Thomson Collegiate reunion bittersweet for alumni



Fifty-year-old school slated for demolition

By DANIELLE MILLEY – April 27, 2009

With the building facing near certain demolition, the 50th anniversary celebrations of David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute is a bittersweet reunion. The anniversary celebrations and reunion take place Saturday, May 2 with an open house at the school, a staff lunch and an evening pub night.

The reunion comes just three months after the Toronto District School Board decided in February to endorse a report recommending the consolidation of Bendale Business and Technical Institute and Thomson, with the Bendale location selected as the preferred site for the renovated school.

“It’s probably going to be the last chance to get together in the old building,” said Stan Farrow of the reunion. He is the chair of the reunion committee. Farrow began his teaching career at Thomson the year it opened in 1959 and stayed there for his 35-year career. When he retired, the auditorium was renamed in his honour. He is looking forward to seeing former students, as well as teachers he taught with over the years. He said most of the first teaching staff were just young rookies so many will be able to make it to the celebrations.

The open house at the school, located at 2740 Lawrence Ave. E, is from 1 to 4:30 p.m. All are invited to drop by and find former classmates, teammates and teachers at the celebration. There will be decade rooms so graduates can find pictures from their era whether they went to Thomson in 1965 or 1995. There will be an official program in the auditorium from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Before the open house there will be a lunch for current and former staff – teaching, caretaking, office, auxiliary. It takes place at 11 a.m. and tickets are $20. On Saturday evening there will be a pub night at Embers Banquet Hall, 781 Warden Ave., from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. This evening will give people a chance to mingle and reminisce about their high schools days. Tickets are $20 and include hot and cold finger foods; there will be a cash bar.

While the reunion might be one of the last chances for former staff and students to wander around the school, area Trustee Scott Harrison said the name will live on. “The name David and Mary Thomson will stay around,” he said. “The school, as far as I’m concerned, will always be named David and Mary Thomson.” The board has not made a decision about a possible closure date as it is still in the preliminary design stage.

For more information about the anniversary celebrations or to purchase tickets, visit


#1 Bob McBride on 05.01.09 at 12:21 pm

Yes the name Stays!!!

#2 Albert Livy on 05.01.09 at 2:22 pm

I attended David and Mary Thompson when it first opend its doors and I am sorry to hear that it is being torn down but these days nothing stands in the way of progress.

#3 Ray Banks on 05.04.09 at 10:40 am

I was glad i attended the 50th and was able to meet a few of my past teachers. I was a little disapponted in the turnout from the 60’s..but we are getting older..and may not all live in close proximity to the school anymore. I did chuckle though as most who looked at my name tag said…” Oh right. you were the trumpet player”. Well I am glad I left somr kind of impression!!

#4 Mike Walker on 05.05.09 at 8:54 am

Like Ray I was a bit saddened by the turnout from the 60s but I cherish the memories from meeting each and every one of the 16 students and 4 staff members that I met from that era (circa 59). I am pleased that this opportunity presented itself. Thank you to the Organizing Committee, the Principal, the staff, the students and my fellow attendees for making the day so exceptional.

#5 Chris Malcolm on 05.08.09 at 2:43 pm

I too wish the 60’s turnout had been better. Seeing my gym teacher again after almost fifty years brought back many good memories. It all seems like yesterday.

#6 Nancy Saxby (Henderson) on 08.05.09 at 1:15 pm

I attended David & Mary in the 60’s but moved away from Toronto before grade 12. I would have loved to attend but didn’t learn of the event until afterwards 🙁

I am saddened to hear of the proposed demolition – so many memories …

#7 David Gray (71-72) on 10.05.09 at 9:18 am

Sorry I’m just finding out now about the anniversary that was held. I moved to the Barrie area 20 years ago. My how time flies! Best wishes to all.

#8 Bob Rowlands (59-63) on 07.31.11 at 10:16 pm

I attended Thomson in the first four years of its existence. I have fond memories of the Mikado & The Pirates of Penzance, Dick Jolliffe & Stan Farrow. Living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, I regret not being able to attend reunions. However, living on the Rock at least enabled me to meet the charming Mrs. Edith Stevenson, the widow of our first principal. Then in her 90s, she told me that she still did push-ups every morning! What a remarkable woman!

#9 Susan Hayden on 09.07.12 at 8:55 pm

I guess I missed the 50th. Was there in 1966,67,68

#10 Susan Hayden on 09.07.12 at 8:56 pm

Wish I could have been there.

#11 Crystal Cowle on 12.15.16 at 8:41 am

Holy cow I can’t believe this. I went to Thomson through 9 to 12 and this saddens me. I met a lot of people who I hold dear to my heart and I definitely had a lot of good times there. I’m sad at the fact next time I drive by there it’s not gonna be there. #thomsonforever

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