Preserved Stories Blog

Marjorie Harness Goodwin (2006) argues that more longitudinal studies are needed regarding gender differences in bullying

The Hidden Life of Girls: Games of Stance, Status, and Exclusion (2006) brings together decades of field research by Marjorie Harness Goodwin conducted from the vantage point of linguistic anthropology.

The latter discipline deals with how what we say shapes the realities that we co-create with peers and others. Like many other disciplines, linguistic anthropology deals with sense-making (and sensemaking: no hyphen) and the construction of meaning. It deals with how storytelling shapes events.

With regard to research findings – from neuroscience and other disciplines – about storytelling, Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self (2014) offers an excellent overview. In the latter study, Jennifer Ouelette speaks of the neural synchronization that occurs between the brain of the storyteller and the brains of listeners as a story unfolds.

Linguistic anthropology

Linguistic anthropology addresses how we are socialized from an early age “through language and to use language.” The latter quotation is from the opening paragraph of Chapter 16, entitled “Peer Language Socialization,” by Marjorie H. Goodwin and Amy Kyratzis, in The Handbook of Language Socialization (2014)

In the quotations that follow, I’ve broken longer paragraphs into shorter ones, for ease in reading.

Review – Hidden Life of Girls (2006)

Erving Goffman kept some views to himself

As I understand, Erving Goffman did not engage in social critiques.

In that context, I was interested to read the following passage in the above-noted review:

“Goodwin’s attention to co-constructed turns-at-talk reveals the myriad ways through which the girls indexed forms of social class distinction.

“She thus provides a critical lens into how these informal peer networks were an emergent product of contradictory late capitalist social relations as well as an agentive collectivity that derived and inflicted both pain and pleasure as they reproduced their ‘high capital’ (Ortner 2005) positioning as elite, near peers within the hierarchical structure of school.

“In this way Goodwin’s analysis of how social class stigma is infused throughout the daily rhythms of middle class girls’ quotidian peer forms of socialization achieves a social critique that her mentor, Erving Goffman, was loathe to realize in his own critical work on total institutions, social stigma, and the presentation of self in everyday life.

[End of excerpt from review]

Goffman left the judging of the story to the reader

His working method – which can be characterized, among other things, as a non-judgemental approach to scholarship – may be among the reasons that Goffman has reached such a wide audience.

Goffman’s approach reminds me of comments by Richard J. Evans in the preface to The Coming of the Third Reich (2004). In the latter discussion, Evans addresses judgement as it relates to the writing of history.

He prefers, he notes, to focus on the presentation of historical narrative, based on the available historical evidence, and to leave the judging of the story to the reader. This is, perhaps, similar to the approach to the study of social interaction that Goffman adopted as a sociologist.

This is conjecture, on my part. It’s a working hypothesis, a starting point for further thought and study, including a focus on what the term “social critique” entails. Related topics concerns debates related to new media, and the attempt to transform “neoliberalism” into a more useful analytic tool than is currently the case.

Critique of essentialist social scientific construals

The reviewer, Jennifer F. Reynolds, also refers to Goodwin’s “critique of essentialist social scientific construals of boys’ and girls’ experiences and behaviors that dualistically render girls prosocial, but lacking ‘legal sense’ and boys assertive individualists, oriented to abstract rules and principles.”

This is a valid critique. As Goodwin notes, more longitudinal studies are required before broad statements are made regarding the ways that girls and boys behave in social settings, and what that tells us about the differences between the genders.

Review at Association for Feminist Anthropology website

Another review of the book, also of interest, can be accessed here.

Definition of bullying

Chapter 7, “Constructing Social Difference and Exclusion in Girls’ Group,” documents the linguistic and nonverbal resources by which social exclusion and ridicule is manifested in the spontaneous play of girls aged 10 to 12.

The chapter, that is, examines forms of bullying, which Goodwin defines (p. 210) as “negative actions occurring repeatedly [emphasis in original] over time on the part of one or more persons.”

[It may be noted that some writers on the topic of bullying, such as Barbara Coloroso, argue that a single instance of a negative action can, in fact, constitute bullying.]

In her description of what bullying entails, Goodwin adds the following comments:

  • Negative actions include many diverse behaviors, including direct verbal aggression (name calling and threats), indirect aggression (spreading rumors), as well as nonverbal aggression (often taking the form of stares).
  • This chapter provides among the first documentations of the embodied language practices children use to perform the activity of peer victimization; the few qualitative studies available rely on focus groups or interviews for data collection.

[End of excerpt]

Debra Pepler and Wendy Craig

An article that I wrote some years ago about research – including survey-based research – related to bullying can be accessed here. It may also be noted that Debra Pepler of York University and the Hospital for Sick Children, and Wendy Craig of Queen’s University, have done extensive research related to bullying in Canadian schools. They have used video recordings as a key part of their research. Further information about research – and evidence-based programs that seek to effectively address bullying in schools – is available at the PREVnet website.

Generation Change

An Oct. 27, 2014 Metro Toronto article is entitled: “Generation Change holds annual candlelight vigil to honour victims of bullying.”

Definition of cliques

The Hidden Life of Girls (2006) highlights the activities of a clique made up of popular girls at an elementary school, as they interact with other students, and with adults, in a wide range of settings in a school environment, over an extended span of time.

According to Goodwin, although gender differences in bullying are often brought forward in the literature, the evidence for such differences is less than overwhelming.

Adler and Adler (1998) describe cliques as “friendship circles whose members tend to identify each other as mutually connected” (Goodwin 2006: 76). The latter authors argue that cliques 1) maintain a hierarchical structure; 2) are dominated by leaders, and 3) are exclusive.

Goodwin also notes that Eder and Parker (1987) assert that cliques include the most popular children, who are most respected by those of their age grade.

She adds that Adler and Adler (1998) argue that cliques in peer groups constitute a culture that is unique in its own right, and that at the same time serves as a “staging ground for future adult behavior.”


Posted in Film and sound, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

On the day the First World War was declared, Robert Home Smith opened the Old Mill Tea Room

The image is from Kingsway Park (1994). A link to the book is available at the post you are now reading. The caption reads: Mr. R. Home Smith, 1930 by Ashley & Crippen. (MTRL T30068).

Portrait of Home Smith at Home Smith Jazz Bar at Old Mill Toronto. Jaan Pill photo

A July 27, 2014 Etobicoke Guardian article notes that on Aug. 4, 1914 Britain declared war on Germany, automatically bringing Canada into the First World War.

That was now over 100 years ago.

On the same day, Robert Home Smith opened the Old Mill Tea Room in Toronto.

The Tea Room is located at Old Mill Toronto, where the MCHS 60s Reunion will take place on Oct. 17, 2015.

MCHS 60s Reunion & Celebration of the 60s

In posts with updates from the reunion organizing committee, I haven’t much discussed the history of Old Mill Toronto.

News about the reunion is in the MCHS 60s Reunion & Celebration of the 60s category at this website.

However, in the event that history may be of interest to you, I trust you will enjoy this overview, which I’ve posted in the separate MCHS 60′s Biographies & History category. An additional post about the Humber River can be found here.

The Kingsway

The broader context of the story of Kingsway Park is the history of the British empire.

Among other resources, a comprehensive overview of the history of the Humber River is available at Humber River: The Carrying Place (2009).  The choice of a one-column format, for a large-format book that is laid out in landscape mode, detracts from readability, but the content is of interest.

The ongoing redevelopment of The Kingsway is part of Toronto’s planning history. If the latter topic interests you, a paper by Steve Munro offers an a overview.

“A monument to his dreams”

A May 8, 2010 Torontoist article, “A monument to his dreams,” provides an overview of Robert Home Smith’s life and role as developer of the Kingsway neighbourhood of Toronto. The space between paragraphs has been omitted in the online article, which detracts from readability, but the content is of interest.

Early 1960s Etobicoke Kiwanis Club talk highlights life of R. Home Smith

View from the Bloor St. West along the Humber River Bridge, looking south toward Lake Ontario. Jaan Pill photo

The purpose of this post is to share an excerpt from a talk by Robert S. Hanks, chief architect of the Home Smith & Company architectural department from 1930 to 1939.

The talk was at the Etobicoke Kiwanis Club in the early 1960s.

The excerpt appears in Kingsway Park: Triumph in Design: An Architectural Study of a Planned Community: Etobicoke 1924-1947 (1994). The text is laid out in a two-column format with ragged right margins, which makes for easy reading.

For ease of reading at this post, I’ve broken longer paragraphs in the extract into shorter ones and have added headings.

Excerpt from a talk by Robert S. Hanks in the early 1960s (source of this text is Kingsway Park, 1994)

“To understand the development of Kingsway Park, it is necessary to know something about the man who was responsible for it, Robert Home Smith. Home Smith was a big man in everything he did. He was a handsome man, over six feet in height, with a dynamic and outgoing personality. During his life he held many important posts. Don’t assume that list I can provide would be complete.

Humber River and Old Mill, 1907. Source: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1239

“While chairman of the Toronto Harbour Commission, he was involved in reclaiming and making hundreds of acres of industrial and park land that run from the mouth of the Don River to that of the Humber.

“At various times he was chairman of the Niagara Falls Parks Commission and the City of Ottawa Planning Commission, president of the Mexican Northwestern Railway, the Buffalo Rochester & Lockport Railway, the Algoma Eastern Railway and the Algoma Central Railway.

“As well, he was president of the Algoma Steel Corporation, the Lake Superior Corporation and Alliance Paper Mills of St. Catharines.

Makes his fortune with Northern Ontario Mines

“A one-time organizer for the Progressive Conservative Party, he also had an interest in a fleet of steamships operating on the Amazon River. Smith was a pioneer in the development of Northern Ontario Mines, where he made his fortune.

“He introduced the growing of tobacco in Norfolk County, developing his 26,000 acres there. As well as the 3,000 acres in Etobicoke, he held 800 at Niagara-on-the-Lake and 1,850 in Peel County.

Sign at King's Mill Park, near Old Mill Toronto, outlines the history of King's Mill. Click on the image to enlarge it. In that way you can read the text with ease. Jaan Pill photo

“Robert Home Smith was born in Stratford, Ontario, on July 12, 1877, the son of Judge Robert Smith and Robina Lizars Smith. A grandson of Judge Daniel Home Lizars, he graduated with a degree in law from the University of Toronto in 1899.

Gives up private practice

“Owing to a hearing deficiency which plagued him all his life, he gave up private practice in 1901 and joined the National Trust Company’s legal department.

“Smith’s interest in land development started when he was called upon to liquidate the York County Loan & Savings Company. This company, brainchild of Mr. Joe Phillips at the turn of the century, had acquired property south of Bloor Street West in the Roncesvalles Avenue-Parkside Drive area. The project had been financed by selling itself directly to the general public for between 25 cents and a dollar per share. Phillips planned a deluxe development and started well. Imposing gates were erected at the entrance to High Park Boulevard. Several well­ designed and costly houses were constructed.

Joe Phillips runs afoul of the law

View of Old Mill Toronto looking west from King's Mill Park by the Humber River. Jaan Pill photo

“However, Phillips ran afoul of the law and was sentenced to four years in jail for falsifying reports. In 1905, National Trust was called in to straighten out the mess and Home Smith was given the job of liquidating the company.

“He was so successful that by the time Phillips was released from jail, all the property had been sold and the creditors paid off at 50 cents on the dollar.

Home Smith turns to land development

“This exercise whetted the appetite of Home Smith for land development and, with the aid of English capital through the brokerage firm of Kitcat and Aiken, he began purchasing land, starting at the south of the Humber River and moving north and west from there.

“He set up the Toronto Land Corporation to hold the land and Home Smith & Company to act as sales agent. (Most of his holdings in the Humber Valley Survey were acquired before 1912 for $1.5 million. Paterson estimates that the 100-acre Kingsway Park portion cost under $50,000).

The Old Mill Hotel, 27 Old Mill Road, Kingsway Park, circa 1945. Old Mill Toronto is now at 21 Old Mill Road. Image source: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 533.

Panoramic view of Humber River. No date. Source: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 163

Favourite riverside gathering spot

“In 1914 Home Smith moved his operations across the Humber and, on the day the First World War was declared, opened the Old Mill Tea Room.

“This was for many years a favourite gathering spot for young Torontonians and, in conjunction with the boat house that he had built behind the restaurant on the river, made a colourful site on summer evenings and weekends.

“Home Smith’s lands west of the Humber, of which the Park is a component, could only be developed to any real extent once the high­ level bridge at Bloor Street was constructed in 1924.

“Home Smith died at age 58 in February 1935. I will close with two lines from an obituary poem written by Haldimand County poet Wilson Macdonald, one of Home Smith’s friends.

“‘His empire was the Humber and that stream, / Flowed ever through the valley of his heart.’”

[End of excerpt]


1914 was also the year the artist Saul Steinberg was born.

Painting at reception desk at Old Mill Toronto provides Artist's Impression of Old Mill at early stage of its history. Jaan Pill photo


Posted in Historiography, MCHS 60s Biographies & Histories, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

David Godley comments regarding “Time for courage in transit crossroads” – Oct. 10, 2014 Toronto Star

With regard to an Oct. 10, 2014 Toronto Star article by Bryan Tuckey, David Godley has submitted the following letter to the editor to the Toronto Star:

Places to Grow

The Building Industry group led by Bryan Tuckey is essential to creating a great city such as Toronto.

The article paints a picture of how well this organisation’s members are doing and how they are hard done by with municipalities standing in their way.

As Mr Tuckey knows from Economics 101 it is demand which determines the price of housing not the cost. Consequently the building industry rather than the homebuyer picks up the tab for development fees.

Since Toronto’s infrastructure from growth is severely underfunded it goes without saying that the development fees are too low.

The building industry in the past pushed for low density, the most expensive form of housing for the community, and at the same time covered the best agricultural land in Canada.

Admittedly municipalities resisted New Urbanism which the Province supported. This has twice the density of conventional detached housing and creates real neighbourhoods.

As for current development, municipalities are encouraging high densities but not at the expense of destroying amenity and neighbourhood character.

Since the Ontario Municipal Board tends to be development rather than planning oriented there is no effective check on ensuring Official Plan policies are followed.

Yours truly

David Godley


Posted in Construction, Historiography, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Oct. 11, 2014 Toronto Star “More voices on Oct. 27 election” includes perceptive letter from David Godley of Long Branch

The article can be accessed here.

In his letter (see link above), David Godley writes:

I note that author Jordan Whelan is a marketing person who can be selective of facts.
John Tory’s priority is the Scarborough Subway which is not supported by experts involved directly in transportation planning.

It also needs each household to write cheques amounting to $1,200 (eventually likely much more).

SmartTrack has elements of sense, which as the author points out have already been mooted by others, but will need much more study to integrate it into an overall policy.

SmartTrack is essentially a marketing tool.

The author confuses short term goals with long terms transit goals.

Lots of initiatives can make the system better such as the honour system for streetcars and improvements to bus systems.

Olivia Chow gives greater priority to the Subway Relief Line where the need is greatest.

The City agreement with the Province is for LRT in Scarborough and this is the best for the City.

We do not want another Sheppard Subway disaster. We could have had an Eglinton link to the airport by now.

The new City Council will have to make the decisions so let us hope the electorate get it right this time around.

David Godley, Toronto


Posted in Construction, Historiography, Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Erving Goffman’s “total institutions” warrant inclusion in a comprehensive theory of management

Cannons, such as one located at Old Mill Toronto in the Kingsway neighbourhood, serve as a reminder of the concept that "war is work that soldiers do." The concept is discussed in a previous post about Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying (2011), a study by Sönke Neitzel, a historian, and Harald Welzer, a sociologist and social psychologist. Jaan Pill photo

Another heavy gun, a retired cannon, is located at Marie Curtis Park in south Etobicoke. You can read more about the cannon by doing a Google search for "Cannon at Marie Curtis Park Preserved Stories." Jaan Pill photo

As I have noted, John Hendry provides an impressive and valuable overview of management theory and practice in Management: A Very Short Introduction (2013).

