Transcript: The Rise and Fall of Rochdale | Sep 15, 1975

(Music plays)

Mike says DENNIS LEE SAID THAT IT WAS
AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE SENSE
OUT OF HIGHER EDUCATION
AND URBAN LIVING.
JUDITH MERRIL SAID THE FACT
THAT IT WAS PERMITTED TO
HAPPEN WAS MORE IMPORTANT
THAN WHAT HAPPENED TO IT.
RICHARD NEEDHAM WROTE IN 1972
THAT IT SHOULD BE CLOSED DOWN.
BECAUSE, HE WROTE, IT'S A
SLUM, A HIGH-RISE GARBAGE HEAP,
AND MUCH OF THE
GARBAGE IS HUMAN.
ROCHDALE COLLEGE IN TORONTO.
ITS RISE AND FALL.
AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE THAT
I NEVER ENTIRELY UNDERSTOOD.

An opening slate shows a close-up of a man's face coloured in sepia. A title caption over it reads "The Education of MIKE McManus." A pink-tinged countryside scene with green-tinged outlines of trees shows a large bird wheeling. Other grainy screens tinged in yellow and other shades show people enjoying different activities. A woman clasps a flower in her teeth. A man holds an umbrella, a little African boy's face appears in close-up.

(Soft lyrical music plays)

A voice sings LUCKY PEOPLE

"PEOPLE, ARE THE LUCKIEST
PEOPLE IN THE WORLD."
PEOPLE... ."

Mike, blond with wavy hair in his late forties, sits with three guests in their thirties, two women and a man, in trendy (hip) attire.

Mike says ROCHDALE COLLEGE,
1967 TO 1975.
WHAT WAS THE IDEAL?
WHEN AND WHY DID
IT GO SOUR?
MY GUESTS ARE MARY LEWIS WHO
LIVED AT ROCHDALE FROM OCTOBER
OF 1968 TO MARCH OF 1969...

Mary has straight blond shoulder-length hair and wears a blue dress.

Mike continues AND JIM DE LA PLANTE WHO
LIVED AT ROCHDALE FROM
JULY OF '72 TO
JUNE OF 1974...

Jim has long bushy red hair and a full beard and wears a Western-type shirt with a brown pointed collar.

Mike continues AND HEATHER MACFARLANE,
WHO LIVED AT ROCHDALE
FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS
BEGINNING IN 1972...

Heather has a bushy shock of dark hair in a bob, wears glasses and has a green cardigan on.

Mike continues FRIENDS, I KNOW A LOT OF
WONDERFUL THINGS HAPPENED AT
ROCHDALE, THE COACH-HOUSE PRESS,
AND PASSE MURAILLE THEATRE
GROUP, ONE OF MY FAVOURITES,
CAME OUT OF ROCHDALE.
ARTS AND FILM FESTIVALS
WERE HELD THERE.
A WRITERS' WORKSHOP GOT UNDERWAY
AND A LIBRARY WAS FORMED.
I ALSO KNOW THAT 9 PEOPLE
DIED DURING THE HISTORY
OF ROCHDALE.
4 WERE SUICIDES, 2
WERE DRUG OVERDOSES,
AND 1 PERSON WAS MURDERED.
SO IT'S KIND OF A MYSTERY
TO ME, THIS EXPERIMENT.
I'D LIKE TO START
WITH MARY LEWIS,
BUT YOU CAN ALL JOIN IN.
COULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT,
MARY, ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF IT,
THE HISTORY OF IT?
WHY AND HOW IT
GOT STARTED.

Mary says YEAH, WELL I GUESS IT'S A
VERY PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE,
BUT I CAN GIVE YOU THAT.
AS YOU MAY KNOW, THEIR CAMPUS
CO-OP HAS EXISTED AT U OF T
FOR, I DON'T KNOW WHETHER
IT'S 30-40 YEARS NOW,
AND GRADUALLY BUILT UP ITS
POPULATION, THE NUMBER OF
HOUSES IT OWNED IN AND
AROUND THE ANNEX AREA.
AND BY THE MID-60s, THERE WAS
A LOT OF EMPHASIS ON THE
PROBLEMS OF STUDENT HOUSING...
THE LACK OF HOUSING FOR
STUDENTS, AND SOME OF THE
PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN INVOLVED
IN CAMPUS CO-OP SAW THERE
WAS A NEED FOR A HOUSING
SITUATION CLOSE TO THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO CAMPUS
THAT WAS ON A LARGER SCALE.
AND I GUESS, WHEN YOU START
LOOKING AT THE ECONOMICS OF
HOUSING, YOU BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND
WHY PEOPLE BUILT HIGH-RISES.
PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE HOUSING
FIELD DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT
AT ALL, AND THINK IT'S CRAZY.
BUT THE ECONOMICS MADE
A LOT OF SENSE FOR IT
TO BE A HIGH-RISE.
ALSO, THE PEOPLE THAT HAD BEEN
INVOLVED IN STUDENT HOUSING
GOT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
APPROVAL FOR THERE TO BE THE
FINANCING THAT'S AVAILABLE FOR
STUDENT HOUSING ON UNIVERSITY
CAMPUSES, SPONSORED BY
UNIVERSITIES, TO ALSO BE
AVAILABLE FOR NON-PROFIT
STUDENT GROUPS TO INITIATE
THEIR OWN HOUSING.

Mike says OKAY, SO FIRST AND FOREMOST
THEN, A RESPONSE TO A HOUSING
PROBLEM FOR STUDENTS,
FOR CHEAP HOUSING THEN.

Mary says YEAH, OKAY, WE CAN TALK
ABOUT THAT SOME MORE LATER.
BUT JUST TO TAKE IT THE NEXT
STEP, THE GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT
GOT ORGANIZED, INCORPORATED
AND ARRANGED FOR THE COLLEGE
TO GO AHEAD, INCLUDED SOME
PEOPLE WITH SOME PRETTY
INTERESTING IDEAS.
AND A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAD
BEEN ON UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
CAMPUS CAME TO THE INITIATING
BOARD OF ROCHDALE AND SAID,
LISTEN, LET'S MAKE THIS MORE
THAN STRICTLY A HOUSING PLACE.
LET'S MAKE THIS A REAL COLLEGE
WITH ITS OWN POINT OF VIEW,
ITS OWN EMPHASIS, AND CREATE
IT INTO A REALLY INTERESTING
EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE, AS
WELL AS A LIVING EXPERIENCE.
AND IT WAS DEBATED, DISCUSSED,
AND SOME OF THE TRADITIONAL
PEOPLE FROM CAMPUS CO-OP SAID
YOU GUYS ARE ALL IDEALISTIC,
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT,
WE'VE GOT TO GET THE PHYSICAL
THINGS IN LINE.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, A LOT OF
US WERE EXCITED BY THE PROSPECT.
WE'D BEEN INVOLVED IN LOOKING
AT OUR OWN EDUCATION, AND WE
HAD SOME REAL
QUESTIONS ABOUT IT.
MOST OF US AT THIS POINT
WERE TOWARDS THE END OF OUR
UNDERGRADUATE CAREERS, OR A
COUPLE OF THE PEOPLE WERE
ALREADY INTO GRADUATE WORK.
SO A PRETTY MATURE
GROUP OF PEOPLE.

Mike says ALL RIGHT, THIS
IS AROUND 1967?

Mary says YEAH, '66, '67.

Mike says ALL RIGHT, IN '66, '67, IN
THAT FOLLOWING YEAR, WE'RE TO
SEE IN THE STATES THE DEATH OF
MARTIN LUTHER KING, WE'RE TO
SEE THE ASSASSINATION OF
KENNEDY, OVER IN EUROPE
AND PARIS, WE'RE TO SEE
THE STUDENT REVOLTS.
YOU'RE SUGGESTING THIS KIND
OF RADICAL STUDENT OF THE
MID-'60s, THIS PERSON ON THE
RAMPAGE, WAS NOT PART OF THE
GROUP THAT BEGAN TO THINK OF
TURNING ROCHDALE INTO A NEW
KIND OF LEARNING EXPERIENCE?

