James Laxer (’60) (1941-2018)

On February 23 2018, during a research trip to Paris, France, NT grad James “Jim” Laxer, suffered a fatal heart attack. A political economist, well-known intellectual and political activist, Jim was a professor in the Department of Equity Studies, York University at the time of his passing.

Born in Montreal on December 22, 1941 into a politically active family, Jim started his high school career at Oakwood Collegiate but after two years, transferred to North Toronto CI. He found NTCI a less militaristic and rigid environment and thrived in its learning environment. Those in his year will no doubt recall that he ran for president of the student council, narrowly losing to Peter Acker, a family friend.

After graduating from NTCI, he went on receive his BA from the University of Toronto followed by an MA and PhD from Queen’s University. While at university, he was active student journalist, first at The Varsity and later at the Queen’s Journal. In 1965, he was elected president of the Canadian University Press.

In the 1960s, along with economist Mel Watkins and others, Jim played a central role in founding the “Waffle” – a left-wing nationalist movement within the New Democratic Party. In 1971, he ran for the leadership of the NDP and surprised many by coming in second to David Lewis.

The Waffle was ultimately forced out of the NDP and briefly became a separate political party under the name “Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada”. In 1974, Laxer and others from the party were unsuccessful in their bid to be elected to the federal parliament; this defeat led to the Waffle’s demise and Laxer’s decision to concentrate on his position at York University and writing. To this end, he authored over twenty books on the Canadian economy, Canadian politics, free trade, the oil and gas industry and Canadian History. In the 80s, he also hosted a current affairs show, The Real Story and hosted the 1986 National Film Board series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada. His essays and opinion pieces also appeared in many Canadian newspapers and magazines and for several years he was a columnist for the Toronto Star.

At the time of his untimely death, he was researching his next book examining Canada’s role in the Second World War. His teaching, writing, activism, concern for greater equality and the future of Canada motivated him throughout his life; he will be missed.

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The Class of 2013’s Five Year Reunion

The Class of 2013 is delighted to announce that their Five Year Reunion, held this past August, was a successful and enjoyable event! With 65 tickets sold, the venue proved to be a great choice. The organizers were able to decorate the room with helium-filled balloons, control their own music and project a “remember when” slideshow on a wall. In keeping with their nostalgic NT theme, food included an Uber food delivery of 200 chicken nuggets and 50 small fries from McDonald’s! This was an interesting accompaniment to the event’s signature drink of vodka-cranberry – aptly named “The Roehampton”.

All those who attended enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect and catch-up. Although they don’t know what lies ahead, rumor has it they are already looking forward to their Ten Year Reunion in 2023! The North Toronto Foundation is also very grateful to the organizers for their very generous donation of $475, the proceeds from the event.

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Class of 2013 Reunion!

What’s up, NT! 

Five years is a really long time and well, the truth is, we miss you! So we were thinking a reunion is in order. Let’s celebrate the fun (and super cringey) memories we made all those years ago.

All ’13 NT alumni and plus ones are welcome.

Tickets on sale now ($35-45) include the price of admission and two drink tickets.

Prices will go up, so make sure you get your ticket(s) soon!

Date: Saturday August 25th, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Location: 360 Geary Avenue
To Register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ntci-class-of-13-reunion-5-years-later-tickets-45326306202

You’re welcome to contact Marcus Gottlieb, Rachel LooJill SmithRobert ZhangMegan AbbeySabina WexShane WrightNoam Hacker or email us at northtoronto13@gmail.com with any questions!

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REIGNITE! An NT Athletics Fundraiser

Photos of the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3606879832718391.1073742671.144748248931584&type=1&l=c3d747613c

  • May 17, 2018
  • 7:00 pm to 11:45 pm
  • Safari Bar & Grille (1749 Avenue Rd, Toronto)

Greetings Fellow NT Athletic Alumni!

A group of dedicated NT Alumni from the 70s, 80s and 90s, have been working with current and retired NT Staff to create the new “North Toronto Collegiate Athletic Parents Council” (referred to in an earlier article as “The North Toronto Athletics Committee”).

Committed to raising an awareness of NT’s athletic legacy and furthering the school’s winning traditions, the new council aims to “Connect the Past with the Present and Build Towards the Future” by providing financial support for equipment, uniforms, AV equipment, sports science and more. Why let the Music Department have all the Fun.

NTCI has an incredibly rich Sports History thanks in no small part to your contributions.

