The Future of Newspapers

A keynote address to our alumni, by the Executive Chair of the National NewsMedia Council

The Navy Officers’ Mess had to add an additional section to its dining room, to accommodate all the Oxonians who wanted to hear John Fraser (Exeter College) speak on the future of Canadian newspapers and magazines, at our 2019 Annual Alumni Dinner.

As Executive Chair of the National NewsMedia Council, Mr Fraser is at the eye of the storm of our times. The Council is the Canadian media industry’s self-regulatory body, and adjudicates pubic complaints against news outlets on matters of truthfulness, fairness, and balance.

John Fraser addresses the 2019 OUS Annual Dinner

Social media has amplified the power of both truth and lies to speed around the world; it has never been more important for citizens to be able to distinguish between the two, to be able to make informed decisions about whom we trust to deliver news and insight.

Mr Fraser’s remarks were witty, lively, and optimistic. We are grateful to him for serving as our keynote speaker.

Our 2019 Annual Dinner

John Fraser of the National NewsMedia Council will be our speaker.

We are delighted that John Fraser (Exeter College) will be our keynote speaker at our Annual Dinner, on 10 January 2019.  Mr Fraser is Executive Chair of the National NewsMedia Council, and he will speak on the future of newspapers in Canada.

The genie of new media has escaped its bottle, with its power to inform and to mislead, to rally citizens together and to set them against one another, to drive political accountability and to effect political manipulation.  Concurrently, traditional media are grappling with fragmenting audiences, declining advertising, and dwindling subscriptions.  The question of whom Canadians trust to deliver news and insight has never been more contentious.

Mr Fraser is one of Canada’s most distinguished journalists.  He began as a teenaged copy boy for the Toronto Telegram, and became an award-winning writer for the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, and Maclean’s, as well as for a host of international titles.  During his tenure as Editor of Saturday Night, the magazine won the most awards of any Canadian publication, and he was named “Editor of the Year” in the National Magazine Editors Awards.

From 1995 to 2014, he was the much-loved Master of Massey College in the University of Toronto, the only self-governing graduate residential college in Canada.  The Massey Lectures, the Massey Journalism Fellowships, and the Massey Scholars-at-Risk Programme all flourished under his stewardship.

Date: Thursday, 10 January 2019
Time: 18h30 for 19h00
Place: Navy Officers’ Mess, 78 Lisgar Street, Ottawa
Directions: Google Maps; MapQuest; Bing Maps

Our annual dinner is a lovely opportunity for recent graduates, long-time members, and friends of Oxford to meet, to break bread together, and to celebrate our shared bond through our affection for the University.  Traditionally, most of our attendees have worn black tie, but this is entirely optional.

The cost of the dinner is $75 per person. To reserve places, please download and complete the registration form.  Your reservation must reach us by 03 January 2019, but please note that the annual dinner is traditionally our most popular event, and last year, all places were spoken for before the registration deadline.

We very much hope to see you there.

2018 Annual General Meeting

Upholding member and community accountability

As always, all friends of Oxford University are welcome at our Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The formal part of our AGM is relatively brief, but maintains our critical accountability to our members and to the community at large, as we will: present our financial accounts for public scrutiny; elect our new officers; and discuss our programme of events for 2018-2019.  The informal part of our AGM is the no less important: an opportunity to catch up and to enjoy one another’s company over dinner.

Date: Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Time: 18h00
Place: Gezellig Restaurant, 337 Richmond Road, Westboro
Directions: Google; MapQuest; Bing Maps

We especially encourage recent graduates and prospective members to attend, to become involved and help shape our future activities.

2018 Croquet and Garden Party

Flamingoes not required

We will end our 2017-2018 season with our traditional croquet tournament and garden party.  The croquet is always characterised by more enthusiasm than skill, and there is usually little risk of a Queen of Hearts ordering anyone to be beheaded.  Guests and all friends of Oxford are welcome.

