Sunday | July 22, 2018

Francess Halpenny hails from eastern Ontario, where she grew up in the 20s and 30s.  The family relocated to the Toronto area early on, and it was there that the young Francess fell in love with books, as she made her way through the Great Depression and built upon her education, which would take her to the University of Toronto.  When the war came, Francess saw all the young men around go into the military, and she resolved to the same.  She found herself in eastern Canada for most of the war, first in Newfoundland and then in PEI.  Her work was in the Meteorological Office, helping with the weather forecasts that were a vital part of Canada’s contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic.

We met Francess in the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing in March 2017, where she was interviewed by Arielle Meyer and Mr. Masters.

May 12th, 2017

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Gord Allen served in the Canadian Army during the Second World War. He grew up in prewar Toronto, where he remembers the tough times of the Great Depression; Gord recalls his father being out of work, and he remembers that he and his friends used to bring food to the homeless men down in the Don Valley. Gord did recall some of the good times, the sports and the movies that kept he and his friends occupied; at the same time, Gord admitted that he was unable to finish high school as he had to help out around the house. By the time of the war, the young Gord was married, with a family on the way, but even with this life development, Gord felt it was his duty to enlist when the time came. The air force was his first choice, but when that did not work out, Gord joined the army, and he was soon sent to Camp Borden. While there, Gord opted for the tank corps, hoping for more action. As the army was being reorganized for the new technological warfare of the battlefields in Europe, Gord ended up in the 17th Light Ambulance, in the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. They would attend to the wounded and/or evacuate them back to Headquarters for hospitalization. Within the unit Gord was a motorcycle dispatch courier, so he would communicate information from the frontline tank infantry to the ambulance unit right behind. In this capacity Gord found himself right in the front lines, where he witnessed the horror of Caen, Falaise, and so many other battles in France, Belgium and Holland. Along the way Gord was himself seriously injured in Bruges, where an accident left him paralyzed for several weeks. Still, once back in health, he rejoined the unit and ended up in Germany at war’s end, where he remembers VE Day as a hollow victory. With the end of the war, Gord remained on the continent for a few months, delivering relief supplies for UNRRA. By the end of the year though, he was on his way back to Canada and his family, where he fell back into the rhythm of civilian life and Canada’s postwar rebuilding.
Mr. Masters visited Gord at his home in Fowler’s Corner, Ontario in July 2018, when he was interviewed for this project. We thank Gord’s family for their help in setting this up.

July 13th, 2018

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Harry Preston served in the Canadian army during World War Two.  He grew up in western Canada, in and around Winnipeg, where Harry and his family experienced the realities of the Depression.  Harry kept himself busy though, and with friends, he got involved in the militia and the Sea Cadets, where he was able to do training that would help him in the war to come.  Harry joined the Winnipeg Rifles with the coming of the war, but when the opportunity to specialize in artillery came, Harry took it.  He was trained as an anti-aircraft gunner, a process that intensified upon arrival in England.  Harry was often stationed in vulnerable areas as England was repeatedly bombed in the 1942-44 period; he defended radar stations, airfields, and coastal zones.  While in England, Harry  – like so many young Canadian soldiers – met an Englishwoman and fell in love, later marrying this Land Army worker and bringing her to Canada.  First, Harry endured the European campaign.  He was sent to France after D-Day, and now a member of a self-propelled gun crew, he and his team provided support to the advancing Canadian infantry as they moved through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and into Germany itself.  With VE Day, Harry returned to England and once his wife was cleared for passage to Canada, they made the trip together, settling and building a life for themselves in the postwar period.

We met Harry at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in June 2018, where he was interviewed by Mr. Masters and a delegation of CPC students.

