This report was submitted by Ian McDonald, Vice-President (Ontario) for Ian Storey,
The last year has been a “good news” year in many respects for Canada.
The re-introduction of the Bachelor of Education degree in Classics at the University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education represents not only the successful conclusion of a multi-year lobbying campaign by the Ontario Classical Association but the promise of a brighter future for all teachers and students in Classics.
For the first time in many years Ontario students who wish to teach the Classics are able to complete programs leading to the Bachelor of Education in Classical Studies and, once they qualify, to receive “Honour Specialist” certification after the B. Ed. is granted.
The Ontario Classical Association continues to advertise the B. Ed. program aggressively in both electronic and print media, pointing out to prospective students not just that there really are jobs teaching Latin but that unless the vacancies being left by the current generation of retirees are filled as they open up, the gains of recent years will be lost.
In addition to helping prospective students with application strategies, the OCA has found innovative ways to address the needs of would-be Latin teachers who don’t have access to a secondary school Latin program as well as applicants who do not gain admission to a B. Ed. program in the first instance. (This information is available at http://www.ontclassics.org/teachlatin.html)
In 2002-2003 there were 89 secondary schools in Ontario (public, Catholic and independent) which offered a classics program – six of them new this past year! This is good news indeed.
The Ontario Classical Association continues to hold meetings each spring and fall featuring lectures, workshops and networking opportunities for secondary school and post secondary classicists and their students, and it publishes a newsletter three times a year. The OCA continues to maintain a highly professional website, supported by the Ontario Ministry of Education, hosting inter alia an online discussion group (http://www.ontclassics.org).
In addition, the OCA provides financial support to classical activities in Ontario (such as academic colloquia and the Ontario Secondary Schools Classics Conference), and it administers the Harry C. Maynard Scholarships, which provide financial assistance to deserving secondary school and university students of Classics. One of these, worth $3000, is awarded to a university undergraduate proceeding to a first degree in Classics. There are also two awards for study abroad, one to a classics undergraduate ($3500) and one to a secondary school student who is enrolling in a recognized Classical Studies program abroad ($1500).
In February, planning got seriously underway for the annual Ontario Student Classics Conference for high school Latin students, hosted this year by Toronto’s Humberside Collegiate. 500 students from more than twenty-five schools are expected to attend this year’s event, set for the second weekend in May. Academic, athletic and social programs make this a highlight of the year for virtually all who attend.
University Classics Departments, especially in Ontario, have more than held their own in every respect. Most sponsor seminar and lecture series, and some also graduate student colloquia. Among others, students at Hamilton’s McMaster University presented their third Classics Graduate Students Conference on the theme “Creation of Setting in the Roman World” on September 28th. The keynote speaker was Richard Talbert of UNC- Chapel Hill, Director of the American Philological Association's Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World Project, and topics varied from the locus amoenus to colonization, tourism, gendered space and proxemics.
On March 8th Brock University, St. Catharines, held their 14th Annual Symposium, on Ancient Erotics. The Conacher Players of Trent University, Peterborough, presented a production of the Aeschylus’ Suppliants on their own campus and at the University of Waterloo. Also at Trent, Dr Ian Begg is working on the papers of Gilbert Bagnani, who taught at that institution from 1964-74 and who left his papers to Trent. Bagnani dug at Tebtunis in the 1930s and his findings have never been published. CAMWS member David Page will be the recipient of this year's Symons Teaching Award at Trent, the first member of the Classics Department to be so honoured.
The University of Waterloo is the only Ontario University to offer Classics by distance education, and continues to offer courses on line as well as hosting an e-journal, Labyrinth (http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/CLASS/labyrinth.htm). In June, the Department of Classics at the University of Toronto, in addition to the wealth of activities which make it the most distinguished department in Canada, hosted its annual spring reunion for graduates and friends of the Department. Its departmental newsletter features accounts by alumni of how the study of Classics prepared them for what they are doing now.
2003 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Canada’s famous Stratford Festival. Its artistic director, Richard Monette, writes:
As we begin the second half-century of our history, it seems fitting that we pay tribute to the origins of our art. And so our 2003 playbill contains works not only by Aeschylus and Aristophanes but also by later dramatists - including Shakespeare - who have borrowed and reinvented the stories of classical antiquity, among them the great legends of the House of Atreus and the Trojan War. Those stores and the themes that underlie them - themes of love and war, betrayal and revenge - have inspired playwrights and moved audiences for the past 2,500 years and will continue to do so for as long as theatres exist.
Plays to be performed include Aristophanes’ Birds, Troilus and Cressida, Agamemnon, Giraudeux’ Electra and other plays on classical themes. These productions will offer rich opportunities to classicists at all Ontario universities and high schools, but especially to those located in the immediate vicinity of Stratford, which are planning various tie-ins to theatre events.