Best Yearbook Ever – St. John’s Cathedral Boys’ School – 1974 Yearbook

Crawling out of Traverse Bay, headed for the swamp.

Update: I’ve optimized the pdf file for faster download.

Over the years, this has been one of the most viewed artifacts I’ve put up on bedard.com. This yearbook simply rocks. It gives you a fairly balanced viewpoint of the school from a student’s point of view. I was a Grade 10 that year and didn’t really participate in anything but the events, like the  National Film Board documentary,  The New Boys.

As I read through the yearbook, I’m struck by the thorough overview of life at St. John’s, including a great cataloguing of the duties accounted for in every crew – meat crew, kitchen crew, construction crew, laundry crew, barn crew, dog crew and janitorial crew. I briefly did kitchen crew, long stints in janitorial, and a thrilling time in meat crew, where I learned to account for things, package chicken (capons and loose pieces), slice back bacon, mix sausage meat, link, cut, and package sausage. I was on library crew during most of my first snowshoeing season because I was hobbled by pain. That was slack duty and nothing to brag about.

Here’s what I wrote when I first put up the yearbook:

Written and produced by the Grade 11’s of that year, it gives you a feel for what life was like in one of Canada’s classic boarding schools. Great stuff about canoeing, snowshoeing, selling meat products door to door and the overall St. John’s curricula circa 1974. Though I was at the school in 1974, you won’t find me in any pictures except for the group one, somewhere.

Click here to view the pdf.

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4 Responses to Best Yearbook Ever – St. John’s Cathedral Boys’ School – 1974 Yearbook

  1. Graham Hardy says:

    From my first year as well Pierre. A trip down memory lane…. and my most memorable and impacting year was that of grade 8 (1973-1974). Probably because of the shock of a completely new culture, that of a working one which was instilled in us and man was it a thorough one at that! Free time?? I don’t recollect a whole lot of that luxury! No regrets from my vantage point 40 years later; only good memories of a unique experience we had the privilege to live out. Graham Hardy

  2. Byron Wilson says:

    Maybe time does heal all, and i do have (some) fond memories of the challenges of St. John’s.

    My year was ’69, and i have only today discovered and watched The New Boys.
    Thinking back now, what strikes me most is the opportunities lost. e.g. canoeing – i love to paddle and tripping is a passion, usually on the west coast salt chuck now. Everything i learned about canoeing and camping at St John’s was wrong, from how to handle a canoe to how to sleep in the open… and everything in between. Proper training (no, not rocks in a trapper nelson) would have shown us how to work together to lift and carry those 26ft behemoths just for a start (i’ve carried that back injury ever since). Timiskaming was criminal negligence, and there but for the grace of something…

    What little i learned on meat crew my subsequent years in a butcher shop taught me was also wrong, and the old European i worked for wondered how we hadn’t killed people… but convinced me we had probably gotten plenty sick. Every job i ever had since St John’s showed me what thoughtful instruction and training could be, and what that could grow into.

    Most worrying for me is the terror and brutality that was visited on the weak and the different – Shabib and Jones III in my day – and what that Lord of the Flies atmosphere may have done to their psyches. St John’s could – and should – have been so much more… instead, my overarching memories are of repressed protestant’s like Bear and SOG meting out corporal punishment on a whim. There is no romanticizing that.

  3. Pierre Bedard says:

    Byron,

    Tough to say if times heal all or not. If you are interested, there is a facebook group that’s moderated and private (actually, two, don’t ask). I can get you hooked up. Just respond back to this comment and I’ll send you email.

    I have totally mixed feelings. Every day. Thankfully, I only did two years there from 73 to 75, and it was a long time ago.

    I know what it’s like to be kept somewhere against my will, but in those days, the parents knew best and you couldn’t really question their dictates as a child. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine going to a place like St. John’s. I could not have made it up.

    Take care.

  4. David Jones says:

    Byron, I feel I must chime in. The meat room was my Dad’s operation,and if his ways were good enough for Dominion Foods( Equal to Safeway or bigger in it’s day) ….. then what are you saying, He didn’t keep his department clean? the processing was wrong?. If the “sick thing you speak of is from food that would be KITCHEN not Butcher. oh yes. Jones 3 was also my brother and there is a story to the handed down beatings he took. You may also want to know that he went to SJSA for a second year, and turned out just fine. I’m the Jones in the show you watched,as posted by Bedard ( good guy) I also turned out fine. No one has ever said SJ was the right way for ALL boys , but after being a ” staff bratt” at two of the schools, and ( if needed ) we as kids also got “swatted by Mom or Dad, I WANTED to be a Saint John’s Boy, or at least try, and I saw it from a side most of you never knew.

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