According to a blurb, the Very Short Introductions of which close to 400 have been published by Oxford University Press, “are for anyone wanting a stimulating and accessible way in to a new subject. They are written by experts, and have been published in more than 40 languages worldwide.”

Management and morality

Chapter 10 of John Hendry’s overview, which addresses management and morality, brings to mind Erving Goffman’s concept of the “total institution.”

In such institutions, the rules – and sense-making and storytelling – of everyday life outside no longer have validity for their members. The link in the previous paragraph outlines the concept.

In Chapter 8, modern organizations are characterized as settings from which questions of morality are excluded. Chapter 6 describes “strong individualizing tendencies of contemporary management” (p. 116), a theme that points in the same direction as Chapter 8.

Chapter 2, on the other hand, “pictures management practice as an inherently social activity that would seem to have an essentially moral dimension” (p.116). This picture would, Hendry adds, be reinforced by the socializing tendencies described in Chapter 5 and sense-making and storytelling functions of management outlined in Chapter 9.

Dehumanizing effects of bureaucratic technology

Hendry adds that the tension that he describes – between management viewed as not concerned with morality, and management viewed as having a moral function – is endemic to management.

The links embedded in the quotations that follow refer to previous posts.

Traditional bureaucratic corporation

“The traditional bureaucratic corporation,” Hendry asserts on p. 117, “was in many ways a traditional moral community, modelled on the societies in which it operated. Hierarchical structure was accompanied by an ethic of duty, in which each member served the interests of the whole by conscientiously playing his or her particular part.”

Hendry adds, however, that critics view such a corporation as “morally disabling.”

Zygmunt Bauman

“The bureaucracy,” the critics would argue, according to Hendry, “established rules for everything and the manager, acting as an office holder rather than as an individual person, could not do other than follow those rules, even if the purposes of the organization were quite unethical. Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman pointed to the bureaucratic organization that made possible the Holocaust as an example of the dehumanizing effects of bureaucratic technology.”

Hendry’s own conclusion is that the state of affairs in history when a bureaucracy was “turned to immoral ends by unscrupulous leaders … was essentially a pathological state. It relied on the exercise of power, through charisma and coercion, in ways that were completely alien to the bureaucratic ideal. In a properly functioning bureaucracy the leader or chief executive is as much a servant of the community as anyone else.”

Whether Hendry’s conclusion, about what has happened in the past, is valid, or adds to our capacity to make sense of what management entails, is a matter of opinion.

One can add, as is evident from The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account (1974), among other accounts, that in some cases in history, genocide has proceeded without much assistance from bureaucracy.

Marjorie H. Goodman, Timothy Snyder, and Vasily Grossman

The discussion concerning the tension related to the morality, or lack of morality, of bureaucratic organizations brings to mind the work of Marjorie Harness Goodwin (2006), Timothy Snyder (2010), and Vasily Grossman (2005).

Linguistic anthropology

As outlined at an earlier post, linguistic anthropology provides an apt means by which asymmetrical power relationships in society can be analyzed, and provides a basis whereby destructive social scenarios including bullying can be addressed in ways that possess a likelihood of achieving positive results.

Chapter 16 in The Handbook of Language Socialization (2014) by Marjorie H. Goodwin and Amy Kyratzis, entitled “Peer Language Socialization,” reviews the broader context within which linguistic anthropology contributes to our understanding of how we as citizens are socialized from an early age “through language and to use language.” The latter quotation is from the opening paragraph of Chapter 16 of the handbook in question.

Linguistic anthropology may, by way of illustration, entail a detailed analysis of a video recording of a specified social interaction, for example of children at a playground at recess. Requisite permissions to video and audio record would be obtained beforehand in such research.

Beats, pauses, and intonation contours

The resulting recordings are converted into a script that bears similarities to a motion picture script. However, in the research analysis, the inflections, beats, pauses, intonation contours (which can be analyzed using Pitchworks), and emphases of spoken dialogue are included in the detailed script – which, in turn, serves as a key element in a subsequent research report.

In contrast, with a motion picture script, it is the actors who would be responsible for bringing the script to life – for example by deciding where the beats will be, in the spoken dialogue – in the course of acting out a series of specified scenes.

In a sense, in the form of research that linguistic anthropology entails, from what I can gather, a segment of everyday life is recorded, and through a process akin to reverse engineering, a detailed script – more precise and detailed than a motion picture script – is presented to the reader.

Goodwin approaches the study of social interactions in a manner that builds upon the work of Erving Goffman.

The work of filmmaker Laura Poitras similarly demonstrates elements of a Goffmanesque approach toward sense-making, storytelling, and themes of relevance to linguistic anthropology among other academic disciplines.

Bloodlands (2010) and A Writer at War (2005)

An Oct. 9, 2010 Guardian review, by Neal Ascherson, of Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (2010), highlights the work of Timothy Snyder and Vasily Grossman. Among other works, Vasily Grossman is the author of A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army, 1941-1945, 1st ed. (2005).

In the opening paragraph of the review, Ascherson remarks:

  • He found himself treading upon “bottomless, unsteady earth” crawling with small flies. The novelist Vasily Grossman, then a Red Army soldier, was walking across the still-settling wasteland where the extermination camp of Treblinka had stood until nine months before. As Timothy Snyder writes, Grossman “found the remnants: photographs of children in Warsaw and Vienna; a bit of Ukrainian embroidery; a sack of hair, blonde and black”. The loose soil, flung around by peasants digging for Jewish gold, was still “throwing out crushed bones, teeth, clothes, papers”.

