Company Comment - Spring 2015

If you have any trouble reading this email, click here


Presentation to the Annual Dinner:

New Master Tom O'Carroll:

A Distinguished guests, Freemen, ladies and gentlemen.

I am honoured to stand before you as the Master of the Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of Toronto of North America.

My first and most enjoyable task is to thank Past Master John Welch for guiding and leading our Company over the past year.

John and his court have worked hard on your behalf to keep our company solvent, compliant with regulations, and provide an interesting and enjoyable array of social functions.

I would like to add that the make-up of our court is worthy of note, in that, it is not just one year's effort by these individuals but an ongoing progressive process that ensures continuity with our objectives and knowledgeable leadership.

The efforts of these individuals, who are in the main part the members of the court that I will now be fortunate to continue to work with, requires acknowledgement.

To demonstrate this point, John Welch, our outgoing Master, has moved through this process but will now continue on the Court but with added responsibility for our charitable trust.

There can also be no better example than that of Past Master John Bishop, who for 10 years has not only been active on the court but has also been available to those who have required assistance or counsel.

I would like all of the members of the outgoing and incoming court to stand up to be truly recognized. May I also personally welcome our newest members Michèle McCarthy, Rebecca Bartlett Jones, Stephen Lautens and Michèle.

A special thanks also goes to the trustees of our charity, Chair Frances Sommerville, Past Masters Michael Green and Ken Foxcroft, who worked closely with the University of Western Ontario in London to consolidate our scholarship agreement with them for students to study in the city of London.

I am delighted that Ashley Prime has continued in the role of The Company's Clerk in London and with Neil Purcell's assistance on the Freedom of the City application process and U., we are well set.

So with an experienced Court, plus John promising not to leave the country without a visa approved by the Court, we have the tools to continue what I see as a continuum of objectives that transcends the few changes we have in our guidance system, i.e., the Court and I.

Our objectives under our outgoing Master, John Welch, both ongoing and new, were undertaken in close communication with his court, of which I was a member.

These will be continued and taken further, but all within the framework of what we are and what we represent. This we will ensure through our founding and long term members. Tradition and relevance have been partners in all time periods.

Key Points:

  • To continue to bring you a variety of events and raise money for the Company's charity which sends students to study in London, England
  • To improve communication with our members and update the website to include videos of events.
  • To work with the other Loyal Societies to improve communications, exchange ideas, share in event promotion and participation, increase and broaden membership, and where practical coordinate our fund raising capabilities.
  • With the expertise of our treasurer Roger McMillan to review and strengthen the Company's financial position.
  • To recruit members that believe in the fellow-ship we all aspire and have a love or connection to the City of London, which is the ultimate example of a truly International city.

I would now like to take a moment to thank the staff of The National Club. I think you will agree the food and service have been excellent as usual, and of course well complimented by the wines arranged by our Past Master Ken Foxcroft and sponsored by those noted in the program.

Finally I would like to thank Ishrani Jaikaran, John Smith and John Bishop who planned, arranged and executed this event.

To view the Photo Gallery, click here Annual Dinner 2015

Presentation to The Annual Dinner:

Immediate Past Master John Welch:

Past Masters, Members of the Court, fellow Freemen and Honoured Guests.

It's been a year since I became Master of the Court having been invested here , along with the members of the Court, in this same room about a year ago. It has passed all too quickly.

I will keep my departing remarks brief as my final report can be found in the AGM package now on line.

I can report that the affairs of the Court are in good order due to the commitment and active participation by the members of the Court of the Honourable Company. It was a successful year due to their efforts. In addition our success can also be attributed to you the members of the Company and friends who supported our efforts over the past year. Thank you to you all.

Our continuing viability as a Company depends on the ongoing contributions and support that you the members make. Your active participation in our events and at the annual dinner will ensure that the Company will grow and prosper and will continue to meet the obligations of our charity. You will appreciate that costs of events and an evening like this increase yearly as the effects of inflation and rising costs impact our efforts to provide you an enjoyable experience in keeping with your expectations.

As such I wish to especially thank tonight's sponsors and Company members, listed in your program, who generously contributed to making this evening a great success.

I want to thank the outgoing Court for their efforts and support during the past year. A special thank you to Past Master John Bishop who after 10 years on the court is stepping down. His experience and knowledge will be missed.

I am pleased that I am handing over my responsibilities as Master into the competent and very able hands of Tom O Carroll. In addition we have assembled a strong group of individuals onto the Court who will be actively supporting Tom in the year to come .

As your Immediate Past Master, and Chair of the Company's CharitableTrust and Nominating Committee I too have committed my support to Tom as we embark on a multiyear program to build on and strengthen the solid foundation that we have today.

Thank you.


The Court For 2015/2016:

Executive: Master – Tom O'Carroll
Deputy Master and Treasurer – Roger McMillan
Clerk – Ishrani Jaikaran
Immediate Past Master – John Welch

PM Frances Sommerville
PM Ken Foxcroft
Norman Morris
Peter Reed
Stephen Lautens
Michèle McCarthy

Nominating Committee and Charitable Trust
Chair – John Welch
Frances Sommerville
Ken Foxcroft

Member Emeritus:
PM Captain Ray Gibson

Ex Officio:
London Clerk - Ashley Prime
City and Guildhall Liaison - PM Neil Purcell
US Liaison - Peter Hermant


Report on The Annual Dinner Immediate Past Master, John A. Welch:

Once again the annual Freemen dinner was held at the National Club ably hosted by Past Master John Smith. The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception where it provided an opportunity for members and guests to mingle and chat prior to being called for dinner. At about 7.30pm after calling for attention and announcing to the guests that dinner was served Norm Morris, Sargent at Arms, gathered the head table participants and processed them in to dinner.

Under the direction of John Smith the pre-dinner formalities were attended to. Past Master Neil Purcell said Grace, Geoffrey Berg proposed the toast to her Majesty the Queen, Past Master Brian Lechem proposed the toast to the Office of the President of the United States , and Master John Welch proposed the toast to assembled guests. Later, Past Master John Bishop proposed the toast to the Honourable Company.

As is always the case the chefs and servers of the National Club did a splendid job with dinner. The starter was a delicious leek and potato soup with red pepper puree and herb croutons. The entrée was English cut prime rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding and vegetables. Dessert was a dark chocolate raspberry terrine with berry confit. As a finale a generous cheeses plate was offered to accompany the port.

By popular request the Ceremony of the Loving Cup was re installed as tradition dictates. It was warmly received by all participants and provided an excellent opportunity for all to rise up, partake in the ceremony and enjoy some friendly banter with one's table guests.

Our guest of honour this year was Hazel McCallion, the recently retired Mayor of Mississauga.

Hazel captivated her listeners with a straight forward speech on the social, economic and infrastructure challenges facing cities today. Her comments were witty, provocative, thoughtful and insightful as one would expect from one engaged in community service for over 40 years. All the more impressive as she spoke from notes only. At the conclusion of her talk the Master John Welch inducted her in as a Freeman of the Honourable Company and in addition presented her with a framed letter of congratulations from the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

To conclude the evenings activities the new Master, Tom O'Carroll was invested along with his Court to serve for the coming year. Master O'Carroll then spoke to the success of the past year thanking all those who supported its efforts. He addressed his plans for the ensuing year where he and the Court will look to build on the year's success and to further strengthen the Company through initiatives that will secure the ongoing viability of the Honourable Company.

In conclusion it was a most enjoyable and memorable evening for all who attended.

Annual Dinner 2015

Introductionto The Guest Of Honour, Hazel McCallion, by Master Elect Tom O'Carroll:

The Guest Of Honour,
Hazel McCallion

As a long time Mississauga resident, I am pleased to introduce our Guest Speaker, the most respected retired politician in Canada.

I must refer to Hazel not as a former Mayor but in the present tense as Your Worship for she will after 36 years of devotion and service to her constituents continue to be the one person that they associate with when discussing municipal affairs in Mississauga.

First elected in December of 1978, she went on to lead and develop the infrastructure and social services so vital to support the demands of a rapidly expanding city. Mississauga was the name chosen by the voters when the older communities of Lakeview, Port Credit, Cooksville, Clarkson, Lorne Park, and Streetsville were united from what was known as Toronto Township. These, along with thousands of acres of farmland grew into the great urban metropolis that we see today.

In that process she became famous, some say notorious, for her ability to challenge the two senior levels of government to gain support for the services and amenities that she felt her constituents deserved.

Hazel, was not only advocating continuously for her city, but through her membership in the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, she provided the drive and debating skills required to win concessions from senior levels of government. Premiers, Prime Ministers and their Ministers would sit up and take notice when she called upon them to redirect tax revenues to local governments to meet the increasing demands placed on their Councils.

Nothing illustrates her determination and leadership qualities more than her response to the Mississauga Train Derailment in November of 1979 – six days of a crisis of the most serious dimensions with potentially negative affects upon all her residents.

The leaking tanker cars and subsequent explosions called for emergency measures. As it turned out, Roy McMurtry, then Ontario's Attorney General, had the responsibility to dictate what actions to be taken. The only legislation available to him was the protocol covering the response to a nuclear attack on the Pearson Airport. (One has to remember, this was 1979).

Click on image for an enlargement
The letter, from the Lord Mayor of London, presented to Ms McCallion by Master John Welch , at the conclusionof her speech.

He ordered the evacuation of 217,000 people out of the 248,000 population. Hazel working in conjunction with the police and fire departments achieved all this over the 6-day period with no fatalities or injuries, serious injuries anyway as she had a sprained ankle throughout the process. It was also achieved in a peaceful and orderly manner, something that is fairly rare in such situations.

Today this remains as a monumental achievement on how to meet adversity when thrust upon a Chief Magistrate of a municipality. As a result, Hazel was elected continuously without having to spend money on campaign expenses. In fact, she refused political donations, directing her supporters to donate any monies to charities.

As we now know, Mississauga under her tutelage grew and evolved to become one of Canada's safest and most comfortable urban settings complete with the facilities required to service a population approaching one million residents.

Past Masters at The Annual Dinner:

John Smith 2004, Brian Lechem 1990, Michael Green 2010 & 2011, John Bishop 2008 & 2009, Our Founder Capt. Ray Gibson 1979 & 2000, Frances Sommerville 2013,
John Welch 2014 and Neil Purcell 2001

Charitable Trust Report - 2013/2014:

The Charity continues to progress in a most exemplary manner. You have heard the report of the Hon. Treasurer that confirms our financial condition with adequate resources to meet our contractual commitments with the University of Western Ontario, which have been extended for another four years

I am pleased to inform you that our partnership with the University of Western University has proven to be most successful over the past few years and students who have and are receiving support for their studies in London U. K.all speak highly of their experiences.

This year Kevin Lam, is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree with an honors specialization in epidemiology and biostatistics, at Kings College London, so that I can develop the key skills required to conduct research.

I and my fellow trustees would like to extend grateful thanks to all donors and recognize the contributions of the Events Committee Chair for the fund raising efforts over the past year.

Frances Sommerville

Chair, Charitable Trust

Events for 2015 / 2016:

  • Late June, early July - Meet the Court and Welcome New Members - Details and Date to be confirmed
  • October 2015 - Wine Tasting – Details and Date to be confirmed
  • 10 th February 2016 "Whisky Tasting Dinner, at the Caledonian Pub on College Street
  • 12 th April 2016 – AGM at the RCMI – Details to be confirmed
  • 6 th May 2016 - 37th Annual Dinner at The National Club

The Following Two Articles Should Have Been Published Last October/November

A Visit to London, Past Master John Bishop

My wife Gillian and I recently had the pleasure of visiting the City of London.

Your correspondent, a proud Freeman

During this time we had the opportunity to visit The Tower of London and in particular we wanted to view the moat, which is being transformed into a sea of red ceramic poppies, “Blood Swept Lands and Sea of Red”.

Each one of the 888,246 ceramic Poppies commemorates the life of a British or Commonwealth soldier who was killed during the First World War. The final poppy will be planted on November 11 th , 100 years later.


Every afternoon, at 4:55 pm, a bugler plays the Last Post and names from the Roll of Honour are read out.



Poppies are planted by a shift of volunteers dressed in identifying red tee-shirts and gardening gloves. On one particular day, the cabin crews from every American Airlines plane, landing at Heathrow Airport, put in a shift.

The ceramic poppies on display were purchased by the public at a cost of £25 each and raised approximately £1 million (pounds sterling) to be shared amongst the various armed forces charities.

Following Armistice Day, November 11, 2014 the poppies will gradually be removed, cleaned and given to the purchaser.


The Foreign Office

We also had the great pleasure of touring the Foreign Office for the first time as guests of Ashley Prime, your London Clerk and the former British Deputy Consul General to Toronto.

To our surprise and delight, the exterior of the Foreign Office, at the corner of Whitehall and King Charles Street, belies the magnificence of the interior which boasts soaring ceilings, grand staircases, majestic rooms and priceless pieces of original art and sculpture.

Pride of place amongst all the artifacts was the Enigma Machine

And of course a view of Downing Street

Our memorable visit to London concluded with a pub dinner along with Ashley and his delightful wife, Silvia.

The World Remembers:
Past Master Hugh Oddie

Past Masters John Bishop and Hugh Oddie attended the opening ceremony of "The World Remembers", hosted by the Deputy Mayor, at City Hall on Oct. 22nd.

The World Remembers is a Canadian remembrance and education project produced by Canadian actor and director RH Thomson, that will individually display the names of the WWI dead from eight participating nations over the WW1Centenary years.

The names will appear in more than sixty-five schools, universities, libraries as well as other venues in Canada, the UK and Belgium.

The names will start to appear each evening at 8.30pm at Toronto City Hall as well as at all other locations and online at .

In 2014, The World Remembers will run for 22 days and will display the 292,207 names of those killed in 1914 from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Australia and the British Indian Army. In the Canadian names-display, the Canadian names will appear at the centre of the display and the international names will appear in the surround. The international names will cross fade with the next set of names every 25 seconds.

The Canadian name in 2014 display will remain for several minutes. Each name is timed to appear at an exact minute. Families can find the moment any name will appear by using the SEARCH function on the website.

The names display created by The World Remembers and Ecentricarts of Toronto is eloquent and moving. Every fifteen minutes all names fade and are replaced for 25 seconds by WWI photographs that represent all nations involved in WWI.

The names then return for another 15 minutes. The 2014 names display will complete at sunrise November 11th.

Here are the numbers of those killed in 1914 whose names will appear in the 2014 display.

  • AUSTRALIA - 74
  • CANADA - 205
  • UNITED KINGDOM - 33,799
  • BELGIUM - 18,669
  • CZECH REPUBLIC - 34,633
  • GERMANY - 94,302
  • TURKEY - 3,270
  • FRANCE - 99,875

The website will also show the names displays for each nation as they simultaneously appear in that country.

The project will run in the weeks leading up to November 11th in each of the WW1 Centenary years, showing each name in the 100th year after their death. The last of the millions of names will appear at sunrise November 11th 2018.

The World Remembers is a non profit organization with Mrs. Hilary Weston as Honourary Chair and an Advisory Board that includes Major General Richard Rohmer, the Rt Honourable Adrienne Clarkson former Governor General of Canada, the Rt Honourable Paul Martin former Prime Minister of Canada, Major General Lewis MacKenzie (Ret'd), Margaret MacMillan, Sir Hew Strachan, Jonathan Vance, Michel Blondeau, Tom Jenkins, Heather Mitchell, Pauline Couture and Stuart Coxe.


RH Thomson was our Guest of Honour and speaker at our 2013 Annual Dinner with the Honourable Company recognising his endeavorswith a donation to “The World Remembers”.

The 36th AGM of the Honorable Company of Freemen

April 14th, 2015 at The Royal Canadian Military Institute

The 36th AGM of the Honorable Company of Freemen:  
2015 Master's Report  

Member’s Receiving Their Freedom:


Your New Master, Tom O'Carroll and Court Member and Membership Chair, Peter Reed.



Copyrights © 2015. All rights reserved