To you, Friend!

If you are a long-standing friend ever since our high school days together, you will likely appreciate the significance of the message in this card. It goes to YOU from your other Earl Haig pals.



John T. Minarik

Ramblings of Russ….

John Minarik, a former student of Earl Haig, attended one of our reunion luncheons in May 2019. Wow – what an interesting man!

Prior to that reunion, I had also spoken (briefly) to John at some of the annual Willowdale Grafitti reunions held at Graystone’s Restaurant in Aurora.

100_0679 2013 John Minarik

It was at one of these events that John so generously gave me one of his “promo” pens.

This very Canadian pen has an inscription:


If you do a Google search about the Frontiersmen, you will find a Wickipedia article:

It seems that John gave me this pen quite a few years ago – but the other day it stopped writing so I got his phone number, called him and asked if he could send me another one. Wow again! To my surprise, he engaged in a very interesting telephone conversation with me about many things: about some of the past reunions, the Willowdale days, Gord’s Rock, the Celsie Brothers’ Thornhill Jamborees, etc. He had great wit and a large sense of humour.

John asked for my postal address so that he could send me some things.

Below, are images of some of these very interesting items (received Thursday Jan 2,2020)

“… Will send you more of my [junk mail] / important correspondence (and pen) later on… Opposite side of this page shows my C.B. (Citizens Band) Radio Licence of 1960s era. I was not a club member, but I found (in those days) that a C.B. Radio in my car was very handy during my younger days of driving to NY State, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, cottage and farm trips, etc. etc. I did not want a C.B. Radio based at home (no time to sit in house and chit chat). … I still do not have a new TV set in my home since midnight on Aug.31, 2011 when local TV stations went Digital. That is now 8 years ago!! I don’t miss the crap on TV (yet). I just hit 89 years of Live Action on earth, last month.” He signs off, “Keep it holstered and well oiled, Russ”.

“… So, it was your granddad who got the wheels rolling. -> Yep, I still recall the STRATHDEE TRANSPORT trucks – red with yellow name, along hwy 11, Yonge St. between big smoke Toronto and places due north in 1940s-1950s.”

Here’s one of the trucks John remembers…

Another piece of information I received from John…

Did I say John had a great sense of humour?

Final Note: If you ever want to have a great conversation with an old Haiger from the past, I encourage you to get in touch with Carl and he may be able to hook you up.


Roy Risebrough

From: Verna Greig
Sent: December 20, 2022 6:02 PM



My Dad’s brother Roy Risebrough was the first police chief in North York.  He had no interest in doing police work but was approached by a few men who wanted to have a Police Station in North and told him he was the only one that had a car in Newtonbrook/Willowdale so that’s why they begged him to take the job. 

Roy told them he was not going to wear a uniform and was the Police Chief until he retired when North York  joined City of Toronto as one force. He only wore a uniform once when he went to Vancouver where a picture of all the Canadian Police were there. 

I remember he was still the chief when they caught the Boyd Gang (bank robbers).  They were actually caught near the top of our farm laneway at another farm there.  We were kids then but sure remember that. 

A Sign of Recognition

A big “Thank You! ” from Carl…

This was a gift to me from the reunion group in recognition for all the work I did in arranging our reunions. Everyone in the group contributed.

It was arranged by my high school sweetheart, Doreen Eaton, after she had attended  a reunion for the first time  many years ago. It was created and made by her son and it is really beautiful.

This sign is very much appreciated, and always on display in my backyard patio.

Carl D.

The Ink Pot Trophy

The INK POT TROPHY was originally created to be awarded each year to the school who won the senior football game.

The rivalry was between Earl Haig Collegiate and Bathurst Heights Collegiate. We had shared our school with Bathurst Heights kids while their school was being built.


Made from a half section of an actual Copper Ink Pot *, this trophy was beautifully designed and skillfully hand crafted by our shop teacher, Mr. Deare, in 1952.   ( Carl was in his Manual Training class in grade 9.) It is a bit of a mystery as to why the Trophy was designed to include as many as 16 award shields.


1952 won by Bathurst Heights Collegiate

1953 won by Earl Haig Collegiate

1954 won by Earl Haig

1955 won by Bathurst Heights

The trophy was misplaced 2 or times. Consequently, there was a big gap in the timing for the next award. There were no more football games. We had all moved on.

Then we started having reunions and the trophy got “repurposed”, mainly for nostalgic reasons, Carl personally made most of the choices as to who would receive the trophy as an “award” each year from that time on.

1998 The first new “award” went to Bobo Pearson, as a joke to keep him quiet. At boy’s reunions he would speak out and would rant a bunch of nonsense for the longest time, usually with shouts from some of us to “sit down and shut up” (mainly coming from Roger Allen and Charlie Hardy).

1999 Next, it was awarded to Chuck Hardy as he was the best athlete at our school. One year he either won or tied every race he ran in the 100, 220 and 440, including other schools in the TDIAA (the Toronto District Interscholastic Athletic Association), and he set records. Hardy probably would have been on Canada’s 1960 Olympic team if he hadn’t become sick during the trials.

2000 awarded to Carl Dell’Agnese in recognition of all his time and efforts in keeping alive our annual reunions.

2001 we awarded it to one of our teachers, Mr. Charley Fick. He was a teacher and our football coach. A very nice man, once he took us to Niagara Falls for an exhibition game.

2002 it was awarded to all our beautiful cheerleaders, who were the envy of the other schools in the TDIAA. Bev Paterson was awarded the best cheerleader in the TDIAA  one year.

2003 awarded to Allan Connolly, a very popular student who was elected president of the Student Council one year. Al was also a great  athlete who played every sport at the school. He played for the University of Toronto football team (and was Best Man at Carl’s wedding).

2004 awarded to David Crombie. Well liked and everyone’s friend, he has an amazing memory of our past. Dave was elected Mayor of the City of Toronto and has done more for the city than anyone else. Still quite active, he is on many different committees. He was featured on a weekly radio show – always busy trying to help.

Both Al Connolly and Dave Crombie were Eaton’s Representatives.

2005 awarded to William Withrow, art teacher. In 1960, Bill joined the Art Gallery of Toronto as Associate Director and was appointed Director in 1961. Under his leadership, the AGT flourished.  In 1966, he convinced the province that the institution should become the Art Gallery of Ontario, providing it with more prominence and funding.

— The trophy was again misplaced and not found for many years, Its whereabouts were found once by Mr. Fick; then again by Bill Dunsmoor. Bruce Klein took it and cleaned it up, restoring it to it’s present lustre.

Carl Dell’Agnese and Jack Foote

2009 awarded to Nick Purdue, Jim Smythe and Jack Foote, teachers and sports coaches.

2010 awarded to Russ Strathdee & Sue Harding – both played a big part of our annual reunions. Russ created and maintains our great website.

Carl Dell’Agnese awarding Bill and Susan Dunsmoor

2011 awarded to Bill and Susan Dunsmoor who actually started it all with a cocktail party early on before we held any reunions.

2013 awarded to Bruce Clarke, originator of the Fabulous 50’s group.

Eventually it ended up with Carl.


Back in the day, we learned cursive writing, using pen and ink, and dipping our pen into an inkwell when it started to run out of ink. At the beginning of a day, a teacher would go around the room and refill the inkwells from a supply of ink in a copper ink pot.


Carl’s Christmas Lunch

As in previous years, Carl has held another Christmas lunch; an annual get together of good buddies. Here’s the gathering for December 2022.

Left side: Dave Amer, Dave Crombie, Carl Dell’Agnese
Right side: Fred Gotzmann, Gord Carter, Vic Bailey

The lunch was held at Paisano’s at Maplehurst & Willowdale in old Lansing-a stones-throw from where David Amer, Vic Bailey, Heather Magwood , Don Cairns and David Crombie lived in the late 40’s and 50’s.

Read about one of Carl’s previous lunches: Jolly Miller and Christmas Lunch HERE.


Heather – Sorting through Memorabilia

From: Heather Wallingford
Sent: May 7, 2017 4:10 PM

I think that this was grade 11 or 12. 

I’m sure that I was happier than this picture would indicate. I actually made my gown. In fact I have never to this day bought a ball gown. Not that I would have admitted it at the time because making my clothes was the only way that I could afford to have what I wanted.

Editor’s note: Gorgeous!

The Haiger All-Stars band

If you have attended luncheons in the past, you will know how great our band is.


This video shot in 2015 by Carl is a collage (with editorial quips and comments) featured the following musicians:

  • Vibes – Paul Hiscox
  • Piano and vocals – Michael “Keys” Dowson
  • Sax – Russ Strathdee
  • Bass – John Dowson
  • Drums – (the amazing) Sonny Milne


This video shot in 2018 by Carl featured the following musicians:

  • Guitar – Warren Gregg (Verna’s little boy)
  • Trumpet – Bob Clegg
  • Sax – Russ Strathdee
  • Bass – John Dowson
  • Drums – George Baumann

Photos from our website – Dec 2020

Marianne Plaxton, Anita Maki, Joanne Davis, Lola Collins, Jacquie Eaton
Back Row: B.Gilmore, P.Salmond, J.Browning, A.Medhurst, D.Crombie, R.Cooper
Centre Row: A.Jarvie, R.Jones, J.McKay, R.Lindsay, J.Hansen, P.Hiscox, B.McCabe, J.Lytle, D.Shobridge
Front Row: B.Byberg, E.Gray, D.Wilson, S.Myers, Mr.Kane, C.Hardie, A.Connolly, P.O’Hearn, D.Amer

Roy Jones, Dave Crombie, Mr. (Joe) Kane, Peter ‘Hearn, Peter Salmond
Photo submitted by Joanne “Rudd”
The year was 1955, and this was
    our fearless young leader
        of the Student Council… Al Connolly
Back Row: Mary Dowson, Barb Massey, Shirley German
Front Row: Sandy Daniels, Denise Wood, Mabel Skinner
Back in those days, we could not see in colour…

Back Row: Mr. Smythe, Mr. Hossack, Mr. Allan, Mr. Foote
Front Row: Mr. Fick, Mr. Moss, Mr. Bean, Mr. Sturgess

Buds – Al Connolly and Carl Del’Agnes

Scenes from our 50s Yonge Street

from: charles dowson
to: John Dowson <>,
Richard Dowson The second <>,
Russ Strathdee <>,
charles dowson <>
date: Dec 27, 2019, 5:20 PM
Hi guys.
Higgins Radio has a lot of history.

Higgins Radio

Also 32 Division. Every spend anytime there? 🙂

Police Station – 52 Division

And Yonge Garden. Great Chinese food specially after a local movie or on your way home from a long night gig!

Yonge Garden

Please share on the net.