[End of excerpt]


Posted in Historiography, Military history, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

The oldest approach to management involves telling people what to do, if necessary by using violence or the threat of violence

Management: A Very Short Introduction (2013) is a delightful book, which provides a brief and cogent overview of management theory and practice.

The book’s author, John Hendry, is founding director of the University of Cambridge MBA and has been teaching management for over 25 years.

Reason has its limits

The first chapter defines management and outlines everyday meanings of the concept – as in: “How are you managing? How are you coping?”

John Hendry notes that management involves controlling things as well as coping with things that are out of a person’s control, but that still have to be dealt with somehow.

With regard to management as a rational, technical activity, he notes that reason has its limits. He also discusses unintended consequences related to assumptions that are not suitable for the task at hand.

He notes that when management theory draws upon social science research, the sole interest is in what might be useful. This means that ideas and concepts may be borrowed without regard for their underlying assumptions or scientific validity. This often leads to outcomes that are confused and contradictory.

Management and authority

John Hendry notes that the oldest and simplest approach to management involves telling people what to do and to make sure it gets done, “if necessary by using violence or the threat of violence” (p. 26).

He adds that management through coercion is manifested in bonded labour, the military, and many other arrangements whereby work gets done. Although Hendry doesn’t refer explicitly to war as work, so far as I can recall, the conceptualization that war is work that soldiers do comes to mind.

A discussion of the distinction between Max Weber’s conceptualization of traditional authority, charismatic authority, and rational or legal authority leads to the following passage (p. 30), which I read with interest. I have broken the longer text into shorter paragraphs for ease of reading:


“An insightful example of how legitimate authority can embrace coercion is given by the writer Sebastian Faulks in his novel Birdsong. Set before and during the First World War, this points to parallels between the violence with which one of the characters routinely treats his wife; the violent subjugation by the same character of the workers at his factory; and the violence imposed on conscript soldiers in the trenches, sent by their senior officers ‘over the top’ to their almost certain deaths, to no obvious end, under threat of execution if they resisted, and with chaplains in attendance.

“In each case the violence portrayed here was not a counter or alternative to legitimate authority, but a socially legitimized part of that authority. The traditional authority of a husband over his wife included the authority to beat her. The traditional-cum-rational authority of the factory owner included the authority to forcibly subjugate the workers.

“The rational authority of the officer combines with the traditional authority of the priest to justify sending people to their needless deaths. In many societies today such violence is no longer seen as legitimate. It constitutes an abuse, not an exercise of, legitimate authority. In many other societies, however, little seems to have changed.”

[End of excerpt]


Warfare exists as a brand and as a back story. Both the brand and the back story are of interest. In the case of the First World War, as it relates to Canada, the brand at the outset, for quite a few young men in Canada – in particular, in English Canada – was: “This will be a great war to be a part of. It will be done in a month or two. Then we come back home and get on with our lives once again.”

At the end of the First World War, when surviving soldiers returned home, the back story came to be told, in some detail. Some aspects of the brand – and of the legacy of the war expressed as the brand – changed as a consequence. The reputations – in a sense, the brand message – of the British generals who led the British forces during the war were at a high point right after the war. Within the next 10 or 20 years, their reputations were vastly diminished. In recent years, their reputations have been to some extent rehabilitated.

The story of Douglas Haig – the rise and fall and subsequent partial rehabilitation of his reputation – has been documented in a range of overviews. An excerpt from one such overview, about the general, can be accessed here.

Some passages of text in an article, or in a school history text, will deliver the brand. Accessing the back story, getting a sense of what warfare entails, takes a little more work. Yet if we seek to know the back story, we need to make the effort to get acquainted with the corroborated, fact-based evidence, which presents itself in a wide range of formats – including poems, novels, graphic novels, diaries, eye-witness accounts, and archival resources.

Mental health in police services

As an addendum to the overview of the text that John Hendry has published, I would add that the culture of police services, in a city like Toronto, comes to mind. That is, how is such a police force managed – in relation, by way of example, to mental health issues that police officers may face?

The story shared by the widow of a Toronto police officer who committed suicide comes to mind. In this regard, a July 17, 2014 CityTV Toronto article is entitled: “The Inside Story: Family blames Toronto police for officer’s suicide.”

I became aware of the story as a result of an interview that Heidi Rogers — the widow of Sgt. Richard “Bucky” Rogers – at 7:10 am on Metro Morning on Oct. 10, 2014.

Heidi Rogers has remarked, in one of the interviews I’ve listened to or read about: “The change in culture has to come from the top.”

Children’s rights movement

The joint awarding of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to children’s rights activists Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India come to mind, with regard to John Henry’s overview (pp. 26-28) of bonded labour.

An Oct. 10, 2014 CBC article is entitled: “Nobel Peace Prize: Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi win 2014 award.”

“Satyarthi, 60, has been active in the children’s rights movement since 1980. His work has led to the rescue of thousands of children from slavery, and he has survived several attempts on his life.

“In maintaining the traditions of Mahatma Gandhi, Satyarthi has ‘headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,’ the Nobel committee said Friday.”

[End of excerpt]


Posted in Historiography, Military history, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

“Recalling the power of Mother Nature, 60 years after Hurricane Hazel” – Oct. 9, 2014 Etobicoke Guardian

An Oct. 9, 2014 Etobicoke Guardian article by Cynthia Reason is entitled: “Recalling the power of Mother Nature, 60 years after Hurricane Hazel: Storm took 81 lives, but transformed flood management practices to help protect future generations.”

