A History: The Harvard Club of Toronto


Over 100 Years of Action

A Brief History of the Harvard Club of Toronto

By Cindy Maxwell ’92, MD’97
(Revised 5 April 2012)

The Harvard Club of Toronto (HCT), founded in 1904, is one of the oldest Harvard Clubs in the world. With over 240 members and close to 2000 alumni/ae living in the Toronto area, HCT ranks as the largest club in Canada. HCT endeavors to foster a spirit of community among graduates and former students of Harvard University, promote the interest of all alumni/ae in the academic and extracurricular activities of Harvard and encourage educational and social activities for its members and their families. Members include alumni/ae from almost all of Harvard’s schools, including Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, the Business School, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Kennedy School of Government, the Law School, the Medical School and the School of Public Health.

A Part of Toronto History: The Early Years

The Harvard Club of Toronto was a pioneer in the establishment of Harvard Clubs outside Cambridge. By comparison, its rival, the Harvard Club of Boston, was formed only four years later. The City of Toronto has named the restaurant where the Harvard Club was founded 100 years ago a “lost historic site.” According to the City archivists, McConkey’s Restaurant was the place to meet for decades. It was on Saturday, March 5, 1904, that the “Harvard Men of Toronto” initially met for lunch and numerous toasts at McConkey’s, at what is now 27-31 King Street West. McConkey’s was regarded as “the chief restaurant in the city for most of its life,” according to a City of Toronto report. The owner, Thomas McConkey, established a confectionery on the site in the 1840’s. The first electric lighting in Toronto was illuminated outside McConkey’s at the new building’s grand opening in 1879. The restaurant’s longevity was assured by McConkey’s descendants. Ernest G. McConkey ran the business at 111 Bay Street until his death in 1937, with the restaurant closing in 1940. The City of Toronto honoured McConkey’s Restaurant as a Lost Historic Site and stated in its report: “Any restaurant that lasts for nearly 100 years is special indeed and deserves commemoration.” In this Centennial gathering of the Harvard Club of Toronto, we too honour all our members, past and present, and commemorate an enduring bond between Harvard University and the City of Toronto.

A search of the archives from the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) yielded the following excerpts from the minutes of the first and organizing meeting of the HCT:

"This meeting was held in response to invitations to a luncheon sent out by a self-appointed committee, of which R.C. Matthews was Secretary pro tem."

"These were present at the luncheon: Prof. Hume, Prof. Chant, Prof. McLay, Prof, Cohoe, and Messrs. A.J. Thomson, W.G. McFarlane, R.C. Matthews, Kenneth F. MacKenzie, A.G. McAvity and G.H. Campbell. Prof. Hume occupied the Chair."

"Letters of regret were read from Messrs. W.L. MacKenzie King and J.H. Faull."

"Correspondence between Mr. Matthews and Dean Hurlbut of Harvard and Mr. J.D. Green, Secretary to President Eliot, was read."

"The toasts proposed were: “The King” by the Chairman, Prof. Hume; “Harvard University” by Mr. McAvity, responded to by Prof. Chant and Prof. Cohoe; “Canadian Universities” proposed by Mr. Matthews, responded to by Prof. McLay, Mr. Campbell, Mr. MacKenzie and Mr. McFarlane."

"Favourable opinions were expressed by all present in regard to forming a Harvard Club. It was moved by Prof. Cohoe, seconded by Mr. McAvity and carried unanimously, that the men present form themselves into “The Harvard Club of Toronto."

"On motion, a resolution was carried, instructing the Secretary to telegraph congratulations to President Eliot of Harvard on the celebration of his seventieth birthday."

"We have recently learned that the Honorable Robert C. Matthews, a 1902 Harvard College Graduate and second president of the Harvard Club of Toronto, was a prominent Canadian politician and businessman. He was a member of the Queen’s Privy Council in 1933 and was Minister of National Revenue for Canada from 1933-1935. Fortunately, the Honorable R.C. Matthews was able to attend the founding meeting for the Harvard Club of Toronto, whereas the Honorable William Lyon MacKenzie King (our future Prime Minister) sent his letter of regret."

The Roaring 20s and the Depression Years

The original club founded in 1904 held meetings regularly until 1933. At any one time, there were never more than four or five members “who were what we would call four year college men” according to HAA archives. After 1933, the Depression and World War II affected the interest and participation of HCT members. On occasion, when “prominent men from Cambridge have visited Toronto,” they were entertained at an afternoon or evening meeting of the Club. Most members were involved with academic work at the University of Toronto. The HCT maintained a connection with the Associated Harvard Clubs, and for many years, Herbert L. Sanborn ’07, was the Canadian vice-president of the Associated Harvard Clubs.

Forging Ahead: 1960s and 1970s

During the 1960s a group of alumni, led by the late Henry Jackman, who attended Harvard Business School in 1924-1925, incorporated a charitable organization, Harvard University Associates in Canada, Inc., whose purpose was to assist Canadian students to attend Harvard University. Mr. Jackman served as its first president, and was succeeded by William Herridge ’53, LLB’56. Mr. Jackman was an active member of the Harvard Club of Toronto, a loyal Harvard supporter and a MP for the Rosedale riding. Events hosted by the HCT were often in conjunction with the Law and Business School clubs, and participants included Richard Meech LLM’51, Pierre Trudeau AM’45, Harry Arthurs LLM’59, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, Robert Stanfield LLB’39, former leader of the Progressive Conserative Party (a large gala took place in his honour at the Granite Club), and the Honourable Donald MacDonald, LLM’56, Minister of Finance.

Outreach to high school students in the Toronto area became a focus for the Club in the 1960s and 1970s. Nick Volk ’53, president of HCT from 1967-1970, began increasing membership in the organization by holding joint “Ivy Nights” where prospective students and their families could learn more about Harvard (as well as Yale and Princeton). These efforts resulted in the first-ever admission of a student from Vaughn Collegiate to Harvard College. HCT held many events in conjunction with the Harvard Business School Club, and invited guest speakers included, The Honourable Bora Laskin LLM’37, former Supreme Court Justice, Hal N.R. Jackson, former Lt. Governor of Ontario, and former Harvard University President Derek Bok JD’54, AB’71 (hon), LLD’92 (hon).

During the 1970s and 1980s the major focus for the HCT was the Schools and Scholarship Committee. Committee members interviewed all candidates from the Toronto area. Generally 50–60 applicants were interviewed, and fewer than 10 were admitted. The major competing Ivy School for our region’s applicants had been Princeton until this period, and then gradually Stanford, MIT and Duke University began attracting local talent. HCT hosted an annual meeting to review area applicants, a tradition that continues today. The HCT then had a handful of events each year, including invited speakers and a reception to celebrate accepted applicants.

HCT always maintained a mixture of alumni and alumnae of the College and the various Graduate Schools. A significant proportion of the membership came from the Harvard Business School (HBS), which still has an active Club of its own in the Ontario region.

Countdown to the Centennial: 1980s and Beyond

Since the 1980s the membership and activity level has increased steadily, from 50 members in the early 1980s to the present day, where over 240 members participate in HCT activities. One major means of communication among HCT members is the Newsletter, a publication dating back to the 1980’s. The Newsletter initially reported on local events and activities, and in recent times has expanded to include Harvard news from Cambridge and the accomplishments of Toronto area alumni/ae.

Admission to the College continues to be an important part of the HCT activities, and over the years the Schools Subcommittee formed to help arrange interviews of area applicants by local alumni/ae. In recent years, an Ontario-region representative from the Harvard Admissions Committee has attended the Fall meeting of the HCT, in order to foster ties between two organizations. Visitors from the Admissions Committee have included Fred Jewett ’57, MBA’60, former Dean of Harvard College, W. Gus Reed ’71, David L. Evans and Christina Flint. This year, six students from the Toronto area were admitted to the College.

Harvard President Lawrence Summers launched the Club’s Centennial year in memorable fashion, with his remarks at the Club’s Luncheon in May 2003. The Harvard Club of Toronto continues to grow at its one-hundredth year, and now boasts a Recent Grads Committee, which had its inaugural gathering on Leap Year Day, 2004. The Brown Bag Lunch Series continue to flourish, attracting prominent speakers from diverse academic, business and artistic disciplines.

