Ali, Habeeb

Mr. Habeeb Ali has been a friend of Crestwood since 2013, when he welcomed Crestwood students to the Toronto Islamic Foundation as part of our Houses of Worship Field trip. In addition to his scholarship on Islam, and his experience as an educator, Mr. Ali works with the International Development and Relief Foundation. In December

Azarov, Vladimir

Vladimir Azarov grew up against the backdrop of Stalin’s Soviet Union.  He and family were relocated to Kazakstan while Vladimir was young; a standout memory involves a confrontation between his mother and a secret police officer.  In spite of the hardships, Vladimir had many fond memories of his early life, and it gave him the

Bharucha, Daraius

Daraius Bharucha is a past president of the Zoroastrian Association of Canada, and a winner of the 2012 Governor-General’s Award for Teaching Excellence.  In November 2014 he visited us at Crestwood, when he sat down with a group of students from Mr. Masters’ World Religions class, sharing his insights into this ancient faith.  Daraius is

Boothe, Shaun

Shaun Boothe is a fixture in the Toronto hip hop community, one we have been proud to host a number of times at Crestwood.  He first visited The CHC classes in 2011, where he showed Mr. Masters’ and Mr. Hawkins’ classes an alternative approach to modern history, using hip hop as a means to teach

Chambers, Mary Anne

Mary Anne Chambers is someone who understands the power of community involvement. After emigrating from Jamaica with her family, she succeeded in the worlds of business and politics, first as a vice-president with Scotiabank, and then as an MPP and cabinet minister in Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet. All the while, she has worked tirelessly as a

Ciano, Sergio

Sergio Ciano was a young boy when World War Two began. He lived in Somalia, an Italian colony in Northern Africa. His father was an officer in the Italian Military Police. Sergio was interviewed for this project by Lowell Williams in early 2009.

Daniel, Carmi

Carmi Daniel is a representative of Hashomer Hatzair, an NGO that works on behalf of Israeli causes and issues.  he was interviewed in December 2013 by Politics 12 student Matthew Cohen.

Davis, John T.

John T. Davis is a legend on the Toronto music scene, where he is known professionally as a high energy jazz/blues/gospel organ player. The Hammond B3 Organ is his instrument of choice, but he also plays the piano and synthesizer, and sings. John also arranges music, playing originals and standards of many diverse styles, both

Ebrahim, Kassim

Kassim Ebrahim grew up during the Apartheid era in South Africa. Later a teacher in Rhodesia and Zambia, he eloquently provided Crestwood students with a glimpse into the history of Apartheid, as well as telling them his own stories and sharing his memories. We met him through the Noor Cultural Center in Toronto, and the

Elliott, Omar

Omar Elliott came to us courtesy of the Noor Culture Centre, a mosque and Islamic Centre in the Crestwood neighbourhood. Omar is from Guyana and has travelled extensively, living in South America, Europe, Asia , and North America. He spoke to a group of Crestwood students about his experiences and life’s lessons along his personal

Fahmy, Charazad

Crestwood has been very fortunate to build a partnership with the Noor Cultural Centre in the last few years. Kassim Ebrahim and Samira Khanji have welcomed us and have taught Crestwood students some very important lessons about Islam and tolerance and diversity. We visit each year, and members of the Noor community generously have shared

Fox, George

George Fox was born in Berdichev, Russia (later Poland) in 1917, where he lived with his family. The Nazis forced his family into the Brzeziny Ghetto, where they remained until its liquidation in 1942. George was sent to the Lodz Ghetto until 1944, and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was liberated by the US Army after

Gould, Dennis and Raybell

Dennis and Raybell Gould are the grandparents of Crestwood student Sarah Gould.  Dennis and Raybell grew up in wartime England, where they experienced the bombings, the rationing, and the general anxiety of life in England at war.  Dennis enlisted in the Royal Navy near the end of the war, and he served aboard the HMS

Gutmanas, Aleks

Aleks Gutmanas is the External Secretary for the Bahai Community of Toronto. He visited Ms. Laforest’s World Religions 11 class in the fall of 2009 and later sat down with Alix Postan, Sy Greenberg, and John Shahidi for an interview.

Hamilton, Shelley

Shelley Hamilton is a singer/entertainer based in Toronto, and one we have gotten to know very well over the years at Crestwood.  Shelley is a woman of many talents, whose diverse portfolio can be seen at her website at  She has done supply teaching here and has been involved in many Black History Month

Hylton, John

John Hylton grew up in 1940s England, where his childhood was deeply impacted by wartime events. He remembers the Battle of Britain, the rationing, the V-1 attacks, and most importantly he remembers his father’s service as a physician. John was interviewed for this project by Alec Maavara.

Ikeda, Sid

Sid Ikeda is a past president of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto. As a young boy he was relocated along with his family in the British Columbia interior, where he experienced the internment camps. He was interviewed by Colin Walker in January 2009 and has since come back to Crestwood several times to

Kielburger, Marc

Marc Kielburger is a co-founder of Free the Children. He and his brother saw a need to do something to help underprivileged children around the world, so they started up this influential NGO when they were teenagers. Their work shows that people of all ages can break the bonds of apathy and make a real

Lewis, Chris

Chris Lewis is a member of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada.  He visited Mr. Masters’ World Religions class in October 2014, sharing his insights on Taoism and taking the students through a few Tai Chi movements.