An Environment Canada overview of Hurricane Hazel can be accessed here.


Posted in Historiography, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

The MCHS 60s Reunion organizing committee met in Kitchener on Sept. 24, 2014

Old Mill Toronto, site of the Oct. 17, 2015 MCHS 60s Reunion, is located by the Humber River, which Étienne Brûlé visited in 1615. The reunion will take place at the Brûlé Ballrooms at the Old Mill. In the photo, Étienne Brûlé Park is visible on the north side of the river. Jaan Pill photo

The photo shows the Humber River on a later day, when the water has not turned muddy following runoff from a recent rainfall. Jaan Pill photo

As we noted in a previous post, on Sept. 22, 2014 two members of the organizing committee visited Old Mill Toronto, where the Oct. 17, 2015 MCHS 60s Reunion will take place.

On Sept. 24, 2014 Lynn Legge, Scott Munro, and Jaan Pill met in Kitchener, Ontario. That meeting is the topic of the current post.

Our next reunion organizing meeting is at 11:30 am on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 at the Boston Pizza in Kitchener where our previous meetings have been held. If you are an MCHS alumna or alumnus who attended the school at any point in the 1960s, you are most welcome to attend the meetings and share your thoughts and suggestions. We much value input from all sources. Please contact me for directions and details.

Guest rooms at Old Mill Toronto and elsewhere

At our Sept. 24 meeting, we noted that we have block rates for guest rooms at Old Mill Toronto for the Oct. 17, 2015 event. If you would like to reserve a room at Old Mill or get further information please contact Jaan Pill at

You need to keep in mind what your accommodation needs are. Single occupancy? Occupancy by a couple? Occupancy by a group of classmates? And at what price range? Different hotels provide different options. Good idea to read the online reviews.

Some guest rooms will be available at Old Mill Toronto at reduced rates for MCHs 60s Reunion attendees. Jaan Pill photo

Several hotels that Lynn Legge has checked will have block rates available after Oct. 17, 2014. Among the hotels she has been looking at aside from Old Mill Toronto are, among others, Stay Inn; Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport; Radisson Suites Hotel; Hampton Inn by Hilton Toronto Airport Corporate Centre; and Canada’s Best Value Inn Toronto.

Old Mill Toronto is accessible from the Old Mill subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line. For that reason, we are also checking on hotels along the subway line that may be good choices for some attendees.

MCHS Sixties Reunion includes any student who attended MCHS in the 1960s

Following up on a great suggestion from John Kovac, we have expanded the Sixties Reunion to include every student who attended MCHS in the 1960s, including MCHS students who graduated in the 1970s. An earlier discussion with Lynn Berry was very helpful in setting the stage for the response of the organizing committee to John Kovac’s suggestion.

MCHS teachers, administrators, and other staff

If you have names and contact details for any teachers who taught students who attended Malcolm Campbell High School in the 1960s, please let me know. Teachers or other school staff in this category, who would now be in their eighties or nineties (I’m guessing), are most welcome to attend the reunion.

Communications strategy

It has also been suggested that, in order to simplify communications, it would be helpful if we made a clear distinction between 1) updates about the MCHS 60s Reunion, and 2) the MCHS biographies and stories related to the history of the school.

We have followed up on this excellent suggestion. Our two current Categories are now distinct from each other, with no overlap (to my knowledge) between the Categories:

MCHS 60s Reunion & Celebration of the 60s

MCHS 60s Biographies & Histories

We may also set up a Category with information about the registration procedure, and another one with information about where people can find information about the reunion on Facebook.

MCHS 60s Reunion letterhead; sending out of email updates to alumni listed on our database

The Old Mill Bridge, which crosses the Humber River just east of Old Mill Toronto, was built in 1916. Jaan Pill photo

Howard Hight and Diana Redden have set up a project for sending out regular email updates, using the impressive letterhead they have designed, to the MCHS alumni who are on the MCHS 60s database.

We noted at the Sept. 24, 2014 meeting that the letterhead is well designed and that the all-important first letter was highly effective in communicating key messages.

We much appreciate the work that Diana and Howard are doing as members of the organizing committee. We have a great team of people across North America working closely together to stage the MCHS 60s Reunion.

If you are not on the database but wish to add you name, please contact Howard Hight at

Networking is a great way to publicize the reunion

Networking is a key means, along with email, blog posts, and Facebook pages, that we are using to let people know about the reunion.

In cases where we have contact information, we are contacting MCHS 60s grads and asking them to spread the word about the reunion among brothers and sisters, and classmates that they know, who went to MCHS in the sixties.

Why not have the reunion in Montreal?

We’ve had the opportunity to discuss this excellent question at a previous blog post.

We encourage the staging of mini-reunions in Montreal, such as the successful event that took place in Montreal on Aug.13, 2014.

But in the meantime, we’ve made our choice for the venue.


View of Brûlé Room. On the occasion of our Sept. 22, 2014 site visit, tables were set up in classroom style. For the Oct. 17, 2015 reunion, we'll have round tables set up, with room for a buffet as well as a space toward the middle for dancing. Jaan Pill photo

With help from Peter Mearns, we have located an accountant for the reunion.

The plan is that that registration cheques would be sent to the database team, which will deposit the cheques to our bank account.

The MCHS Sixties Reunion database would serve as the registration form.

As Diana Redden has remarked, with regard to this registration procedure: “Simple and easy is the way to go.”

Simplicity is an ongoing theme for all aspects of the reunion.

