Preserved Stories

School CrestLooking for the MCHS ’60s Reunion & Celebration of the ’60s? The event turned out beautifully. Over the next while we’ll add additional highlights from the Oct. 17, 2015 reunion, which was attended by over 60 people. For the backstory, Click Here!


Jaan Pill

My name is Jaan Pill; I’m a documentary maker, writer, and beginner practitioner of mindfulness. I was a key organizer of the Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 ’60s Reunion.  I taught at Munden Park Public School. In 1990 I gave a series of lectures in Estonia that led to the founding of the Estonian Stuttering Association. I’m a co-founder of the Canadian Stuttering Association. I’ve been involved with community-self organizing for thirty years. I enjoy stories and the absence of stories.

History of Long Branch (Toronto)

A current project – a draft of 10,000-plus words is in progress – involves the writing of A History of Long Branch (Toronto) – Draft 4.

In recent years I was involved with the Long Branch Historical Society, which is in a state of dormancy as a consequence of organizational issues that became evident by June 2012.

A group that seeks to speak on behalf of community interests requires a capacity for planning and collaboration. Such work requires a structure for decision-making and a culture of mutual respect.

It is my hope that the Long Branch Historical Society will resume its work with a new generation of leaders.

In the meantime, the Etobicoke Historical Society and a variety of websites – of varying degrees of accuracy regarding information that is posted – serve as history-related resources for local communities. As well, neighbourhood associations and Jane’s Walk do some of the same work – such as event planning and information sharing – otherwise done by local historical societies.

Stories and their absence

As much as I like stories, I also like not telling stories. A story doesn’t lead us anywhere in particular.

There is much to be said for lifelong learning.

In years past, I’ve organized Jane’s Walks in collaboration with Mike James of Niagara-on-the-Lake. I no longer lead walks but sometimes help other walk leaders organize them. If you want help with organizing a walk, please contact me at My most recent Jane’s Walk project has involved helping out with the organizing of a walk that took place in Mississauga on Saturday, May 28, 2016. The walk, led by Ward One, City of Mississauga Councillor Jim Tovey, was entitled: Small Arms Building – Then and Now.

My interests include:

  • Filmmaking
  • Community self-organizing



Six of my Vimeo videos can be viewed online. I worked with Steven Toepell to put together a digital portfolio for Andy Iadinardi, a construction superintendent. The six-minute video depicts the building of Aquaview Condominiums close to where I live. The banner at the top of the page, that you are now reading, shows a view of Aquaview, at Forty Second St. and Lake Shore Blvd. West in Toronto during its construction. My documentation of the building of Aquaview played a role in my subsequent involvement with Parkview School (see below). Here’s a September 2015 Facebook video highlighting some of my interests:

Bill Rawson of Long Branch talks about what Elvis liked to do in his spare time

Community self-organizing

I have been involved in volunteer work – and have demonstrated a track record of success, in projects I have initiated – at the local, national and international levels for thirty years. Until I became involved in efforts to keep Parkview School in public hands, however, I did not have much interest in local history.

On Oct. 26, 2010, which is when my interest in local history began, I learned that Parkview School was being sold by the Toronto District School Board as it was surplus to its needs. In the end, it was sold to the French public school board Conseil scolaire Viamonde – rather than to a developer – at a cost of $5.2-million in funding from the Province of Ontario.

The deal closed on Aug. 30, 2011. A major, two-stage letter-writing project – we had received key, strategic advice that individually-written letters would work better than a petition, in the circumstances – and the work of TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough and the Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP at the time, Laurel Broten, enabled the community to achieve a good outcome. Peter Milczyn is the current MPP for the riding.

I have an email newsletter that I set up following a suggestion from Donna Magee of Toronto. I began to build the mailing list during the above-noted Parkview School project.

Malcolm Campbell High School Sixties Reunion – Oct. 17, 2015 at Old Mill Toronto

Based on comments from attendees, the Oct. 17, 2015 MCHS ’60s Reunion was an outstanding success. A newsletter sent out by Howard Hight of Boston and Diana Redden of Vancouver to our reunion database did a great job in keeping people informed during the planning process. Additional photos will be posted at the MCHS ’60s Reunion Facebook Page and at the MCHS 2015 website, when time permits.

As a member of the organizing team, I want to express a huge thanks to all of the grads – as well as to MCHS Phys Ed teacher Soryl (Shulman) Rosenberg – who shared some great stories, and provided great entertainment – including displays of prowess on the dance floor, and the playing of ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bagpipes. The latter tune, piped by Scott Munro, was in memory of MCHS students and teachers who have passed away.

In still another highlight of the evening, on Nov. 17, 2015 in Toronto, Soryl Rosenberg read out a message from Graeme Decarie, an early-1960s MCHS History teacher, who was unable to attend but who remains in ongoing touch with us via email. Soryl also presented an entertaining Show and Tell from her early-1960s career as a teacher at MCHS.

If you want to search for topics at this website, use the internal search engine, or choose a word and add the words “Preserved Stories” and search on Google. The Preserved Stories and MCHS 2015 websites were designed by Walden Small Business Marketing. I got help from Maestra Web Design with the launching of the sites. My headshot is by Walter Psotka. I learned about Walden Design, Walter Psotka, and Planet Dentistry from Executive Coach Barbara Lawson, to whom I owe many thanks.

 Visit Jaan on LinkedInVisit Jaan's Vimeo profileVisit Jaan's Google+ profile

4 Responses to Preserved Stories

  1. Diane LaPointe-Kay says:

    Love your stories and coverage on the Small Arms Building.

    Diane LaPointe-Kay
    President, Small Arms Society

  2. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    Good to read your message, Diane.

    I’ve had the good fortune to be following the story of the Small Arms Building for some years. I am delighted to be keeping up to date with news about the next steps in the re-purposing of the building and to be sharing, with visitors to the Preserved Stories website, what I am learning.

  3. Jaan Pill in response to a comment from Bob Whyte says:

    Hi Bob & Eleanor Whyte – Great to have your address. I have mailed the MCHS 1961-62 to 1973-74 MCHS yearbooks DVD to you. Very much looking forward to posting your overview, Bob, which I know will be of interest to many people, of your memories of Malcolm Campbell High School dating back to the early 1960s.



  4. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    I’m pleased to say that I’ve received a message at the Preserved Stories website from Anne Tait of Toronto, author of Li Jun and the Iron Road (2015), in response to my re-tweet of the following message from @dundurnpress:

    “Congrats @annetaitauthor on your nomination for CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens spring 2016 award! @kidsbookcentre #LiJunandtheIronRoad”

    Anne Tait writes:

    As you can judge, Jaan, I’m new to the Twitter world so I don’t know how to reply there to your re-tweet about my CCBC nomination for my FIRST novel, based on the movie I produced about the Chinese building our railroad.

    We have a lot in common: film, writing, mindfulness and more. Thanks for your interest in my novel, which has had wonderful reviews. The trailer for the book is on vimeo & youtube – take a look.

    Anne Tait, Toronto

    Jaan Pill replied: I look forward to reading your novel, Anne!

    Additional comment from Jaan: CCBC is the Canada China Business Council, a bilateral non-profit organization.

    Anne Tait adds the following:

    The book launch was wonderful and covered by a TV interview with me at

    and there’s a great video trailer at

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