And so today we toast the Harvard Club of Toronto, and look forward to the celebration of fellowship, community and the Harvard spirit for the next 100 years and beyond.

Harvard Club of Toronto Presidents

1904  Professor Hume, University of Toronto
1910  Robert C. Matthews ’02
1911  S.B. Trainer ’04
1912  G.H. Locke
1946-49 S.B. Trainer ’04
1959-63 Arthur H. Richardson ’20
1963  Marshal Stearns ’31
1967-70 Nicholas Volk ’53
1970-71 Robert G. Watson ’47
1973-75 Herbert E.C. Stoneham ’62
1976-77 Albert Abel
1977-78 L. Frederick Valentine ’65
1978-80 Ross McDonald ’51
1980-81  Thomas Heintzman ’62
1983-84 Bernard McGarva ’75
1987-88 Brian Mulroney ’76
1988-90 Philip Evans ’81
1990-92 Steven Mamarchev ’75
1992-00 Tim Kennish ’61
2000-05 Bill Horton ’77
2005-08 Mitchell Wigdor ‘77
2008-11 Cindy Maxwell ’92, MD’97
2011-  Jonathan Guss ‘68

Invited Speakers to Harvard Club of Toronto Related Events

Kevin Johnson, Consul General of the United States
Allan Bonner, Communications Management Inc.
Johann Olav Koss, CEO and Founder, Right to Play International
Mohsen Mostafavi Dean, GSD, Harvard University
Richard Sommer, Dean of Architeture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto
Chris Glaisek, Vice President, Waterfront Toronto
Nina-Marie Lister, Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Design, Ryerson University
Ron Dembo, Founder and CEO, Zerofootprint
Elisa New, Professor of English, Harvard University
Allan Grill ‘MPH 04, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Allan M. Brandt, Dean of the GSAS, Harvard University
James Breech PhD’76, Cougar Global Investments LP
Nicholas Leyland MHCM’06, Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Brigadier General (Ret.) Russell D. Howard MPA’88
David Bell ’69, Professor Emeritus, York University
John R. Nay, Consul General of the United States
Jorge Dominguez AM’68, PhD’72 Professor and Vice Provost, Harvard University
Tom Heintzman ‘86, President, Bullfrog Power Inc.
Steini Brown ‘93, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Ontario
Peter Jones MBA’72, Chair, Ontario Power Authority
Peter Cooper MBA’75, President, Scienta Health Group
James Flaherty, Federal Minister of Finance
Mark Moore ‘00
William Fitzsimmons ’67, AM ’69, PhD’71, Dean of Admissions, Harvard College
David Staines AM’68, PhD’73, Professor of English, University of Ottawa
Kevin Lynch, Clerk of The Privy Council
David Agnew, UNICEF
Michael Bryant LLM’94, Ontario Attorney General
Michael Fenn, KSG State & Local Government Program, Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Toni Marwitz, Consul-General for the United States in Toronto
Morris Rosenberg, Deputy Minister of Justice
Michael E. Raynor AB ’90; DBA 2000, Author and Consultant
Stephen Toope ’78, President, the Pierre Trudeau Foundation
Bill Raduchel AM’68, PhD’72, Executive Vice President, AOL Time Warner Inc.
David Goldbloom ’75, Physician in Chief, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Ian Clark MPP’70, President & CEO, Ontario Council of Universities
Peter Hogg LLM’63, Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School
Harriet Friedmann PhD’77, Professor of Sociology, Munk Centre for International Studies
Niall Ferguson, Professor, Harvard University
Michael Ignatieff PhD’76, Professor, HKS, Harvard University
Lawrence Summers PhD’82, President of Harvard University
Franklin Huddle AM’70, PhD’78, Consul-General for the United States in Toronto
Malcolm Sparrow, Professor, Kennedy School of Government
Otto Broderick, Professor, Kennedy School of Government
Jill Levenson PhD ’67, Professor of English
Marty Linsky, Professor, Kennedy School of Government
David Pecaut ’77, President iFormation Group
Michael Grace AM’68, PhD’72, Regional Director, Harvard Alumni Association
David Miller ’81, City of Toronto Councilor
Honourable Peter Cory, Supreme Court of Canada
Chrystia Freeland ’90, Deputy Editor of the Globe and Mail
William Dimma DBA ’73, Author
Christie Todd Whitman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
James Flaherty, Minister of Finance, Deputy Premier of Ontario
Thomas Homer-Dixon, Professor, University of Toronto
Paul Celluci, US Ambassador to Canada