Date: Thursday, 06 September 2018 (rain or shine)
Time: 17h00 to 19h30 (croquet begins at 17h45)
Place: 15 Nesbitt Street, Ottawa
Directions: Google Maps; MapQuest; Bing Maps

We are grateful to Mike and Maria Stott for their ongoing generosity, as they once again open their home as the venue for the event.

We will provide sandwiches and traditional refreshments.  Accordingly, it would help us to have an advance sense of the number of attendees.  Please let us know if you plan to join us, by sending an e-mail to our Secretary Harry Corrin at

You should make cheques ($20.00 per person) payable to “Oxford Society, Ottawa”, and either mail them to our Treasurer Michael Stott (15 Nesbitt St, Ottawa ON  K2H 8C4) or hand them in at the registration table on the day.

Sunshine and Fellowship

A beautiful setting and a glorious day for our 2018 Garden Party

We could not have hoped for a more beautiful setting, better weather, or warmer camaraderie for our Garden Party, held at Earnscliffe, official residence of the UK High Commissioner to Canada.

With one-hundred sixty guests — including many alumni from our fellow British universities — this was easily our largest event in memory.

As our President David Sacks noted in his remarks, it was an extraordinarily cosmopolitan gathering.  The alumni present were drawn from the four corners of the globe, and were drawn together by a shared affection for our University and a shared sense of identity as its graduates.

We are enormously grateful to High Commissioner Susan Jane le Jeune d’Allegeershecque and her staff for their hospitality and kindness.

We hope she will consider welcoming us back to Earnscliffe next year, despite the improbably large quantities of Pimm’s we collectively consumed!

Garden Party at Earnscliffe

Our annual summer event returns to the grounds of the British High Commission

We are immensely excited that our annual Garden Party is returning to the beautiful grounds of Earnscliffe, official residence of the British High Commissioner to Canada.  We are grateful to the High Commissioner, Susan Jane le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, for hosting the event and for opening the gardens to us.

Earnscliffe is an official National Historic Site of Canada, and was home to our first Prime Minister, John A Macdonald.

We are especially pleased that the capacity of the grounds means that we are able to open our Garden Party to other British universities’ alumni in the National Capital Region.

Date: Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Time: from 17h30 to 19h30
Place: Earnscliffe, 140 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
Directions: Google Maps; MapQuest; Bing Maps

Cost: $25 per person
Dress: Business attire
Registration: Download form

Earnscliffe is one of Ottawa’s most storied sites.  However, as an active diplomatic establishment, its security measures are unavoidably strict, so it is not generally open to the public.  This year’s Garden Party will, therefore, be a rare setting for the alumni community to meet, to renew old friendships, and to make new ones.

The modest cost of the event will enable us to provide everyone with canapés, Pimms, and other refreshments.

Please note that no parking is available in the immediate area; attendees will need to make arrangements either to be dropped off or to park elsewhere and to walk to the site.  Friends and family of alumni are, as always, welcome.

To reserve places, please download, complete, and mail us a copy of the registration form, to reach us no later than 12 July 2018.

Address by the UK High Commissioner

Susan Jane le Jeune d’Allegeershecque spoke to a full house

We were delighted to welcome Susan Jane le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, the UK’s High Commissioner to Canada, to address our 2018 Annual Dinner.  Our venue at the Navy Officers’ Mess was filled to capacity for her speech.

Mrs le Jeune d’Allegeershecque traced how diplomacy has evolved over the centuries, from the balletic nineteenth century Congress of Vienna to the rough-and-tumble of the modern twenty-four hour news cycle.  Yet, she also discussed how radical changes to international affairs has reinforced rather than weakened the need for the human touch, to foster mutual understanding across cultures.

We are grateful to her for taking time to speak with our members, and for sharing her insights into contemporary diplomacy.

While we were of course very pleased by the enthusiasm of the response to our dinner, we regret having to disappoint late applicants.  We will do our best to increase the number of places at next year’s dinner.