Each fall and spring for the past few years, the NTCI
Foundation has held a “Dragons’ Den” where current student groups present their
requests for funding. This event allows for a direct connection between alumni
and current students, ensuring that the Foundation is supporting the proposals
that contribute to a vibrant experience for all NT students. This year, the 2019
spring edition of the Foundation Dragons’ Den was a spirited affair with several
groups important to NT student life, Graffiti
and PALS, stepping up to make their respective cases.
With the current Graffiti
editorial computer now 10 years old, the newspaper’s energetic business team
made a compelling presentation about the need for a replacement. Their argument
was strong and full funding was allocated. The grant will allow the editorial
team to continue the tradition of producing an award-winning student newspaper
for their fellow NT students.
The Peer Assistance Leaders, or PALs as they are known
in the school, were the second group to make their funding appeal to the
Foundation Dragons. The organization of 131 members, which helps transition
Grade 9 students to high school life, was looking for financial support for a
variety of initiatives. These included mentorship workshops, holding pizza
“breaking-the-ice” lunches with the Grade 9s and buying additional vests/t-shirts
to identify members of PALS as approachable and friendly faces to whom young
students can reach out to. The PALS reps made a convincing case and secured their
requested financial support, thus ensuring that the students in the 2019/20
NTCI Grade 9 class will be welcomed and supported.
To show your “graditude” to NT and support student
groups of today, please donate to the NTCI Foundation: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/north-toronto-collegiate-institute-foundation/.
In an effort to “Connect the Past with the Present to Build Towards the Future” in
support of North Toronto Athletics, an event is being held on April 25th 2019
at Safari Bar and Grill to connect alumni, staff and current NT parents. The
event promises great food, good friends, celebrity alumni and a Silent Auction as
well as a memorable gift for every ticket holder!
Help us maintain and further the legacy of
sports success stories at North Toronto–tickets are only $30.00. Get your
ticket and you too can be part of the action!
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.
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!!
This time of year, the
office staff of NTCI is busy collecting applications from potential future NTCI
Alumni–grade 8 students who would like to spend their next four years at North
Toronto. This is nothing new as each year hundreds of applications are received
from students out of the North Toronto catchment area.
While students who are
“in-district” (i.e. within the catchment area boundaries), are able to simply
select North Toronto, those “out-of-district” must apply, even if they are just
across the street from an in-district student. To date, the out-of-district
applicants from NT’s feeder schools (Deer Park, Glenview and Hodgson) or those with
siblings at NTCI have automatically been accepted; the remaining applications
are at the mercy of a lottery for placement.
It is ironic that in
2003, when the old NT building was being considered for demolition, the TDSB
considered NTCI as a good candidate for rebuilding as it was on the TTC line
and would allow out-of-district students, specifically those from the former
North York, to attend easily. At that time, it was the norm that over two
thirds of the school population came from out-of-district, having won their
place at NTCI through the lottery process. In 2009, there were 600 applications
for 270 places.
Today, the tables have
turned. As more condos are built in the area, the school’s population is more
and more in-district. Last year about 500 applications were received for only
200 places; this year will be similar. But unlike the past, fewer and fewer
places are available for the lottery.
The TDSB plays it safe
and erects signs around new developments saying that moving into the new
building does not guarantee that students will be able to attend a local
school. So far this has not been the case, but with NT’s enrolment increasing
each year, there may soon be a lottery for even feeder school students!
Many thanks to the alumni who contacted the Foundation with information pertaining to the Ostrander family, and their likely relationship to the trophy. ((Link to the original post)
Toronto historian and former Foundation member Mike Filey (’61) shared his thoughts on the origin of the trophy:
L.V. Ostrander (b.1889) started his single store jewellery business circa 1914. Over the years the chain expanded to 18 stores, one of which I remember being on Yonge St. not far from our school. The founder sold the business to his younger brothers in 1942, a group that included Kenneth. The latter served Ward 9 (that included the North Toronto community) from 1955 -1966. Did Kenneth attend NTCI? Did any of the Ostrander crew? Was the trophy donated in memory of their mother? The search continues….
Other alumni wrote about Ostrander’s involvement in community activities, including the business sponsoring a baseball team at Oriole Park. Mike Tzekas (’69) wrote that he played with that team. From other alumni, we learned that family members lived in North Toronto’s school district with both Jackie (’62) and Bill Ostrander (‘68) attending NTCI.
Given the connection between the Ostranders, particularly Kenneth, and the community of North Toronto, we are confident that the trophy is connected to the family who established Ostrander’s Jewellers. However, we are still unsure as to which member of the Ostrander family donated the trophy and why it supported young women in athletics. If you are able to add to what we now know, please contact Ron Wakelin, Chair of the North Toronto Foundation: email@example.com.
For NT alumni, it’s hard to think about our days at North Toronto without conjuring up memories of Red and Grey Day, Maytime Melodies or receiving the latest copy of Graffiti in homeroom. The same is true for Charity Week, an annual tradition at North Toronto that continues to be a hallmark of NT’s student initiatives.
