Update: The Oct. 17, 2015 MCHS Reunion will take place at the Humber Room at Old Mill Toronto

By way of updates:

I spoke today (Aug. 27, 2015) with Sheila, the Sales Executive who is our contact at Old Mill Toronto. I had contacted her recently, at Lynn Hennebury Legge’s suggestion.

Humber Room in place of Brûlé Room C

View of Humber Room looking west. The windows face Old Mill Road. Jaan Pill photo

View of Humber Room looking west. The windows face Old Mill Road. When I visited the room on Aug. 27, 2015 there were 7 tables in place, 8 seats to a table, in the process of being set up. Jaan Pill photo

I have agreed with Sheila’s suggestion that we move the reunion to a smaller room. Originally we had planned to have the meeting at Brûlé Room C. We will go instead with the Humber Room, which is in the second floor at Old Mill Toronto. It has windows. A great view – of the street. But a room with a view is nice!

The minimum attendance that we need to have in place is now 50. That is roughly the number of people that have registered so far.

The maximum the room can comfortably hold is about 80 if we’re using the buffet setup, which is the preferred way to go, as the buffet encourages mixing and mingling, which many people have indicated is a priority for them.

There is an anteroom with a kind of separate area, within the room.

The Humber Room is 1400 square feet. We can probably go with 6 tables of 10. People who are good at numbers will make the final determination. There’s a service elevator, for anybody using a wheelchair. We have at least one person using a wheelchair, at this point.

I went to visit the space on Aug. 27. It’s a bit tighter than what we had before but not a bad trade-off given the circumstances. There’s an intimate quality to it. There’s plenty of room outside where people can wander to, for quiet places to chat.

Spaces, attendances, and budgets

We have made this change so that if we have in the range of 60 people, we will have a space that is intimate and congenial taking into account the number of attendees. With a space that is intended for up to 140 people, having 60 people turning up would give rise to a mismatch between the size of group and size of venue.

The need to address issues related to attendance, venue, atmosphere, and budget are things I’ve often thought about as a volunteer, during my past 30 years of organizing of events and conferences across Canada.

Other members of the organizing team are also strongly aware of such considerations, such as through a 30-year career in corporate sales, in the case of Lynn Hennebury Legge, and have extensive experience in addressing issues related to the financial viability of an event or meeting. We live in a market economy. The market speaks strongly, and we need to listen to what the market tells us.

Having the smaller room means we will have no trouble in balancing the budget. In any event of this nature, where the team signs a contract with a facility to reserve a meeting room, the organizers take on a financial risk.

The organizing team has at all times kept in mind that the reunion is on budget, and keeping the event in the black is at all times a key consideration.

There's a lobby area outside of the entrance to the Humber Room, which is on the Second Floor at Old Mill Toronto. Jaan Pill photo

Lobby area outside the Humber Room, which is on the Second Floor at Old Mill Toronto. Weapons including close-combat weapons are mounted on the walls. In the photo you can see two rifles hanging on the back wall on the right. The rifles are reflected in the mirror on the left. Jaan Pill photo

Pub or conference room for Oct. 16 (that is, the Friday) get-together

We are looking at a couple of pubs as options in the event the conference room at the Stay Inn is not available. The Stay Inn is located at 560 Evans Ave. Timothy’s Pub on Brown’s Line within walking distance (depending on what shape you’re in, before or after the visit to the pub) of the Stay Inn. The Bier Mrkt just north of Sherway Gardens is another option. We welcome your suggestions.

Update: Based on suggestions to date (Aug. 28), if the Stay Inn conference room is not available, Timothy’s Pub appears the best option. It’s a 10-15 minute walk. The Bier Mrkt is not within walking distance. Comment: “Timothy’s is a good bet. Know it well. Usually good entertainment weekends. Might be a bit loud for our needs but definitely fun.”

Visit from Salon Y for last-minute hair touch-ups

For people staying at Stay Inn, we are looking into the possibility of having a hair stylist from Salon Y in downtown Toronto pay a visit to the hotel, in the event there is enough of a demand, on the Saturday, for her services. I did not realize that this would be a subject that would generate a great deal of interest and discussion, but then, what do I know?

I have, from a totally reliable source, who wishes to remain anonymous, the following testimonial regarding Salon Y:

“They don’t do like old ladies’ style. They do whatever makes you look good. They don’t do a standardized style.”

A selfie provides a sense of scale, for the room. What other explanation can one have for a selfie? Jaan Pill photo

A selfie provides a sense of scale for the room and the quality of the lighting. What other explanation can one have for an iPhone selfie? Jaan Pill photo

Bookings at Stay Inn

The block bookings are available until Sept. 17 – and will still be available after that, in the event that the rooms are not all reserved by other customers in the days that follow after Sept. 17.

