Preserved Stories

School CrestLooking for the MCHS ’60s Reunion & Celebration of the ’60s? The event turned out beautifully. The Oct. 17, 2015 reunion 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 helped organize the Malcolm Campbell High School 2015 ’60s Reunion.  From 1995 to 2006 I taught at Munden Park Public School in Mississauga where I had a great time working with students to set up role plays and dramas in our classrooms.

In 1990 I made presentations in Estonia leading to the founding of the Estonian Stuttering Association (1993). I’m also a co-founder of the Stuttering Association of Toronto (1988), the Canadian Stuttering Association (1991), and the International Stuttering Association (1995). I’ve been involved in media relations and public education efforts aimed at changing public attitudes about people who stutter. It’s a big job. Thanks to a focus on leadership succession, a whole generation of younger leaders are doing a great job in carrying on the work that I helped get started 30 years ago.

In more recent years I’ve been involved with the story management as it relates to local history. My first priority is to find the definitive evidence, that supports a given recollection about key aspects of a given community’s story. Amateur historians (such as myself) sometimes get things wrong about the past, and then other amateur historians (but I try not to be in that category) spread all manner of falsehoods, based on some original error (as in saying, for example, that the Colonel Smith house in Long Branch got torn down in 1952, when the documented evidence underlines that it was demolished in 1955).

For all kinds of reasons, including the malleability of memory, including my own, all manner of fake news stories about the past emerge. Occasionally, people point out factual errors in my blog posts. If the evidence warrants it, I’ll change a previous post at once. I believe strongly in the value of evidence.

Story management, here and now

Story management overlaps with heritage management.

A current storytelling project involves A History of Long Branch.

I’ve organized many Jane’s Walks in collaboration with Mike James of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  My most recent much project involved a Jane’s Walk that took place in Mississauga on May 28, 2016 that was led by Mississauga Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey. The walk, entitled: Small Arms Building – Then and Now, was the only Jane’s Walk Toronto 2016 Jane’s Walk that took place in Mississauga. I am organizing a Jane’s Walk in South Etobicoke with Paul Terry of the Ontario Science Centre that will take place at some point up ahead.

My interests also include:

  • Filmmaking
  • Community self-organizing



Seven of my Vimeo videos – including one featuring Dorothy, age 97, of Villa Road – 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. My documentation of Aquaview, some years ago, led directly to my study of local history in my neighbourhood. 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’ve been involved with community self-organizing and media relations for over 30 years. Until I became involved in efforts to keep Parkview School in public hands, however, I was not involved with 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 support of TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough and of Laurel Broten, the Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP at the time – enabled the community to achieve a great outcome. Peter Milczyn is the current MPP for the riding. I am a strong supporter of Peter’s Milczyn’s work as the Member of the Provincial Parliament  for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

I have an email newsletter that I set up following a suggestion from Donna Magee of Toronto.

Oct. 17, 2015 Malcolm Campbell High School Sixties Reunion an outstanding success

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.

As an organizer, 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 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.

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.

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. I’m really pleased to have this website in place, and I spend a lot of my time working at increasing my skills as a blogger. I’m also very pleased that this website has enabled quite a few people to touch base with each other again, in some cases after not having been in touch for over 50 years! There is so much value in keeping in touch, and in learning from each other’s experiences.

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

5 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

  5. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    “Imaginative geographies” is a concept that is related to the “geographical imagination.”

    A useful related resource is the The Poetics of Space (1994). The latter book, by Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962), was originally published some decades prior to 1994.

    A blurb at the Toronto Public Library (TPL) website reads:

    Thirty years since its first publication in English, French philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space one of the most appealing and lyrical explorations of home. Bachelard takes us on a journey, from cellar to attic, to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams.

    [End of text]

    Author note: Gaston Bachelard

    An author note at the TPL website reads:

    Born in Bar-sur-Aube, France, in 1884, Gaston Bachelard received his doctorate in 1927. He became professor of philosophy at the University of Dijon in 1930, and held the chair in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris from 1940 to 1954.

    In epistemology and the philosophy of science, Bachelard espoused a dialectical rationalism, or dialogue between reason and experience. He rejected the Cartesian conception of scientific truths as immutable; he insisted on experiment as well as mathematics in the development of science. Bachelard described the cooperation between the two as a philosophy of saying no, of being ever ready to revise or abandon the established framework of scientific theory to express the new discoveries.

    In addition to his contributions to the epistemological foundations of science, Bachelard explored the role of reverie and emotion in the expressions of both science and more imaginative thinking. His psychological explanations of the four elements-earth, air, fire, water-illustrate this almost poetic aspect of his philosophy.


    The book is listed at the Toronto Public Library website under the categories (for which I have provided live links) of:



    Space and time

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