The Ostrander Trophy

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: rwakelin@utschools.ca

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