Bookings at Old Mill Toronto

We did not arrange a booking at Old Mill Toronto for the Friday; the block booking is only for the Saturday. If you book on the Saturday and stay longer than one day, you may be able to still get the alumni rate, as I recall, but I would recommend that you check with Reservations, to confirm that this would be the case.

Rooms will remain available at the alumni rate until Sept. 17.

MCHS 2015 budget

Lynn Hennebury Legge, who has three decades of experience in corporate sales, and is a whiz at reading a budget and at putting together budgets for corporate events, has worked wonders at keeping the MCHS 2015 budget on the right side of the ledger!

As soon as she took on the role of budget person, anticipated deficits for the reunion began to vanish in front of our eyes. What an asset it is to have such a person on the organizing team!

Paintings in the Humber Room feature dogs running across a field, apparently a demonstration of a long-standing British cultural practice. We await an explanation from Graeme Decarie concerning the historical significance of pastimes such as fox hunting. Jaan Pill photo

Paintings in the Humber Room feature dogs running across a field, apparently a demonstration of a long-standing British cultural practice. We await an explanation from Graeme Decarie concerning the historical significance of pastimes such as fox hunting. Incidentally, Aug. 27, 2015, while all these news updates were emerging, was also Graeme Decarie’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Graeme! Jaan Pill photo

Quiet places to chat

Just a reminder: When people want to find quiet places to chat, during the reunion, they are welcome to go into the hallways on any floor at Old Mill Toronto. There are many opportunities to find quiet places to chat. If the weather is good, you may even be able to wander outside the hotel to find patio areas where you can sit and chat. If the weather is good, outdoor furniture would likely still be in place.

As well, we have made a point of ensuring that, during the Humber Buffet Dinner portion of the reunion, we will not have loud music in the background during that time. People have said they want to be able to talk with people, when they mix and mingle, and loud music gets in the way of conversations. Many people have underlined this point.

Of course, when our DJ takes over (we owe many thanks to Gina David Cayer for lining up an A-1 DJ for the event) and the dancing begins, the volume will get turned up a bit. Even then, if you want to take a break from dancing, or if you do not wish to dance, period, you can at all times find a quiet place in a hallway where you can readily engage in quiet conversations.

A portrait of King George the 3rd, a British cultural figure, in lobby area outside of the Humber Room. Jaan Pill photo

A portrait of King George the 3rd, a British cultural figure, in lobby area outside of the Humber Room. Jaan Pill photo

$150 registration fee

In some cases, depending on circumstances, a $150 registration fee can be a burden for an MCHS graduate who wishes to attend the reunion. If you are in such a category, please contact me in confidence and we can discuss a way for case-specific, anonymous donations cover a part of the fee. In previous events that I’ve played a key role in organizing, I’ve gained experience in maintaining confidentiality regarding such arrangements.

I have also been in situations in my life where I have been short of money, scenarios that subsequently changed for the better. Having been “in that place,” I know it can be a place of hardship, and I also feel honoured that I have visited that place, and am aware of its dimensions.

Knowing that place, in my earlier years, has provided me with a level of empathy and understanding that money cannot buy; I am pleased that in the course of my life, I have had that experience. For some people, such experiences harden one’s heart. For other people, such experiences open one’s heart to the experiences of other people, whatever their circumstances may be.

Please note:

The fee situations where we have reduced the fee, for the reunion, have involved a person connected with the reunion making an anonymous donation to match the fee. We do not have a situation where other attendees are subsidizing a given individual. We acknowledge that there are grads who find the $150 fee very high. Some people will not attend the event, for that reason.

Portrait outside the Humber Room of a couple of iconic American cultural figures, whose names escape me. Jaan Pill photo

Portrait outside the Humber Room of a trio of iconic American cultural figures, whose names escape me. Jaan Pill photo

Volunteers

We will have access to the Humber Room at 4:00 pm on Oct. 17, meaning that we will have plenty of time for volunteers to work on setting things up. Please contact me in the event you would like to help with volunteer work on that day. We have volunteers in place, but may need more.

As well, in the event people need help with rides to and from their accommodations, during the weekend of the reunion – or even a ride to or from the airport – please contact me so we can coordinate our efforts.

Please let me know, as well, if you would be able to help out in the role of Designated Driver, in the event we are looking for any additional drivers, in this category, during the reunion weekend. At all times, we seek to ensure the safety and security of each attendee at the event.

We owe thanks to a great organizing team

We are looking forward to a great reunion, and with thanks to Lynn Hennebury Legge, our financial status is A-1 rather than being deeply in the red, as might otherwise have been the case. We owe Lynn and every other member of the organizing team many thanks for all of their work in ensuring that the reunion is successful on every possible level, including the all-important financial one!

Green spaces

Our reunion is taking place in a natural setting, a green space in the heart of an urban environment. As a June 15, 2015 Atlantic magazine article notes, “spending time in nature is correlated with better mental health, attention, and mood in both children and adults.”

 

8 replies
  1. graeme decarie
    graeme decarie says:

    British sports were (and often still are) badges of social class. The upper class (usually called gentlemen) played sports which were deemed to build character and leadership (cricket, rugby, fox hunting) An important characteristic of the sports for the upper class is that they had rules. However, the rules were not written down because a gentleman was expected to grow up with them.

    The common people played sports with no rules, written or coming by birth.

    Generally, only working class women could play a sport – and the usual one was speed-walking for bets. (Upper class women were allowed to play tennis, but only with soft lobs, in full street dress, and with giggling.)

    This carried over into North America. The better off of Canada copied their English ancestors – but confusion was great. The North Americans had not grown up in a British upper class, and so they had no sense of rules unless they were written.

    Football was a test case. It had to played in universities because universities were for the upper class. But without rules it was chaos – so they had to write some down and, in doing so with Rugby, invented a new game. In Rugby, gentlemen understood, for example, that the ball had to be put into play by rolling it between two lanes of players who were not permitted to touch each other. But Canadians found it impossible to get the ball into play without the two lines touching. So they made a rule. The two lanes of players became the two lines, and the ball was put into play by giving it to somebody in the line. He then gave it to the closest team mate who, in Rugby, played a quarter of the way back on the field – and was called the quarterback.

    He then would hand it to the nearest player, the one who played half way back on the field and so, in rugby was called a half back. The full back, of course, was the one who played all the way back.

    The sports of the Canadian rich, played in their expensive clubs like the Winged Wheelers (began as bicycle riding, later added football), snowshoe racing (including hurdles), hockey.

    However, hockey went out of style because it became pro, and since the rich played sport solely to build the characteristics of gentlemen, they refused to touch any sport that the common people played simply to make money. Baseball met the same fate.

    Football for gentlemen was amateurs only. That’s what gave it a status in universities – which it still has.

    Women were still allowed to play lob tennis in full dress and, at some of the more liberal golf courses, like Fletcher’s Field, they might be permitted to golf on one day each year (Ladies’ Day).

    Fox hunting was important to the aristocracy because it was a descendant of earlier sports which were considered signs that a gentleman of the right class was a born military leader – which is one reason why Britain has a rich history of generals who were complete asses.

    Actually, generations of inbreeding among the aristocracy, especially the royal family, had produced generation after generation of the feeble-minded. George 1 was a good example. So was Victoria, George V, and Edward VII – and it’s going strong in the current generations. Thus the love of fox-hunting.

    (I taught a course on the history of leisure.)

    Graeme

    Reply
  2. graeme decarie
    graeme decarie says:

    George Washington, by the way did NOT believe that all people were equal. Like most of the American leaders of the revolution, he was a slave owner – and he was the largest slave owner in the U.S. The also did NOT believe that women were equal, and they wouldn’t accept their equality, even in law, until the 1920s. They didn’t even believe all white men were equal. Those who weren’t wealthy enough were commonly denied the right to vote.

    And the civil war was NOT fought to free slaves.. In fact, Lincoln would have preferred not to free them. The war was fought to make the agricultural south accept foreign trade rules set by the industrial north.

    graeme

    Reply
    • Jaan Pill
      Jaan Pill says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty well what I’ve learned as well, about the person who is featured on coins and paper currency in a country to the south.

      I didn’t know the narrative as it related to the Civil War; that’s an interesting concept. For many years, I’ve been reading about military history, reading books from the Toronto Public Library. Recently, however, I stopped that pastime so that I could focus on the MCHS 2015 reunion.

      Reply
  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    This is an awesome overview, Graeme, regarding British cultural practices as they relate to sports. I’m really pleased that I can now look at the paintings of the dogs running across the field, in the anteroom of the Humber Room, which I visited today, with an appreciation for the cultural history connected with the images.

    I have a dog, a Labradoodle. As I explain to everybody, my dog is vastly smarter than I am, and everybody agrees, having met my dog. She loves to chase after a frisbee. She can run after a frisbee many times every day. Or if she finds a tennis ball, she brings it to me and indicates that it’s time for me to throw the ball. She can run and bring it back all day long.

    When she gets tired, she takes a rest and sleeps for a while, after which she wants to practise running after the ball or frisbee. So I can really appreciate that, for some dogs, one of the great joys of life is chasing after things – or animals, as in the case of the British practice of fox hunting.

    Reply
  4. Nancy Renz
    Nancy Renz says:

    I am arriving on the 15th and booked at the Stay Inn. If you need any help with set up I would be glad to volunteer. If anyone else at the Stay Inn is helping maybe I can share a cab to get over to the Old Mill.

    Reply
  5. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Wonderful to read your message, Nancy. We can indeed use your help as a volunteer. Let’s work together to coordinate cab rides or ride sharing, as we get closer to the event.

    Can you please let me know, as well, whether you want to attend the Brunch at 11:00 am on Oct. 18, the morning after the reunion at the Humber Room. I’m working at developing of the list. We need to let the Old Mill Restaurant know, at least a week beforehand, how many people are attending the Brunch. The cost will be $35 a person.

    Reply
  6. Dianne Campbell (Humphreys)
    Dianne Campbell (Humphreys) says:

    Sorry to hear the room for the reunion has been downsized. I would guess the high registration cost has affected the response which in turn affects those who may be waiting to see if there will be attendees from their graduation year.
    Is there a current list of attendees available?
    Is there any way the cost could be reduced to say $100.00 which might encourage an increased response?
    I live close to the Old Mill and would love to attend.
    Dianne Campbell (Humphreys) Class of ’69

    Reply
    • Jaan Pill
      Jaan Pill says:

      Good to read your message, Dianne.

      To my knowledge, the most recent list of attendees (to which several names have subsequently been added) is available at Newsletter #18 – JUL13 at the Who’s Attending page at the MCHS 2015 website. I stand to be corrected if I am wrong, and if a more recent list is available.

      For anybody reading this text, please note the deadlines: Deadlines and events related to Oct. 17 MCHS ’60s Reunion & Celebration of the ’60s

      With a smaller room, we have a more intimate setting in which people can get together than would have been the case when we originally envisioned up to about 140 people and a meeting space that was suitable for that size of a group. If we had 60 or 80 people in such a setting, the match between the numbers and the room size would have been readily noticeable, and would have been less than intimate. The word “cavernous” (resembling a cavern in size) would have come to mind.

      The role of what, for a number of people, is a high registration cost is an important one. Because we seek to maintain a balanced budget, we are not in a position to reduce the standard registration fee. We have no doubt, from comments we have heard during the organizing process, that some people will have declined to attend because of the cost. It’s also a fact that some people will stay away unless they know that someone else has already signed up to attend.

      We have also noted that, if a person wants to attend but the registration fee is an overwhelming burden, they can contact me, in confidence, and I can – on a confidential basis – have the reunion absorb part of the cost for a given attendee, based upon a case by case discussion. As a volunteer I have played a key role in the organizing of many events, including national conferences, over the past several decades and have always made this a policy.

      In such situations, a person would contact me, and I have a track record for maintaining confidentiality. I also know, from an early stage of my life, what financial hardship entails. How much money a person has, or does not have, is not something that matters to me. The fact we are all fellow human beings is what matters; the rest is irrelevant.

      In the meantime, I am delighted that we are at about 50 attendees, and that there is a good chance that some last-minute registrations will arrive in time for the deadlines for registrations to be met. With the additional registrations, by which I mean around 60, we will have enough money to ensure that each guest has a glass of wine (red or white) or a glass of sparkling water waiting for them. Attendees will also be able to buy additional drinks at the bar.

      In the meantime, as well, we are planning a get-together on the evening of Friday, Oct. 16. That will take place either at a conference room at the Stay Inn, or (if the latter room is not available; we are awaiting word on the availability) at Timothy’s Pub on Brown’s Line south of Evans Ave. All MCHS grads are welcome to attend the get-together, even if you are not attending the reunion.

      We also have a Brunch that is taking place at 11:00 am at the Old Mill Restaurant. If any MCHS grad wishes to attend the Brunch, she or he must let me know by Sunday, Oct. 11 because the restaurant needs to know the total number of Brunch reservations at least a week beforehand. You don’t need to attend the reunion in order to attend the Brunch. But you do need to be on the reservations list!

      We also have a 30-minute walk, along the Humber River starting at Old Mill Toronto, at 10:30 am on Oct. 18.

      For grads from the late 1960s, who are keen to know who may be attending, I would strongly recommend that people do some prior networking, to see who may be interested in attending the reunion. A number of people from the late 1960s are on the Database.

      If you can find a name or two, and need to get contact information, if you send Diana Redden an email, she can contact the person, that you wish to contact, and can see if it’s okay with, the person contacted, to have the contact details shared. We take care to respect privacy of information, in all aspects of the organizing process.

      By way of closing, we are looking forward to a great reunion, to which all MCHS grads are welcome, and at which each person is the honoured guest, and the star of the show.

      This is an opportunity to mix and mingle, and if the noise level in the downsized room gets too high, the entire expanse of Old Mill Toronto is available for guests to wander through, to find a quiet corner to chat. The only request is that you please do not crash any other parties, as that could lead to complications that are (possibly) beyond the capacity of the MCHS 2015 organizing team to address.

      Reply

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