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Norval raft race

UCC celebrates Norval’s 100th anniversary

Some rain and fog wasn’t enough to dampen the centenary celebration of Upper Canada College’s Norval, Ont. property on Oct. 6.

About two dozen hearty souls camped at Norval on Saturday night, while approximately 400 members of the UCC community made the drive to the tiny hamlet near Georgetown for a six-hour event on Sunday that included a variety of family-friendly activities. There were bug safaris, geocaching, site tours and tree-planting for visitors of all ages who didn’t mind getting a bit muddy, and one particularly nice moment was former boarder Alex Pathy ’51 sharing stories, saplings and shovels while digging in the forest with current boarders while surrounded by trees he’d planted almost 70 years earlier.

Bodies were flying through the air at the always popular blanket toss, and the cider press behind Stephen House drew eager volunteers who helped make fresh cider from the apples of Norval’s orchard that was served the same afternoon. Visitors received a free lunch and could also buy bread, cheese, syrup and more from local vendors on site to take home with them. Norval and other UCC merchandise was also available to purchase.

Inside, children had their faces painted and they decorated wooden boats for the “Paddle to the Sea” in the Credit River. Sixty-five boats were launched and, since they all included contact information, the goal is to track where they’re eventually found after being taken by the currents.

The final event of the day was the eagerly anticipated raft race on the Credit. It drew eight entrants on four crafts of varying stability and seaworthiness, and in the end it was a boat piloted by Brendan Caldwell ’87, his daughter Faith and Annie Elgie (the daughter of Norval director Bill Elgie) that crossed the finish line first. A sauna tent was set up nearby to warm and dry the competitors after spending time in the chilly water.

UCC students revel in learning and playing at Norval, and this anniversary event was a great opportunity for Old Boys to relive their youths and for parents and family members to partake in some of the activities that their sons and brothers enjoy during their visits.

Here are some photos from the event: