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:
You can take the boy out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the boy!
When Neal Irwin graduated from NT in 1950, he could never have predicted that he would return to his alma mater fifty years later to chair the North Toronto Foundation and lead it through its most challenging and interesting times. Neal joined the Board in 2000, became co-chair in 2003 and from 2009 served as chair for four years. During that time, he patiently shepherded us through the challenges associated with moving to the new school and planning the 100th Reunion in 2012.
Neal provided a very strong voice for the Foundation and alumni on the Design Team, a committee composed of TDSB personnel, NT staff, parents, students and alumni working with the architects to shape the new school. He strongly advocated for the creation of the Heritage Courtyard to preserve the spirit and architectural features of the old building, and spearheaded the Red and Grey Campaign, which raised over $100,000—money that was dedicated to furnishing the Heritage Room, providing the playing-field scoreboard and turf, and upgrading display areas and the archives.
At the same time, Neal worked diligently to organize the 100th Reunion; that planning process took over four years. He played a key role in establishing the committees, finding volunteers and dealing with the financial issues.
Neal’s skills in these areas were developed at an early age. His father was the editor of Maclean’s magazine, and Neal grew up with a wonderful background in the exchange of ideas and the exercise of imagination, but with a very pragmatic bent. Postwar Canada offered exciting opportunities for a dedicated young man, and Neal seems to have taken every advantage of what was on offer. He studied hard at NT, played the violin, was active in student life and graduated with the Victoria College Class of 1921 Scholarship in Mathematics and Science. Wanting to broaden his scope, he took social and philosophy studies at Victoria College in his first year, then switched to engineering physics and graduated in 1955. The next few years were varied: two years on a fellowship with English Electric in the U.K.; a job with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., designing the Bruce Nuclear Power station; then a switch in focus—the new field of computer programming and traffic research. At KCS Neal worked with the recently developed mainframe computers, designing forecasting models to improve urban transportation. A new subsidiary was formed, and soon he was working for Traffic Research Corporation, which sent him off to New York in 1960 to open a branch there. He returned to Toronto in 1965, working for TRC as a consultant in city planning, urban policy and transportation. In 1974, he and an architect colleague formed IBI Group, focusing on urban development with other like-minded partners. The firm grew rapidly, expanded into the rest of Canada and the U.S. and is today a highly respected international company. Neal was managing director for about thirty years and continues to consult with them to this day. Carol, his wife of almost fifty years, died a few years ago, but he still enjoys the company of his four children and his grandchildren.
After fourteen years of giving generously of his time and experience, Neal has resigned from the North Toronto Foundation, which has benefited greatly from his business, managerial and personal skills and— most importantly—his exceptional level of commitment to the school. It is due in large part to him that we have a new school that honours its heritage and that the 100th Reunion was a success. It was entirely fitting that, when he stepped down as chair of the Foundation in 2013, NT students presented him with the John “Coach” Taylor Award, in appreciation of his dedication and passion for NT. His generous spirit and inclusiveness continue to be deeply felt by everyone on the Foundation, and we wish him only the very best for the future.
Thanks to the initiative and talents of NT alumna Jennifer (Jenny) Peace (’71), Ontario’s City of Burlington is now home to a New Horizons Band—a musical group for mature adults who have always wanted to play a band instrument and for those who once played and want to again.
Jenny was bitten by the music bug in Bud Hill’s music class, where she chose the trumpet and, never one to pass on a challenge, stuck to it—determined, to quote Bud, not to “play like a girl.” At Queen’s University, she started out as an English major but switched to music education after spending most of first year hanging around the music building. Now retired from an illustrious teaching career with the Halton District School Board, Jenny continues to pursue her love of music as a performer in the Oakville Symphony (and other groups) and as Clarkson Music Theatre’s music director. Through her commitment to music education and lifelong learning, she connected with the New Horizons International Music Association (http://newhorizonsmusic.org/concept-and-philosophy/). Inspired by their inclusive philosophy that “every person has musical potential that can be developed,” Jenny brought the program to Burlington in 2012.
