Graduates share how their time at private school helped shape who they are and what they do, by Camilla Cornell

Published originally in The Toronto Star, 24 September 2016, p.Z4 (pdf).


Walter Dorn

Professor, defence scholar

and United Nations consultant

Toronto French School, 1979


Walter Dorn's father was a German, working for IBM in Montreal in the 1960s an '70s. When he was told the company needed a French speaker in his role, Dorn Sr. tried to learn, but to no avail. He was older and not adept with languages, said Dorn.  He ended up being part of the mass migration of English speakers from Montreal to Toronto.

To ensure he could speak French fluenty, Dorn Jr. was enrolled in TFS (then Toronto French School) in Grade 7.  He recalls being so overwhelmed during his entrance exam, I ended up crying.

But in the ensuring years, Dorn learned to write tests in both English and French like a pro and stay cool under pressure.

He went on to complete three degress at the University of Toronto and now teaches advanced peacekeeping at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston and the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

Dorn's proficiency in French has helped him during his postings in Francophone countries and he's easily able to offer training sessions for French speakers. He has most recently become an outspoken proponent for Canada's participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Peacekeeping, he said, is good for Canada and good for the world.