Spring 2016
Letters to the Editor

Readers praise UTSC’s new principal, call for action to limit global warming, and question a campus car park


An Inspiration

A Life in Blue and White” (Winter 2016) is a great article about a truly outstanding individual. I have known Bruce Kidd since his early athletic days when he set the world on fire with his amazing sporting achievements. He was, and is, an inspiration to me. He showed me that everything is possible. Bruce’s continued success as UTSC’s new principal is no surprise. It is just the way he always does things.

David Bailey
BScPhm 1968, MSc 1970, PhD 1973, London, Ontario

 

A Great Canadian

The most important part about Bruce Kidd, one of Canada’s great achievers, is how he inspires others to get involved and make a difference in the world. As his running coach Fred Foot used to emphasize, you can beat anyone in the world – and Bruce has. I am sure his “followers” will do the same.

Brad Hill
Kingston, Ontario

 

UTSC’s Great Leap

A Life in Blue and White” is a wonderful account of the journey that Bruce Kidd has taken to his current position of UTSC principal. I recall the halcyon days at U of T PHE in the 1970s, when I travelled to Montreal with my “Politics of Canadian Sport” class, which Bruce taught, to interview Mayor Jean Drapeau and Premier Robert Bourassa. Bruce helped us to understand the web of secrecy that existed during the building of the Olympic facilities – a real eye-opener. As a Scarborough lad, I appreciate the great leaps that UTSC has made in the past decade. It is a testimony to the work of Bruce and others that it is now a jewel of the university.

Gerald (Gerry) Feeney
BPHE 1976, BEd 1977, Toronto

 

Track’s Heyday

Margaret Webb’s great article about Bruce Kidd brings back fond memories of my days at University College between 1960 and 1963 covering track and field for the Varsity – and of course writing about Bruce and Bill Crothers – during the real heyday of track in Canada. Wonderful stuff – and Bruce is the same person he was 50 years ago.

Justice Marvin A. Zuker,
BA 1963 UC, MEd 1973, Toronto

 

Stigma Is Destructive

Bravo Zulu, Mr. Wilson (“A Canadian Hero for Mental Health,” Winter 2016). I have had bipolar disorder most of my life. I’ve suffered when deep in depression. But when energized, I feel happy and blessed.

Nonetheless the stigma is destructive. My thoughts of suicide when I was in my twenties were not understood and imprecations to smarten up were just not helpful.

One doesn’t have to be sent to a mental health ward or be put on suicide watch or be homeless to know what this illness is like. Apparently 1 in 50 Canadians have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia – a shocking statistic.

Ron Armstrong
Victoria, B.C.

 

Brighter Days

It’s very encouraging to know that things are looking up for students with mental health issues (“Healthy Minds,” Winter 2016). With a master’s degree in psychology and a daughter at the university struggling with mental disorders, I am quite touched by the efforts the University of Toronto is making.

Sadia Siddiqui
Toronto

 

Goodbye to Soccer?

The plan to revitalize King’s College Circle and get rid of the cars sounds great (“Goodbye to Cars!” Winter 2016). As a graduate of both U of T and Harvard University, I hope the excellence of the work on Harvard Yard can be duplicated here. One suggestion: Get rid of that soccer field in the central area. Restore the lush greenery. Transfer the soccer playing to the regular athletic fields where it belongs.

Roger Bonk
BA 1967 New, Miramar Beach, Florida

 

Eliminate Parking Altogether

If the title “Goodbye to Cars!” is intended to be a joke, it is in very poor taste. I suspect the largest cost to the project is the creation of an underground garage for 500 cars. This is an invitation, not a goodbye.

The real question here is why we are spending so much to create a car park in the centre of a large urban area that is very well served by mass transit. The municipal demand for more parking spaces is something that a progressive university, and one with a new focus on its relationships with the urban environment, should be fighting, not capitulating to.

Peter A. Hurley
BSc 1979 UC, MSc 1983, BEd 2006, MEd 2010, Toronto

 

This Hot, Crowded Place

Regarding University of Toronto president Meric Gertler’s column “Toward a Greener Future” (Winter 2016), surely the issue is what to do to limit global warming, not what causes it. I would suggest that the actions required to reduce the contribution to warming made by humans are much cheaper and easier than dealing with the effects of warming, such as melting glaciers, massive storms, droughts and rising seas.

Joe Jany
BComm 1960, Oakville, Ontario

 

Ending the Nightmare

Thank you to Michel Chikwanine for his campaign to end the use of child soldiers (“War Child,” Winter 2016). I admire his determination to use education to end this horrible nightmare for all children. May he and the efforts of others, including Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, ultimately end this practice.

Dr. C. James Ingles
BSc 1964 TRIN, Toronto

 

Being Truly Green Is Tricky

It’s good to hear about U of T’s conservation initiatives, including replacement of compact fluorescent lights with LEDs (“Double Value in Being Green,” Winter 2016). But the conversion got me thinking about a possible error made by environmentalists like myself.

Compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. Now that we’re dumping them, we have an enormous disposal problem. In retrospect, perhaps we should have avoided the fluorescent lights and stayed with old incandescent bulbs until LEDs were commercially viable. It was a difficult situation because incandescent bulbs are power-hogs and their elimination was part of Ontario’s strategy to end coal-fired electricity – itself a source of mercury.

The rapid uptake of compact fluorescent bulbs offers a cautionary tale as we work to address climate change. Reducing greenhouse gases is vitally important but so is avoiding the creation of neurotoxic waste.

Gideon Forman
BA 1987 VIC, Toronto

 

The Birdman of Mississauga

As a child growing up in Lorne Park (now part of Mississauga) in the 1960s, I visited Roy Ivor several times with my mother at his bird sanctuary (“Namecheck,” Winter 2016). I remember him as a soft-spoken, kind man who eagerly explained how he cared for the injured and sick birds.

My family moved to Toronto in 1969 and I didn’t visit the Windinglane bird sanctuary again. But I’m happy to learn that his dedication and love for birds is recognized by U of T Mississauga naming a residence after him.

Claire Olanow (Née Williams)
BA 1979 VIC, Toronto

 

A False Comparison

Louise Murphy likens the “time-out” and calming rooms available for student use in Ontario to the solitary confinement found in prisons (Letters, Winter 2016). There is little that is inherently similar about these spaces. Solitary confinement is a punishment. The prisoner has no control over when the confinement will end. The spaces that have been set aside in schools for students to choose as a haven to limit external stimulation should not be equated with solitary confinement.

Carol Nash
BA 1980 UC, BEd 1981, MA 1984, PhD 1989, Toronto

 

Correction

Bruce Kidd is an officer of the Order of Canada. In “A Life in Blue and White” (Winter 2016) we inadvertently demoted him to a member of the order.

 

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