In January 2015, she and her twenty-six-member band were featured in an article in the Hamilton Spectator (http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5295921-it-s-never-too-late-to-join-the-band/), and since then more budding musicians have joined to swell the ranks. For Jenny, the reward is “seeing people accomplish something they thought they couldn’t do” and sharing her passion for music—a passion that began at NTCI.
Flying Officer Douglas Bain (’39) was killed in action on May 30, 1942, and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in March 1944. The DFC, presented to his next-of-kin and long treasured by the Bain family, was recently donated to NTCI by his nephew (and NT alumnus) Don Norval for safe-keeping. We are honouring that responsibility; both his Distinguished Flying Cross and military letter are on display in the main hall.
Flying Officer Bain, who served with the RCAF and became one of the Allied Forces’ most outstanding pilots during the Second World War, was recognized during the school’s 2013 Remembrance Day assembly. As Principal Joel Gorenkoff reported, Private Officer John Douglas Norman Bain left NTCI after his final year of high school to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces when war first broke out in 1939. He was formally enlisted on October 8, 1940, finished his training on February 11, 1941, and was then commissioned for the war effort.
His military records contain the following description:
One night Flying Officer Bain piloted an aircraft to attack Aachen along the western tip of Germany. While over the target area, his bomber was seriously damaged when engaged by an enemy fighter. Despite this, Flying Officer Bain made several determined runs over his target. On the return flight, two more enemy fighters were encountered but Flying Officer Bain out-maneuvered them. By superb airmanship and great tenacity he succeeded in flying the crippled bomber home. He displayed commendable courage and a fine fighting spirit in circumstances of great difficulty.
Flying Officer Bain, awarded the DFC for this and his thirty-seven other successful sorties during the war effort, is buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Noord-Brabant, Holland.
We all have our memories of life at North Toronto, and we thought you might like to hear about the kinds of memories that are being created at the school today. So we asked Spencer Brown, Graffiti staffer, Foundation Student Rep and soon-to-be alumnus, to give us a student’s-eye view.
Life at North Toronto is an ever-changing event, with new things appearing on the calendar each week. Although I never experienced life in the old building that stood where the new field is, the spirit in those halls has transferred to the new building, where I have spent the last four years of my life. High school has been an amazing experience for me and for the majority of my classmates.
What’s made it so memorable aren’t the subjects or books, but rather the remarkable things and people that I have been introduced to. Our school is bustling with exciting events and activities: we have forty-seven clubs and plenty of events running each week, all of which help contribute to the history of our school and our memories of it.
The 2014–2015 school year saw the likes of the Soda Pop Shop, Maytime Melodies, both music and athletic banquets, Charity Week, Red and Grey Day and the Remembrance Day assembly. We had a semi-formal for the first time in years, hosted the Sears high school drama festival and introduced Earth Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. Also new this year was Spirit Week, reminding students of the kind of spirit that is in our halls. And NT students were globetrotters, reaching Denmark on an exchange program, and France and Spain over the March break, with a music trip to Boston upcoming.
We have a large number of councils and groups, including the Student Council, North Toronto’s Environmental Action Team (NEAT), the Art Council, Music Council, Gay Straight Alliance, the Pentagon (school yearbook) and Graffiti (school newspaper). And, as if that weren’t enough, we have something to pique everyone’s interest: there’s the Debate Club, DECA (National Business Organization), Spanish Club, Tea-Drinking Club, Robotics Club, Engineering Club, Biology Club and Drama Club—to name just a few.
There are so many clubs and events that I can’t possibly mention them all or convey how important they all are to life at NT. Suffice it to say that these events, clubs and activities all contribute positively and help define our school as a school that stands above others. I am very thankful to call NT my school!
Spencer Brown NT’15