To Celebrate the Inaugural Friend-Raising Event we have invited Dr. Ron Taylor – affectionately referred to as “Dr. Baseball” to join us along with several other Notable NT Athletes as well as significant members of the Retired Coaching Staff will be in attendance.

Please grab a few old NT Friends and plan to attend this exciting event.

For more information and tickets: https://northtoronto.snapd.com/events/view/1138475

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Elvino’s Trumpets

Regular readers of the Foundation news will recognize the name, Elvino Sauro (’52)—NT’s benefactor extraordinaire! His financial contributions include the Heritage, support for the “Memories Forever” concert (part of the 100th anniversary celebrations in 2012) and an endowment leading to the establishment of the Elvino Sauro Music Award, ensuring that deserving students in need continue to experience private lessons and other enhancements to their music education.

Elvino’s original trumpet, purchased in the 1940s and willed to NT

Although Elvino passed away on September 8, 2017, his spirit of giving back continues. A star trumpeter in his days at NT, he purchased his own instrument and took lessons, thanks to a loan from the school. Although he paid the loan back long before graduating, he made sure that the instrument “came home,” as he bequeathed this trumpet to NTCI’s Music Department in his will. The instrument, a good quality student model, is well travelled—note two faded travel stickers, one from Cunard Lines! There is even music inside the case that looks like marching band music! However, Elvino’s legacy doesn’t end here!

Nicolette and Dong performing on the trumpets donated to NT from Elvino’s estate

When NT’s 100th anniversary approached, Elvino decided he wanted to play again. So, at the age of 79, he bought two professional level trumpets, began practicing and performed in the band and orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall. In the spirit of Elvino’s generosity, his estate representatives donated these instruments to NTCI. Thanks to Elvino, students have the opportunity to play professional level instruments, not the kind usually found in a high school music room!

Elvino’s life was strongly shaped by his years at North Toronto CI and he has left a wonderful legacy that continues to inspire. Bravo, Elvino!

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Remembering Gerald Dunlevie

Mr. Dunlevie was a gentleman through and through. He was always dressed in a dapper suit, often with a bow tie, and I imagine he looked very much the same as he did as a first-year teacher when my mother was at Oakwood Collegiate in his very first Grade 13 Latin class. Mr. Dunlevie wrote about their relationship in a letter to her on her 70th birthday, back in 2006:

My first association with Estelle, half a century ago in 1953–1954, was a curious kind of role reversal, played out in my first Grade 13 Latin class at Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto.

I was a callow first-year teacher, while Estelle was a mature seventeen-year-old whose calming and steadying presence in the class helped me through the year. My students’ whole high school careers would be made or broken by their performance in the externally set and marked Departmental Examination, so it was unheard of for a neophyte to be entrusted with the responsibility of preparing them for it. The experience was a steep learning curve for a teacher and students, but Estelle’s support and encouragement played no small part in our success; they all passed, and Estelle got the mark in the 80s that she had so richly earned.

This letter is characteristic of Mr. Dunlevie’s humility and appreciation of his students. It was no doubt his hard work, and not my mother’s, that led to the success of every single one of his Grade 13 students that year.

Years later, when I entered Grade 9 at NTCI in the fall of 1983, I had no doubt that Mr. Dunlevie knew exactly who I was. He always had a smile for me, and a wise quotation to share. I always enjoyed talking with Mr. Dunlevie, as he was a font of knowledge and supremely respectful of his students—he talked to us as if we were all very important indeed. In Grade 11, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Greece and Rome with Mr. Dunlevie and other members of the Classics Department. I remember sitting at a little restaurant in Athens as Mr. Dunlevie and Mr. Maitman took turns pouring retzina and ouzo into my glass. After all, Mr. Dunlevie did like a good glass of wine—and I was not much of a drinker. I believe he felt that part of my classics education should involve an appreciation of the Bacchic delights such as wine and other alcoholic pleasures.

In my final year of high school, I had the great honour of being Mr. Dunlevie’s final student. Once a week at lunch, I would go to Mr. Dunlevie’s office, and he would teach me ancient Greek. He clearly instilled a love of the subject in me, as I returned to it in university, where I completed a major in ancient Greek studies. Such was his impact on so many of his students.

Mr. Dunlevie and I “graduated” from NTCI in the same year—1988. Mr. Dunlevie retired, and I finished Grade 13. Both of us went on to study at the University of Toronto; I completed an Honours B.A., while Mr. Dunlevie engaged in a PhD in modern Italian. Once in a while, we would bump into each other on campus, and he would invariably invite me to join him for a refreshment at Hart House, where we would catch each other up on our lives and our studies. Mr. Dunlevie continued to include me and my mother in his life, inviting us to attend his graduation celebration and, most recently, his 88th birthday party, which we were both honoured to attend. 

In the above letter to my mother, Mr. Dunlevie, in characteristic Mr. Dunlevie fashion, quoted Louis Hémon’s heroine, Maria Chapdelaine, as saying she “knows the essential hierarchy of things that count.” We could just as easily say the same of Mr. Dunlevie. He was a man who valued the pursuit of knowledge, strong relationships, love, good food, fine drink, and music. The light he brought to the world will be sorely missed.

— Nancy Steinhauer (’88)

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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.

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The Dragons’ Den: Spring Edition

Over the past few years, we have featured articles about our “Dragons’ Den”—a twice yearly event at which student groups ask the Foundation for funding to support NT’s extra-curricular clubs and teams, many of which were thriving when you were at the school. Clubs like Graffiti, the illustrious school newspaper, request monies to help with their printing costs, while the Remembrance Day Committee, which puts on an annual assembly at the school, uses our funding to pay for pipers and a reception for the participating Veterans. Without our help, some of these groups would not exist, or would be unable to do some of the things they do.

At our most recent Dragons’ Den, the Foundation was able to provide some financial support to all of the groups who requested funding. For example, the YMCA Exchange group received a grant to purchase TTC passes for students visiting from an Indigenous Reserve in Northern Ontario so that they could travel around the city with their NT hosts. Another group received funding to pay the cost of a bus so that members could attend a leadership camp. Although the groups making presentations often ask for more funds than we are able to provide, we do our best to award at least some of what they request. We particularly try to support groups whose initiatives reflect NTCI’s traditions and heritage.

When you consider donating to the Foundation, remember that any amount, large or small, is always welcome! Your $50.00 donation could help pay the registration fee for the Robotics Team to participate in a competition. A $100.00 donation could pay for a new team jersey! Please remember, your donations go a long way to ensure the continuation of the school’s extra-curricular activities. The funding we provide is always appreciated: the students are genuinely grateful for any contribution we can give them.

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A PIECE OF NT SPORTS HISTORY COMES HOME

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.

1952 Football 1
Inscribed right on the football, the scores of the six games in the 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.

1952-NT-football 1
The football used in the 1952 Red Feathers Tournament.

 

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NT Athletics Committee: ROI (Return on Involvement)

It’s been 30 years, but I can still feel the excitement of running football-equipment-clad down the sloping aisle of the auditorium and jumping up onto the stage, as the entire faculty and student body roared out the school song. Today, I have two daughters at my alma mater. Lucky me!

That NT Spirit

While the bricks and mortar of the school have changed dramatically, one thing hasn’t changed: the spirit of the school—unmatched, I would argue, by any other school in the TDSB.  It’s such a great community to be involved in! Which has brought me to a deep appreciation for a different kind of ROI: Return on Involvement.

At Red and Grey Day 2017, the students, faculty, parents and alumni were treated to an athletics spectacle both indoors and out. The volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey and football teams all locked in healthy competition with a variety of fierce rivals from across the city, and our teams made us proud. The school spirit was palpable and inspiring.

The NT Athletics Committee

Recognizing the tremendous success of the NT Music Council Committee, a sub-committee has formed under the umbrella of the NT Foundation: the NT Athletics Committee. With an emphasis on connecting the past with the present and looking towards the future, the newly minted committee is made up of existing and past faculty as well as alumni, some of whose involvement in the school goes back 50+ years! All are eager to give back and see today’s athletes succeed and be involved in all that NT has to offer. The committee’s express purpose is to raise awareness (and perhaps a few funds) to support the athletics department at North Toronto.  

It’s still early days. Thus far, we’ve held two modest activities: creating a database for communication and selling some great NT clothing at Red and Grey Day. The current heads of the athletic program have given us some ideas, identifying what they consider pivotal to improving our students’ athletic experience at NT—and we are there to support those objectives.

Get Your ROI

Want to get involved? We’ll keep you posted on upcoming events that will make you proud and extend your ROI from North Toronto. Send us a note at ntathleticscommittee@gmail.com.

— Michael Colley (’89)

Michael at Red & Grey Day
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