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St. George’s School

Nigel Toy Retires after 13 years as Headmaster

Spring 2010


DRAGON St. George’s School

Spring 2010

EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR Gordon C.  Allan Director of Development




Thank you. by Nigel Toy


The Dynamics of Change. Past, Present and Future Headmasters by Rob Cruickshank



Dr. Tom Matthews: The School’s Eighth Headmaster


FEATURE - Our Toy Story: A Series of Reflections on Headmaster Toy


The Arrival of Nigel Toy: The Early Years by John Lawrence


The Core Values of Nigel Toy. Drawing from a Shared History by Greg Devenish


Nigel Toy: Many Things to Many People by Bud Patel


Nigel Toy: He Gets It. by Peter Armstrong '72


A Heartfelt Farewell from the Parents of St. George’s School by Nancy Cliff


A Saints Legend: Farewell Mr. Toy by James Allester '10 and Christen Chan '10


Then and Now: Boarding at St. George’s School - A Photographic Retrospective by Elizabeth Knox


The School and Social Media by Jason Fearon


Retirement: Conversation with Ralph Skinner


Staff Spotlight: John Hughes

ARCHIVES AND HISTORY EDITOR Elizabeth Knox School Archivist and Historian GEORGIANS’ SECTION SENIOR GEORGIANS’ EDITOR Bryan R. Ide '99­ Manager of Georgian Relations President of the Georgians and the St. George’s Old Boys’ Association D. Scott Lamb ‘79 PHOTOGRAPHERS Richelle Akimow Photography Gordon Allan Kyla Brown Photography e bo photo (Eric Bosch) Bruce Elbeblawy St. George’s School Archives David Yu '11   The Dragon is published twice per year, expressly for Georgians, parents, and friends of St. George’s School. It is also distributed to other Canadian independent schools and selected public or private institutions. Comments about any of the articles are always welcome. Address all correspondence to: Gordon C. Allan – Managing Editor, The Dragon St. George’s School 4175 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6S 1V1 CANADA Phone: 604.224.1304 Fax: 604.224.7066 Email: Please contact our office to be added to the mailing list.

PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40580507 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: ST. GEORGE’S School SOCIETY 3851 WEST 29TH AVENUE VANCOUVER BC V6S 1T6 The Dragon is copyright © 2008 St. George’s School, Vancouver BC Canada. Reproduction rights: We encourage you to circulate or copy this material unmodified for your own private use. You may quote any article or portion of article with attribution. Quotation of any article or portion of article without attribution is prohibited. The Dragon, its contents, or material may not be sold, intact or modified, nor included in any package or product offered for sale.

Things Do Not Change. We Change. by Gordon C. Allan

school Life

T HE Georgians’ SECTION 32

From the President of the Georgians by D. Scott Lamb ’79


Goodbye Mr. Brown: Reflections on a Great Headmaster


He Did it His Way. Reflections on Alan Brown by Alex Tsakumis '84


Don’t Wait to Be a Great Man. Be a Great Boy. by Chris Ingvaldson '87


Bringing the Socratic Methods Alive: Reflections on Dougal Fraser by Mathew Wright '84


Saints’ Notes Compiled by Bryan R. Ide '99


The Georgians Annual Dinner

St. George’s School is proud to be associated with:

from the managing editor

Gordon C. Allan Director of Development

Things Do Not Change.

With Nigel Toy’s impending retirement, this has been a year of change at the school, a year in which we are changing. From the opening staff meeting onwards, there was something different about the benchmark events that typically characterize a year. No one said anything, but we were all thinking the same thing: “This was the last time Nigel Toy would be part of this.” There has been a somber finality to the conclusion of each event this year in knowing that it won’t be quite the same next year. It

is therefore fitting that we look back on his time as Headmaster in this special edition of The Dragon that we call “Our Toy Story”. The words and photos that appear throughout are a testament to his remarkable leadership over the past 13 years. The Saints community was also forever changed in December when we heard of the passing of former Headmaster and Georgian, Alan Brown '54 who, during his tenure, profoundly affected the lives of numerous boys, all of who are now Georgians. We thank Alex Tsakumis '84 and our current Head of Social Studies, Chris Ingvaldson '87, for their reflections on the Alan Brown years. While there is clearly some sadness at the school this year, there is also a nervous excitement as we try to imagine how we will evolve as a community under the leadership of Dr. Tom Matthews, who assumes his role as Headmaster of St. George’s this summer and who has already made a very positive impression on everyone who has met him. A brief snapshot of Tom is included in this Dragon and we look forward to a more detailed interview with him in the fall edition. Things do not change. We change. Without fear or favour.

There has been a somber finality to the conclusion of each event this year in knowing that it won’t be quite the same next year.

For those of us who work at the school, there are predictable benchmarks that define the school year: the first day of school, the Terry Fox Run, Remembrance Day, Hamper Drive, the Annual Georgians’ Dinner, the Annual Fair, theatrical and musical productions, Arts Week, provincial athletic tournaments, our university acceptances, Junior School Sports Day, Closing Ceremonies, Grad Night, and the Stancombe Invitational to name just a few. These are all part of the character of a year at Saints, and our collective spirit as a community is deeply affected by the extent to which they are successful. With all of these events, our community looks to its leader for direction and vision: one who can inspire, coach, ensure that we maintain our traditions, and is willing to share in our successes, failures, and, occasionally, times of adversity.

Henry David Thoreau

We Change.



Nigel R.L. Toy Headmaster

Thank You. I am very mindful that this is my last Headmaster’s Message in St. George’s School’s Dragon publication. I have enjoyed a long career in education and, after nearly three decades as a Head, to close at a school such as St. George’s has given me a tremendous sense of fulfillment. It has always been a pleasure to work alongside wonderful people and a joy to have been immersed in such an extraordinary student body. Great schools develop and draw on their own inner strengths; this one has long had the capacity to reach for the very best. It has always been my belief that you need to see a school through the eyes of a student and that has really provided my compass over these many years.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Just recently, we mourned the passing of legendary Headmaster Alan Brown '54. He gave so much to this school and helped build its reputation. That, coupled with the retirement of one Head and the arrival of another, gives cause to reflect on what has been achieved and what can be accomplished in the


years ahead. I believe we can be very positive about St. George’s School and I know Dr. Tom Matthews will build on its inherent strengths. People inevitably ask, “What do you most enjoy?” The answer is simply to have been drawn into every aspect of school life. I know that young people are motivated by those around them and by those who guide them. In the latter respect, St. George’s School has a wonderful faculty and a very dedicated staff in so many key areas. This culture of high expectations and the tradition of excellence are powerful drivers and will ensure that the next generation will be inspired to keep alive the integrity of this great school. To each and every one of you, thank you for what you do and give to this school. My remaining months will only serve to remind me of the boundless energy that makes St. George’s such a vital part of my life. I trust you will enjoy this edition and the many more that will follow.


Great schools develop and draw on their own inner strengths; this one has long had the capacity to reach for the very best.

from the CHAIRMAN

Rob Cruickshank Chairman

The Dynamics of Change. Past, Present, and Future Headmasters.

Regrettably, Alan Brown '54 passed away December 23, 2009 – far too young, at the age of 71. He was the Headmaster of St. George’s when we applied for our first son to enter the school in September of 1987. Had it not been for Mr. Brown, I doubt we would have begun what will ultimately be a 25-year relationship with the school when our youngest graduates (all going well) in 2012. I reminded Alan last spring of his role in our son’s admittance and let him know that because of him, four more of our sons have graced the halls of Saints and we, as a family, have continued to be enthusiastic supporters of the school. He looked at me with a little grin on his face and said, “Then I made a good decision.” Alan made many good decisions for St. George’s School and was a great Headmaster for 18 years. The Memorial Service held on January 9, 2010 was a wonderful celebration of his life and it was very fitting it was held in the Great Hall at St. George’s. I’m sure Alan had that same grin on his face as he looked down on the many people who attended and those who honoured him in their eulogies. In my fall article, I had talked about the three challenges in a Head Search. The last of these was to actually land the candidate you believe is the right one for the role. I first met Tom Matthews a few years ago and had the privilege of serving with him on the Board of the Canadian Association of Independent schools (CAIS). I was very impressed with him and was so was pleased when he submitted his application. When the Search Committee interviewed Tom, we knew we had found the right one. It was unanimous. When we did our site visit and reference checks, they only served to solidify

our view. So, we were indeed pleased to be able to secure him and confirm our selection to the school community. Tom and his family visited the school and met many in the community during their visit earlier this year. By all accounts, he was well received and I know he and his family are excited about their move. Tom will be starting in his role as the next Headmaster of St. George’s School on July 1 of this year and we look forward to the next chapter of St. George’s under his leadership. So now to the present. Nigel Toy continues to amaze us all. As we approach his final months, he continues at a pace and level of commitment that rival his first months at the school. I have had the pleasure of working with Nigel over his tenure, most closely over the last three years. When I think back about where we were as a school when Nigel first arrived, I can’t imagine having selected anyone else for the role. Nigel’s commitment, passion, focus, and iconic leadership have inspired St. George’s to reach great heights. While many relate Nigel with our athletic achievements, he has told me on many occasions that while Athletics are important, people still need choose schools for their sons based on the academic performance of the school. Nigel is, of course, extremely proud of the accomplishments of St. George’s in this regard. In fact, there is not an aspect of St. George’s that Nigel hasn’t touched and inspired to improve. We all have “Nigel stories”. Some had the privilege of capturing those on a DVD which was presented to him at the Gala last October. We will forever remember him pacing the concourse of the Agrodome during the BCSS AAA Boy’s Basketball Tournament or taking “red-eye” flights to be able to offer inspiration to our boys on either side of the continent, and who will ever forget the Remembrance Day speeches. I can’t do justice to his time with us in such a short space but I know I speak for everyone in thanking him and wishing him well in his retirement. Goodness knows he deserves it.

In keeping with the theme of this edition, I’d like to touch on change as it relates to our past, our present, and our future. I will comment on this by referencing three of our Headmasters: Alan Brown '54, Nigel Toy, and Tom Matthews, all of whom I have experienced to varying degrees.


On November 16, 2009, it was announced to the Saints community that the Board of Directors had unanimously endorsed the appointment of Dr. Tom Matthews as the school’s eighth Headmaster. The choice of Dr. Matthews was made after an exhaustive worldwide search with the collaboration of both an internal selection committee and an external executive search firm. Dr. Matthews is currently the Headmaster of Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton, Ontario, a position he has held since 2003. The school has 1,145 students and offers JK/Montessori 3 through Grade 12. Tom has served as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), as well as on a number of not-for-profit boards including the Royal BC Museum, Nepal School Projects, the United Way, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. He and his wife, Sheena, have three children: Calum (18), Liam (16), and Ceilidh (11).


Matthews The school’s Eighth Headmaster

In the fall edition of The Dragon, we will have an opportunity to interview Dr. Matthews and to profile his vision for the school in more detail. However, in the meantime, he has kindly shared with the editors a position paper he originally presented during the selection process. In it, there are a number of interesting insights into where he believes educators need to be placing their emphasis. Of particular note is a quote from futurist, Alvin Toffler, which Dr. Matthews uses to preface his views on education: “The illiterate in the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Dr. Matthews goes on to identify what he believes are the key issues confronting today’s schools, issues which will no doubt frame his vision for St. George’s School and which we look forward to discussing more fully with Dr. Matthews. They include: • Advances in brain research and their implications for teaching and learning; • Globalization and increased competition; • Rapid, unpredictable change; • School sustainability; • Technological change; • The changing nature of “community”; and • Changing notions of “leadership”.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

On January 25, the Georgian Board was pleased to host a special reception in honour of Dr. Matthews at the Vancouver Club and the following evening, the Saints community as a whole officially welcomed Tom and Sheena at a Cocktail Reception at the school.


Everyone has been very impressed with Dr. Matthews’ personable approach, willingness to listen, and ability to articulate his positions on key issues while respecting the experience of those who manage the various areas of the school. We all look forward to his arrival in July.

CURRICULUM VITAE SNAPSHOT EDUCATION • PhD (History) McMaster University • MA (History) McMaster University • Honours BA (History/English) King’s College, The University of Western Ontario EXPERIENCE • Headmaster Hillfield Strathallan, Hamilton, Ontario • Director of Academics St. Michaels University school Victoria, British Columbia • Chair of the Department of History and Economics Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario • Teacher and Associate Housemaster Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario • Assistant Professor, Department of History McMaster University

Clockwise: Calum (18), Tom, Sheena, Max, Ceilidh (11), and Liam (16).



The DRAGON Spring 2010

After 13 years at the helm of St. George’s School, Headmaster Nigel Toy retires this coming June. For many, Nigel Toy and St. George’s School have become synonymous. The word “iconic” is already being used to describe his leadership, while references to the “Toy Era coming to a close” are made with both reverence and sadness. On the next few pages, members of the school community who know Nigel will talk of the leader, the coach, and the man who never lost his compassion for others during the process of making the school what it is today: one of the leading schools for boys in North America.


The Arrival of Nigel Toy: The Early Years

John Lawrence, former Acting Headmaster and Associate Principal In the year prior to the arrival of Nigel Toy at St. George’s, I was the acting Headmaster. It was several months into the year before I was able to announce that the new Headmaster would be spending several days on campus with us. Nigel, as was to be expected, made a point of talking to staff and meeting with the Board, but my guess was that his real focus was the boys. Talking individually, or in small groups on the fields or in the halls, he was sizing up the student material of his new command. In their turn, the students were weighing up those broad shoulders, the Kiwi accent, the unfamiliar allusions to ‘morning tea’, and the like.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Toward the end of his short stay, I invited Nigel to kayak in False Creek. I took the faster of the two boats, but to Nigel went my cherished kevla paddle. At some point, I recognised that our leisurely pace was quickly developing into a race, and as Nigel’s broad back faded into the distance, I wished that I had kept both the better boat and the better paddle!


Staff and students returning from the summer holidays were surprised to find that a post totally new to Saints had been created, that of Discipline Master. It was a brilliant stroke of Nigel’s to create such a postion and find the one man uniquely qualified to fill it – Pat Dyck. Pat Dyck was a recruit from the public domain. He and Nigel were to craft a policy together that would liberalize the school’s approach to discipline. Pat’s wry sense of humour, belief in the ultimate good nature of every wayward student, careful family bridge-building, and meticulous record-keeping were to set the school on a new path that would amaze public school friends and colleagues for whom the notion still lingered that Saints was some kind of reformatory school for naughty boys. From the beginning, Nigel was to insist on Assemblies as a key element in building a truly organic school community. With a constantly expanding school roll, packing over 600 students in an auditorium built for 400 was to stretch imaginations and ingenuity. Grade 8s were seated on forms

making staff appointments away from himself to departmental committees, which short-list and interview candidates, then make recommendations to the Headmaster. In the process, departments have inherited a vested interest in making sure that their new colleagues are successful by keeping a watchful eye and providing timely support when the situation demands.

Those early talks with the senior boys had convinced Nigel that the Graduating Class should have a place of their own. He immediately set about reorganizing the Southam Lounge into a place of refuge for the Graduates. No one, however, was under any illusion that this would be a longterm satisfactory solution. It was only because of a gift from the Carthy Foundation that Nigel’s dream was to be eventually realized, and the Graduates got a place of their own in the new St. George’s Centre, much to the envy of the rest of the school, and the staff in particular. A prefectorial elite providing student leadership had long been the Saints’ model. Nigel wished to see student leadership become the hallmark of the Graduating Class as a whole. New opportunities to involve Grads in the running of the school were offered and enthusiastically accepted. Over time, these contributions were recognised with Headmaster’s Leadership Awards, which became marks of real distinction standing alongside that of prefectship. Nigel will leave his mark on all aspects of school government. Long-winded grandstanding by a Board member or staff would receive a raised eyebrow and a little coaching on the side in regard to brevity and getting to the point. His own presentations are always models for others to follow. Board policy-making and the decision-making of the two important staff committees which meet regularly with the Headmaster have both gained in effectiveness and efficiency. Staff appointments by the Headmaster had always been the norm at Saints. Departments, for better or worse, had to live with the Head’s estimate of what was best for their team. Nigel has slowly devolved much of the process of

John Lawrence and Nigel Toy on Bowen Island.

To return briefly to Assemblies: at Saints we actually have them. In other schools they don’t because such public occasions might lead to confrontation. To witness an Assembly is to understand something of the charisma of Nigel Toy. No student or student activity fails to achieve public recognition; no member of staff fails to receive appreciation for their contribution to the achievements of their students; no service to the school community fails to receive thanks, often heartfelt. The large number and diversity of awards presented cannot fail to register. There are also many student contributions, which are often ingenious in invention, using all the resources of modern technology but, and it is a big but, skilfully treading the line between good and bad taste. It cannot but strike the observer as indicative of a pervasive spirit in the entire community based on a deep respect for all.

on stage, the staff on chairs at the rear, hanging from the ceiling being the last resort. Assemblies were eventually and reluctantly relocated to the gymnasium, which despite the inconvenience of setting up and taking down the seating, proved a viable alternative to having the Fire Marshall close down the auditorium.

In any school, the welfare of the student body is the number one priority. At Saints, Nigel has taken an almost equal interest in the welfare of his staff, keeping an open-door policy for those who want to talk privately and providing practical support in difficult times. He instituted the ceremonies which attend the departure of long-serving staff. Speaking as someone who has personally experienced a school-leaving ceremony, it was a deeply affecting occasion providing me with a fitting closure to a long career.


The Core Values of Nigel Toy: Drawing from a Shared History

Greg Devenish, Junior School Principal The first time I met Nigel Toy was at a Canadian Association of Independent Schools Heads and Chairs Conference in Montreal. This was Nigel’s first CAIS Conference and we quickly struck up a conversation. Like all Headmasters, we chatted about our respective schools and it was obvious from the outset that he was passionate about St. George’s School and committed to boys’ education. The second time we met was during my interview for Principal of the Junior School in 1999. While much of that interview remains a blur, the one memory that still sticks with me today was a response from Nigel to a question I had about the working relationship between the Principal of the Junior School and the Headmaster. He explained that this working relationship required close communication and that I would need to consider myself the captain of my ship. As captain, I would be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Junior School and would be part of an Administrative Team that would lead the school forward. He, in turn, would be the Admiral, responsible for overseeing both campuses and making a point of appearing “on deck” at the Junior School on a weekly basis.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

For me, a history buff with a keen interest in military history, this was a very good analogy and one to which I could easily relate. But it wasn’t until I started to work for Nigel that I realized just how much his response spoke of Nigel Toy the person.


Over the years, Nigel and I have talked about our mutual interest in great military events that have shaped history as well as key leaders and pioneers who changed the course of history – people like Winston Churchill, Captain Cook, and Captain Vancouver. It is from history and from reading about great men that Nigel has come to appreciate the importance of human qualities like courage, responsibility, hard work, self-discipline, perseverance, loyalty, and compassion – virtues he has instilled in the St. George’s School community and in his boys. These virtues resonate in two of his favourite fictional military characters, each of who clearly espoused these qualities. They were C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower, and Bernard Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe.

In Forester’s Hornblower novels, we are introduced to a rather unremarkable and seasick midshipman called Horatio. As the Napoleonic Wars unfold, we see him gain confidence. With skill and daring he rises through the ranks and, over time and after a series of adventures, he is promoted to Rear Admiral. Likewise, Bernard Cornwell’s story about Richard Sharpe is of a determined and hardworking man who took part in a wide array of historical events during the Napoleonic Wars. Both of these characters rose through the ranks to become leaders who possessed many of the qualities that underscore Nigel’s own value system. They were recognized for their work ethic, visibility amongst their troops, compassion, loyalty to their regiment or ship, loyalty to those they served, perseverance and, above all,

Mr. Toy and the Junior School

There were times, I am sure, in Nigel’s career when his decisions or actions were questioned by faculty, parents, and even Board members, many who said, It can’t be done. However, he has a strong resolve to see things through and his strong desire to make this school one of the finest in the land was, in large part, due to the values that drove him. As we look back at Nigel Toy’s 13 years, much will be said about the construction of new buildings, increased enrollment, capital improvements, and the many athletic championships. However, what Nigel Toy taught me was that large schools can have a heart. Having come from a small school, I had always believed you had to be a small institution to be caring. But I have learned St. George’s

does have a heart and I have seen the many times when this school and Nigel Toy have supported a student or a staff member through difficult times. Nigel has stood with them during their times of distress and he has taken an active interest in the personal lives of those with whom he works. His compassion is another virtue he has brought to St. George’s, one that I believe will serve as his greatest legacy. Nigel Toy has a little Horatio Hornblower and a little Richard Sharpe in him. His loyalty to this school and the boys is unwavering. His high expectations in and out of the classroom are legendary. His demand to be the best that one can be are evident in his private talks and during his Assemblies. Nigel Toy is an honourable man, a gentleman, and a man for whom I am proud to have worked. On behalf of the Junior School, I want to publicly thank Nigel Toy for his hard work, countless hours, devotion to the school as a whole, and the support he has given to the Junior School in particular.

their strong sense of vision. Nigel Toy rose through the teaching ranks, set a hectic schedule (often giving the illusion that he could be at more than one place at a time “checking” on the boys’ progress), set high expectations for himself, and was never satisfied with the status quo inside or outside the classroom.


Nigel Toy:

Many Things to Many People

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Bud Patel, Senior School Principal


Nigel Toy has been so many things to so many people. Here is my attempt to capture some of the qualities of what I would describe as a “once-in-a-lifetimeHeadmaster”.

heap. And in athletics, Nigel calculates the number of points needed in each Track & Field discipline to win the Provincial Title. In a word, Nigel is a winner and wants his school to be a winning one too.

Nigel Toy as a . . . communicator. Anyone who has heard Nigel speak understands the power of his spoken word.

Nigel Toy as an . . . actor. In my first year at the school, I was continually impressed with each and every event. Of particular note was the quality of our theatre productions.

Just close your eyes and imagine a strong, clear, deep voice. He gathers timeless life lessons, distills them into digestible, multi-generational bits, and delivers them like no other. From Remembrance Day to Assembly, from the youngest Grade 1 to the oldest faculty member, all are in awe of the power and warmth of his words. All of us will fondly remember his oratory skills.

On one occasion, during a Saturday Pub Night for a closing performance, I hadn’t noticed Nigel slipping away until, to my surprise, he suddenly appeared on stage, having inserted himself into a scene. He has since been involved in other productions, including the infamous House Supper. Nigel has even arrived at Assembly on the back of a motorcycle. A very good actor, indeed!

Nigel Toy as a . . . competitor. Whatever the activity, Nigel wants to know the rules so he can formulate a plan for success – a plan to win. No one arrives at the school earlier than he. Believe me, I’ve tried. In my early years, I had to be at school to catch a 7:00 am ferry. Expecting to be the first one on campus, I asked the custodial staff for the alarm code. They quickly pointed to the light burning bright in the corner office – Nigel, pen in hand, working through a never-ending pile of paperwork. Nigel 1, me 0! Likewise, each year, Nigel anxiously waits for the AP and Provincial Exams results to arrive so he can pour over them to confirm we are still at the top of the academic

Nigel Toy as a . . . clone. One of the lasting memories for everyone will be Nigel’s appearance at virtually every school event. During one weekend alone, it is not uncommon to see him at a Debating Tournament on Vancouver Island, a Rugby Game at the University of British Columbia, a Track & Field Meet in Abbotsford, and a Rowing Regatta in Ontario. And during a recent Spring Break, he attended the Tennis Tour in Palm Springs, the Music Tour in Germany and Austria, and then he popped over to Australia to catch up with the Rugby Tour. GPS or Google Maps, whatever the method, Nigel has an efficient way of ensuring that he takes in every

Nigel Toy as a . . . giver. While it is well known that Nigel gives of his time to the school, what is less well known is how much he contributes financially. While his leadership in our Annual Giving Campaign is remarkable, it’s his quiet contribution to student fundraising initiatives, staff luncheons, or that boy who needs some extra spending money on a school trip that is most meaningful. He is very generous, with the only expectation being, “Please enjoy, I’m here for you.” Nigel Toy as a . . . timer. One thing I quickly learned in working for Nigel is that events at St. George’s will start on time, including Staff Meetings, Assemblies, Games, Tournaments, Theatre Productions, Music Concerts and Parent Meetings. Latecomers can expect Nigel’s steely glare. He has always taken the position that it is not fair to

those who arrive in a timely manner to have to wait. This philosophy is now embedded in the culture of the school. Nigel Toy as an . . . educator. Nigel knows boys’ education. As a Headmaster for nearly 30 years, he has shaped a generation of young men. From bell bottoms and long hair to ‘faux-hawks’ and earrings, from New Zealand to Canada, Nigel has seen it all and been able to adapt a consistent model that works for boys, no matter what the decade or continent. Connecting through Assembly, small groups, class visits, pre- and post-game team talks, or oneon-one meetings, his style resonates with his boys. They all recognize that he is there for them. Nigel is a testament to the fact that Old World values can, indeed, stand the test of time and consistently achieve success. Nigel Toy as a . . . workout machine. More and more evidence shows that if they expect to care for their students, educators need to take care of themselves. Healthy eating and regular exercise become keys to success. While I won’t comment on Nigel’s diet –Vegemite is one of his staples – no one is more consistent about

maintaining his fitness routine than Nigel. On most afternoons, you can find him training in the fitness centre, running in the forest, or out on the fields or the track. Bowling for the Cricket Team, shooting a three-pointer, or putting a shot – he literally does it all! In between visiting teams or dress rehearsals, Nigel works out. We know why he has a vast reservoir of energy. Nigel Toy as a . . . leader. Nigel’s leadership style is so emblematic of Nigel the person, that no future Headmaster will quite be able to do it his way. The mould has been broken. His style is formal, stoic, clear, and transcendent. The day-to-day energy of a busy school is the base on which he has grown and developed his leadership. For example, he loves his Assemblies, a time for the

community to laugh, cry and, most importantly, be acknowledged. His desire is that, at some point during his time at Saints, each boy will “come across the stage” to be acknowledged by his peers – his school. As discussed already, visibility is also very important to Nigel. He wants the boys to know he’s there for them. Because he does not like to be off campus for too long, Nigel’s strong and calm leadership has remained an omnipresent force that has transformed the school into the dynamic place of learning and caring it is today. His dream was always to build a big, competitive school, a school with a challenging curricula for the best and brightest students that offered multiple extracurricular offerings at the highest level, all in a caring, empathetic, and supportive environment that developed the all-round, well-grounded young man who had a quiet confidence to meet all of life’s challenges. Mr. Toy, you can move into retirement with the satisfaction of a job well done. St. George’s is now that school you hoped and dreamed it would be. Our community will be forever indebted to you. Best wishes!

school event. Needless to say, he has accumulated his fair share of Air Miles! His visibility and care is not lost on boys, parents, staff and faculty.


Nigel Toy: He Gets It!

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Peter Armstrong '72, Past Chairman of the Board


Nigel gets it, in terms of what interests students at St. George’s School. He understands that his role is to be inspirational, supportive, encouraging and, when the situation calls for it, authoritative. Of course, Nigel also knows what our parents expect: that they are looking forward to seeing their sons cross the stage as graduates from the Junior School and eventually from the Senior School, equipped with an excellent education. And all along the way, Nigel has been focused on ensuring that each student has a meaningful formative experience and gets as much as he can out of every opportunity, both in the classroom and on the playing field, from field trips in the city to tours around the globe.

become one of the finest educational institutions in the country.

Nigel also understands what an alumnus - an Old Boy, a Georgian - is looking for: connection back to his school. As an Old Boy myself, I can say that we value the lifelong friendships built with fellow classmates and staff and we recall fond memories about our traditions. We are also in awe of the incredible progress the school has made to

The role of Chairman is sometimes to be a confidant, mentor, and sounding board, and to provide sober second thoughts on the heavy issues that confront the Headmaster. Our school community challenges our Headmaster all the time, whether he is working on getting the best performance out of a staff member, dealing with

Nigel gets it in terms of the needs of his staff: what their dreams are for St. George’s and the tools they require to realize those dreams. Nigel is a great leader and he has incredible staff around him. He is very clear in his messaging about his expectations. He gives his best and he expects the same from everyone else with whom he works. I’ve had the privilege of getting to see first-hand how Nigel truly understands it all and how he truly gets it. As Past Chairman for four years, I have gained a whole new perspective on what makes St. George’s so special.

He has also dealt with family tragedies with kindness, honour, discretion, compassion, and understanding. He has never been judgmental in any situation. On one occasion, when a student’s family member passed, he reflected on how it would affect the student and what actions the school could take to assist him and his family during such a difficult time. Nigel was a visionary for the school. Whether he was dealing with the students or a building project, he could always see many miles down the road to where he wanted to go and what he wanted to accomplish. He strengthened our sporting program. He improved our academics. He enhanced our arts. He re-built our school. For example, Nigel had a vision for a Great Hall, the multi-purpose facility in which we recently conducted the Memorial Service for former Headmaster Alan Brown '54. The Hall now hosts numerous celebrations to recognize those boys who have excelled and contributed to the community.

We’ll always remember that Nigel was a leader who led from the front and attended almost every event during his tenure as Headmaster. In a single weekend, he was known to have been on Vancouver Island for a Rugby game, then back in Vancouver to take in other St. George’s activities, and then on a red-eye to St. Catharines, Ontario to see our boys row the next morning. He will also be remembered for knowing all of our students during their tenure – he felt strongly that he should know each boy and that each boy should know him. As Chair, I always had the confidence that Nigel had good judgment and that he made the best choice, knowing that he always put time and careful thought into deciding what course to take.

In one of the Annual Reviews that a Chair is obligated to give, I wrote to Nigel that I wished I had the opportunity to have him as my Headmaster. While I was very happy with the Headmaster I did have as a student, it would have been a unique experience to learn under Mr. Toy. I am privileged to have worked with Nigel, and honoured to have gained so much insight into how the school works. Decades from now, the young men of Saints will be Old Boys talking fondly of the “good ol’ days” under the leadership of Nigel Toy. There will be a lot of laughter and a lot of pride. The legacy of Nigel Toy is yet to be written; however, I strongly believe that his commitment to excellence, exceptional Remembrance Day addresses, sportsmanship, and unwavering belief that the school should be outstanding in academics, will be just some of the memories associated with his Headship. I had a four-year stint under a great Headmaster. I know I am better for it and I certainly know the school is better for the 13 years under Nigel’s watch. We all wish Nigel the very best, because he has given us his very best. He gets it and we are lucky to have had him as one of ours.

an errant student, or consoling a family during a tragedy. In all of my experiences in working with Nigel, he has been nothing short of exceptional; he is a man of integrity with a heart, one always willing to make the tough decisions.


A Heartfelt Farewell: From the Parents of St. George’s School

Nancy Cliff, President of the Parents’ Auxiliary

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Mr. Toy, as President of the St. George’s School Parents Auxiliary and on behalf of all parents whose sons you have shepherded and lives you have touched, I would like to thank you for your 13 years of dedicated service. You supported us as parents by being an outstanding role model and you encouraged values that are rarely seen today. You dedicated your career to raising well-rounded boys who stand ready to go forth into the world. Your steadfast support of the Parents Auxiliary has fostered a strong and caring community. You attended your first Fair 14 years ago, even before your official duties began, and have attended every one since. You heralded the start of Fair Day by leading the Opening Ceremony Parade with the Grade 1 boys, brought it to a climax with the


drawing of the winning raffle ticket, and you celebrated the Fair’s success with the Booth Convenors at the After Fair Celebration. You offered words of encouragement and gratitude at countless Class Events, Membership Receptions, and Volunteer Appreciation Lunches. You accepted every Auxiliary invitation, highlighting your love for all that is St. George’s. Mr. Toy, we are eternally grateful for your commitment to our sons’ school. Your sage advice and inspirational words will be sorrowfully missed. From the parents of St. George’s School, both past and present, I wish you health and happiness as you enter this new phase of your life. You have truly left an indelible mark on St. George’s, its boys, and their parents. Thank you and best wishes!

Mr. Toy, Mr. Cruickshank with past and present Presidents of the Parents’ Auxiliary


A Saints Legend:

Farewell from the Students of St. George’s School. James Allester, School Captain and Christen Chan, Vice Captain 2009-2010 The slightest mention of Mr. Nigel Toy’s name is often enough to have even the most lackadaisical students tidying untucked shirts and straightening their postures – not because the Headmaster invokes fear, but rather, because he commands an unmatched degree of respect. Indeed, Headmaster Toy, famed for his rousing leadership and empowering speeches, is an esteemed figure for the student body, inspiring its members to become better men each and every day.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

A simple conversation with Mr. Toy feels like a privilege, every trip to the stage at Assembly, an honour. And his presence at just about every event, from sports tournaments featuring Saints athletic teams to the


theatrical productions showcasing the school’s dramatic talent, only underscores undying dedication to the school’s greatest beneficiaries, the students. With his quiet words of encouragement, after every applause of sincere congratulations, and following every stirring speech filled with wisdom, Mr. Toy brings out the very best of St. George’s School by offering only his best as an example.

To Headmaster Toy: words cannot express our humblest gratitude for your contribution to St. George’s. Best of luck in the coming years; may you enjoy a restful and fulfilling retirement. Know that your legacy to this school is infinite and will stand all tests of time. A tremendous thank you for making St. George’s part of your story, for you have made the school’s story truly legendary.

The students and staff may be the living soul of Saints, but Headmaster Toy is its undeniable leader. He brings us together in celebration and unites us in solemnity. He makes community an integral part of St. George’s life and bridges the Junior and Senior campuses together. He helps to complete a collective identity proudly shared by present-day students and Old Boys around the world.


An Invitation to say:

Celebrate Mr.Toy’s leadership and tremendous contribution to the St. George’s School community for the past 13 years.

The DRAGON Spring 2010



Sunday, June 13, 2010 2:00–5:00 pm Formal Presentations: 3:30 pm Senior School Fields “Under the Big Top” EVERYONE WELCOME Watch for an e-vite in early May.



The DRAGON Spring 2010


The DRAGON Spring 2010


THEN Boarding houses at 29th and Wallace Street | Dorm in the main school in the 1960’s | Students in the 1950s signing for pocket money from the Bursar, Mr. McDonnell | Matron, Mrs. Royston, in “the San” in 1938 | Front of the main school and gym | 3rd floor dorm, Junior School building | 4th floor commonroom , Junior School building

New Student Lounge | Typical two-person room | On-site weight room | Harker Hall Residences today | Harker Hall in the evening | New front lobby



“Social Media” is the term for a combination of people gathering together using technology that allows for sharing of words, pictures, and videos to create engagement and the opportunity for shared meaning. Imagine being able to comment on the news stories, and engage in conversation and debate with fellow Georgians.

The School &

SOCIAL MEDIA by Jason Fearon, Communications Officer

Social media provides something that many other communications tools do not: community engagement. Not only can the school send information about what is happening around the school on a timely basis, but followers can respond – asking questions, seeking clarification, and providing their thoughts about that information. Other followers can also be involved in the conversation, discussing the news and the opinions given by others in the community. The nature of these networking sites means that people are receiving information that is important to them, in a way that it convenient to them. People choose who they would like to receive updates from, and are not inundated with information which is not of interest to them. They also control how they receive the message (online, text message, iPhone app, etc.), as well as when they receive it. All of these controls mean that the school will be able to deliver the right message to the right people, at the right time, using the right method. It’s a powerful communications tool and a great way for Georgians to stay connected. Imagine receiving information from Saints, on the websites you already visit, in the same ways as you already network with your friends. During the 2009-2010 school year, St. George’s began to take its first steps in social media. We’ve run a couple of Twitter accounts, uploaded a few videos to video sharing sites (such as Vimeo and YouTube), and even done a couple of experiments in the world of podcasting.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

These social networking sites are virtual communities where people convene to chat, post pictures, and blog. By using these sites to communicate news, events, and announcements, we’re hoping to create a new level of engagement within the Georgian community.


While social media isn’t a strong enough tool to stand on its own in terms of communication, it is becoming a larger piece of the school’s communications strategy.

If you’ve visited our website in the last couple of months, you may have noticed that there’s a new icon at the top of each page. We’ve launched a ‘social media’ page, with links to the Georgian Facebook and LinkedIn pages, the Twitter accounts endorsed by the school, podcasts, and the school’s studentrun newspaper. These initial steps will be just the beginning as we plan to launch a new school website in the fall, which will feature links to St. George’s School’s presence on the major social networking sites – as well as blogs – and the ability to comment on, and engage with, school activities and news, right on the St. George’s website.

school Twitter Accounts @saintsBC provides general information on day-to-day activities around the school @StGeorgesAdmiss provides information on Admissions activities, deadlines, and open houses @Lindsay_Thierry updates from the school’s Executive Director of Admissions and Director of Residential Life @ATHLETICSaints scores, schedules and events from Saints Athletics


A Conversation with

Ralph Skinner

who retires from St. George’s School after 30 years of service.

Q: What brought you to St. George’s School? A: I had a friend at Simon Fraser University in the 1970s who had been hired by Saints. I had been a guest speaker in one of his classes, so I knew more than a bit about the school. When that friend was hired to run the Law Related Education Program at the new Courthouse, Headmaster Alan Brown asked him to recommend a replacement. I was the one he chose. Q: What is the biggest change you have seen at the school? A: By far, the biggest change has been in the size of the Senior School. When I arrived thirty years ago, classes began in Grade 8 with 81 students – three sections of 27 each. As students left the school, they generally were not replaced, so the Graduating Class was usually around 75, half of what we see today. Students knew everyone well by graduation time. Taking the same teacher for a course like English built a camaraderie that has been diluted with increased grade size. Q: Would you tell us about a special memory? A: Too many for this magazine! My earliest “wow” moment was walking down the sideline to see my first Saints Rugby game. The ball came to Pat Palmer a few feet from me and he dashed for a try so quickly I couldn’t believe my eyes. That first week of school, I didn’t know that he was the fastest high school student in B.C., but could easily imagine his future playing for Canada in the World Cup.

Q: What would you like to see as St. George’s School continues to evolve? A: I would love to see Debating and Public Speaking regain the status they had when I first arrived and when I started the Model United Nations Club. Headmaster Gordon Atkinson had wanted an In-House Debating Tournament with the Finals to be held at Assembly. At that time, I did not see where to fit it in as we were attending so many tournaments, so it never got going. That may be the perfect vehicle to rekindle the tradition of Saints as a debating power.

Q: What do you think you will miss the most about St. George’s? A: The inquisitive minds; the frequent questioning after the bell has rung; that desire to learn that is so evident among so many.


The DRAGON Spring 2010

Staff Spotlight


Georgians often ask us what today’s teachers are like at St. George’s. In this edition of The Dragon, we are pleased to launch a new column entitled STAFF SPOTLIGHT, an opportunity for staff members to share their philosophy and teaching style and to discuss what inspired them to become a teacher. In this edition, we are pleased to profile Social Studies teacher, John Hughes.

John Hughes “Things do not change,” wrote philosopher Henry David Thoreau, “we change.” Being asked to write for The Dragon on the eve of Nigel Toy’s departure, conjures a mix of sadness, hope for Nigel, and hope for Saints. It’s also an opportunity to reflect – after 15 years here – on why I became a teacher, on how my teaching has evolved, and to draft a wish list. I know I have the most fulfilling job imaginable and I remain shocked that I am a teacher. My own education was inauspicious. I was an appalling student. At best teachers bored me – most were the human equivalent of cattle prods. Being dyslexic and a sketchy student complicated things but did not curb my love of reading. Becoming a teacher evolved slowly out of my love of reading history. But my passion for the past began away from teachers, in books far off the curriculum. Probably, my first jab at teaching was 37 years ago, as a teen, abroad and not attending school, explaining I was Canadian to a Berber in the Rif Mountains. We scratched primitive maps in the dirt until he blurted, “Montreal Expo!” Convincing him, however, that Canada was not part of the French Empire proved impossible. From such experiences, travel, and studies, I became fascinated by cultural borderlands and encounters, especially in former colonies, whether Canada or abroad. That fascination led to my book House of Tears: Westerners’ Adventures in the Islamic World, as an effort to clarify my ideas. History captured me in 1974, when I read Geoffrey Moorhouse’s The Fearful Void about a nearly lethal trek across the Sahara by foot and camel. Telling a ripping yarn, Moorehouse’s prose flitted from desert survival tips to history and culture. From Moorhouse, I took that history could be a good story. I had a very hazy idea of how to teach when I finished university in the UK and became faculty at a college in Virginia. Lecturing to undergrads was humdrum. Enticed to Groton school – an American prep school with Franklin Delano Roosevelt among its alumni – I realised I loved teaching teenagers. After a hiatus from teaching, working on the script of an awful epic TV historical mini-series – I still cannot watch it – I came to Saints from Boston.

After teaching at Saints, I came to see how Moorhouse is entwined in every lesson I inflict. He seeded my fundamental philosophy of teaching. History is distance over which I am a guide, like Moorhouse’s African companions. Students learn from encounters on their journeys that we discuss and explore together. Throw Moorhouse in with Monty Python and Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and you have the spirit of my teaching these days. Is there a better primer for exploring imperialism, foreign aid, culture clash, and terrorism than the “What did the Romans ever do for us?” scene from Life of Brian? Laughter is a teacher’s best tool. On the more sublime side, Trudeau’s Just Society is the spine of my socio-political ideals. Unabashedly, I hope students find inspiration in those values too. Equality, civility, sustainability, inclusiveness, democracy, and compassion are the values I want students to passionately believe in and work for, starting at school. I want my students to be informed optimists. That’s the chief aim of my brand of Social Studies. Inspiring students to be leaders and dreamers is the best part of my job. I want my students to threaten mediocrity and to improve our world. That takes imagination, risk-taking, confidence, and empathy. I try to nurture these qualities and skills. My ideal classroom is a combination Socratic salon and collegial workshop where students become savvy consumers of information of all kinds. Boisterous mayhem is more the reality. My objective is to engage students. Engagement comes through problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. It’s an exciting process, which I increasingly surrender to students, the explorers, while I am a guide and we all learn by sharing. I’m giddy and optimistic at the prospects of change at Saints. It’s made me take stock and start a wish list of self-improvement. Incorporating more “wiki” technology, connecting students to off-campus resources and other schools, is a priority. Imagine an AP European History seminar on the role of Renaissance women among Saints, Crofton and York students! Of course, there’s a thick catalogue of other goals. Above all, I want to make Social Studies relevant and inspiring to students. That my most fulfilling teaching years have been at a St. George’s revitalized by Nigel Toy makes me grateful. The debt can’t be repaid in words. Instead, I will pass on advice of his that resonated with me. Nigel was the first educational leader I ever heard speak about the need for love and support in the lives of students. Never have I heard wiser advice about education. It belongs, conspicuously, in St. George’s future.

Spotlight on

Here I met Verne Becott and Stephen Ziff who are my gurus. Sharing an office with Verne means being constantly reminded how great a teacher can be.



D. Scott Lamb ‘79 Georgians President

Celebrating the Past. Preparing for the Future.

2010 is shaping up to be a very important and memorable year for the school and the Georgians. It is a year marked with some sadness but also with renewed optimism and excitement as we look to the future. Sadly, we marked the passing of a great Georgian and Headmaster, Alan Brown '54. An emotional Memorial Service was held in an overflowing Great Hall at the Senior School on January 9. The service was led by the Venerable John Stevens '83, one of Alan’s students. It was attended by his extended family and many Old Boys both from his era of leadership and from his days as a student at the school. Alan’s record of tremendous achievement as an academic, educator, and builder of St. George’s School was recognized at last year’s Annual Georgians’ Dinner where Alan accepted the Georgian Lifetime Achievement Award. As the 2009-2010 academic year moves to a close, we are saying goodbye to our current Headmaster, Nigel Toy. Nigel has lifted the school to new heights during his tenure. The school has maintained and furthered its high standing in academics and the record in sports is unprecedented in the school’s history. The arts and music programs also reached new levels, which could only have been imagined in the fondest wishes of Headmasters from our earliest days.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Old Boys, and particularly those fortunate enough to have had Nigel Toy as their Headmaster, will have had an opportunity to salute Nigel and celebrate his years of achievement at the Annual Georgians’ Dinner on March 11 when we formally granted Mr. Toy the designation of Honourary Old Boy. This is a rare honour bestowed by the Georgians. Happily, it is an award which allows the Georgians to finally call Mr. Toy “one of us” and to welcome him into our great fraternity.


After we say goodbye to Mr. Toy, this fall we will welcome Dr. Tom Matthews as the eighth Headmaster of St. George’s School. Already, the Georgians Board of Directors has hosted a reception for Dr. Matthews, both to get know each other and to acquaint him with the history and culture of our school. To help him along this path we have sent to him a copy of the book Saints by past Headmaster Douglas Harker so that he is not completely at sea with all of our traditions and references to famous – and infamous – masters, events, and personalities associated with St. George’s earlier days.

We are confident that Dr. Matthews, with his proven record as an educator and leader, will take the school to even greater heights. As we prepare for Dr. Matthews’ arrival, we are also in full swing with the Survey of all Georgians, which should be completed by June of this year. This will help us evaluate how we are doing against our current Strategic Plan and help develop a new Strategic Plan for the Old Boys’ Association. If you have not done so already, please complete the Survey, as it only takes a few minutes of your time and will be a valuable resource to allow us to serve the Georgian fraternity better. While the standing of the school has never been higher and its reputation is securely at the top in Canada, there are areas of weakness that do need to be addressed. In order to take the school to the next level, a key area for improvement is the Endowment. Simply put, the school is lagging behind when compared to Eastern Canadian schools, and schools internationally, in this area. With a significantly increased Endowment, we will achieve two important objectives. Firstly, secure the school’s finances against future unforeseen disasters and secondly, ensure there are Scholarships and Bursaries for deserving boys to attend the school. This latter issue is of particular importance in order to maintain the economic diversity of the student body. It also allows Georgians to build funds for Scholarships and Bursaries for sons of Old Boys who otherwise would not be able to attend St. George’s. While we are getting increased donations from Georgians, we will need to do still more if we are to achieve these worthy goals. It is important to remember that St. George’s is a not-for-profit institution dedicated to the education of boys and the charitable aims of the school are an important part of its character and spirit. In closing, I would also like to note the increased involvement of Georgians with the Old Boys’ Association and the school itself over the past few years. Currently, there are ten Georgians who work at the school. This year, there are a record number of applications from sons of Georgians and there are more Georgians attending school and Georgians events, games, and functions than ever before. All of this is a testament to the great spirit of the Georgians and bodes well for the future as we prepare to move forward under the leadership of Dr. Matthews. Sine Timore aut Favore


Mr. Brown

Reflections on a Great Headmaster


He Did It His Way. Reflections on Alan Brown '54 Alex Tsakumis '84

There are times in one’s life where proof of fate as the great leveler manifests an opportunity to make good on a promise. In the winter of 2009, as I was speaking with him just prior to his being awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (won previously by only two other men: his infamous brother Peter '58 and another industry titan, Peter Bentley '47), Alan asked with surprising relish, “You have three children now?” “Yes, three” I replied, with the burgeoning pride of any young father.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

“That you know of…” he shot back.


And there went the signature half-smile, head held back as if wincing at another one of my report cards thirty years in the past, and the almost requisite rejoinder, too, “You were always a good sport, Alec”. I have no idea why he called me that. Alec. It was an endearing form of what everyone else used. Alex.

I once asked, years previously, why he had adopted this: a man whose pride often hinged on being able to instantaneously remember a student’s or Old Boy’s name, thousands of names all in one suspiciously human data bank. “Oh, c’mon, you mean to tell me you, of all people…you’ve never been called worse? Nonsense!” he reminded me, during our now notorious plane trip from New York in 1998. “Besides,” he recalled, “it was what your father used when I first met you.” For the record, that was 1972. It was that kind of signature wit that surprised and enthralled those of us who learned to love him. He once wrote, in the only report card my mother ever kept: “ I suspect that Alec is one of our more gifted and intelligent students. Although, staff and I are still awaiting the evidence.”

In the end, I lamented, and have said often enough, that I wished we’d gotten to know the real Alan sooner. But then again, St. George’s School might not be what it is today and none of us would have walked away with that great and binding spirit kindled from the embers Alan stoked with every initiative or policy that made the school better. He was blithely systematic and utterly purposeful, while maintaining the persona of the classic absent-minded professor – moderately smudged bifocals included. Alan made us better – even when we were either too young or too (momentarily) stupid to admit it or, moreover, willing to accept it. I was not sure, when asked to pen one of the school’s tributes to him (a request which I am sure would mortify as much as entertain Alan), whether anyone would dare tell the unvarnished story of Alan Brown’s monumental contributions to Saints, inclusive of the warts, and his quiet but splendid charity and ever-ready assistance to the lives of literally thousands of boys who passed from these hallowed halls, but I promised him that one day I’d try. Particularly for those of you who graduated from the school post-Alan, or those who are now parents, this will be a useful, if not essential read. Make no mistake, there would not have been a school for Nigel Toy to make greater (which Nigel certainly has – in spades), without Alan Brown before him. If there is truth to timely leadership, Alan’s appointment as Headmaster must surely define such a notion. Let me first disabuse you of the belief that St. George’s was always great. We were certainly a very good school that competed with the best of schools across the country. But it was not until Alan detoured from doing a PhD at the University of Toronto, that we had a meaningful, palpable,

workable vision for how we would build a student body of, at least, spirited survivors whose malleable but fertile young minds were battle-ready for a rapidly shifting world. As an Old Boy himself, he had a very clear idea of what he wanted for the school: excellence on and off the pitch; dignity in winning, grace in losing; top debaters; celebrated artists; storied mathematicians; hard work and honesty. These became our calling cards. Such pillars attracted good families and produced great men, although not without some challenges. The Harker brothers had done an outstanding job of making St. George’s one of British Columbia’s premier institutions, but to seek and achieve a step above (and beyond), only Alan could have done this. His was the plan that inspired and propelled us in the most crucial time in our history. The ’70s and ’80s were times of enormous change, both locally and globally. Instead of cowering, Alan seized this opportunity to ready us for what would come. The purchase of the Junior School from the Religious of the Sacred Heart; the first major coordinated fundraising effort (that was inextricably intertwined, for the first time, with friend-raising); the Southam Lounge and Woodward Auditorium; and the very first extensive school computer lab in the province were all part of Alan’s great enterprise. His ingenuity knew no bounds. While his critics were wallowing in exploitive polemics, he soldiered on. The idea that we were moving too quickly was soon replaced by an unending list of awards that we thought we’d never wrestle from schools with double the resources and triple the endowment (an instructive lesson to us today, for certain). He taught us, all of us, to believe in our school – to believe in ourselves, regardless of the odds. It mattered not that we were four tries behind at the half, or three points with nothing left on the clock. “This is where we find out what we’re made of gentlemen. Find your best, it’s there.”

I have often opined that Alan’s latter years, not so gently pockmarked with memory challenges, were a result of having pressed such a stunningly brilliant mind with the burden of that kind of humour, and, of all things, remembering the names of thousands of boys well into manhood.


We didn’t know what was more shocking: that Mr. Overton would not be back next year, because he would be dead, or that Alan had actually broken down. When an emotional David proceeded to walk out after an extended standing ovation, Alan stood and grabbed him by the arm, nodded and spoke to him approvingly. They talked in the Southam Lounge while we shuffled to our lockers. After the Assembly, Alan and David walked across the upper hall enroute to Alan’s office. By the time they reached the end of the hallway, a hush came over all of us who were preparing for first period. Alan wasn’t as much about building the school or pleasing his Board (whom he was never afraid to disagree with) as much as he was about building character and building school spirit. It was about us. The oft-described unexciting normality he helmed inspired a whole generation of us, whether during or after our days as boys of St. George’s, to reach higher, well before such clichés were birthed and overdone. Alan was ahead of his time. In days of social and economic upheaval, and there were many, Alan’s was the steady hand, the even keel, that would guide us through the storm. He took the progressive scrutiny of a school society sometimes transfixed by its own navel-gazing, and produced a workable, doable plan that heralded a time when a ‘tough love’ would seek to soothe every fleetingly suspended youthful conscience, with an equally spectacular, yet effective and lasting measure. Oh, of course, there are the stories of Alan’s hard shell. How many of us couldn’t recount those? The battle royal over Saints descending into co-education was chief among them. In every argument he and I ever had about the interminable folly of such a choice, he was unflinching, unshakable. “I think it might have made us better, but I regret how it went. It wasn’t handled right. There was too much hurt through it all, but you’re still defiant are you? I’m not surprised. You and your cohorts were quite effective, though dead wrong.” And he’d laugh.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

But it was his soft and very penetrable underbelly, rarely seen unless strategically exposed, that became obvious at the most crucial of times.


When past Latin scholar and beloved teacher, the late David Overton, appeared before the entire student body to tell us of his terminal cancer; the accompanying bleak prognosis; to say thanks and to talk about God’s love, there wasn’t a set of dry eyes in the auditorium. Including Alan’s.

Then, once again, applause erupted like I’ve never heard since. Cheers rose from young boys pained by the news of a beloved teacher’s imminent passing, buoyed by the tremendous spirit it took to tell the story. Find that, in another school! I learned some years later, that it was Alan’s idea as much as it was David’s. Alan wanted us to know that there was a life outside the school that included a discomfort we would need to learn to handle. It was, perhaps, another of his infamous moments of ‘honesty time’. I can hear him saying it like it was yesterday, “Alec, it’s honesty time, are those cigarettes yours?” “No, Sir, of course not, never had a smoke in my life.” For a man who had the world’s greatest “b.s. detector”, you’d think he would have known better than to ask. A tribute to Alan Brown? Certainly. Look around the school. Ask an Old Boy, like me, who gave him unending grief and whom Alan forgave, taught tolerance, and offered grace. Find a man who was once a troubled child who became a scholar and a success, all because his parents gratefully accepted a midnight call from Alan, offering help. Think about where we’d be without having had him at the helm of this blessed place during our most trying and challenging days. No one will ever be able to measure the enormity of Alan Brown’s contribution to St. George’s School, because you’d then have the unenviable task of having to measure so many of the rest of us into the school’s future. That’s Alan’s legacy. He confounded, but inspired us; disciplined, but loved us. And I don’t think there could be a more fitting tribute than to remember him this way – because that’s precisely the way he would have wanted it.


Don’t Wait to be a Great Man. Be a Great Boy.

The DRAGON Spring 2010

Chris Ingvaldson '87


My family joined St. George’s School in September of 1975; my brothers Stephen ’81 and Jeff ’84 joined in Grades 4 and 7 respectively. There was no Grade 1 class then, so I couldn’t enter the school until September of 1976. My first personal encounter with Mr. Brown occurred in Grade 3, when we were at the Senior School coming out of swim class, and were inadvertently drawn into the auditorium for

an emergency Assembly. The room was silent, and clearly, Mr. Brown was livid. It seemed someone had taken a clarinet, put it together, and then snapped it – probably over a knee, as Mr. Brown speculated. I stood there terrified; not knowing the culprit, he spoke directly to the person who did it. He was deeply upset that someone in this school could do this. The incident left a lasting impression on me.

demonstrated that he cared, and promoted a feeling that St. George’s was an extension of home.

There was never really any doubt in anyone’s mind that Alan Brown loved St. George’s School and loved the students in it. He would proudly proclaim at the beginning of every academic year that he would know the name of every single boy in the school by the end of September. If he did not, he would give you a quarter. A paltry sum, but it nevertheless was indicative of his attitude towards us. He always seemed to know what we were doing – both inside and outside of school. Again, to many teenage boys this became an irritation but it also

I was in Grade 5 when the Junior School moved from the campus at 29th and Crown to the current location in the old Convent of the Sacred Heart. Everybody was involved, and I remember him supervising the work students were doing in the move. The next major physical change in the school occurred when I was in Grade 10. Most classes were held in portables as construction went on. The Alan Brown Library, Cliff Hall (the cafeteria – now the Cliff Resource Centre), the pool, the Dixon Gym, the art room – all of these were built at that time. His vision and work are at the core of where this school is today and what it looks like. St. George’s was very important to him, and he, without a doubt, strove to make it greater and better. “Don’t wait to be a great man. Be a great boy.” This was the message on a plaque on his desk, and it really summed up what he tried to do as an educator. It took me a long time to mature and grow enough to really appreciate what Alan Brown did for me and so many others here at St. George’s. Was he perfect? Of course not. But what was never in doubt was his love for the school, his passion as an educator, and his drive for excellence. Mr. Brown’s impact on me and the school is immeasurable; his life echoes throughout these halls.

Such was the nature of Assemblies during my years at St. George’s. Assemblies always tended to have Mr. Brown talking to us – teaching us. Using examples, telling stories, and lecturing, Assemblies would often seem to us as times when he would be telling us how to be decent human beings. He constantly proselytized on all aspects of our lives, trying to help us become better people, better ambassadors for the school, and better representatives of Canada. Of course, through the years, we would end up hearing the same stories over and over. Will any of us ever forget the story of cigarettes and “…they descended upon it like a pack of wolves.”? These stories would become a source of much amusement. At their core, however, were lectures of a teacher and mentor seeking to make us better people, and, thus, make the world a better place.

Alan Brown was proud of the fact that he had quit smoking. And, as was his way, he was, of course, determined to ensure as many people as possible were nonsmokers. There were some students he singled out because he thought that they might be particularly at risk. Having a father and two older brothers who smoked, I, of course, was one of those. He made the following wager with us: if we could get through our years at St. George’s without having a cigarette, he would give us $20. If, however, that didn’t happen, we would have to give him $60. Of course, after I had graduated, I came back to see him and to give him his money.


Former Staff Spotlight

Dougal Fraser (left) chats with Geoffrey Litherland '84 (right) at the 2008 Annual Georgians’ Dinner on the occasion of his induction as an Honorary Georgian.

Chris Ingvaldsen

Bringing the Socratic Method Alive: Reflections on Dougal Fraser Mathew Wright '84

The DRAGON Spring 2010

A note of caution to alumni asked to write about a former member of faculty: it is a difficult task, especially when the subject has the author’s address, email, and phone number, and lives close by. The writing becomes challenging when it is your English teacher, and borders on the impossible when the person is Dougal Fraser.


“Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate” greeted everyone from the hallway entrance to ‘Sir’s’ classroom – ironically, or paradoxically, the sign was later placed inside the classroom facing back into the school. To students interested in Literature and moving up the Senior School grades, there were two challenges: getting into Dougal’s Grades 10 to 12 classes, and then surviving those years until, hopefully, graduating. Grade 8s soon learned not to bang locker doors in the hall when Dougal’s class was in session. He would appear, imposing and frowning, a finger slowly moving from the pointed horizontal to a spot on the carpet in front of his door. “Grommit – come here! You are interrupting true scholarship.” Eavesdropping on his class,

he knew where the class should be at the conclusion, and allowed the process to form. The road map to understanding was provided by Dougal, the route defined by his students. While the classroom was Dougal’s daily stage, theatre was where his impact on the school community was profound. Macbeth, performed in the round, was an early success and led to a string of annual, often eclectic, productions. Theatre of the Absurd was followed by HMS Pinafore, A Man for all Seasons led to Pirates of Penzance. All genres were possibilities: from popular musicals to unknown drama; from large casts with complicated sets to simple stage design in one-act plays. The choice was determined by the talent. Dougal knew the strengths of potential leads, cast, and crew. The play or musical was chosen to both suit and challenge the participants. As in the classroom, direction could be candid, but more often was neither overt nor obvious. Rehearsals often seemed to be successfully run by the cast, with the director observing from the shadows in the back of the auditorium, guiding and encouraging only when necessary. The lesson imparted was how important theatre is to civilization; how understanding, incorporating, and finally performing the primal emotions of a character is profoundly souldeveloping. The students lucky enough to participate in any of Dougal’s productions, at any level from stagehand to actor, emerged wiser, more self-aware, more confident, and with a deep sense of accomplishment.

The Grade 11 reading list epitomized Dougal Fraser’s approach to teaching English. 1984, Brave New World, and Childhood’s End are equally philosophy, history, and economics as they are fine works of literature. The years spent under his tutelage were an immersion in the world of a Renaissance man: writing as important as reading; the Arts and Science intertwined. All subjects were part of the learning paradigm with none excluded in striving to understand and use language in forming and effectively arguing an opinion. His classroom was a debating chamber, and had to be, with essay topics such as ‘Is War Ever Moral’, ‘Limits of Lying’ and ‘The Value of Poetry’ illustrating the demands and challenges. On any subject,

‘You are a St. George’s graduate?’ Yes. ‘Who was your English teacher?’ Dougal Fraser. ‘I thought so. Then you do not belong in this class. Submit an essay to me before the end of the year, you choose the length and topic. This course maybe required, your presence is not.’ Dougal Fraser’s more than 20 years at St. George’s concluded with retirement in 2002. His legacy? Students who learned to enjoy the written word and recognize quality. A generation that reads with insight and writes with clarity. Graduates of his classes, and participants in his ‘theatre’, might recognize their ability to form an opinion and to communicate with confidence was sparked and nurtured under his guidance. With thanks to Angus Forsyth '84 and Jos Brosnan '84

one would hear laughter, often loud, forceful debates, and painful readings of poetry and Shakespeare. “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” only applied to those with closed, narrow minds who were not up to challenging perceptions, opinions, themes, and values. Entering Dougal’s class was not the first level of hell, it was awakening and enlightenment.

Perhaps a personal anecdote summarizes his talents as a teacher. As a first-year university student, a required course was English 101. An assignment on the first day of class was a 500-word essay. The topic has faded but the result stays with me to this day. At the conclusion of the following session, after the essays were marked and returned, the professor called me to her office and asked,


saints’notes 1964 Thomas Coldicutt has been awarded with the International Press Satellite Award for his documentary Mary Pickford, the Muse and the Movies. In 2000, he received his law degree (JD) and was engaged to Abby Ertz.

1970 YEAR CAPTAINS: Al Marler and Steve Pocock Mark Latham represents individual investors on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee, and blogs about it at www. votermedia.wordpress. com. He designs voting and information systems to empower investors in corporations and citizens in democracies. Democratic funding systems for political media are now in their fourth year of testing at UBC’s student union – see: communities/82-ubc-ams.

run by Canadian Forces with assistance from other NATO troops including US, Dutch, and Germans to name a few. In the picture, from left to right, are: German neurosurgeon Major Marcus Eisenberg, Paul (Head and Neck Surgery), and Canadian Forces Major Terry Ratkowski (Oral Surgery). Paul writes that it was a very productive collaboration at a very busy time and with a great bunch of Canadians.

1977 YEAR CAPTAIN: Don Anderson Andrew Rigg recently joined Westward Advisors in Vancouver, where he advises business owners on succession, tax and insurance planning strategies. Andrew recently left HSBC where he spent eight years in senior

management roles. Prior to HSBC, Andrew spent several years in the private practice of law.

1979 Ben Ingram is a divorce lawyer practicing in Vancouver where he lives with his wife, Adrienne, and three children.

1981 YEAR CAPTAIN: Simon Jaques Brian Simms was called to the Inner Bar as Queen’s Counsel in The Bahamas Supreme Court. Brian was confirmed as QC some weeks prior and, at 46, would be one of the youngest, if not the youngest lawyer, ever given this honour in The Bahamas. Brian is the senior partner of

Farewells to

Nigel Toy Headmaster Toy will be greatly missed. His visionary leadership and personal charisma helped to ensure St. George’s remained among the elite schools in Canada. On a personal note, I greatly appreciate the gracious hospitality he showed towards the Rigg family and myself at the annual presentation of the Rigg Scholarship awards in honour of my late brother, Philip Rigg '74.


The DRAGON Spring 2010

Lennox Paton and Company with offices in The Bahamas, London, United Kingdom, and the British Virgin Islands.

From Andrew Rigg ’77



Brian Simms '81 (left) and his brother, Jonathan Simms '79, (right).

U.S. Colonel Paul Abson served with Canadian Forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan last summer. The picture enclosed is of the Head and Neck Trauma Team at the Role 3 Combat Trauma Hospital at Kandahar Airfield. The hospital was Colonel Paul Abson '73 (centre)





YEAR CAPTAIN: Geordie Hungerford

YEAR CAPTAIN: David Powley

YEAR CAPTAIN: Curtis Fairclough

After a multi-year hiatus from singing, Mark Ingram is back and rockin’ as the front man for two bands. With veteran guitarist Guenter Schulz, who is now based in Vancouver, Mark has formed two bands in the last year. The first, Running Down A Dream, is a six-piece Tom Petty tribute band (www.tompettytribute. ca) and the second, Ingram Schulz, is a five-piece blues rock outfit, keeping alive the music of guitar greats like Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, BB King, Jonny Lang, the Black Crowes, ZZ Top, and Van Halen (www.

David Law writes that he is getting married this June to Hyun Jin Chung, a professional officer at UN Headquarters in New York. The wedding will be very close to home, at the VanDusen Garden, to be precise. His professional news is that he was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, funded by the U.S. State Department, to spend four months at National Taiwan University College of Law doing research on constitutional politics and the globalization of constitutional law. He will do this while on sabbatical from his full-time job as Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. David states that although he seems to be getting further and further from Vancouver with every passing year, after the magnificent Winter Olympics, he has never been more proud to be a Vancouverite or a Canadian.

Jason McLean was named to the Top 40 Under 40 in Business in Vancouver.

Ben Cooper was Video Manager for Team Canada’s Gold-winning Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the 2010 Winter Olympics Games.

1985 YEAR CAPTAIN: Stephen O’Keefe Major Ward Trythall is currently posted by the Canadian Forces to the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff College in Moneague, Jamaica where he is teaching staff work and tactics to young officers of the Caribbean, South American, and Central American armies.

1988 YEAR CAPTAIN: Rodan Gopaul-Singh Aly Jetha and Geoff Mair both were named to the Top 40 Under 40 in Business in Vancouver. They join two other Georgians who made the list for 2009. (See 1990, and 1991)

1990 YEAR CAPTAIN: Carl Jensen Michael Hungerford was named to the Top 40 Under 40 in Business in Vancouver. Nicholas Lee is living in Seattle, WA and is working in real estate development for Westfield, a shopping center company. He plays for fun on a local ice hockey team, called Canadian Bacon, with fellow classmate Winston Yeung. The team was originally founded by Winston and another '90 grad, Delwin Yung.



YEAR CAPTAIN: Travis Dowle Toby Weir-Jones celebrated two recent achievements: first, he completed his coursework towards the Cornell-Queen’s MBA program. A week later, he and his wife, Jenna, welcomed their first son, Alistair Patrick. As Toby writes, all indications so far are that he takes after his father in length! The family of three will be traveling to both Kingston and Ithaca in May 2010 to collect both degrees. Mum, dad, both Spaniels, and the cats are all delighted with the new arrival, though the dogs reckon he’s a smooth puppy and can’t understand why he doesn’t play with them yet.

1994 YEAR CAPTAIN: Jason Del Vicario Allan Chou and his wife just welcomed their son, Sascha, into the world. Allan writes that he is still working in the San Francisco Bay Area along a with some other members of the Class of '94.

YEAR CAPTAINS: Michael Armstrong and Warren Shum Michael Sung is living and working in Los Angeles in real estate private equity. While he has been living there since graduating from Saints – and he wonders if it really has been 14 years – Michael says that he tries to get back as frequently as possible. He writes that he and his fiancé, who will marry in June, recently had a blast visiting Vancouver for the Winter Olympics. Michael encourages anyone who is passing through LA, or lives here, to get in touch with him at: Justin Thouin and his wife, Susan, are currently living in Toronto, where Justin is the Vice President of Business Development and Product Management for CryptoLogic Inc. and Susan is an Emergency Room Physician. They would love to hear from old friends and can be contacted at:

Farewells to

Nigel Toy From Zul Kanji '98, School Captain On behalf of Mr. Toy’s first graduating class at St. George’s in 1998, congratulations on your retirement! Surviving that first challenging year of transition with us was a reflection of your admirable character.



2008 Full Boarding Scholarship Recipient

Amrit Gill '10 • School Honour Roll • Diligence Award • First Team All-Star HSBC Tournament • Powerade/Coca-Cola Scholarship (HSBC Tournament) • First Team All-Star Western Canadian Invitational Tournament • Member of the BC Provincial Basketball Team

It’s not about buildings, facilities, or equipment. It’s about investing in talent and ensuring that any boy who has what it takes can benefit from the same experience that you had at St. George’s, regardless of his family’s financial situation.

Please support this year’s

Georgian Annual Fund. The DRAGON Spring 2010

Your donation could change a boy’s life.


Your Georgian Annual Fund donations will be used to provide financial assistance to talented applicants, including sons of Georgians, who otherwise could not afford a St. George’s School education, or you may designate another fund to support. For a list of our currently endowed funds, please visit:

YEAR CAPTAIN: Neil Chantler Chris Napier just spent three weeks working at the 2010 Winter Olympics Games. He was the physiotherapist for the Canadian Cross-Country Skiing team and was proud to be a part of its debut at the Olympic Games and even prouder that they came away with a Gold Medal! Now it’s back to regular life working at his downtown clinic. Ryan Landels achieved his ambition listed in his grad bio in the 1997 Georgian yearbook - “to get my own action figure.” While working as a Post Graphics Supervisor on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, he had a quick cameo in the film. Toymaker Hasbro decided to turn his character into a G.I. Joe action figure, the

Aqua-Viper Officer, and base it on his likeness. The figure, which comes bundled with the Mantis Attack Craft Submarine, is on store shelves now, and as Ryan attests, is awesome. Ambition . . . achieved. And, as Ryan states, hopefully the action figures shows that he has a much better haircut now than he did back in 1997.

1999 YEAR CAPTAIN: Bryan Ide Jonathan Cooper has been appointed as Vice President of Operations at Macdonald Realty Group. He joined Macdonald Realty in 2006, serving as the company’s first Relocation Director and designing and implementing a company-wide referral and relocation management system. In 2007, he was

promoted to Director of Marketing and Relocation, and he took on additional responsibilities for the creation and implementation of marketing and technology programs for Macdonald Realty’s sales associates and offices. In his new role, he will continue in these tasks, while his role expands to include other initiatives pertaining to the overall function of Macdonald Realty’s business units: PR and communications planning, advertising strategy and investment, and working with the VP Strategy and the CEO in developing opportunities for corporate and franchise expansion. John McCormack recently was awarded Sport BC’s community Sport Hero Award. Founded in 2001, this prestigious award recognizes coaches, officials, mentors and administrators

who have dedicated themselves to growing and developing amateur sport at the community level. The dedication and leadership of these individuals have allowed athletes and communities to grow and shape sport in British Columbia and to inspire others to become involved in sport. John has been coaching all secondary school Rugby teams (boys and girls) in 100 Mile House for the past two years. His Grade 8 team won Silver and his boys Junior Team and girls Junior and Senior Teams won Gold at the Northern Interior SevenAside Zone Championships this fall. This past summer, he also had three youth secure spots on the CaribooCoast Zone Representational Team at the Provincial Regional Championships, at which John was Assistant Coach.

Ryan Landels '97 immortalized in an action figure.




Farewells to

Nigel Toy

YEAR CAPTAIN: Tristan Sawtell

From Justin Segal '08 School Vice Captain In a recent interview for a summer internship, I was asked the classic question, “Which five people do you admire most?” Among the heroes and historical figures I named was Mr. Toy, the greatest Headmaster for which one could ask. Through his leadership and vision, Mr. Toy raised both St. George’s School and his students to new heights. I am proud to say I was a student during Mr. Toy’s tenure; it is something I will never forget, and will surely cherish for the rest of my life.

Riaz J. Kara was recently promoted to the position of Senior Consultant at Government Consulting Services (GCS). Based in Ottawa, GCS is the federal government’s in-house management consulting organization. Riaz consults with a variety of federal departments and agencies in the fields of Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic People Management.

Passings Stuart McLennan '75 at London, UK. Hume McLennan '46 on May 29, 2008 at Vancouver, BC. Graeme Cooper '52 on October 10, 2009 at Powell River, BC. Archibald Brown '32 on November 16, 2009 at Barrie, ON. Fred Clarke '49 on November 18, 2009 at Kingston, ON. Alan C.M. Brown '54, Headmaster of St. George’s, 1971-1989, on December 23, 2009 at Vancouver, BC.

Chad Bennington '75, on February 14, 2010 at Richmond, BC.

Dan Scarrow has been appointed Vice President of Strategy at Macdonald Realty Group. Dan joined Macdonald Realty in 2006 after two years at the Bank of Montreal. Since then, he has worked at Macdonald Commercial, in the Macdonald Realty Franchise Division, and with Macdonald Realty Group. In 2009, Dan received his trading services license and achieved sales in excess of $50 million, receiving an Award of Excellence for his efforts. In his new role, Dan will be responsible for analyzing potential corporate and franchise growth opportunities, and for developing additional revenue sources for the company and its agents.

2002 YEAR CAPTAINS: Gavin Dew and Bo Meng Dave Maas is currently a JD student at Northwestern University school of Law. His wife, Elizabeth, is an MBA student at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

2004 YEAR CAPTAIN: James Potter James Hay got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Ashley Drover, on December 25, 2009. They are planning on a summer 2012 wedding.

William Frederick Christensen '50, following a lengthy battle with cancer, on March 3, 2010 at Tuckerstown, Bermuda. Fred Alexander, Director of IT, on March 20, 2010 at New Westminster, BC. Isaias Garcia, Past Head of Maintenance, Honourary Old Boy, and Honourary Member of the Class of 1957, on March 25, 2010 at Vancouver, BC.


The DRAGON Spring 2010

Fred Alexandere


Fred Alexander joined St. George’s in 1997, the same year that Nigel Toy became Headmaster. Born in London, Ontario in 1950, Fred moved to Europe in the 1970s and settled in Zurich, Switzerland where he taught at the Zurich International School. He returned to Vancouver with his family in the late 1990s. John Lawrence, the Acting Headmaster at the time, hired Mr. Alexander to steward a bold new technology plan, called Bridge 2000, that would strategically position the school’s computer and information technology for the 21st Century. So much of what

the school has achieved in the area of information technology is a result of Mr. Alexander’s leadership. Fred was known for his quiet, friendly, but determined style of leadership. He had a quiet resolve and was always regarded as a gentleman who showed the utmost respect for his students. Fred was a humane individual and a devoted family man. His passions included re-building a Lotus, horses, and equestrian competition. He leaves behind his wife Beatrice and two daughters, Joanna and Jillian.

Births Nicholas Lee '90 and his wife, Joanne, a daughter and first child, Jillian, on October 5, 2009. Rob McMahon '88, his wife Allison, and big sister Cameron, welcomed twin daughters, Hanna and Emma, on October 28, 2009. John Hamilton '82 and his wife, Ramona, a daughter,

Brigit Catherine, on November 23, 2009. Toby Weir-Jones '93 and his wife, Jenna, a son, Alistair Patrick, on December 15, 2009. Geoff Bertram '96 and his wife, Catharine, a daughter and first child, Ainsley Ann, on December 31, 2009.

Justin Thouin '96 and his wife, Susan, a daughter and first child, Madeleine Anne, on January 5, 2010. Travis Dowle '93 and his wife, Sian, a son, Samuel William, on February 9, 2010. Allan Chou '94 and his wife, Tatiana, a son, Sascha, on February 15, 2010. Madeleine Anne Thouin

Marriages Dave Maas '02 to Elizabeth Wiggs, on July 25, 2009 in Seattle, WA. Appearing in Dave’s wedding photo are his brothers, Ben '01 (far left) and Simon '09 (far right).

Correction The Editors would like to note a correction to the Spring 2009 edition of The Dragon. In the Rugby article, Jason Chikites '92 should have been mentioned as a Canadian representative as he was on the Canada U-19 in 1993 after winning a Gold Medal with the BC U-19 team at the Canada Summer Games. He was also on the BC Presidents XV that played Canada in the final warm-up match before they went to the 1995 World Cup in South Africa.

A Note from the Archives Kathie Overton thought of the Archives recently when she was sorting through a box and discovered some St. George’s memorabilia. Included in her donation is David’s speech given at Tommy Roxburgh’s Memorial Service, House Supper programs from 1979 and 1980, including the Vive La, and the program from the 1967 Rugby Tour to Japan. Elizabeth Knox: Passing

ISAIAS GARCIAe Isaias Garcia retired from St. George’s in 1997, after 40 years service to the school. He arrived in Canada from Portugal in 1956 and found his way to Saints shortly thereafter. After a 10-year apprenticeship under the legendary Axel Mortensen, he became the Head of Maintenance.

After retirement, he remained deeply involved with his church and community and returned to help with the Fair set-up for many years. A full article on Isaias’ life and time at St. George’s will appear in the fall 2010 issue of The Dragon.

He was made an Honourary Old Boy by the Georgians and was inducted as an honourary member of the Class of 1957. In 2007, the Fair Convenors honoured him for his 50 consecutive years of service to the Fair.


The DRAGON Spring 2010









3 4





The DRAGON Spring 2010





1. Clearly, things were getting too wild with the Class of 1986, resulting in Mark Mache (left) having to hold back Rodney French (centre). Also pictured are Angus Gunn (second from the right) and Horatio Kemeny (right). 2. The Class of 2000 from left to right: Jeff Locke, Max Hager, Kevin Fairbairn, Patrick Stancombe, and Colbin Wong. 3. From left to right: Al Marler '70, Graham Horton '00, and John Hislop '71. 4. From left to right: David Major '00, Ben Maas '01, Dan Scarrow '01, and Ben Batt '99. 5. Jack Betteridge '39 (left) shares a laugh with Bill McLuckie '51 (right). 6. Faculty member Shawn Lawrence (left) and Rob Millen '00 (right) smile for the camera. 7. Father and son: George Peat '71 (right) and Riley '10 (left). 8. Headmaster Nigel Toy (left) chats with the Old Boys Past President Alex Tsakumis '84 (right). 9. Father and son: Brian Lecky '65 (left) and Georgian Board Member Graham '97 (right). 10. Faculty member Daryl Wakeham (left) and Georgian Board Member Rodan Gopaul-Singh '88 (right).




11. Georgian Board Member and Dinner Chair Paul Mitchell-Banks '78 (left) and John Arthurs '78 (right). 12. Georgians President Scott Lamb '79 (left) presenting the Young Georgian Award to Paralympic medalist Donovan Tildesley '02 (right). 13. Scott Lamb '79 presenting the Distinguished Georgian Award to the Honourable Donald Brenner '62, past Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia (right). 14. Scott Lamb '79 presenting the Georgian Lifetime Achievement Award to Jake Kerr '61, Chairman and CEO of Lignum Investments, Chancellor of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and owner of the Vancouver Canadians. 15. From left to right: Neil Piller '85, Past President Neil Menzies '82, and Stephen O’Keefe '85. 16. From left to right: Past Georgians President and Past Society Chairman Peter Armstrong '72, Past President Steve Millen '70, and Al Marler '70. 17. Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jake Kerr '61 (left) and Stephen Rogers '61 (right). 18. The Old Boys’ Association presented retiring Headmaster Nigel Toy with a painting of a Rugby game on the Senior School fields. The artist was Bill McLuckie '51.

How can we best serve you as a

GEORGIAN? This is an important question for us, one that we need your help in answering. There are many ways the school can assist you, whether it is in helping your son become a student at Saints, networking you with other Georgians, hosting Georgian events worldwide, working with you on Student Career Days, or simply keeping you abreast of what is happening at your school. By now you should have received the Georgian Survey. If you have not already done so, please complete the survey so that your voice is heard. We will send out a few more electronic reminders.

Please complete your Georgian survey Today!

you can access the survey at:

• May 4, 2010 Hong Kong Georgians Dinner Tasmania Ballroom, Hotel LKF Local Contact: Simon Hui '02 • May 18, 2010 Ottawa Georgians Pub Night Sir John A. Pub Local Contact: Brock Stephenson '99 • May 19, 2010 Toronto Georgians Dinner Marben Restaurant Local Contact: Monte Burris '89 • May 20, 2010: NYC Georgians Reception Location TBC Local Contact: Charles Foster '80 • May 21, 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Georgians Dinner Home of Gordon Kruberg ’78 Local Contact: Gordon Kruberg '78

• May 26, 2010 Georgians Wine Tasting St. George’s Senior School • June 4, 2010: Georgians Art Show St. George’s Senior School • June 13, 2010 Farewell to Retiring Headmaster Nigel Toy St. George’s Senior School Fields • June 14, 2010 7th Annual Stancombe Invitational Golf Tournament University Golf Club • September 17-18, 2010 2010 Reunion Weekend for 0s and 5s St. George’s Senior School

For more information on any of our events, please visit our webpage at:


St. George’s School 3851 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S 1T6 Canada 40580507

The Dragon Spring 2010 Issue  

Spring 2010 Issue

The Dragon Spring 2010 Issue  

Spring 2010 Issue