July 5th, 2018

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Nathan Rosenberg is a survivor of the Second World War and the Shoah. While so many Jews were caught up in that terrible period of history, Nathan and his family were fortunate to escape, and what makes their story different is that they escaped to the east, into the heart of the USSR. When their ghetto was being liquidated, the family was able to hide between two buildings, later coming out and walking in the direction of Russia. Eventually they were put on trains by Soviet forces, and sent into the heart of Siberia, where the family toiled away under difficult conditions. Once Operation Barbarossa took place, Polish Jews in the USSR were given a choice of where they wanted to go, and Nathan’s family made their way to Uzbekistan, hoping eventually to make it to Palestine. But the family’s choice proved challenging, and sadly much of Nathan’s family died against the backdrop of the Soviet hinterland. The survivors initially went to Poland as the war ended, and then to a DP camp in Austria, with later stops in Italy and France. While two siblings headed for Israel, Nathan made his way to Canada, where he built a life and career for himself, beginning in Timmins and later in Toronto.
Nathan was referred to us by author Alvin Abram, and he visited us in May 2018, when he was interviewed by Mr. Masters’ History 12 class.

May 30th, 2018

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Joe Warner is a Canadian who joined the fighting in Israel in 1948 because he felt “it won’t be worth being a Jew elsewhere if Israel did not survive.” Joe had graduated high school in Toronto in the midst of WW2, and he had enlisted in the RCAF, and began training in different parts of western Canada.  Joe was selected to be an air gunner, and while he was all set to serve Canada against the Axis threat, the war ended before he could be sent overseas.  Joe set about preparing for a postwar career, when events in the Middle East intervened.  Joe signed on to fight for Israel in 1947, and he was soon on his way, sailing from New York to France, and then on to Israel.  Joe fought in southern Israel, in the Faluja area. The battles in which he participated helped free the Negev from Egyptian control of main roads. The combat – especially around the strong concrete police fortress of Iraq-Suidan – was intense.  Wounded in action, Joe recuperated, and along the way met his first wife.

With his training as a pharmacist, Joe was called upon to be a pharmacist/ medic. He responded by setting up a first-aid station at Hazor, making use of medical equipment and supplies seized from the Egyptians. This early hands-on experience apparently served him well, as for 15 years he helped establish and manage Pfizer drugs in Israel.

Joe was interviewed for this project in his home in April 2018, when he sat down with Mr. Masters.

April 26th, 2018

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      During the second week of March Break, when many Crestwood students were sunning themselves on tropical beaches, Coach Hawkins and the members of the Varsity Boys Curling team travelled north to compete in the OFSAA provincial curling championships. This year’s tournament was held in Fort Frances, Ontario- located approximately 1,700 KM northwest of Toronto, close to the Ontario-Manitoba border.

                Adam Golden, Spencer Arshinoff, Malcolm Leask, Joseph Eisentraut and Jacob Reinish represented Crestwood against the top high school curling teams in the province. Facing stiffer competition than they had ever seen before, Crestwood’s boys did not wilt under the pressure and played competitively in all of their round-robin matches. The highlight of the tournament came for the boys in a late-night draw against Etobicoke’s Bishop Allen Academy. Shortly after midnight Central Standard Time, the boys capped off a dominating 11-4 victory. This makes the Crestwood Varsity Boys one of the small handful of CISAA teams to have ever won a game at OFSAA curling.

                When not busy with curling, the boys had the opportunity to explore the town of Fort Frances. The boys joined the locals for Wing Night at La Place de Rendezvous, climbed the town’s fire lookout tower, and learned about the historical role of the logging industry in the town. The boys also had a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the region while staying at their accommodations in a cabin on Rainy Lake.

                While the boys did not advance past the round robin stage of the tournament, in terms of having fun and making memories, they were gold medalists. Coach Hawkins and the boys would like to thank Coach Scott Walker for his assistance with the curling program this year, Chris Jull for his work as CISAA Curling convener, Mr. Pagano and the administration for their support, and Mrs. Carol Lyons for hosting the boys during the tournament. Coach Hawkins would also like to give a special thank you to the team members, all of whom will be graduating this year.

