My name is Jaan Pill; I’m a documentary maker, writer, and beginner practitioner of mindfulness. I taught at Munden Park Public School in Mississauga until 2006 when I retired. From the late 1960s, including summers when I worked at Banff Springs Hotel and Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, until the early 1980s I called myself John Pill until a colleague at Saranac School (Metro Toronto School Board) where I was working at the time suggested I use my Estonian name.
My interests include:
- Video production
- Community networking
I’m currently editing videos and interviews related to local history. Three of my previous videos can be viewed on Vimeo.
The six-minute video about the building of Aquaview Condominiums was posted online in June 2011.
In July, Andy signed a contract as construction superintendent at another condo project in Toronto. Additional projects with Andy are under way including a video about the construction of Aquaview Condominiums and the history of the local community. …View Current Projects
I’ve been active as a volunteer for many years. I believe communities have a duty to generate their own stories, rather than depending entirely on others to perform this task for them.
As a resident of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey) I also have an interest in the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site located on the school grounds of Parkview School at 85 Forty First Street. A person walking across the school grounds would not know the history of the site unless she or he reads or hears about it – or sees historic maps or photos related to it.
I first learned about this site mainly through talking with neighbours and friends of neighbours. Walking one’s dog is often a key to meeting neighbours who know local history, in my experience. The Smith homestead site is now a green space that people walk across every day and that generations of children have played upon.
Rolling sideways down the hill near where Colonel Samuel Smith built his log cabin in 1797
I’ve seen groups of young children, three or four at a time, rolling sideways down the hill that’s located at the northeast corner of the green space. Recently a thirteen-year-old neighbour who used to roll down the hill at age 3 mentioned that the hill looked much bigger and was much more of a climb when she was a toddler. That reminded me of a visit, when I was an adolescent in Montreal, to a primary classroom I had attended. I marvelled at how small the desks and chairs now appeared, and how large everything had looked when I had been a student in that classroom.
You can learn more about the school grounds - where the remains of the colonel’s homestead are buried – by viewing an online video we’ve made about the homestead and by reading a blog post about the history of the hill.
Successful community project kept Parkview School in public hands
An archaeological survey at the site in 1984 – along with the work of Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Laurel Broten and Ward 3 TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough – played a key role in the local community’s successful project to keep Parkview School, renamed St. Josaphat Cathedral Catholic School, in public hands.
I use an email list to share information about local history and other topics. I’ve also set up an online newsletter – which you can access from the page you’re now reading – in response to a suggestion from Donna Magee who is on my mailing list.
The Categories st this website will help you to find topics that interest you. You can also use Google to search for a topic, as in a search for “Preserved Stories 32 Ninth Street.”
My website was designed by Walden Small Business Marketing. Ongoing site maintenance is by Maestra Web Design. The headshot at the top of page is by Walter Psotka. Below are the links to my social media accounts: