My name is Jaan Pill; I’m a documentary maker, writer, and beginner practitioner of mindfulness. I began interviewing people a half-century ago. I helped organize a reunion in Toronto in 2015 for a high school I attended in Montreal. A retired elementary teacher, I most recently taught at Munden Park Public School in Mississauga. For some time many years ago, I went by the name John Jaan Pill until a colleague suggested I go with my Estonian name.
Many people have reconnected through this website, sometimes after a half-century or more.
In my experience, a strong culture of leadership succession increases the likelihood of long-term success for non-profit organizations. The best way to establish it is to include leadership succession in the organization’s constitution and bylaws.
In recent years, I’ve become involved with local history with a particular interest in fact-checking related to this form of history. At times, local historians just repeat what somebody else has said, without seeking verification and corroboration. For example, Colonel Smith’s log cabin (built in 1797) in Long Branch, South Etobicoke, got torn down in 1955. If you think it happened in 1952, you’ve been misled.
In Tyrone Guthrie’s recollection, the most influential factor ensuring the launch of the Stratford Festival on July 13, 1953 was its timeliness.
Other key factors, noted by Guthrie among others, were the organizing committee; quality of the plays; construction of a thrust stage (as opposed to a standard proscenium stage); publicity by Mary Jolliffe; crucial financial resources that came through at just the right moments; and the vision and perseverance of Tom Patterson.
Guthrie viewed theatre as ritual, a characterization that the thrust stage enables. In such a ritual, audience members (seeing each other across the open stage, as they are seated on three sides of it) are at all times aware of each other’s presence. That stands in contrast to theatre as illusion, a characterization that the proscenium stage (with audience members all looking in the same direction) enables.
In Blessings in Disguise (1985), Alex Guinness describes, succinctly and with good humour, the launch of the Stratford Festival. He takes a more nuanced view, perhaps, regarding the features of the thrust stage, in comparison to Guthrie. The actor’s views and practical experience matter hugely, Guinness adds, when design decisions related to dimensions of a theatrical stage, and the like, are made.
Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective
I have an interest in how we view things – a topic that the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman has explored. Blogs about Goffman’s work have been among the most widely read posts at this website. That fact originally came as a surprise for me as I had assumed not many would be interested.
Previous posts about scams and scamming have also been widely read. I began writing about the topic after a war veteran contacted me.
The banner at top of the page shows Aquaview Condos at Forty Second St. and Lake Shore Blvd. West in Long Branch (across from Long Branch GO station) during construction. My documentation of the construction – which began with daily walks around the site perimeter with our family dog – played a key role in subsequent efforts to keep Parkview School in public hands.
Some of the most important networking, as soon as we heard that Parkview School was going to be sold, took place when people in the neighbourhood stopped to talk while dog walking. Dogs were key players in saving of the school.
Oct. 17, 2015 Malcolm Campbell High School Sixties Reunion was an outstanding success
Based on comments from attendees, the Oct. 17, 2015 MCHS ’60s Reunion was an outstanding success. A newsletter by Howard Hight of Boston and Diana Redden of Vancouver to our reunion database did a great job (we owe them many thanks) in keeping people informed and excited during the planning.
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 remains in touch with us. Soryl also presented an entertaining Show and Tell from her early-1960s career as a teacher at MCHS.
I meet regularly with MCHS alumni at luncheons in Toronto and Kitchener. As the years pass, there is tremendous value in our meetings at a restaurant, in whichever city we may find ourselves in. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being on the mailing list for regular small-scale MCHS luncheons in these two cities. Doesn’t matter what year you graduated.
I’ve kept in place a lot of pages, that we set up for the MCHS 2015 Reunion.
We celebrate our reconnections
A good number of people have renewed contact with each other, sometimes after fifty or sixty years, as a result of information that’s been shared at this website. At other times, people have received help from other site visitors thereby enabling them to track down vital information from the past. I’m really pleased the site serves such a useful purpose.