               

     

April 6th, 2018

Posted In: Upper School

Larry Bunston was born in Saskatoon, but early in his life his father made the decision to take the family to Ontario, hopefully to make a better life for his family.  Larry grew up in different parts of Ontario, notably Oshawa and Brantford, where he and his four brothers played sports and kept on their parents’ good side.  With the coming of the war, all four brothers enlisted, and Larry and another brother  made it overseas.  Larry went into the army, and after training at Camp Borden, he made his way down east, where a troop ship awaited him in Halifax.  In England he was trained as a despatch rider, with motorcycle and truck driving lessons in his future.  He crossed over to France shortly after D-Day, where he found himself in many precarious positions as he fulfilled his driving duties.  Several times he was in search of broken down vehicles and almost fell into German hands.  Wounded near the end of the war, Larry was sent back to England and his future wife, and later they made their way together back to Canada, falling into the rhythm of Canada’s postwar boom.

We met Larry at the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans’ Care in the east end of Toronto, where Larry was interviewed by Mr. Masters and Grade 12 student Navid Sarshar. We thank Jay Burford of the Royal Canadian Legion and Andy Barros at Tony Stacey for their help in setting up this connection.

January 26th, 2018

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Gerry Grossmann was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, into a prosperous Jewish family.  Gerry remembers his childhood in fond terms, as his parents created a home where he and his brother had so many opportunities.  1933 saw a dramatic change though; with the election of Hitler, things changed for the Grossmanns and for all German Jews.  With each succeeding year, more and more was taken away, and with Kristallnacht, Gerry’s parents sensed what was on the way, and they made arrangements to have their young sons evacuated on the Kindertransport to Britain.  Gerry and his brother arrived in England, where they registered as “enemy aliens” and started over with English families.  School soon gave way to war work, as the now teenaged Gerry made his contribution to the war effort.  When he was old enough, he enlisted in the British army, where he spent time training in Scotland before being sent across the Channel to France.  There Gerry saw combat, as he fought to liberate his onetime homeland from Nazi oppression.  Gerry was in the Battle of the Bulge, and as the Allies resumed their push into Germany in the spring of 1945, Gerry was wounded and sidelined from the action for a time.  In the period after VE Day, Gerry learned the fate of his parents, both of whom were murdered in the Shoah, and the army capitalized on gerry’s language skills, as he became a translator/interpreter, going through the Nazis’ documentation and interviewing officers, and playing his role in creating a new standard of justice at Nuremberg.
We met Gerry thanks to Historica Dominion, and Crestwood alumna Savannah Yutman and Grade 12 students Rory Peckham and Malcolm Leask interviewed him at his home in December 2017.

January 22nd, 2018

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Norm Short served in the Canadian Army during the Second World War.  Born in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, the young Norm moved to Quebec along with his family when they settled in Shawinigan Falls.  When the war came, Norm joined up in Montreal, as part of the Essex Scottish Regiment.  he completed his basic training and waited until his 19th birthday, when he was sent overseas.  In England he was trained as a motorcycle dispatch rider.  After D-Day, Norm headed across the Channel on D+5, and he was called to duty as the Battle of Caen was raging.  Norm took part in the terrible Battle of Carpiquet, a costly Canadian victory before the Falaise Gap and the collapse of the German army in France.  Norm and his fellow soldiers moved across northern Europe, liberating towns and civilians and enjoying the fruits of their labours.  With VE Day, Norm headed back to England, and then Canada, settling into the postwar rhythm of life in Toronto.

We met Norm in the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in December 2017, when he was interviewed by a delegation of Crestwood students over the December Break.

