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People and organizations


Willard G. Oxtoby

  • F2087
  • Person
  • 1933-2003

Willard Gurdon Oxtoby was a scholar of religion and a professor at Trinity College from 1971 until 1999. Oxtoby was born 29 July 1933 in Kentfield, California to Gurdon C. Ox-toby and Miriam Burrell Oxtoby. Willard Oxtoby graduated with a B.A. in philosophy from Stanford University in 1955. He then attended Princeton University where he re-ceived an M.A. and a Ph.D. in 1962. From 1958 to 1960 he worked in Jerusalem as part of the team that studied the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1963 he was ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church.

Oxtoby’s first teaching appointment was in the Faculty of Divinity at McGill University where he taught a course on Jerusalem, among others, from 1960 to 1964. Oxtoby then undertook postdoctoral studies in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Reli-gion at Harvard where he also held a teaching fellowship. From 1966 to 1971 Oxtoby was an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Yale and from 1971 until his retire-ment in 1999 he was a professor of the study of religion at Trinity College, University of Toronto. While at the University of Toronto Oxtoby founded the Centre for Religious Studies in the School of Graduate Studies and served as its director from 1976 to 1981. Oxtoby also served as a member of the Advisory Council of the Department of Religion at Princeton University from 1971 to 1984 and served as President of the Canadian In-stitute for Advanced Islamic Research from 1984 to 1992. In 1964 Oxtoby was elected to the American Society for the Study of Religion; he served as the Society’s Vice President from 1984 to 1987 and President from 1990 to 1993.

Willard Oxtoby’s publications include The Meaning of Other Faiths (1983), Moral Enlighten-ment: Leibniz and Wolff on China (1992) (with Julia Ching), World Religions: Western Traditions (1996) and World Religions: Eastern Traditions (1996). Oxtoby also edited the American Academy of Religion’s Monograph Series AAR Studies in Religion (1969-1970) and was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Religious Pluralism.

In 1958 Willard Oxtoby married Layla Jurji, and they had two children, David (b. 1960) and Susan (b. 1963). Layla Jurji died in 1980 and in 1981 Oxtoby married Julia Ching, a scholar of Chinese philosophy and religion and a professor at the University of Toronto. Julia Ching died on 26 October 2001 and Oxtoby died on 6 March 2003 in Toronto

Cowan, Kathleen

Kathleen Cowan was a student at Victoria University and resident at Annesley Hall, 1907–1910. She was later married to Methodist/United Church minister, Harold Lloyd Morrison.

Ching, Julia

Julia Ching was a Victoria University professor and an internationally recognized expert on neo-Confucian philosophy and religion. Born in Shanghai in 1934, she grew up there and in Hong Kong before fleeing China during World War II. She was a student at the College of New Rochelle in New York, and then became an Ursuline nun for twenty years. She resumed her studies at the Catholic University of America (M.A.), and then at the Australian National University (Ph.D. 1972). After teaching at Columbia University (1973–1975) and Yale University (1975–1978) she joined the faculty at Victoria University in 1978, becoming a Professor of Religious Studies/Study of Religion, 1981–1995, and then a University Professor of Philosophy, 1995 until her death in 2001. Dr. Ching was very active in the academic world, publishing widely and a contributing member of many organizations. She was also in demand as a consultant and interviewee concerning news relating to China. She was survived by her husband and academic colleague, Willard Oxtoby, who died in 2003.

Potts, John

John Potts was a clergyman and co-Bursar/co-Treasurer of Victoria University, 1900–1907.

Born in Ireland and originally an Episcopalian, he was ordained in the Methodist Church in 1861. He served at Thorold, 1859-1861; London, 1862-1864; Toronto Yorkville, 1865-1866; Hamilton West, 1867-1869; Montreal, 1870-1872; and then in Toronto and Montreal until his appointment in 1901 as Secretary of Education in the Methodist Church until his death. In 1901 he was also appointed as President of the Lord's Day Alliance and was a member of the Board and Senate of Victoria College. He was married to Margaret Bredin in 1861.

Kenner, Roy

  • Person
  • 1948-

Roy Kenner is a singer, songwriter, and voice over actor. Born in Toronto in 1948, he gained popularity when he was the lead singer for the Toronto band Mandala, an up and coming R&B band. In 1967 they had their first hit “Love-it is” off of their only album Soul Crusade (1968).

The band dissolved, allowing Kenner and fellow band members Domenic Troiano and drummer Whitey Glan to recruit bassist Prakash John and form Bush. Bush had short lived success, with an EP release in 1970, and the band breaking up in 1971. Quickly there after Kenner and Troiano joined American rock group James Gang, replacing Joe Walsh. They released Bang! (1973) and Miami (1974). This stint with James Gang did not last long, with Kenner leaving and moving back to Toronto. In 1976 he joined the funk-rock band Law, and released Breakin’ It (1977) and Hold Onto It (1978).