Charity Week has certainly changed over the years, but the purpose remains the same. Students choose a charity that they feel passionate about, and often, something that is relevant to the times. Two years ago, students chose Shine Bright, an organization supporting youth struggling with mental health issues, and most recently selected Forests Ontario, an environmental non-profit with a mission to make forests greener and healthier. The students then raise money for the charity through various fundraising events within a dedicated time frame: this year’s Charity Week was the fourth week of January.
Some of us may recall past Charity Week fundraising events such as the teacher dunk tank, the “lip-sync”, or, the semi-formal at the St. Lawrence Market. However, today’s students have other events including a multi-cultural luncheon hosted by the Classics department, a raffle, and “home form booths” selling everything from pizza to “o-grams” (e.g. sing-o-grams, kiss-o-grams) and services. Not surprisingly, the student service auction no longer exists, likely a sign of these more politically correct times! Regardless, it is wonderful that Charity Week is still very much a part of the North Toronto experience.
If you are – and have editing experience – the North Toronto Foundation, the voice of NTCI’s alumni needs your help! We are in need of an alumnus interested in joining the Board’s Communications Team to take on the responsibility of being our editor. Formal training as a copy editor is preferred as responsibilities include ensuring clarity and consistency in all print materials including:
articles for the Foundation’s website
content for the annual newsletter
The Board meets at NTCI six to eight times during the school year on a Monday or Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. From time to time, the Communications Team may meet informally before a regularly scheduled meeting. For more information and/or to express your interest in this opportunity, please contact Ron Wakelin, Chair of the North Toronto Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft. – H.G. Wells
A good, let alone a great editor is an obsessive autocrat with a will of iron, who rewrites and rewrites, cuts and slashes, until every piece is exactly the way he thinks it should have been done. – Peter Drucker (1909-2005)
As an important part of the school’s legacy, North Toronto C.I. is fortunate to have a large collection of trophies, plaques and awards. Many of these artifacts, recognizing the varied achievements of NT students, are found in the school’s Archives Room. In a recent visit to NT, Nancy Baines, the Foundation’s archivist and a member of NT’s staff from 1969 to 2000, identified some of the significant trophies in the collection:
Ostrander Trophy for Proficiency and Leadership in Athletics (girls) – awarded from 1939 to 75;
J.M. Greene Music Company Trophy for Citizenship, Scholarship and Music –awarded from 1947 to 1978;
The Sifton Trophy for School Citizenship – awarded from 1939 to the present;
The Kerr Trophy for Student Leadership – awarded from 1928 to the present 2018 (awarded for 90 years!).
She also pointed out some of the lesser known trophies in the collection:
Hill, Ford and Kaethler Trophy for Leadership and Co-operation in Grade 11 and 12 Music – awarded circa 1967
The North Toronto Trophy for Junior Oratory – awarded from 1957 to 1962.
NTCI Juvenile Sports Champion Trophy – awarded from 1957 to 1978;
The Seaforth Cup Interscholastic Sports Competition – awarded in 1958;
TS Harbord Invitational Jr. Basketball Tournament – awarded from1960 to 1996.
There are many fascinating stories behind these awards and of the students who were honoured to receive them. Throughout this year watch for articles featuring a closer look at NT’s trophies and their recipients.
Remembrance Day, originally known as Armistice Day, commemorates the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918. While the original reason for the event took place 100 years ago, its observance has taken on new meaning with each armed conflict involving Canadian soldiers – most recently Afghanistan. While most alumni will recall an assembly or other observation of this special day during their years at NT, in recent years Remembrance Day has become even more profound for NT students.
This year’s assembly on Friday, November 9 was held twice in order to accommodate the school’s population. It began with a song video, Pittance of Time, featuring the ghosts of former soldiers visible only to those willing to partake in a moment of silence in the modern setting of a convenience store. The emotional pull of this piece set the atmosphere for the rest of the event. A bagpiper led a procession of NT veterans into the auditorium. Spanning several generations and representing different conflicts, each veteran was introduced by a student volunteer. A slide show followed featuring photographs of NT grads who lost their lives in World Wars I and II. The young faces in the images looked like many of the students in the auditorium.
Addresses were given by two NT grads currently in active service: Captain John Stevens (’83) and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Clarry (’82). A second slide show outlined Canada’s involvement in peacekeeping missions around the world. Music was provided by the Symphonic Band, and Choir. To draw the assembly to a close, there was a reading of “In Flanders Fields,” the playing of The Last Post, a minute of silence, and Reveille.
This outline does not do justice to the organization behind the event nor to its impact. After the assembly, a reception, supported by monies from the Foundation, was held for the special guests, staff and organizers. During this, it became clear how much the assembly reflected the students who produced it, and how deeply they were invested in its meaning. We need not worry that today’s students “don’t get it”. They do – and at NT they created a powerful reflection of this important day.