January 7th, 2018

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Jack Boeki’s World War Two story is a unique one.  Born in Rotterdam in 1925, Jack grew up with fond memories of the city and its people, and of his family and childhood.  All of it was shattered in May 1940, when the German blitzkrieg turned west towards the Netherlands, and Jack’s city came under assault.  The family lost everything in the bombing and was forced to start all over, amid mounting restrictions on Jews which saw Jack go into hiding. The family he was staying with soon after warned him that it had become too dangerous and Jack took off to avoid capture. From there, Jack obtained a fake identity and began his series of remarkable escapes, repeatedly eluding the grasp of the Nazis.  Jack left the Netherlands and escaped to France, where the underground put him in contact with agents of the American OSS, the original version of the CIA.  They arranged to get Jack to Britain, where his talents were recognized, and Jack was dispatched to the United States for military training.  In March 1944, as the liberation of occupied Europe drew near, Jack’s unit was ordered to England. Now an agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), he had received special training to uncover war criminals and would soon put his skills to use on his most important missions yet. On June 8, just two days after the initial D-Day landings, Jacks team of agents landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France.

Jacks unit followed the US advance fighting forces that liberated France, Belgium and Luxembourg  liberating camps and arresting spies, collaborators and anyone who posed  a threat to the Allies.  When WWII ended in May 1945, Jack and his unit were assigned to the security force at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials.
Jack returned to Holland a few years later, only to learn that entire generations of his family were murdered in the Sobibor death camp. He was completely alone in the world. Soon after, he emigrated to Canada to start a new life and create his own family. Jack wrote his memoir to share his moving story of hope, bravery and perseverance against all odds, and we were very proud to host this sprite 92 year-old at Crestwood in December 2017, when he shared his memories with Mr. Hawkins’ and Mr. Masters’ students.  We would also like to extend our gratitude to Jack’s family, who helped us to set up his presentation and shared their materials with us.

December 18th, 2017

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John Hall was born in the Canadian West in the early 1920s.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, though he said he was lucky to have been sheltered from the toughest times.  With his brother he made his way to western Ontario, riding the rails and working the ports of Lake Superior.  While his brother stayed and worked the mines, John finished school and joined the armed forces in Toronto, eventually landing in the First Hussars.  After training he boarded the Queen Elizabeth troopship and headed to Britain, where he spent time in Aldershot, completing his tank crew training.  John became a radio operator and main gun loader and a member of a Sherman tank crew.  John went ashore in France a few weeks after D-Day and the liberation of Caen, and he saw his early action in Falaise and the ensuing Battle of Normandy.  From there he moved through Belgium and the Netherlands, where he has fond memories of the civilians greeting the troops.  When the war concluded, John returned to Canada and built a life for himself.

We met John at the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing in July 2017, when he was interviewed by Crestwood students Arielle Meyer and Samara Black.

 

August 9th, 2017

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Edith Gelbard was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1932. She lived with her parents, sister and grandmother. After the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, her family fled to Belgium and then to France. In 1942, her father was murdered in Auschwitz. Edith and her brother were hidden in an orphanage. She was liberated in 1945 and reunited with rest of her family. After the war, she lived in Paris and immigrated to Canada in 1958.

We first interviewed Edith at Baycrest in October 2016, and she came to visit us at Crestwood in January 2017, when Arielle Meyer, Zoe Shen and Sally Li spoke to her..

November 7th, 2016

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Lili Friedman is a child survivor from the Holocaust and a longtime supporter of our program here at Crestwood.  Born in Poland at the outset of the war, Lili grew up in the Lodz ghetto, from where she remembers snippets of her childhood.  She and her family were deported to Auschwitz with the liquidation of the ghetto, and as a young child she entered into that place where so few children survived.  On a trip to Yad Vashem she discovered a photograph of her mother climbing down from a cattle car, holding the young Lili in her arms.  Lili and her mother were only in Auschwitz a short time, and she survived because one of the transports had been dispatched without her.  She and the others were sent on to Stutthof and then Theresienstadt at the end of the war, where Lili lived through one of the death marches that marked the end of the Holocaust.  She and her mother made their way back to Poland, but with anti-Semitism still in evidence, they headed west, through France and ultimately to Canada.  Growing up in the 50s, she pursued her education and eventually met and married Arnold Friedman, a Holocaust Survivor from the Carpathian region whose story can also be found in this project.
Lili was interviewed in her home by Scott Masters and Savannah Yutman in July 2016.

August 24th, 2016

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Tom Bradley is an American veteran of the Second World War, having served with the 29th Infantry Division in Europe.  Tom hails from New Jersey, where he grew up during the Great Depression.  When the war came, he was in school in Massachusetts, expecting to go on to college.  But the government had other ideas, and he was sent off for basic training and then overseas to Europe, one of four brothers from the Bradley family who would do the same.  Tom went ashore at Omaha Beach in the weeks after D-Day and along with the 29th he set out across France, and into Belgium and Germany.  Tom served in the Ammunition Corps, keeping the front line soldiers supplied with needed materiel.

Scott Masters interviewed him at his home in Falmouth, Maine in July 2016.

July 12th, 2016

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Noelle Meyer was born in Paris to parents of Ukrainian Jewish ancestry. She was 2 and a half years old at the time of the Nazi occupation of France, and for one and a half years, until ‘44, we do not know who took care of her. She was then taken in by the orphanage, OPEJ (Oeuvres Pour les Enfants Juifs) and put into a host family in Villepinte, a family named Lepage. At the end of ‘44, she was transferred out of this family into a new orphanage for Jewish children in Rueil Malmaison. In 2016, she sat down with her granddaughter Arielle to share her family history, much of it recreated through painstaking research by Noelle. 

 

May 31st, 2016

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Renee Fiszman is a child survivor of the Shoah from France.  Her father joined the French military at the war’s outset, and this would prove to be a crucial decision for the rest of the family; he was taken as a POW early in the war, and would not rejoin the family until 1945.  When the July 16 round-ups began in Paris, Renee and her mother and brother were taken out of the line since her father was a soldier; as Renee says, they were minutes away from deportation to Drancy, and Auschwitz itself.  Her mother saw events closing in, and she moved to put her children in hiding.  Renee and her brother stayed with a family away from her beloved Marais district, and she went through the motions, attending school and church and hoping the family would be together again.  Her mother was tragically deported to Auschwitz, where she was murdered, and while her father did return, family life did not resume as it had been.  Renee remembered many difficult days coming to grips with loss and her new reality after the war.  She did marry, and did find solace there, moving to Canada with her husband Charles in the 1950s.

Renee visited with Crestwood students twice in 2016; first Arielle, Guanghao and Alexander visited her at her home, and she subsequently did an interview in French with Arielle and Daven.

March 9th, 2016

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Raffaella DeSimone was born in Italy in 1943, in the midst of the Second World War.  As her parents were farmers, and there was no work, the family relocated to France, and then to Canada.  The family arrived in Halifax, at Pier 21, and they began to adapt to their new country, reaching out to family that had arrived earlier.  Raffaella’s memories of her early days were mostly positive ones, as she and her family were welcomed into and prepared to make their mark in Canada’s postwar history.

Raffaella was interviewed by her grandson, Crestwood student Michael DiBattista, in December 2015.

March 6th, 2016

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Berthe Cygelfarb is a Holocaust Survivor with a compelling story to tell, and she tells it beautifully.  When Berthe visited Crestwood in December 2015, she spoke to Mme Doherty’s French class, and they were entranced by Berthe’s charm and humour, as were the students in the subsequent interview.  Berthe recounted to both groups the horrors of the Holocaust in France, of the deportations and complicity of the Vichy regime.  She brought with her a host of photos, which tell the story of her family and of Berthe’s own recovery.

We thank the Azrieli Foundation and March of the Living for their role in referring Berthe to us.

