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Traditions - Defining the past, present, and future
The Lady Godiva Memorial Band and the Skule Cannon
by A.J. Paul La Prairie

When the Class of 5T0 moved from Ajax to the Toronto Campus we carried with us some of the togetherness that we had adopted at Ajax. This togetherness often required some fun.

At a meeting of the Executive of the Engineering Society, I was named Direktor of Kultural Aktivites. This responsibility included the Skule Cannon, the Skule Auction, the Chariot Race and a few other events.

One of my first assignments was the formation of a band. There had always been the odd horn tooter at engineering activities, but the idea came up that we should have our own band. At first the name was adopted as The Lady Godiva Band. Then, Bill Walker, President, came up with the title, Lady Godiva Memorial Band, which name was immediately passed unanimously, and the name lasts until today.

At that time I was still active in the Militia and had contacts at the Fleet Street and University Avenue Armouries. I went to those two places and came back with a bass drum, with only one drum skin; a leopard skin and harness for the bass drummer; two tenor drums and a set of cymbals, several red jackets, and pith helmets; and, a drum major's baton.

We recruited a band of about fifteen members. At our second practice the lads found out that I could not read music, so Tom Kenney, Chemical, was given the job as instructor.

Our first public appearance was at the Annual Homecoming Parade, on the back of a flatbed truck. See page 70, Transactions and Yearbook, 1950.

We did have one parade that I do remember, with humour. There was a big football game at Varsity Stadium. The L.G.M.B. marched up and, to the amazement of the ticket collectors, we played our way right through the gate and on to the field. For this event we were all wearing great big moustaches. When we came to the fifty yard line I noticed Sidney Smith sitting in front. I offered him a moustache, which he put on. The band serenaded him. Ergo, Sidney Smith, President of The University of Toronto, became an Honorary Member of the L.G.M.B.

And now, for a memory of the Skule Cannon. Somehow, someone from University College managed to steal the Cannon. This was not the first time that the Cannon had gone missing and it was fair game. However, there were no rules about how to get it back. At a meeting of the Executive of The Engineering Society, the responsibility for its recovery was given to me.

Now, I had been an infantry officer and had commanded an infantry battalion in action on several occasions. So, why not try some infantry tactics? Warning was given to U.C. that the Engineers would attack. We assembled on the Main Campus in front of their main door.

In the meantime, Sol Friendly (Mech) and a couple of his helpers were dressed as construction men. They had entered U.C. by a side door and set up proper construction barricades around the main staircase. They carefully removed the wooden gargoyle from the newel post on the stairway. The gargoyle was then spirited away by two Physio Therapy students.

When word got out that the famous gargoyle was missing I was summoned to Dean Young and then to President Sidney Smith. I assured them that the gargoyle had come to no harm and would be exchanged for the Skule Cannon.

So, a truce was arranged and a promise made to exchange the gargoyle for our Skule Cannon, on the Front Campus. The Cannon was duly handed over. Then I poured out a bag of sawdust, supposedly the remains of the gargoyle. In the meantime, Sol Friendly and his crew had again put up the construction barriers and had replaced the gargoyle.

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Course - 5T0.
(c) 2007 - Traditions and SkuleTM
Last modified: May 09 2007 00:47:37
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