On Remembrance Day 1969, one of Canada’s and U of T’s most decorated academics, Northrop Frye, gave a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of Hart House.
In his address given in the Great Hall, “Hart House Rededicated”, Frye said that “Hart House represented the university as a society; it dramatized the kind of life that the university encourages one to live: a life which imagination and intelligence have a central and continuous function”. Ever the forward thinker, Frye also tabled the still highly relevant topic of “community”, saying it is “defined by who is included, and who is excluded”.
As part of our 100th Anniversary celebrations, Hart House looked back half-a-century to Frye’s address in a special event called “Echoes of Northrop Frye @ Hart House.” Presented in partnership with the annual U of T Alumni Reunion, moderated by Hart House Warden John Monahan, this event featured a dramatic re-reading of Frye’s speech, followed by a panel discussion about its resonance 50 years later. Our special guest reader was actor, writer, and musician Nicky Lawrence.
Panellists included author, U of T lecturer and Hart House Board of Stewards Chair, Janelle Joseph; author, teacher and U of T graduate, Ann Y. K. Choi; and award-winning author, U of T professor, and Principal of St.Michael’s College, Randy Boyagoda.
Warden, Hart House
John Monahan has been the Warden (ie. chief executive officer) of Hart House at the University of Toronto since 2015. He is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and is an appointed Chair of the university’s Academic Appeals Committee. He also served on the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Before arriving at Hart House, John was the inaugural Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute and a national and international thought-leader on confronting inter-community conflict and promoting social cohesion through education, dialogue and grassroots peacebuilding. Previously, John practised labour, employment and human rights law with Fasken; led the strategic development and oversight of Ontario’s international network of trade and investment offices; served as inaugural Director of the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre in downtown Toronto; and was posted to the Canadian Consulate-General in New York as Consul (Economic Affairs-Ontario) in the aftermath of 9/11. He holds a BA in International Relations from Trinity College, a JD from the University of Toronto, and an MPA from Dalhousie University. He also received a diploma in French language and civilization from l’Université des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg and studied law at l’Université Panthéon-Assas in Paris.
Nicky Lawrence is a Toronto-based singer, actor and storyteller. She has toured Canada as a vocalist with Amanda Marshall, Jully Black, and Ivana Santilli, and has been a featured singer in special performances such as Women’s Blues Review (Roy Thompson Hall, 2018) and The Etta James Tribute Show (Lula Lounge, 2019). Nicky’s acting career has included singing and character roles in TV (Schitt’s Creek, Anne with an E, and Workin’ Moms) and theatre (Ragtime!, Shaw Festival ,Shrek the Musical Neptune, Seussical YPT and Hairspray Drayton).
Dr. Janelle Joseph
Dr. Janelle Joseph is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education with 22 years of experience in university teaching and award winning research including three books. Her most recent book is titled Sport in the Black Atlantic, Cricket, Canada and the Caribbean Diaspora. She is currently working on a multifaceted theoretical, empirical and auto-ethnographic project on Black Physical cultures such as kizomba, vogue, capoeira and soca. Her qualitative research focuses on Indigeneity, disabilities, globalization, and critical race studies. Dr Joseph is the former Director of Academic Success at the University of Toronto and the former Assistant Director of the Transitional Year Programme. Her community work spans extracurricular educational programs for Black children, Toronto women’s shelters, and recreational physical activity organizations.
Ann Y. K. Choi
Author, Teacher and U of T Graduate
Ann attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, Sociology, and Education. She is also a graduate of the Humber School fr Writers, the Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and National University’s Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing.
Her debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award and One of CBC Books 12 Best Canadian Debut Novels of 2016. Her essays and poems have appeared in Canadian and American journals and magazines including Quill & Quire and Writer’s Digest. In 2017, the Korean Canadian Heritage Committee presented her with an award for promoting Korean culture within Canada. An educator with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB), Ann resides in Toronto.
Professor of English; Principal of St Michael’s College; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor (UTSG)
Writer, critic and scholar Randy Boyagoda is the author of three novels, a SSHRC-supported critical biography, and a scholarly monograph. He is Principal and Vice-President of the University of St. Michael’s College and Professor of English and Christianity & Culture. Professor Boyagoda’s fiction has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize (2006) and IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize (2012), and named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Selection (2012).
He contributes essays, reviews, and opinions to publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, First Things, Commonweal, Harper’s, Financial Times (UK), Guardian, New Statesman, Globe and Mail, and National Post, in addition to appearing frequently on CBC Radio. He served as President of PEN Canada from 2015-2017. His third novel, Original Prin, was published in 2018. Professor Boyagoda teaches the Gilson Seminar on Faith and Ideas at the University of St. Michael’s College.