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Authority record

Appleby School Fathers’ Association

  • Corporate body
  • 1938 -

The Fathers’ Association was founded on June 10th, 1938 at the University Club in Toronto. At the time, the Appleby School Old Boys Association (now Alumni), had a low membership due to both the school’s age and enrollment numbers, so creating a Fathers’ Association was suggested. It was formed as a way to stimulate Appleby fathers’ interest in the work and future of Appleby as an education system; to bring fathers into closer touch with the school life of their sons; and to ultimately assist the school in the enrollment of new students. Membership included all fathers of present or past students/graduates, who were automatically enrolled in the association. There was an annual fee of at least five dollars that, at one point, went towards the tuition of British boys during WWII. Funds raised also went towards new buildings, Christmas gifts, supplies, land, and bursaries for Canadian boys. In 1939, however, there were discussions about strengthening and building the co-operation between the Fathers Association and the Old Boys Association for future years. It is possible that in 1945, the year it is believed that the Fathers Association eventually dissolved, the Old Boys Association adopted similar responsibilities as a replacement.
The first executive of the Appleby School Father’s Association included:
President—J.A. Gairdner
Secretary—C.W. Flemming
Finance Committee—G.G. Leitch, J.H.C. Waite, B.P. Alley
Membership and new pupils—W.G. Wright, H.W. Weis, John McPherson, F.F. Wilson, A.N. Knowles, T.D. Switzer

Ahern, Frances Robin

  • Person
  • 1904-2004

Frances Eleanor Ahern (nee Robin) was born in Toronto on May 14, 1904 to the late Jane Caroline (Reid) and Vavasor Robin. In 1928, Frances joined the staff at Appleby School (now College) as the administrative assistant to Headmaster John Guest as served in this role until his retirement in 1934. That same year, Frances married Appleby Old Boy Arthur “Curly” Henry Ahern (class of 1920). Together they had two children Margot and Nick (class of 1958). In 1953, Frances returned to Appleby College as the administrative assistant to Headmaster John Bell till 1958, and returned from 1961 to 1965.

Frances was a founding member and former director of the Oakville Historical Society where she held positions of treasurer and membership secretary. She was also an executive member of the Oakville Ladies Auxiliary.In 1981, Frances published Oakville A Small Town: 1990-1930 and authored the addendum to Oakville and The Sixteen by Hazel Mathews.

Frances died on March 18, 2004 at age 100.

Appleby College

  • Corporate body
  • 1911-

Appleby College was founded in 1911 by Sir Edmund Walker, a Canadian businessman and arts patron, and his son-in-law, John Guest, who served as Appleby’s first Headmaster. Appleby School, as it was known until 1941, opened September 14th, 1911, to 29 students and 5 staff. It began as an elementary to Grade 12 boys’ school with one building on a 32-acre parcel of land. In the early days, it was almost a cross between a farm and a school. There was a small herd of Holstein cows for milk, and an apple orchard and vegetable garden for the kitchen. Water for drinking and bathing was pumped from Lake Ontario.

Early Appleby was promoted with…

  • easy access by train;
  • being lakeside;
  • having a fire proof building;
  • having splendid grounds;
  • teaching small classes;
  • being free from city influence;
  • providing scientific physical training;
  • and having a variety of extracurricular activites.

Tuition was $500 for boarders, and $120 for day students. The curriculum was based on the English form structure, and classes included Latin, French, Math, English and Science. In the students' 4 form (grades 6 - 8), they could choose between Greek or German. Taking Greek meant that Classics and English were emphasized, and taking German meant a focus on Math, Science, and French.

The original 1911 staff were:

  • Edith Grindley, school nurse, 1911 – 1920
  • Kitty Leslie, school secretary, 1911 – 1919
  • Henry P. Rossiter, languages, coach First Rugby, 1911 – 1915
  • Rev. William S. Blyth, scripture, preacher, football coach, 1911 – 1925.
  • Vernon Harcourt de Butts Powell, English, History, established the drama club, 1911 – 1914.

The Latin motto, Nec temere nec timide ("Neither rashly nor timidly"), celebrates the classical virtue of moderation.

Appleby’s crest was designed by Mr. Scott Carter who adapted the design from the Guest family coat of arms. The crest has undergone 3 designs when ‘Appleby School’ changed its title to ‘Appleby College’ in 1941, and slightly modified in 1990/1991.

School Colours
John Guest chose dark blue and light blue as the school colours, which are respectively the colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

The greyhound en courant was inspired and taken from the Guest family coat of arms.

The apples represent the orchards that once grew on Appleby’s campus.

The name ‘Appleby’ came from the grammar school at Appleby Magna in Leicestershire, England, where John Guest’s family attended until it closed its doors in the mid-nineteenth century. Appleby School was renamed Appleby College (Passed & came into force on June 8, 1941).

100 – 1942
200 – 1956
300 – 1973
400 – 1984
500 – 1991
600 - 2001

Guest, John Sherratt Hill

  • Person
  • 1873-1953

John S.H. Guest was born in Burton-On-Trent, England in 1873. He began his career in education when he won a scholarship to Cambridge University, where he obtained a Master’s degree in modern history at Corpus Christi College. He started teaching in Yorkshire, but sought greater challenges and, in 1901, took a teaching position at Upper Canada College (UCC) in Toronto, Canada. One year later, he became headmaster of the Preparatory "Prep" School (Junior School) at UCC.

