Summer 2015
Letters to the Editor

John Tory’s open blinds and our readers’ desire to celebrate the unacknowledged

A Welcome Change
Your article about our fellow alumnus and Toronto’s new mayor John Tory (“Man on the Move,” Spring 2015) was most interesting and enlightening. His dedication and hard work are exemplary and were sorely missing in the City of Toronto during the last four years. I was also delighted to see that you contrasted the windows of the mayor’s office during Mr. Tory’s tenure with the way that they were under his predecessor. I pass by Nathan Phillips Square frequently on my way to work. Mr. Tory’s wide open curtains speak to openness, transparency and a willingness to listen to other points of view. For a useful comparison, one only need look at the office of our disastrous and disgraceful former mayor, whose constantly closed blinds spoke to secrecy, close-mindedness and an us-versus-them mentality accented by a constant display of self-serving propaganda.
John Coffey
BA 1989 St. Michael’s, Toronto


Celebrating Trades Work
A photo of Convocation Hall on page six of the Spring 2015 issue brought back memories of painting the cornice on that iconic building. I was fortunate as a student to obtain work with a number of contractors that were responsible, under the University of Toronto’s direction, for the maintenance and upkeep of the university’s infrastructure. I recall a mason re-pointing brick work at Sidney Smith Hall, 40 years ago, saying, “This isn’t a job. I’m doing this for my granddaughter.” For many tradespeople, re-roofing Convocation Hall, re-slating Hart House or fabricating wrought iron for University College wasn’t simply a vocation but a privilege that they would compete for. There are a great many people both past and present whose contributions to the success of U of T’s students and scholars go unacknowledged. Perhaps it is time for U of T Magazine to rectify this.
David Prichard
Vanier, Ontario


Honouring the Average
I have often felt as a graduate that the University of Toronto does not recognize former students unless they have achieved something spectacular. One reason for this is U of T is a large university and dates back to the 19th century: there simply would not be enough space to recognize those of us who have achieved a more modest life after graduation. Kudos to Jemel Ganal, then, for her efforts to recognize the average people who work and study at the university (“Uniting the Humans of U of T,” Spring 2015).
David W. Roe
BMus 1964, Barrie, Ontario


The Real Threat
In writing about archeology professor Max Friesen’s Arctic research (“The North’s Vanishing Past,” Winter 2015), Gary Butler wrote that “erosion due to global warming” “as the Beaufort Sea rises” is threatening to “swallow” the archeological record – so much so that “the entire pan-Arctic region’s cultural history stands at risk” and “time is of the essence.” First, weather station data in nearby Tuktoyaktuk indicate that over the last few decades, air temperature has not increased and neither has storminess, apparently. Over most of the Arctic, relative sea level has been going down, not up, because of post-glacial isostatic rebound. The Mackenzie Delta, however, is subsiding ever so gently because of the weight of sediment. So, channel erosion is likely the main threat to the site, and it has nothing to do with putative climate – or weather – variation over short time scales.
Brian Pratt
PhD 1989, Saskatoon


A+ for Email
Whoever redesigned and is editing your email newsletter is doing a very good job. I enjoy reading this digital version with the multiple links to other sites and videos fleshing out the topics covered – some of which I did not even think to wonder about. Keep up the great efforts!
Steven Blevins
BLA 1985, Utterson, Ontario


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