March 4th, 2016

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The Social Studies Department had some exciting visitors this week, creating great opportunities for students interested in Canada’s military history. On Monday, January 25th, five officers from the Canadian Forces College visited Crestwood, sharing their experiences in Canada’s recent overseas missions, notably Afghanistan. Majors Dennis, Lajeunesse, Harvey, Dias and Barker represented all facets of the military and all spoke eloquently about serving Canada overseas.

Then on Tuesday, January 26th, many of the Canadian History 10 students were lucky enough to have Lorne Winer visit their class. Mr. Winer is a Jewish Canadian veteran of World War Two who recently turned 98. Mr. Winer spoke of his time in Europe, from being stationed in England to being involved in the liberation of France and the Netherlands. Other Crestwood students will soon be doing their own interviews, when we visit Sunnybrook and Baycrest – stay tuned!

IMG_0240 IMG_0243 IMG_0247 IMG_0248 IMG_0251 Major Barker with Major Harvey with Major Lajeunesse with Major Scott Dennis with

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 29th, 2016

Posted In: Crestwood News, Upper School

Phil Harmon is an American veteran of the Second World War from Maine, where he presently lives in the town of Hollis.  Originally from the Cape Elizabeth area, Phil grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, though his family was fortunate to be spared many of its most negative impacts.  By 1939, as events in Europe and Asia spiralled into war, Phil was attending Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he ran cross country.  But as the U.S. entered the war, Phil received his draft notice and reported for duty in 1943.  Training took him to Missouri, and he was shipped to Marseilles, France, not long after D-Day.  His unit made its way north, preparing to enter the Battle of the Bulge.  And it was during that battle where Phil was wounded, soon after reaching the front lines.  He spent several months in the hospital recovering from a chest wound, and by the time he was returned to his unit, most of the fighting was over.  He spent several months in Europe during which time he met his sister in Paris; then he was shipped home, where he was happy to leave his soldier’s life behind him.

Phil was interviewed for this project by Scott Masters in December 2015.

January 3rd, 2016

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Bill King served in the Canadian Forces from 1951-56.  Bill  grew up in Nova Scotia, against the backdrop of WW2.  He remembers well the sacrifices of other family members who served in that conflict, and he considers them the real veterans.  Bill’s service coincided with the Korean War, and although he did not go to Korea, he was decorated by the Korean government, for his role in the transhipment of supplies through his European base.  Bill’s service took place in Europe, in both France and Germany, just as the Cold War was heating up.  He has fond memories of his time in both nations, and considers himself lucky to have served alongside other NATO forces.  At the end of his term, Bill resumed his life in Canada, taking a job with CP in Toronto.  He remains active in the Legion, and we thank Helen Pearce and Legion Branch 11 for hosting this interview.

October 26th, 2015

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Salut, my name is Mlle Phardis and I am teaching grade 4 and 5 French this year at Crestwood School. At the junior level I am focusing on increasing student’s ability to communicate in French by building on their ability to speak, write, listen, and read in a second (or even third) language. I motivate students to bring a positive attitude to class so they can have a great experience and actively participate in daily routines and activities.

My passion for French started coincidently enough when I was in grade 4.  It was through this exposure to French that I found my talent for learning languages. Since then, it has been my goal to teach French to other students living in Toronto and to share my love for language and culture.  To accomplish this goal I completed an Honors French program at York University, studied in Toulouse, France, and am currently working on completing my Specialist AQ in FSL (French as a Second Language). Although English is my mother tongue (as I was born in Toronto), I grew up speaking Greek at home, and eventually grew a liking to Spanish as well. For me, language teaching and learning is a pleasure and I enjoy sharing my passion with others.

Aside from language, this year at Crestwood I’ve already started coaching U10 Soccer, and I look forward to incorporating some Zumba and hip-hop dance into spirit days, to participate in this year’s Carnaval and to even have a French Café at the end of the year!