Lv Faxue

Lv Faxue grew up in postwar China.  He shared his memories of the 1950s and 1960s with Crestwood student Victoria Xu in March 2014; they are here overdubbed in English by Victoria.  Mr. Xu’s memories include growing up against the backdrop of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, as well as the changes

Marcharia, Bodia

Bodia Marcharia is the current president of Friends of the Congo, an NGO dedicated to improving the quality of life for the Congolese people. Bodia is a passionate speaker, and she addressed many of the region’s concerns, among them conflict minerals and the conditions facing Congolese women. Bodia visted Crestwood in January 2012, where she

McCarney, Rosemary

Rosemary McCarney is President and CEO of Plan International Canada Inc. (Plan Canada), an international and humanitarian development organization.  Founded as Foster Parents Plan, this NGO now works in more than 45 developing countries helping children and their families achieve lasting improvements in their lives.  That includes the notable “Because I am a Girl” campaign. 

Nemat, Marina

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. At the age of 16, she was arrested on false charges and spent more than two years in the infamous Evin prison, in Tehran, where she, along with many of her friends, was tortured. She was condemned to die, but survived because one of the Revolutionary

Ohori, Joe

Joe Ohori was born in 1931 in Vancouver, British Columbia. When he was nine, his parents sent him to Japan with his sister but later his sister left and he was alone. He was adopted by a family in Hiroshima. The day the bomb dropped Joe started the day off by waking up early to

Patil, Raj

Dr. Raj Patil is a representative of the Jainist Society of Canada.  He spoke to the World Religions class in October 2014, sharing his insights about this ancient faith.  The students in the class completed this oral history project as a group, and they and Mr. Masters thank Dr. Patil for his generosity.

Perhar, Ranbir

Mr. Ran Perhar is a valued member of the Crestwood community. In the spring of 2013 he welcomed Crestwood students to his gurdwara, and in the winter of that year Mr. Hawkins’ World Religions Class had the opportunity to return the welcome. Mr. Perhar was able to offer students a glimpse into how Sikh beliefs

Rotondo, Dominic

Domenic Rontondo was born in Italy, in the early months of World War Two. When his father went off to war, his mother saved Domenic’s life during aerial bombing that devastated their village and killed most of the family. Domenic was raised by his grandparents and learned about his early life through them and other

Rutagonya, Emery

Emery Rutagonya was born in Rwanda and studied Sociology at the National University of Rwanda and Peacebuilding at the University of Toronto.  He is the co-Founder of Rwanda Survivors Foundation, a charitable organization that fosters memory preservation and the healing process in Rwanda through education. Emery lost most of his family during the 1994 Genocide

Sallie, Rabia

Rabia Sallie is the sister of Zatoon Vania, who also appears on this page. Rabia too is fom South Africa, where she grew up under the shadow of Apartheid. Like here sister Zatoon, Rabia also braved the consequences and challenged the intolerance of that system. We met her at the Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto,

Santos, Rowena

Rowena Santos is actively involved in Ontario and local politics. She is a member of the provincial NDP, where she serves as Vice President, and she is affiliated with the organization Equal Voice, which seeks to promote women’s involved in Canadian politics, and she has twice spoken to Politics and Female Mentor Group students at

Shukyn, Murray

We met Murray Shukyn at the Baycrest Terraces in January 2015, as part of the new Crestwood-Baycrest initiative to document Jewish history in postwar Toronto.  And Murray made interesting contributions in that regard.  Murray grew up in the shadow of World War Two, and he reached maturity in the context of the 50s and 60s,

Singh Nagra, Pardeep

Pardeep Singh Nagra is a Canadian athlete and human rights activist. He came to speak to Mr. Masters’ History 10 class in the spring of 2010 and again in 2011, which he followed up with an interview by student representatives from the YARRD club. Pardeep’s story is an inspirational one; he came to Canada from

Stickley, Charlcie

Charlcie Stickley came to Canada at 7 years of age. After her fathger left, her mother had to clean houses; it was a hard life for her mother. Even as a student, Charlcie was aware of economic realities of Great Depression and felt restricted in school. In June 1942, she met her future husband. When

Thiyagarajah, Nayani

Nayani Thiyagarajah is a speaker and community activist and a director  and a producer, a daughter of the Yalpanam-Tamil diaspora, as well as a writer, performance artist, and filmmaker. She has worked extensively with multiple arts-based organizations and performance groups across Toronto, including Manifesto Community Projects, ArtReach Toronto, b.current Performing Arts, and Schools Without Borders. She

Turner, Davina

Davina Turner was in the CWAC Canadian Women’s Auxiliary Corps as WW2 came to a close. She toured Europe with her band, entertaining the occupying troops stationed in northern Germany. She met her future husband on the troop ship as they returned to Canada. After the war Davina settled into life in postwar Toronto, doing

Vania, Zatoon

Zatoon Vania grew up in South Africa, where she experienced the full weight of the Apartheid regime. She and her husband fought that system and became members of the African National Congress, where they worked with Nelson Mandela. Zatoon came to Canada in the mid-1960s, where she raised a family and pursued a career. We

Zarembo, Michael

Michael Zarembo is a Lithuanian Jew, one of so many overwhelmed with the terrible events that befell his people and region during the war.  1941 saw the initiation of that horror…Germany initiated Operation Barbarossa, and within days Michael’s family was under the heel of the Nazi regime.  Life became increasingly difficult in the ghettos that were