Review of Sept. 22, 2014 meeting

Some of the highlights of our Sept. 22 site visit are outlined in a previous post. We’ll have some high tables set up at the periphery of the room for the buffet portion of the event, when people have time to mingle, as suggested at the June 16, 2014 meeting of the organizing committee. We’ll also have round tables where alumni will be seated with classmates at the beginning of the event.

Communications with Old Mill

Sheila, the Sales Executive at Old Mill who is our contact, requests that one person be the communication channel regarding the meeting rooms; Jaan Pill will for now perform that role.

Old Mill Toronto features an inner courtyard (middle of photo) where MCHS 60s alumni would have the opportunity to meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2015 prior to the 6:00 pm start of the reunion. Jaan Pill photo

Home Smith Jazz Bar. This is another place where people can meet on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 prior to the opening of the Brûlé Rooms at 6:00 pm. Jaan Pill photo

Start time

The reunion starts at 6:00 pm on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. The room rental is until 1:00 am. We can arrange for people to get together before that in a main inner courtyard (see photo on this page) if they wish to hang out earlier. There’s also a pub – the Home Smith Jazz Bar – where people can meet; the live jazz entertainment starts there at 3:00 pm.

Dinner cost

With one glass of wine included with dinner (with anything extra involving payment at a cash bar), and with taxes and gratuities, it’s probably about $100 to $110 a person. We will determine the exact amount of the registration fee after we consult with our accountant.

Audio visual options and entertainment

We also discussed audio visual and entertainment options (e.g. DJ and/or live or recorded sixties music), which we will explore in more detail later.

A basic consideration is that we want to have dinner and mill around. As Scott Munro noted (this is a paraphrase) at our Sept. 22 meeting: “Keep it simple.”

The buffet is a key event at the reunion. It offers an opportunity to get up and mix with the people who are there.

Some people who attended the MCHS 2000 Reunion in Montreal have mentioned they really enjoyed it. We look forward to incorporating some of the features of that event. People have mentioned they really enjoyed the dancing, the Sixties music, and so we’re keen to get ideas in that area, while keeping things simple. Among other topics that we discussed on Sept. 24, in a preliminary way, were raffles, a 50/50 draw, spot dances, and other incentives.

Lynn Legge remarked: “Remember when we used to be kids? We used to have spot dances.”

Pig roast

Howard High has mentioned a high school reunion, that he read about in a Grafton MA newspaper, that featured a pig roast (see Comments section at an earlier post). We will explore that possibility for sure!

I’ve recently mentioned to Howard that, as a vegetarian for over 40 years, I would observe the roast with interest, in the event it were to occur. Howard has responded, in turn: “We could put an apple in its mouth for you…….”


Jaan Pill has contacted a professional photographer who can take first-rate shots, and can print them out and sell them on the spot.

Name Tags

As highlighted in a previous post, we’ve discussed the concept of having name tags that include, along with a yearbook photo, information about a person’s line of work or volunteer pursuits over the past 50 years. We can add that if a yearbook photo is unavailable, an “Age 17″ photo, which many people have, will work just as well.

At our Sept. 24 meeting, Lynn Legge mentioned that, at a high school reunion in London, Ontario, the name tags were colour coded. “Each name tag,” she noted, “had a designated colour for the year you graduated.” We may remember very few people, but when we see a colour that corresponds to our own year, that can help us in getting oriented, when we try to figure our who’s who, 50 years later.

If you graduated twice, as some people did, to bring up their marks or to get the required complement of courses, you can choose whichever year you prefer, by way of being designated according to a particular graduation year.

Lynn Legge and Scott Munro beside Lynn's impressive Ford Mustang, prior to our respective drives home after the Sept. 24, 2014 meeting at a Boston Pizza in Kitchener. Jaan Pill photo

Dining Room and amenities

Old Mill Toronto offers guests and visitors a great dining experience. Scott Munro and Jaan Pill had an enjoyable lunch at the Old Mill Dining Room on Sept. 22, 2014. The food and service are of the highest quality. There’s also lots of green space and trees visible from the Dining Room.

We owe thanks to Peter Mearns for doing all of the earlier ground work regarding Old Mill Toronto. He’s done a great job on behalf of the reunion in choosing the site.


Posted in MCHS 60s Reunion & Celebration of the 60s, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

View of the Lakeshore from Kipling to Etobicoke Creek

John Easton has forwarded a great link, for which we owe many thanks, which provides a view of the Lakeshore from Kipling to Etobicoke Creek:


Posted in Historiography, Long Branch, Mimico, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

The MCHS 60s Reunion will take place a year from now on Oct. 17, 2015 at Old Mill Toronto

View looking south from Old Mill Road in the Kingsway residential neighbourhood. One of the three main entrances to Old Mill Toronto is the entrance where the cars are parked. Jaan Pill photo

In September 2014, after taking a break during the summer, the Malcolm Campbell High School 60s Reunion organizing committee met in Toronto and in Kitchener.

Sept. 22, 2014

Jaan Pill (left) and Scott Munro check out the fireplace at Brûlé Ballroom C.

On Sept. 22, 2014 Scott Munro and Jaan Pill visited Old Mill Toronto, the venue for the MCHS 60s Reunion, which will take place a year from now on Oct. 17, 2015.

Sept. 24, 2014

On Sept. 24, 2014 Lynn Legge, Scott Munro, and Jaan Pill met at the Boston Pizza at 190 Gateway Park Drive off the 401 in Kitchener, Ontario. This is a handy place to meet as it’s half way between London where Lynn Legge lives, and the Greater Toronto Area where several other committee members live. You can get an overview of the latter meeting at this link.