Joseph Nye PhD’64, Dean, Kennedy School of Government
Linda S.Wilson , President of Radcliffe College
Roger Martin ’79, MBA’81, Dean of the Rotman School of Management
Robert Goodenow ’74, Executive Director, NHL Players Association
Alvin L. Clark, Jeffrey Q. Horvitz Research Curator, Fogg Art Museum,
Frank McKenna, Premier, Province of New Brunswick
Purdy Crawford, Chairman, Imasco Limited, Canada Trust
Michael MacKenzie, School of Business Administration, York University
Paul Weiler LLM ’65, Professor, Harvard Law School
Ken Dryden, Author
Tom McGowan, Canadian Radiation Services
John Kenneth Galbraith AM’50(hon)
David Johnston ’63, President University of Waterloo, Principal, McGill University

Harvard Songs
This evening, the Veritas Trio have included traditional Harvard songs in their repertoire. Some of the songs you will hear include the following:

Fair Harvard - Arranged by Thomas Moore
First Verse
Fair Harvard! we join in thy jubilant throng,
And with blessings surrender thee o'er
By these festival rites, from the age that is past,
To the age that is waiting before.
O Relic and type of our ancestors' worth,
That hast long kept their memory warm,
First flow'r of their wilderness! Star of their night!
Calm rising through change and through storm.
Second Verse
Farewell! thy destinies onward and bright!
To thy children the lesson still give,
With freedom to think, and with patience to bear,
And for right ever bravely to live.
Let not moss-covered error moor thee at its side,
As the world on truth's current glides by,
Be the herald of light, and the bearer of love,
'Til the stock of the Puritans die.

Ten Thousand Men of Harvard - Murray Taylor ’18
First Verse
Illegitimum non carborundum;
Domine salvum fac.
Illegitimum non Carborundum;
Domine salvum fac.
Gaudeamus igitur!
Veritas non sequitur?
Illegitimum non carborundum -- ipso facto!
Fourth Verse
Ten thousand men of Harvard want vict'ry today,
For they know that o'er old Eli
Fair Harvard holds sway.
So then we'll conquer old Eli's men,
And when the game ends, we'll sing again:
Ten thousand men of Harvard gained vict'ry today!

Harvardiana - R.G. Williams ’11
With Crimson in triumph flashing
'Mid the strains of victory,
Poor Eli's hopes we are dashing
Into blue obscurity.
Resistless our team sweeps goalward
With the fury of the blast;
We'll fight for the name of Harvard
'Til the last white line is passed.
Harvard! Harvard! Harvard! (2x)

Yo Ho The Good Ship Harvard - Richmond Fletcher ’08
Yo ho! The good ship Harvard
Is goalward bound again;
All the crew are at the halyards,
Here's a hail for Johnny Harvard's men!
Bright Crimson at the forepeak
Rides high above the foam.
While we sweep through the deep blue,
Harvard strikes home!

Many thanks are given to all those who helped contribute to this project: Nancy Coombs EdM ’89, Bill Horton ’77, Bill Herridge ’53, LLM’56, Nick Volk ’53, Tim Kennish ’61, Gerda Belkadi, Doug Barry, Rita Maxwell ’98, and Linda Maxwell’96.

Harvard Club of Toronto Centennial Planning Committee
Nancy Coombs EdM ’89
Wendy Feldman MPA ’89
Faith Berghuis ’57
Wendy Kennish ’91
Cindy Maxwell ’92, MD’97
Mitch Wigdor ’77
Bill Horton ’77
Geoff Hall LLM’96
Ethan Bernstein JD’03, MBA’03
Bernie McGarva ’75
Erick Almasy ’71, MBA’75
Wendy Burton ’75