Mary says WELL, I DON'T THINK WE WERE
STUDENTS ON THE RAMPAGE.
WE WERE CERTAINLY STUDENTS
THAT WANTED THINGS TO BE A
LITTLE DIFFERENT
THAN THEY WERE
AND WITH AN IDEA
ABOUT SOCIAL CHANGE.
AND MANY OF US HAD BEEN
INVOLVED IN SOME OF THE EARLY
DAYS OF THE STUDENT
"UNION FOR PEACE ACTION."
WE'D BEEN INVOLVED IN TRYING
TO MAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY INTO
THINKING ABOUT FUTURE AND PEACE.
WE WERE INVOLVED IN THAT
KIND OF SOCIAL CHANGE.

Mike says BUT YOU WEREN'T RADICALS.
I TELL YOU WHY I MENTION IT
BECAUSE I READ THAT SOME OF THE
ORIGINALS OF ROCHDALE WERE
SUPPOSEDLY SOME OF THE MOST
CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS
FROM THE U OF T.
I JUST WONDER
HOW TRUE THAT IS.

Mary says I THINK WE WERE A MIX.

Mike says A MIX, OKAY.
ALL RIGHT, GO ON.

Mary says SO WHAT HAPPENED WAS IT
WAS AGREED THAT IT SHOULD BE
THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE.
AND THERE WERE SOME
PRELIMINARIES BEFORE THE
BUILDING WAS OPEN.
AND THEN IN THE FALL OF
'68, THE BUILDING OPENED.
AND I HAD BEEN OUT OF THE
PICTURE FOR ABOUT A YEAR,
AND SAW THIS, IT REALLY
LOOKED EXCITING.
I REMEMBER THAT FALL DAY AND,
YOU KNOW, IT WAS A NICE...
THE COLOURED CURTAINS WHICH
HAVE SINCE SORT OF BECOME
NOTORIOUS, LOOKED
REALLY ATTRACTIVE.
AND THE BUILDING KIND OF
HAD AN EXCITEMENT ABOUT IT,
AND PEOPLE WERE REALLY
ENJOYING THEMSELVES.
AND THAT'S WHEN WE MOVED
IN, THAT SAME FALL.
BUT ALREADY, THERE WERE SOME
FAIRLY MAJOR PROBLEMS THAT IN
RETROSPECT WE COULD SEE.
ONE OF THEM WAS THE FACT
THE BUILDING HADN'T BEEN
COMPLETED PROPERLY, AND
PEOPLE WERE MOVING INTO
A HALF-COMPLETED BUILDING.
A WHOLE SERIES OF PROBLEMS
JUST EXISTED WITH THAT.

Mike says GOOD, BEFORE WE GET INTO THE
PROBLEMS, MARY, I'D LIKE TO
OPEN IT UP TO ALL OF YOU NOW.
I'D LIKE TO GET INTO THE
SECOND GOAL THAT CAME ABOUT,
THIS ATTEMPT TO CREATE A NEW
KIND OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE.
GET YOUR REACTIONS TO THIS.
I READ THAT THE AIM, THIS IS
FROM THE ROCHDALE'S EDUCATION
GUIDELINE, THE AIM OF THE
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM IS TO
PROVIDE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE
INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS OF
INDIVIDUALS CAN CREATE THEIR
OWN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE.
EXPERIENCES RELEVANT TO THE
INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED AND
FASHIONED BY THEM IN REGARD
TO BOTH FORM AND CONTENT.
HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT IN
THE EARLY DAYS OF ROCHDALE?

Heather says WELL, I CAME IN LATE.
BY THE TIME I CAME,
FORECLOSURE HAD HAPPENED.
BUT EVEN THEN, I CAN REMEMBER,
WHEN I FIRST GOT THERE, THE
EDUCATIONAL COUNCIL.
THERE WERE TWO KINDS OF
COUNCILS AT ROCHDALE.
THERE WAS A GOVERNING COUNCIL
AND THE EDUCATIONAL COUNCIL.
AND WHEN I CAME IN '72,
THE EDUCATIONAL COUNCIL
WAS STILL GOING.
ON THE SIXTH FLOOR THEY HAD
POTTERY, AND WE HAD THE
PEOPLE'S AVIATION INSTITUTE,
AND THERE WAS CANDLE-MAKING,
THERE WAS PAPER-MAKING,
CINEMA, ARTS WERE STILL THERE.