September 25th, 2015

Posted In: Back To School

LCdr LeFresne enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces as a MARS (Maritime Surface-Subsurface) Officer in June 1997. After 4 Years at the Royal Military College (RMC), he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Military and Strategic Studies and was posted to Victoria, BC to complete bridge officer training. Upon completion of this training, LCdr LeFresne was posted to HMCS Charlottetown in Halifax, NS to proceed with Officer of the Watch (OOW) certification. During his tour with Charlottetown, he attained the Naval Officer Professional Qualification and sailed in numerous fisheries patrols and task group exercises. A highlight of this two and half year period was Charlottetown’s participation in the 60th Anniversary of D-Day celebrations held off the shores of France.
Upon completion of his tour with Charlottetown, LCdr LeFresne was assigned to the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School to complete training as an Under Water Warfare Officer, which is the position he served in HMCS Fredericton. Service in Fredericton also saw east coast sea time in multiple fisheries patrols and task group exercises as well as assistance to the RCMP in one of the largest drug interceptions in Canadian history. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in April 2012.
LCdr LeFresne remained in Victoria, BC and oversaw the development of technical and readiness trials for frigates completing the Halifax Class Modernization (HCM) program.  During this period he was heavily involved in the planning and preparation of Royal Canadian Navy’s participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, the world’s largest maritime exercise.
LCdr LeFresne is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies as part of the Joint Command and Staff Program at the Canadian Forces College. He lives in Toronto with his wife and 3 children.

LCdr LeFresne came to visit us at Crestwood, courtesy of the CFC, in March 2015, when he was interviewed by a host of students from different grades.  Mindy Zhou and Doris Qiao took the lead in completing this project.

May 13th, 2015

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Jim Shontaler was born in the Canadian west, growing up in the difficult days of the Great Depression.  As there were some family problems, Jim spent many of his early years in an orphanage.  With the war underway and with no firm direction before him, he joined up as soon as he was able, heading off to training and then overseas.  Jim headed first to north Africa and Italy, to begin his “baptism under fire”.  He were in the thick of it, right away, fighting through the defensive lines in Italy, where he was wounded.  From there his unit was shipped north, and they participated in the liberation of France, Belgium, and especially the Netherlands, where Jim had many good experiencess.  Jim’s memories of those times are clear, and his stories are ideal for Canadians looking to find insights in the minds of young Canadian men in the 1940s.

We met Jim in his room at the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing, where he was interviewed for this project in April 2015.

May 12th, 2015

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Sydney Lang was born in Montreal on February 7th, 1923.  He currently resides in Toronto and is 92 years of age.  Sydney grew up during the Great Depression, in the city of Montreal.  He attended public school and was a Canadiens fan.  When the war broke out, Sydney was originally denied from the army because of health reasons, but he was later admitted after a change in policy.  After training and the troopship, Sydney was stationed in England, where pre-invasion preparations were underway.  Once D-Day occurred he was shipped to France, where at one time he found himself behind enemy lines.  Barely escaping with his life, Sydney was reassigned to the second echelon, and he played a rearguard role, including during the liberation of the Netherlands.  With the war over, he returned to Canada and went back to work.
Sydney was interviewed for this project in February 2015 by his neighbours Daven Siu and Victor Xie.  In July 2016 Daven returned with Mr. Masters for a second visit.

April 20th, 2015

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Jack Martin is from Toronto.  He grew up the city’s east end, dealing with the realities of the Great Depression.  From a military family, Jack was in it from the beginning; he enlisted in the Queen’s Own Rifles, and set about training.  A training accident left him deaf in one ear, but as his officer noted, he could hear out of the other one…Jack remembered that officer’s words:  “Send him over!”  Jack spent much of the war in England, serving on the south coast and training for the inevitable invasion.  When the time came, Jack’s unit went over in the first wave, hitting Juno Beach just after the rifle companies.  They set up their mortars just off the beach and were instantly in the thick of it, fighting their way through Normandy and into Caen.  Jack saw a lot of suffering and death, but the Canadians managed to push through, liberating the people of France and the Netherlands.
Jack Martin was interviewed for this project in April 2015;  Mr. Masters had the privilege of seeing Jack in his room at Sunnybrook.

