Covid-19 is not the first pandemic that North Toronto has had to contend with. Spanish Flu, which infected almost a third of the world’s population between February 1918 and April 1920, hit home for the school that had grown from five to 204 students over the course of its first decade.Continue reading SPANISH FLU HIT SCHOOLS HARD, TOO
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.
This impressive trophy was awarded to young women for Proficiency and Leadership in Athletics. First presented in 1939, it was last awarded in 1975.
The origin of the trophy is a bit of a mystery. The inscription reads that it was presented to N.T.C.I. for Proficiency and Leadership in Athletics. It might have been donated by the Ostrander family, owners of Ostrander’s Jewellery, a well-known Ontario chain. Although the main Toronto store was on Queen Street near Yonge, their North Toronto location was on the east side of Yonge at Castlefield, so it could well be that there was a strong connection between the Ostrander family and North Toronto CI. *
A look at the trophy reveals the names of all the accomplished young women who had the honour of receiving it. Two winners from different times, Nina Lancaster (1947) and Mary Ellis (1974) were randomly selected for a closer look. According to the 1947 yearbook, “Nina – always bubbling over with enthusiasm for sports… Dancing eyes and a merry laugh are the first impressions of Nina – Headed for Honor [sic] Science at U. of T.” While additional information about Nina was not found, such was not the case for Mary Ellis. Her intriguing yearbook entry includes: “adidas, football shoulders, moon boots, ice cream parties, Vermont, Frans, Hubert!” and ends with “Queens”. Her school records indicated that she moved to Whistler after graduating from NTCI. Sadly, further research revealed that Mary Elizabeth, known to her friends as “Mary-Liz” passed away on December 4, 2009. Her obituary highlighted that she lived in Banff during the 80s, attended the University of Calgary, was a member of the U of C rowing team and after receiving her B. Sc., pursued a career as a pharmaceutical representative for Novo Nordisk. Her obituary also mentions the fact that she was the NTCI Female Athlete of the Year when she was in Grade 13 so it is clear that receiving the award meant a great deal to her.
* If you are able to contribute information regarding the Ostrander Trophy’s origins, please contact Ron Wakelin, Chair of the North Toronto Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Our archives now have a new piece of memorabilia. Bill Williams (’54) brought in the football used in the 1952 championship game between North Toronto and Riverdale. For the Norsemen, the football used in the 1952 Red Feathers Tournament.the game capped an undefeated season, which also included the Red Feathers Tournament, then the unofficial Ontario championship. The ball has been inscribed with the scores of all the games of that memorable season.
Among the notable players on the team coached by Bob Coulter was Eric Nesterenko (’53), who couldn’t play the final games as he was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. He later played for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Another notable team member was Walt Radzick (’53), who went on to play in the CFL for Calgary, Toronto and Hamilton, winning rookie of the year and a Grey Cup. Jim Rowney (’53), who later came back to teach and coach at his alma mater, NTCI, also played on the 1952 championship team.
25 Bright Red Binders
When I took over the care of the NT Archives in the 1990s, they were situated in a former kitchen in the basement of the old school. At the time, I noticed a stack of binders piled high amid the rafters of the storage room. There were 25 of these bright red books, with gold lettering on the spines declaring that they were the Don Wright Collection. I had a huge job just trying to identify and organize the Archives, and so I left the binders to sleep where they were and focused on more immediate tasks.
Who Was Don Wright?
However, I did enquire of the Music Department, Just who was this Don Wright? Continue reading Don Wright’s Legacy Finds a New Home
For generations, people who care about North Toronto Collegiate have collected NT memorabilia. Each time I am in the Archives room, I try to lure in the students who have lockers nearby to admire the riches within. Just last week, I chatted with Sophia Rutherford, a second-generation NT student, and was able to show her the 1970s collection from her parents’ era. The Archives is mostly a mystery room to present-day students—but it is a fascinating trip down memory lane for alumni.
We have a remarkable collection, going back to 1912: photos, programs, plaques, trophies, uniforms, scrapbooks, pennants and crests, school pins, rings, hats, recordings, tapes, CDs, newspapers and yearbooks. And, of course, some unique items that would be the centrepiece of any collection. For example, we have Colin Farmer’s 35-mm camera, the footballs from the 1941 and 1944 Toronto City Championship games, and the shovel used to break ground for the new school. These resources were invaluable during the writing of the history of NT, Hail, North Toronto. They are also a wonderful resource for reunion materials and other research.
This Is Your Collection
Alumni frequently donate gifts that need to be incorporated into the collection. We recently acquired, for instance, more of Colin Farmer’s collection of photos, of which we already had quite a few. Colin and his enthusiastic Photography Club documented a huge swath of NT history in film and snapshots. The ever-important Maytime Melodies records and Kiwanis festival certificates were donated by the Music Department and digitized by Elvino Sauro, a very generous NT alum.
From Roy Hiir (’60) we received, among other things, a sweater crest in garnet and grey, the original NT colours before red and grey replaced them. Margaret Clarke contributed photos of the 1941 and 1944 football champs, which she had cherished all these years and which have finally come home to NT.
But not only alumni donate artifacts to the Archives. I have recently received material from Hal Brown’s family, including his famous red-and-grey coaching jacket, which still sports the muddy imprints of the equipment he carted around on the backfield of the old NT while coaching our athletes, among them Lucia Jenkins and Mary Nishio. Well after he retired, Hal continued to coach our track and field team, wearing that jacket. To me, it epitomizes his devotion to NT and is more valuable than jewels—a priceless, unique expression of the man Hal Brown was.
Are You a Closet Archivist?
It is my pleasure to be able to help acquire and conserve this bounty in the special Archives room at NT, but I could certainly use some help in making it accessible to anyone who wants to peruse it.
Nowadays, we can search online for NT memorabilia and acquire it if it is reasonable. That is one job to be done.
Former students and teachers are very good about leaving us their records, yearbooks and memorabilia when they are cleaning out their closets. These all need to be catalogued and integrated into the collection. Another project is trying to identify the activity and vintage or year of photographs— there are literally hundreds of them waiting to be dealt with so they can be properly catalogued.
So there is enough work to keep us busy for years to come! We have a wonderful record of the proud NT heritage right here in the school. It is indeed a treasure trove.
If you would like to help with this important work, please let us know by either post or email (subject line: “Archives”). Our contact information is on the last page.
—Nancy Baines, Archivist
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.