In 1906, John married Gladys Walker daughter of Sir Edmund Walker. Together they had four children, David (class of 1925), John (class of 1929), Elizabeth "Betty", and Katherine "Kitty".

Encouraged by his father-in-law, Sir Edmund Walker, Guest began the enormous responsibility of organizing and founding a preparatory school, and in April 1911 ground was broken for the School House (now Colley House), with Guest personally overseeing all aspects of construction. In the fall of 1911, the Appleby School (now College) opened to receive twenty-nine students.

Guest quite literally ‘built’ the school, comprising School (later Colley) House, the principal’s residence, the Chapel, the barn, and several buildings that no longer exist. Beyond the bricks-and-mortar contributions, he also established Appleby’s foundations, recruited the staff, designed the academic curriculum, established moral and spiritual principles for the boys, fostered a challenging sports program, and looked after the business management of the fledgling institution, even seeing it through the significant financial challenges of the Great Depression. He also saw the establishment of the Appleby Old Boys’ (now Alumni) Association in 1920, and the Appleby Women’s (now Parents) Association in 1928. Over Guest’s tenure, Appleby grew from twenty-nine students to ninety students, from one building to nine buildings, and from five employees to fifteen.

John Guest retired on June 25, 1934, having served as Appleby’s headmaster for 23 years. He had always been skilled with his hands, and pursued his interest by building furniture for his children and grandchildren.

Guest died on April 13, 1953.

Walker, Wentworth Dillon

  • Person
  • 1917-2009

Wentworth Dillon “Wenty” Walker was born on June 23, 1917 in Toronto to Grace Edith Dillon and Ewart Buchan Walker son of Canadian Business and Arts Patron Sir Edmund Walker. Wentworth attended Appleby College from 1931 to 1935. While at Appleby, he was a member of the Dramatic Club, a librarian in Powell’s House, and was vice-captain of the Badminton team (1934 & 1935). Upon leaving, Wentworth gifted Appleby with a locomotive bell to use a school bell. Wentworth studied at the Toronto University specializing in mathematics and physics. During the Second World War, Wentworth served as a sergeant in the army and was discharged due to medical reasons. In 1942, he married Elisabeth Margaret Walker (nee Steel), and together they had two sons, Brian and Peter. Postwar, Wentworth worked as an auditor for the Shell Oil Company. Wentworth followed in his grandfather’s passion for cultural involvement and philanthropy. His affinity for the arts led him to an involvement with the Hart House Theatre, the Central Ontario Region of the Dominion Drama Festival, the Toronto Children Players, and the John Holden Players, where he performed stage managing and lighting duties. A long-time member of the Arts and Letters Club, Wentworth also championed the preservation of important landmarks and natural resources through the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. He also had a great interest in the Walker family history, particularly the life and time of Sir Edmund Walker, his grandfather. Wentworth Walker died on November 6, 2009.

Appleby College Parents' Association

  • Corporate body
  • 1928-

The Women’s Association (renamed the Parent’s Association in 1990) was founded in 1928 by Lady Edith Baillie in response to the support raised by parents in building the covered hockey arena. The first meeting of the Association was held in Powell’s House on May 23, 1929 with 10 members present. Lady Baillie envisioned and presided over an organization that provided materially, as well as encouraged and supported Appleby School (now College) in all its endeavours. The role of the Association has been “to take an active interest in the comfort and well-being of our students through co-operation with the Principal.” The first goal in the Association’s founding year was to raise funds to complete the school’s chapel. Membership is open to all parents and guardians of current students at Appleby College, along with Alumni Parents and Honorary Members. The Association has maintained an active tradition of volunteerism, which has brought tangible results within the school through supporting school related events and programs, as well as fundraising for the school. The Association is a member of Interguild, an association of similar organizations from independent schools around Ontario. Interguild is a resource for the Executive, allowing members to share ideas and discuss matters of common interest and concern.

Massey, Raymond Hart

  • Person
  • 1896-1983

Raymond Hart Massey was born August 30, 1896 in Toronto, Ontario to Anna (nee Vincent) and Chester Daniel Massey, owner of Massey-Harris Tractor Company. His older brother was Vincent Massey, a Canadian lawyer and diplomat who became the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada. Raymond briefly attended the Preparatory School at Upper Canada College before coming to Appleby School (now College) from 1911-1914. While at Appleby, Raymond was Head Prefect, played on the First Rugby, Hockey, and Cricket teams and performed in the Appleby Dramatic Club’s productions. Raymond went on to attend the University of Toronto but his education was interrupted by his service in the Great War; he served in the Canadian Field Artillery, where he rose to the rank of Captain. At the end of the war, Raymond attended Oxford University. Raymond is among the first Canadian-born actors to attain international stardom and is best remembered for this portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in both the stage and film versions of Robert Sherwood’s Abe Lincoln in Illinois; his popular movies include The Scarlet Pimpernel, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Arsenic and Old Lace, Things to Come, and East of Eden. Raymond received 7 honourary doctorates from universities in Canada and the United States and attributed his former Appleby master Vernon Harcourt de Butts Powell for his love of drama. Raymond Massey died on July 29, 1983.