April 19th, 2015

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Alan Forster was born in Toronto, growing up in the city’s east end during the Great Depression.  From a military family, he joined up as soon as he was able, heading off to training and then to England.  Shortly after the D-Day invasion, Alan headed to France, to begin his “baptism under fire”.  They were in the thick of it, right away, fighting through Normandy and into Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany itself.  Alan’s memories of those times are clear, and his stories are ideal for Canadians looking to find insights in the minds of young Canadian men in the 1940s.

We met Alan in his room at the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing, where he was interviewed for this project in April 2015.  Crestwood students visited again in January 2018, this time filming Alan in HD!

March 31st, 2015

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Bonjour! My name is Madame Martin and I am covering Madame Canrinus’ position as primary French teacher while she takes her maternity leave. Just like Madame Canrinus, I am using the AIM program to teach the kids.

I have a long history of french in my background, starting from kindergarten. Actually, it began even earlier than that – my father immigrated here from the south of France when he was very young. I grew up hearing a lot of what I call “Frenglish”. A mixture of French and English thrown together in no particular pattern, but simply by the choice of which language felt more natural when a certain thing needed to be expressed.
I was enrolled in French Immersion and was educated in all subjects through the French language. I valued my second language so highly, even as a younger person, that I incorporated it into my program of study at York University. I majored in Classical History – focusing mainly on Greece, Rome, and Egypt.

I am also running the Eco Team this year. On the weekends I volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum, and felt I could bring much of what I learn concerning the environment to the kids at Crestwood. The Eco Team meets twice a week, and we discuss and plan projects to help Crestwood be a helpful contributor to the environment.

I am loving my stay at Crestwood – the kids and staff are remarkable and I am looking forward to many years at Crestwood School.

À Bientôt !!!

February 12th, 2015

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Susan Pasternak, born Sissi Friedman was 7 months old when the war broke out in September of 1939. She was born on February 1st, 1939 in Zambriow, which is in northeastern Poland. Her parent’s names were Mordechai and Sarah Friedman and Susan was their first and only child. Her father had his own bakery shop and they lived a good life, until one day the Nazis took all the Jews to the ghetto. Susan was fortunate enough to never see an extermination camp as her birth mother arranged for a Polish woman to hide the family, though not her father, who unfortunately was killed in the ghetto.  Susan and her mother managed to sneak out of the ghetto and arrive at a Polish woman’s apartment. They lived there for three and a half years, under a table. It was covered however with a black cloth that covered the entire table and went all the way down to the floor so that they could not be seen by anybody.  After those three and a half years, Susan’s mother wrote to her sister, Rosa Weinstein, who lived in Canada. Her sister then gave passage for them to come to Canada. On the way her mother had a heart attack and died, and Susan was then sent to an orphanage in France, and from there to Germany, where she stayed for two years. Her mother’s sister wondered what had happened to them, so she enlisted help from the international Red Cross.  In May 1947, two years after the war had ended, her aunt sent passage to England; Susan then went from England to Halifax. She then met her in Halifax, making Susan one of the first children to cross the Atlantic after the war ended.

Susan spoke at Crestwood in December 2014, when she presented her story to Mrs. Pagano’s English 8 class.

January 21st, 2015

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Frank Mendham was born in Toronto in 1924; like many his age he grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, dealing with the realities of day-to-day life.  When the war came, Frank went into the cavalry, like his father before him.  By the time of the Second World War, tanks had replaced horses.  Frank spent time in England before heading over to France on D-Day; from Normandy, he and his regiment made their way through France and the Netherlands, into Germany.

We visited Frank at the Sunnybrook veterans’ Wing on February 27, 2014, where he was interviewed by Crestwood students Ahmed Izzeldin, Simon Yuan, and Jacob Gurdzy.

April 16th, 2014

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