After three years of planning and almost a week of celebrations, our 100th
Anniversary reunion celebrations have concluded. It is an opportunity to pause
and to reflect. I feel privileged and blessed to be the ninth principal of
North Toronto. The exciting anniversary events, the many hundreds of alumni and
former staff I have had the opportunity to meet, and the amazing contributions
of our staff and students has left me emotional and speechless. I would like to
share with you my top ten recollections and reflections of the reunion (in no
1. Hail! North Toronto: Celebrating a Century
was produced to capture 100 years of amazing NT history. It is a testament to
the passion, spirit and excellence everyone at NT feels and demonstrates. This
is a publication that should be in the hands of every student and staff
member. It is truly brilliant.
2. At one point during the Open House, I glanced outside and saw an elderly alumnus on his hands and knees on our athletic field running his hands through the
turf. He looked up and smiled. I could sense his pride as an athlete and his
joy at knowing that future NT students would have the benefit of wearing red
& grey, playing on the best sports field in the city. We should all be
reminded that this is a huge privilege.
3. To a standing room only audience at our Opening Ceremony, I had the privilege of introducing Mr. Bruce MacLean, a Math & Physical Education teacher from the 1930s. At 101 years of age, he is older than our original school building. He received a tearful
standing ovation from alumni and guests. It reinforced how special the staff of
NT is and how passionate they are for our students of every generation.
4. I met hundreds of incredible alumni over the course of the anniversary weekend.
They were artists, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and more. How incredible
they all are and how wonderful it is that they collectively work to preserve
the spirit and passion of NT. I was thrilled to think about you, the current
students, adding to the richness of this group and how fortunate you are to be students
of North Toronto C.I.
5. I continue to be awed by the generosity of our alumni. Because of their strong
connection to the school, they continue to donate funds to support initiatives
and scholarships. One strategy to fundraise was the concept of the “Giving Tree”
used at all of the reunion events to aid in the creation of a “Centennial Scholarship”
for graduating students.
6. Our school colours were worn proudly and collectively by current students, staff
and by alumni during the reunion. Red and Grey are symbolic representations of
our spirit and pride in our school and something NT alumni of every generation
share. I was especially proud to see our student and staff volunteers at the
open house donning those brilliant red t-shirts with the strong grey logo that
exclaimed, “Celebrating 100 Years”. It truly was a great celebration.
7. Maytime Melodies is always one of my most
treasured events at NT. The Memories Forever concert at Roy Thomson Hall was an opportunity to celebrate the magic of NT music but was magnified by the contributions of alumni spanning many decades. Maytime Melodies just
celebrated its 66th anniversary. One of the musicians at RTH played in the very
first Maytime Melodies! Imagine the power of that historical moment.
Eleven conductors including NT’s current music teachers led huge ensembles and
made beautiful music for all of us to enjoy in one of Toronto’s most beautiful
and famous concert halls.
8. We had the pleasure of singing our beloved school song a number of times during the reunion celebrations. Young and old, students and staff members belted out
the familiar words and thrust their arms in the air to: Fight! Fight! Fight! It
was an awe-inspiring demonstration of NT pride and spirit that left us with
goose bumps and tears in our eyes.
9. Alumni Chair of the 100th anniversary events Nicole Dowling spoke
eloquently at the opening ceremony about her former concern that our new school
was not the “same” school that she remembered. It didn’t take long for her and
all of our alumni to realize that North Toronto isn’t about mortar and bricks
but it is the collective spirit and pride we share as the NT community. Old school
or new school, we will always be North Toronto Collegiate Institute. Just step
into our Heritage Court and you instantly feel the power of our 100 year
10. The student and staff volunteers did a fantastic job at the open house. Nearly 2000 visitors saw our displays, visited decade rooms, and took tours. They observed
first-hand what makes our current students, staff and school so great. The
alumni raved about you, and you should all be so proud of what you’ve accomplished.
I am forever in the debt of all of our volunteer students and staff. I am so
very inspired by, and proud of all of you.
Happy 100th birthday NT!