Registration procedure

We have also had some recent phone and email conversations related to our communications strategy, the work that our reunion accountant will be doing, and the registration procedure that we will be setting up for the reunion. We will highlight these topics in subsequent posts.

Key participants in the recent planning discussions have included Howard Hight, Diana Redden, Peter Mearns, Lynn Legge, Scott Munro, and Jaan Pill among other MCHS alumni. We have welcomed ideas and concepts from many source and continue to be most interested in input from each person who has an interest in the reunion planning process. As always, we have much to learn from each other.

We are very excited about this reunion and look forward to meeting you at this event.

In this post we’ll describe the Sept. 22, 2014 visit to Old Mill Toronto, which also goes by the name of the Old Mill Inn.

Google Map

A Google Map of Old Mill Toronto at 21 Old Mill Road can be accessed here.

An overview of the amenities and services available at Old Mill Toronto can be accessed here.

Kingsway neighbourhood of Toronto

Sheila, a Sales Executive at Old Mill, met with us on Sept. 22 and led us on a tour of the facilities including the meeting rooms, the Home Smith Jazz Bar, the Old Mill Toronto Dining Room, the outside spaces including a courtyard, the historic Old Mill building, and the hotel that has been added to the Old Mill site in a major redevelopment project some years ago.

We noted that the facility is surrounded by extensive green space and is close to several parks located along the nearby Humber River valley.

Scott Munro recalled that his parents used to visit the Old Inn for lunch or dinner years ago, after they had moved to Toronto from Montreal.

The Old Mill is located in Kingsway neighbourhood of Toronto. relevant links can be found at the Bloor West Village and Kingsway BIA websites.

Three main entrances to Old Mill Toronto

Click on the Google Map to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further. Use 'back' button on your browser to return to the page you are now reading. You can also access the Google Map at the link at the page you are now reading.

Floor Plan - 1st Floor - Old Mill Toronto. Click on image to enlarge it. Use 'Back' button on your browser to return to the page you are now reading.

Old Mill has three main entrances.

One is the main entrance (see photo above) from the paid parking area on Old Mill Road across from the Old Mill. The parking lot is close to the Humber River.

The most direct route to the Brûlé Ballrooms is through the Dining Room and Flower Shop Entrance. Jaan Pill photo

Another entrance is the Dining Room and Flower Shop Entrance. This is an entrance offering the most direct route to the Étienne Brûlé Ballrooms, where the reunion will take place.

As soon as you come in the door, you turn right. On the way you pass the coat check, so if you wish to check your coat, that’s where you can check your coat.

Old Mill Subway

If you’re travelling by subway, there’s also a direct entrance from the Old Mill subway station, which opened in 1968. As part of our planning process, we’re looking at hotels located along the Bloor-Danforth subway line, among other locations.

The Old Mill also features guest rooms that are well worth looking at, if you’re considering where to stay for the reunion. These rooms will be available at block rates; please contact Jaan Pill at if you are interested in booking a guest room at Old Mill.

Brûlé Ballrooms

We’ll probably use balloons to indicate the route from the main entrances to the Étienne Brûlé Ballrooms where the reunion will take place in – in Ballrooms C & B, or in Ballroom C, depending on the attendance figures.

As you proceed, you avoid the stairs and proceed along the hallway. You then arrive at the Brûlé Ballrooms. The association with the history of New France is very good, given that MCHS was in Montreal. We can set up a registration table outside of the entrance to Brûlé Ballroom C, or we can set up a photographer’s booth (along with the photographer’s on-site printer) at that location. The Old Inn uses the rooms for New Year’s parties and their Christmas buffet.

When we visited the Brûlé rooms, they were set up in classroom style for a meeting. The 60s reunion will not be in a classroom format. The space will be set up for a buffet, with a space in the middle, close to the north wall, for dancing. We can also have a riser in place, with a podium, so that if you’re sitting at the back, you can see who’s speaking.

Scott Munro (MCHS 63) checks out the Brûlé Ballrooms. Jaan Pill photo

Each room features a fireplace.

Étienne Brûlé

Étienne Brûlé was a 17th century interpreter described as probably the first European to see lakes Ontario, Huron, Superior, and Erie. You can access a July 16, 2011 Toronto Star article about him here. Given that few primary sources are available about Brûlé’s life, stories about him tend to vary widely based on differing interpretations of the small number of historical facts that are known about him.

Étienne Brûlé at the mouth of the Humber River in 1615, 399 years ago as of 2014, accompanied by First Nations guides. Pen & Ink drawing, circa 1933, by C.W. Jefferys. Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1972-26-1395. Copyright: Expired

Scott Munro has remarked: “If Brûlé was at the mouth of the Humber then the naming of the Brûlé room at the Old Mill is apt.”

After the meeting, Scott and Jaan had an enjoyable lunch at the Old Mill Toronto Dining Room. In subsequent posts, we’ll share more details related to Old Mill Toronto and will also highlight the Sept. 24, 2014 meeting of the MCHS 60s organizing committee in Kitchener.


Among the Old Mill Toronto guest rooms that will likely be available, at special rates for the reunion, is this room, which the MCHS 60s organizing committee visited on Sept. 22, 2014. Jaan Pill photo

Posted in MCHS 60s Reunion & Celebration of the 60s, Newsletter, Toronto | 5 Comments