Earlier today, April 8, 2014, representatives of Thomson Alumni Association met with TDSB officials for a formal introductory discussion regarding opportunities to display historical artifacts and memorabilia in the new school building now being planned for the Thomson-Bendale property.
The Thomson delegation was headed by: Soriana Mantini, Thomson’s principal, plus former Thomson faculty members Stanley Farrow and Jim Myrvold. William Stratas attended the meeting as representative from the Thomson Alumni Association. Wendy Blain, principal of Bendale Business & Technical Institute, also attended, as well as Peter Duckworth, partner of the architecture firm, ZAS Architecture which is designing the new school building.
John Chasty, Superintendent of Education for the Bendale-Thomson Project, chaired the meeting and was pleased to confirm that the new school name will remain David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute. He explained that from TDSB’s perspective, carry-forward of the existing name was the default option that did not require any extra approvals or community consultation. This was the first official confirmation of TDSB’s intentions for naming of the new school, and the news was warmly received by our school’s representatives.
For some time there had been questions raised about whether a name change might occur, as the new school was intended to replace two existing structures, each over 50 years old: David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute on Lawrence Avenue East, and Bendale Business & Technical Institute on Midland Avenue. Some observers feared that a new name lacking character or local significance might be assigned in a bureaucratically arbitrary manner by TDSB officials. Happily this is not the case.
Mr. Chasty elaborated further that TDSB intends to dissolve Bendale Business & Technical Institute. Some of Bendale’s programming will carry forward in the new building, but the former school will be disbanded. As consideration to Bendale’s 50-plus years of proud history in our community, the installation of artifacts and historical references on display in the new school also will reflect Bendale’s contribution in a respectful manner.
The Thomson Alumni representatives were impressed by the openness and receptivity offered by the TDSB officials. Not only did they welcome our input, they seemed to thrive on it. This is a most promising start to the long journey leading to the day in 2016 or 2017 when the new futuristic school opens its doors, the brand new David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute for the 21st century!