Snapshots of our First 50 Years Featured in CDS Coffee Table Book: Coming Soon!

As the editor of the school magazine, I started chronicling the history of CDS for The Link upon my arrival in 2012. Over the next 10 years, I gathered oral histories from our founders and families who were there from the beginning, some of whom we’ve since lost, including Sheila Thompson, Janet and Peter van Nostrand, Michael and Sue Burns, and Moffat Dunlap. These friends were always very loyal to CDS and are dearly missed.

Excerpts from these memories will be included in the 50th anniversary coffee table book, Vision & Wonder, due out this spring. It has been a labour of love for recently retired teachers Scott Garbe, Steve McCutcheon and myself, with beautiful design work by Communications Coordinator Tabitha Ma ’12. We are immensely grateful to the alumni and past parent volunteers who assisted in pouring through archival photos last year as well.

As much as we wish we could include many more photos and stories, this book is our best attempt to chronicle The Country Day School’s first five decades. As a school, we are now looking forward to the next 50 years and hope Vision & Wonder will serve as the foundation for our archival history moving forward. We are excited and hope you will consider purchasing a copy for your family.

While not technically part of our anniversary year, my highlight from last year was a visit by our past Head of School, Robert Ross which happened shortly after the grand opening of the new Junior School wing.

I remember the first time I phoned Robert Ross in Victoria, BC, to introduce myself in 2013. Within minutes, it felt like I had known him forever. That is just the type of person he is. Both he and his wife, Deanna, exude warmth, and remember their 13 years at CDS as if it were yesterday. A natural storyteller, he shared a few memories right off the bat, and I let him know that I was gathering oral histories and would be back in contact in a few years to gather his.

We ran Robert’s legacy story in the spring 2019 issue of The Link. Responsible for expanding the Junior School, acquiring the property and additional land, and the decision to build a Senior School, Robert helped lead CDS to new heights. 

I finally had the privilege of meeting Robert and Deanna in person at the end of September. They don’t return to Ontario often and thankfully managed to carve out a morning to visit CDS on a recent trip. In their honour, we had a small group of friends join us for breakfast in the Eversley Schoolhouse.. 

It was a joyful occasion with lots of reminiscing. It also brought together our remaining living Headmasters for the first time: Robert, Paul Duckett and John Liggett. The last time this happened, John Pratt was still alive and it was John, Robert and Paul together at the 25th anniversary in 1997.

The Rosses were amazed at how much the school had grown, yet remained the same. At one point, Robert stepped away to converse with a group of Grade 12 students in the Sue and Michael Burns Grad Lounge. A natural teacher, they were drawn to him and readily engaged with this former Headmaster. Once an educator, always an educator.