business contact information.    

Our first featured entrepreneur is Bernice Lum (‘82)

Bernice Lum (’82): An NT Entrepreneur

After graduating from North Toronto, Bernice studied graphic design at Sheridan College. Following her graduation from Sheridan, she freelanced at several Toronto design companies as well as CityTV. In 1988, she relocated to London, England where she continued to freelance for design consultants. With more design work being done by computer, Bernice decided to do the other thing she loved to do…draw! In recent years, her career as an illustrator has taken her in many directions. She has published over 50 books and has clients in North America and abroad. In addition to illustration, her unique “bowling pin” characters are adding to her success story. Foundation vice-chair Lisa Cain recently spoke to Bernice about her creations.

You have a great body of work behind you but most recently you have been having great success with your bowling pins. Tell us a little bit about how that started?

The shape of the bowling pins emulate the human form in a fun caricature way so I decided to use the pins as my diary of sorts. The inspiration to use bowling pins came from the story of when my oldest brother, Charles, was born. On that day, my mother was at Women’s College Hospital and on that very same day, my father had a Bowling Tournament Final, so he went to play while my mother was at the hospital. When Charles was born, the hospital called the bowling alley to tell my dad the news and celebratory cigars were bought for everyone at the bowling alley. The idea to work with the pins was to pay homage to my brother who passed away seven years ago and my father who passed away just three years ago. 

Your bowling pins were featured at PULSE Contemporary Art Fair in Miami in December. Congratulations on a SOLD OUT show. How has this new notoriety changed your life?

Thank you and it was so very unexpected to have all the pins sell out. As for the notoriety… I wouldn’t say there has been notoriety, but I will say that it has definitely helped my trajectory, my confidence and [provided] a lovely confirmation that the work I am doing is connecting with people.

Thanks to Bernice for sharing her story; to contact Bernice or find out more about her work, point your browser to: www.bernicelum.com and https://galerieyoun.com/en/artists/bernice-lum.

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.

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

Robert (Bob) LeRoy (’61) (1943-2018)

Robert James LeRoy, one of Canada’s foremost theoretical chemists and a North Toronto grad, passed away August 10, 2018, at the age of 74.

The second of four brothers, all of whom attended NTCI between 1955 and 1967, Bob was a keen and talented student. His brother John (’67) recalled:

“I remember in his final year of high school… he wrote exams in three different types of math. In two of them he received a perfect mark of 100%, while in the other he received a little less. He knew where he had made a careless error and he lamented about it for weeks after. He knew he should have been perfect in all three.”

After graduating from NT, Bob attended the University of Toronto, earning his B.Sc. in Math and Chemistry in 1965 and his M.Sc in Chemistry in 1967. He left Canada to pursue doctoral work in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, where he received his Ph.D. in 1971. He returned to U of T for a year of post-doctoral work before becoming an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo. He spent the rest of his academic career at the U of W and at the time of his passing was a Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of Science for Computing.

His work focused on the behaviour of molecules and atoms, particularly the forces occurring among them. He became a giant in this highly specialized field, starting with his doctoral work focusing on non-covalent bonds. When asked to explain the complexities of his profession to laypeople he was known to say: “I study the sex life of molecules.”

Brilliant and energetic, Bob possessed an endless enthusiasm for new experiences and ideas. He inspired and mentored thousands of young scientists. One page of the chemistry textbook currently in use in Ontario high schools is devoted to the LeRoy radius, a technique for mathematically defining the radius of a small molecule, which is key to understanding the forces at work both inside and outside of that boundary. John Polanyi, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry, remembers: “Robert, whom I came to know as a student and later as a fellow scientist, exhibited indomitable courage and infectious joy in his creative life.” His page on the University of Waterloo website lists 114 research publications in addition to nine scholarships and awards. (http://leroy.uwaterloo.ca/cv.html).

It is interesting to note that Bob was not the only one in his family to follow a career in science. His father, D.J. LeRoy, was a research scientist at the National Research Council, and later the head of Chemistry at the University of Toronto (where he hired John Polanyi). His older brother Rod, ’60, pursued doctoral and post-doctoral work in supersonic molecular beams, and later became the CEO of one of the Noranda companies. Niece Jennifer is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Oxford, working on materials development in single molecule power generation. Quite the family business!
To view Bob’s full obituary in the Globe & Mail, point your browser to: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-chemist-robert-j-leroy-studied-the-sexlife-of-molecules/

Richard Van Praagh (’47)

This past summer, Ron Wakelin, Co-chair of the North Toronto Foundation, received a delightful letter from Dr. Richard Van Praagh (’47), Harvard Professor Emeritus, Harvard Medical School that was written on letterhead from Boston Children’s Hospital. The following excerpts are from Dr. Van Praagh’s correspondence.

I graduated from NTCI in 1947 (I’m 88 now). I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. I graduated in 1954 with an MD degree. Then followed 10 years of postgraduate work. I fell in love with pediatrics and then with pediatric cardiology…

After 10 years of postgraduate work, [in October 1965] I was invited to join the staff of Boston Children’s Hospital where I have worked ever since as a pediatric cardiologist, pathologist and embryologist. I have written more than 310 scientific papers, published a video series, edited a book on congenital-heart disease and have just finished writing a medical book, The Diagnostic and Surgical Pathology of Congenital Heart Disease. I have also written a book for the general, non-medical reader, Survival: A New Approach from the Life Sciences to the Major Problem of Our Time

Returning to NTCI, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to NTCI for the excellence of its teaching. I remember Betty Bealey (English), Hal Brown (Athletics), Bob Gladish (Athletics) and “Bud” Page (Latin). A great crew; a wonderful beginning…

NTCI was an important part of my foundation… This is one graduate’s THANK YOU to NTCI.

 

We found this YouTube interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNp2vwgLDGk

Janet Zuccarini (’84)

As foodies will attest, Janet Zuccarini has made quite a name for herself as a restaurateur. After graduating from NT, Janet moved to Italy, where she completed her undergrad before pursuing an MBA from Boston University in Rome. A trip to Toronto for a friend’s wedding led to an opportunity to go into the restaurant business and move back to TO. Trattoria Nervosa, which opened in 1996 in Yorkville, was the result. Today, Janet is the sole owner and visionary behind Gusto 54 Global Restaurant Group and is a Top Chef Canada resident judge. An article about Janet and her most recent restaurant, Felix Trattoria in Los Angeles, was recently featured in the Toronto Star (April 5, 2018). The restaurant—a favourite of L.A.’s celebrity set—has also been lauded as Esquire’s “#1 Best New Restaurant in America” and Eater LA’s “Restaurant of the Year.” Despite branching out, Janet still calls Toronto home. Her contemporary Rosedale home was featured in The Saturday Sun (April 14, 2018) in the “celebrity spaces” series.