Our History

Here are the links to pages on this site related to the roots and history of the Alumni Corps.


History Information



Toronto Optimists History

A Myriad of Memories

Memories thru the years (organized by year)

Colin Hedworth's book: "From Toronto...The Optimists!"

The book, a history of the Toronto Optimists, is 400 pages and includes hundreds of photos.


The Optimists Family Tree

Toronto Optimists Feeder Corps

Our Optimists Roots

A History of The Optimists by Vern Johansson

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Video footage showing the Toronto Optimists

Please visit our Videos Page



Optimists Alumni History

Announcement of the First Alumni Corps Rehearsal on October 20, 2002 (Acrobat file)

The Beginnings of the Optimists Alumni

A Brief History of the Optimists Alumni

Reports from early Alumni Corps rehearsals

These Rehearsal Reports were written by Alumni Corps members during the first two years of the Optimists Alumni Corps.

  1. A Beautiful Noise (by Vern Johansson)
  2. Making My Family Happy (by Ted Wilson)
  3. Up From The Basement (Vol 1) (by Ted Wilson)
  4. Up From The Basement (Vol 2) (by Ted Wilson)
  5. Up From The Basement (Vol 3) (by Ted Wilson)
  6. Common Goals and Greatness (by Kevin Matthew)
  7. Sucked In Like A May Fly (by Gord Lefevre)
  8. We're A Drum Corps (by Gord Lefevre)
  9. Notes From The Back Of A Pickup Truck (by Ted Wilson)
  10. Post-G.A.S. Ponderings (by Gord Lefevre)
  11. I Love A Parade (by Gord Lefevre)
  12. Waterford Show Ponderings (by Gord Lefevre)
  13. More Than Just a Song (by Brian Hogan)
  14. Tribute To a Humble Genius (by Brian Hogan)
  15. The Thrill of Drill (by Bill Kane)

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Video footage and Slideshows showing the Optimists Alumni

Please visit our Videos Page

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Links to the Acrobat Files on this website

Articles are organized by year. Those without a year are first.

From Toronto...The Optimists Colin Hedworth's history of the Optimists (400 pages with many color photos)
Vern Johansson's History of The Optimists (a compilation of the web pages in "Our Optimists Roots")
We Remember — all of the "We Remember pages in one acrobat file (last updated: September 15, 2020)
Program  from a contest sponsored by the Parkdale Lions Club
Program from the first contest sponsored by the Optimists
Article about Opti-Corps from the Toronto Globe and Mail
Newspaper clippings about the Toronto Optimists winning the Nationals
Phil Hennings newspaper clippings about the 1958 Toronto Optimists
Photo of the 1958 Toronto Optimists on the steps of De La Salle "Oaklands" (includes the names of corps members)
Photo of the 1961 Toronto Optimists on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (includes the names of corps members)
Article about the 1961 Nationals re-created from GCC
article by Alex Barris about the Toronto Optimists published in the Toronto Telegram on July 12, 1961
Article about "The Port Credit Pear Pickers" Optimists alter-ego that performed in a Santa Claus parade
Bill Thorne interview with Doug MacKenzie and Joe Gianna (for GCC)
Optimists Conquer Rome! about Optimists beating Blessed Sacrament in Rome, NY
Photo of the 1962 Toronto Optimists at Varsity Stadium (includes the names of corps members)
Program for the Junior International (Optimists first contest of 1962)
Article about the 1963 Individual Championships (from "Off The Line" magazine)
Interview: Gene Chepswick interviews Richard Robida, Ronn Prokop, Fred Lombard and Joe Palanica (from the Vol 3, #2, 1963 issue of GCC)
Photo of the 1963 Toronto Optimists at Waterloo Lutheran University (includes the names of corps members)
Article about Andy Henderson as "Drum Major of the Month" (from March issue of Drum Corps Digest)
"Men of Ideals" about Barry Bell (from March issue of Drum Corps Digest)
Article about The Optimists (from February issue of Drum Corps Digest)
Article about De La Salle (from May issue of Drum Corps Digest)
Article about Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights (from January issue of Drum Corps Digest)
Reports on the Nationals (from Ottawa newspapers)
Report on the 1967 Nationals (Volume 7, #5 issue of GCC)
Members Manual for the Toronto Optimists
"A Day in the Life of a Corps" The unusual account of how a junior corps primes itself to win the Canadian Nationals (by Douglas McPhail)
Youth of Toronto and Optimists International (Optimists International and The Optimists)
Report on the 1972 Nationals (Vol 12, #8 issue of GCC)
Article about the Optimist Lancers
Article from GCC about the Optimist Cadets Awards
1975-75 Flying Dutchmen Program and Yearbook
Information Drum Corps June 1976 (Submitted by Enzo Marrella)
Information Drum Corps October 1976 (Submitted by Enzo Marrella)
Article about Ken Mulgrew of the Seneca Optimists (This article was taken from a 1977 issue of DCI today)
Dutch Boy/Northstar Program and Yearbook
Article about the Seneca Optimists (from City magazine)
Information Drum Corps March 1978 (Submitted by Enzo Marrella)
Dutch Boy/Northstar Program and Yearbook
Book commemorating 50 years of Drum Corps in Canada (published by the Canadian Drum Corps Association)
Article about former member Bill Thorne and his family (from Parades and Pageantry, February, 1990)
Announcement of the Optimists Alumni's first rehearsal
Article about the Optimists Alumni (from the Welland Tribune)
Article about "Old Skool Drum Corps (from GCC)
DCW Interviews Doug Darwin about the Optimists Alumni

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We Remember

We Remember corps members and staff of the Toronto Optimists, the Seneca Optimists and the Optimists Alumni who have passed away.

Names of those who have passed away with links to their "We Remember" pages

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