The Hon. Lincoln M. Alexander, P.C., K.St.J., Q.C., Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario
December 17, 1987
Special performance by the Etobicoke School of the Arts under the direction of Barbara Young
Chairman: Ronald Goodall, President
Some of us are old-fashioned. We believe in remembering only the good things of our childhood and reliving those memories from time to time. We enjoy continuing traditions that have passed from generation to generation, particularly the tradition of Christmas. The Romans may have started it by celebrating the feast of Saturnalia in mid-December and exchanging gifts. The Saxons added holly and ivy to these celebrations.
In the 18th century, the Christmas tree became part of the tradition, and the Christmas card appeared in the 19th century. Today we have Christmas carols, yule logs, Christmas pudding, mince pies, Christmas shopping, la messe de minuit and the reveillon de Noel immediately afterward, the Christmas Day service and the turkey dinner, Christmas lights and, of course, Santa Claus (whom 1 believe in because when 1 was about seven years old 1 actually heard the bells of his sleigh go by the house; l ran to the window but 1 missed seeing him).
The Empire Club has continued the tradition of Christmas since 1913 with its Christmas luncheon and lieutenant-governors have graced its Christmas luncheon head table since 1963. His Honour Lincoln Alexander, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, is a valued friend of this Club, and of course, is well known to The Club as lawyer, war veteran, member of Parliament, cabinet minister and as The Club's Honourary Vice-President. May 1 invite you, Your Honour, to bring greetings from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
The Hon. Lincoln Alexander
Yes, Christmas is fast approaching and what 1 have noticed about this particular time of the year is the friendship that is exhibited. Have you ever noticed how people are so willing to say, "Hello, how are you?" "Merry Christmas," as the case may be. Wouldn't it be wonderful if those attitudes could be expressed for the whole year. It would make life so much more bearable. So much warmer. Well, not all of us, of course, celebrate Christmas. There are some of us who, because of religious or cultural differences, do not. But I think there are so many of us who do. It's a time to think of the family traditions, expressions of love, forgiveness, support, and that ageold tradition of exchanging gifts. But I think we always have to remember the real meaning of Christmas-we celebrate that blessed event that holds up so much hope, holds up peace, goodwill toward all. And I'm delighted this Club has been bringing about this wonderful Christmas luncheon. It's very moving when you think that you can get this many people out from their busy schedules in order to have this timehonoured tradition pursued once again. But above all that, we may be here enjoying the dinner - and mind you it was wonderful - but have we thought of others who are not as fortunate? Are we able to make some poor child, who will be crying on Christmas, not cry? Have we thought of the homeless? You see there are a lot of people who will not be enjoying the joys of Christmas that we enjoy because of a number of reasons, primarily economic. Have you thought of them? 1 hope you have time in your busy schedule for the next three or four days to think of them because you can make a difference. In my small way I have tried to make a difference. I hope you will remember that there are others who won't be eating Christmas turkey; others who won't be able to smile; others who won't have that home, and the warmth of it and the love. Think of them, it's not too late. You could make the difference. Let me say, Mr. President, how delighted I am and honoured to stand here as Her Majesty's representative in and for the Province of Ontario to extend to each and every one of you sincerest wishes, holiday greetings or, on the other hand, merry Christmas and may the new year be filled with love, happiness and good health. Thank you very much.
Thank you indeed, Your Honour, for your kind words and for joining us today. May I ask that you extend The Club's wishes to your good wife.
At this time, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our energetic secretary Anne Lato for her contribution to this and our other luncheons as well as for keeping this president in line. l would also like to thank the Royal York staff under Joe Caterino, our pianist, Robert Fenton, and our photographer, David Junop, for looking after us so well each Thursday.
The Etobicoke School of the Arts was formed in 1981 to nurture young artistic talent. It was the first public high school of its kind in Canada and it enables students to complete an academic program while they major in one of the arts: dance, drama, music, or the visual arts. Once graduated, the students qualify for admission to college or university to continue their studies of the arts or another academic discipline. This group has very recently been selected to perform at the Calgary Olympic Games.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome tomorrow's radio, film and TV stars: Barbara Young and her ensemble from the Etobicoke School of the Arts.
A Christmas performance by the Etobicoke School of the Arts under the direction of Barbara Young
The Club's appreciation to Barbara Young and her group of performers was expressed by Maj.-Gen. Bruce J. Legge, a Past President of The Empire Club and Past President of The Empire Club Foundation.