Kenner continues to perform and sing after this. In the 1980’s he was the lead vocal for the theme song of the television series Night Heat, and now works in Toronto doing jingle work.

Imperial, Paul & Lynn

  • Family

The Aron Cinema is Campbellford Ontario, has been owned and operated by Paul Imperial from 1976 to 2011. The theater began screening films in 1947. Due to the lack of growth in the rural area, and change in cinema, the Aron was set to close down in 2009. The community rallied together, wanting to save the cinema that had become a major part of their neighborhood over the years. Together, they turned the theater into a not-for-profit co-operative. By selling bonds, fundraising, and the Imperial family taking out a mortgage, the facility was able to re-open in 2011. For their efforts, the Imperial family was awarded a plaque commemorating their 35 years of dedicated service.

With new backers, the theater has continued to be updated, the largest change being the upgrade to a digital projector from a 35mm projector. This has allowed the theater to show mainstream on-release Hollywood films. The theater has also begun to rent the space out to private parties and become a stage for festivals, even partnering with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to bring art and documentary films to the community.

Hose, Ian

  • Person

Ian Hose was a collector of Canadian music. He is the brother-in-law of George Connell.

Historica Canada

  • Corporate body

Historica Canada is Canada’s largest organization working towards educating the public on the Nation’s history and cultural. It is a registered national charitable organization and offers all its programing and information in both English and French.
Historica in its present form began in 2009 after a company merger of the Historica Foundation of Canada and The Dominion Institute, though working under the name of The Historica-Dominion Institute until 2013 when it adopted its present name.
Historica offers many culture enriching programs and information. They are best known for their popular Heritage Minutes. These short 60-second films depict important people or events that have helped shape Canada, often highlighting values that are considered important to the Nation. As of July 2020, they have released 91 episodes since 1991 when the first thirteen minutes were released. They also publish and maintain The Canadian Encyclopedia, a free online resource on Canadian history. Historica Canada offers many educational programs across the country in both languages to promote and aide in the building of Canadian culture.

Healey, Jeff

  • Person
  • 1966-2008

Jeff Healey was born in Toronto on March 25th, 1966 and was adopted by his parents in July of that year. As an infant, Healey developed retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, and consequently lost his sight at the age of one. At the age of three, his father gave him his first guitar and music became a permanent part of his life. Healey developed a unique way of playing the guitar, which involved laying the guitar on his lap and playing with all five fingers of his left hand, picking the guitar with his right hand. Healey lived and grew up in Toronto’s west end, and started collecting records by the age of ten, collecting 78 format gramophone records.

He formed his first band, Blue Direction, in 1979 at the age of thirteen. In July of 1985 he was invited on stage to play with Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan at Albert Hall, in Toronto. Soon after, in September of that year, Healey met Tom Steven and Joe Rockman at Toronto’s Grossman’s Tavern, and together, they formed the Jeff Healey Band. The band gained success with the release of singles such as “See the Light” and “Adriana”. By 1987, they had received radio airplay in the U.S. In 1988, Jeff began hosting his first radio show on the University of Toronto’s radio station CUIT, playing jazz records from his now vast collection of 78s. Shortly afterwards the Jeff Healey Band released their breakthrough album See the Light, which resulted in their success across the border, with appearances on television and eventually earning them a Grammy nomination in 1989. Later that year the band appeared in the movie Roadhouse and on its soundtrack, and in 1990 the band won their first Juno award.

In 1991, the band established Forte Records, their own recording studio on Spadina Road in Toronto. In October of 1991, Healey began hosting My Kinda Jazz on CBC radio, a one hour radio show during which he plays jazz music recorded between 1917 and 1942 from his personal music collection. In 1994, Jeff and his wife Cristie Healey, had their first daughter, Rachel. The band continued to remain successful, recording several more albums. In 2001, Jeff Healey opened his first music club in Toronto, Healey’s, where he and his blues band and jazz band would play weekly. Jeff was later awarded a Maple Blues Award for Lifetime Acheivement at the 2001 award ceremony. Jeff soon formed his jazz band, the Jazz Wizards, who he continued to play and record with for the rest of his life. During this time, Jeff also had a blues band, the Jeff Healey Blues Band. Jeff also had his own short lived record label, Healey-O-Phonic, upon which he released his 2004 solo album, Adventures in Jazzland. Later that year he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2005, his son Derek was born.

Over the next few years Healey released more albums, and opened another club, Healey’s Roadhouse, but was also diagnosed with cancer, and underwent surgery and treatment. In February 2008, Jeff performed live for the final time in Goderich, Ontario, with his band the Jazz Wizards. Jeff Healey died at the age of 41 after battling metastatic lung cancer for three years. Only a month later, Mess of Blues was released, and marked his first return to rock and blues music in eight years. In October of 2009, Jeff was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, now known Canadian Disability Hall of Fame. Several albums have been released posthumously, and in 2011 Woodford Park, in Etobicoke, Ontario, was renamed Jeff Healey Park.

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