Class of 5T8 holds online reunion

Civ alumni from the class of 5T8 gather for a virtual reunion with a video conference on Thursday, November 12, 2020. Pictured in this composite image (clockwise from top left): Barry Hitchcock, Donald Cryder, Leonard Pitura, Ewen Fisher, Winston (Win) Pearce, Dave Wright, Arnold Emmott, Prof. John Timusk, Bob Kadlec, and Dr. Ian Harrington.

More than 62 years since graduating, U of T’s civil engineering class of 5T8 still enjoy getting together to reminisce. The current worldwide pandemic has foiled their usual Toronto-area lunches at a North York hotel, so they’re making the most of the situation with a video conference reunion.

A dozen of the almost 30 classmates contacted via email were able to show up for the virtual gathering, held the afternoon of Thursday, November 12. The time of day was crucial, as it allowed alumni from coast-to-coast to join in at a reasonable hour. The 1 p.m. ET gathering saw classmates from Vancouver to the Maritimes, as well as from Georgia, GA.

The usual social lunches, held a few times throughout the year, are no longer possible, so CivMin offered to help host an event for them. Spearheaded by Barry Hitchcock, 90, the group of engineers recounted tall tales from Survey Camp, having fun playing in the Lady Godiva Band and success in the early days of Concrete Canoe competitions.

Winston (Win) Pearce proudly displayed his vintage U of T Engineering jacket for those assembled, adding it still fit him well. The appearance of the jacket memorabilia prompted Professor John Timusk to recall he had to hitchhike to Niagara Falls and back every weekend while holding a 1955 summer job in Owen Sound, Ont. Wearing a similar Engineering-branded jacket made him appear respectable enough to pick up on the side of the road.

With camaraderie evident, the jests haven’t diminished over the years either. Leonard (Len) Pitura remarking on his friend’s long hair, grown out over the pandemic, quipped,”Barry, I can see you haven’t been to a barber for a while!”

The group enjoyed the gathering and agreed to participate in another reunion in the new year.

By Phill Snel

If you’re a Civ or Min alumni group hoping to hold an online reunion, please email to see if we can assist.