Part of my Life Before I was Born

My parents did not send me to Victoria, it was always assumed that I
would go to Vic and my father was happy to pay the tuition (about
$260. a year when I went).

Both my parents graduated from Vic on 1926 and were engaged on
graduation day. My father was encouraged to go to University (and
particularly Victoria College)by the family minister who also told him
to live in Middle House, where his son, Mike Pearson, was Don. My
father later became Don of Charles House (when Northrop Frye and
Kingsley Joblin were freshmen there) and later followed Bill Little(
the Vic Burser who I called Uncle Bill) as Don of North House (where I
was to live in my third and further years at Vic). My mother was sent
to Victoria by her mother, following her sister who was in the class
of ‘21. Her mother had a brother and a brother in law who were
Methodist minister s and had gone to Vic.

As I grew up I came to know many of the Vic administration who were my
parents’ friends- Hal and Ethel Bennet, Archie and Jane Hare, Uncle
Bill and Aunt Alice Little, Moff Woodside. I watched the Santa Claus
parade from outside Wymilood and attended the Alumni Children’s Party.
In 1944 we went to a Doris McCarthy art sale and bought our first
painting by her(I was later to buy another 5 of her paintings and
became a good friend of hers.)

With the deaths of the President and Vice President of the Vic 26
Permanent Executive, my parents became the President (my mother) and Vice-president
(my father) of their year. Ned Pratt was the Honorary
President of their year and my parents had a close relationship with Ned
and Vic.

In first year at Vic as I was going to our first executive
meeting, my mother said that we needed to appoint an Honorary
President for Vic 58 and that an obvious choice was Northrop Frye and
so he became our honorary president. At out graduation banquet he was
the guest speaker and I wrote him and told him how impressed I was with
his remarks and he sent me a copy of it that he had typed out. I have
used quotations from it in my two toasts to Vic at our 45th and 50th
reunions. At our fourth year honors dinner my father was the guest

I was living in North Toronto and attended Allenby Public School and St.
James Bond United Church. During my high school years at the
University of Toronto Schools, we moved to the Annex (Admiral Rd), so I
was one of the very few students at UTS who could walk to school. (9
of the student in my class at Allenby went to UTS, 10% of the UTS
class). When I got to Vic it was dominated by the students from UTS and
Lawrence Park so the majority of the first year executive were
students I had been with in elementary or high school/.

And so my life at Vic began. During my four years at Vic I took the 1
hour RK option at Vic with Art Moor, Kingsley Joblin, and Bill
Fennell. All became good friends after my return to Totronto in 2000
I also took the dreaded French course at Vic in first year. In first
year took Political Science from Paul Fox who had recently arrived at
the U of T from Carleton. After returning to Toronto in 2000, I renewed
my relationship with Paul and he called me one day to encourage me to
run for the Board of Regents (which I did for a great 8 years of close
involvement with Vic). My father died at the height of his career as
Director of the U of T Institute of Child Studies at the age of
66 and Art Moore and Ernest Howse took the service. When my mother died at
96, Kingsley Joblin took the service (for her 90th birthday I
established the Dorthy E Bernhardt Bursary at Vic.)

For the first two years at Vic I lived at home (which was 2 blocks
north of Varsity Stadium) but in third year I moved into the Vic
Residence (North House). My North House two years were very
significant for me. Carl Chisholm, Dean Hutchinson, Mac Thompson,
Nick Pearce, and Doug Bosomworth became close long term friends.
Carl was editor of the Strand and I followed him as editor the next
year. In those days the Strand was typed and mimeographed (in the
field house) and then assembled by the resident s of North House.

During the four years Vic was an important part of my life. I was in
the Bob revue for four years, the Music Club Gilbert and Sullivan
productions for 3 years and the Drama Club production of Noah in first
Although most of our Psych classes were on St. George St. we always
came back to Vic for lunch- in the first and second years to
Wymilwood, in the third and fourth years to Burwash Hall.
From second to fourth year, I was a student in Honours Psychology.
There were 21 in our class, 9 from Vic, most of whom I had known since
elementary school. Four of us get together for a Christmas Dinner each
The either years on Board of Regents was not a free ride. I was
expected to contribute and so I established the David K Bernhardt
Scholarship and contributed to the Goldring students centre. There was
also my seat in the Bader Theatre with the quote “bow bow ye lower
middle classes” from Iolanthe which some of my friends object to- but
it was the greatest moment of my theatrical experiences at Vic.
And there it is- Vic has been part of my life since long before I was
born and still is so.

Story submitted by: David K. Bernhardt 5T8

About Victoria