Mike says YOU WERE SMILING A
LITTLE BIT WHEN YOU LISTED
A COUPLE OF THESE.
ARE YOU SUGGESTING
IT WAS A JOKE?

Heather says NO, IT WASN'T A JOKE, IT
WAS, I THINK BY THAT TIME,
FROM LISTENING TO MARY, I
THINK THE ORIGINAL IDEA WAS
A SORT OF A CASUAL
UNIVERSITY -- SORT OF THING.
AND I HAVE HEARD THAT AT THE
BEGINNING THERE WERE, IN FACT,
THE KINDS OF CLASSES YOU MIGHT
GO TO AT UNIVERSITY, THAT IS
ECONOMIC CLASSES OR
PHILOSOPHY CLASSES.
BUT BY THE TIME I GOT THERE,
IT WAS MORE PRACTICAL,
AND IT WAS, IN A SENSE,
SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT WERE HAPPENING
WERE "TRIPPY."

Mike says JIM, DID YOU WANT TO
SAY ANYTHING HERE?

Jim, speaking gently, says GOING ALONG WITH WHAT HEATHER
SAID, MOST OF THE THINGS THAT
WERE IN EXISTENCE IN THE WAY
OF EDUCATION WERE WHAT ONE
MIGHT CALL ARTSY-CRAFTY, AS
OPPOSED TO WHAT ONE REGARDS
AS ACADEMIC STUDIES.
AND I LIVED ON A FLOOR WHERE
TWO OF THESE THINGS HAPPENED,
ONE RIGHT BESIDE THE OTHER.
ONE WAS A DANCE GROUP,
WHICH WAS RIGHT ACROSS
THE FLOOR FROM ME.
AND THE GIRL WHO RAN THAT DID
A BEAUTIFUL JOB OF TEACHING
PEOPLE HOW TO DANCE,
TEACHING THEM HOW TO MOVE.
SHE HAD EXERCISE CLASSES
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS GIRL IS
THE ONE WHO RECENTLY COMMITTED
SUICIDE AFTER ROCHDALE CLOSED.
SHE WAS VERY, VERY MUCH INTO
THE EDUCATIONAL IDEAS BEHIND
ROCHDALE, ALTHOUGH SHE
HERSELF WAS A LATECOMER.
AND, ALSO, RIGHT DOWN THE HALL
WAS A PERSON WHO BUILT WOODEN
LOOMS, WHICH WERE ABSOLUTELY
MASTERPIECES OF CREATIVITY.
AND HE ALSO TAUGHT PEOPLE
BOTH HOW TO BUILD THE LOOMS
AND HOW TO USE THEM.

Mike says SO THERE WERE SOME VERY
TALENTED PEOPLE THERE.

Jim says OH, EXCEPTIONALLY
TALENTED PEOPLE, YES.

Mike says OKAY, I HAVE TO GO BACK TO
MARY BECAUSE YOU SEEM TO BE
THE HISTORIAN HERE, MARY,
FOR THE BEGINNINGS.
I'M WONDERING, WHAT WERE THE
MECHANICS OF THIS KIND OF
EDUCATION THAT WAS BUILT, I
THINK, ON A BASIC ASSUMPTION
THAT PEOPLE LEARN BEST WHEN
THEY LEARN WHAT THEY WANT,
WHEN THEY WANT,
AND HOW THEY WANT?
I'M NOT SURE THAT THE
ASSUMPTION IS CORRECT,
BUT HOW DID THEY TRY TO
WORK OUT THE MECHANICS?

Mary says THAT, I THINK, WAS THE CRUX
OF A LOT OF THE DIFFICULTY.
THEY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO
WORK OUT THE MECHANICS.
AND WE WERE PROBABLY A RATHER
IDEALISTIC GROUP OF PEOPLE
THAT THOUGHT PEOPLE CAN WORK
OUT MECHANICS, AND THAT
MECHANICS COME SECOND, AND THAT
CREATING THE OPPORTUNITY IS
THE IMPORTANT PART.
SO WE CREATED THE OPPORTUNITY
ON A SCALE WHERE THE
MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS WOULD
HAVE BEEN HORRENDOUS ANYWAY.
AND WE TRIED TO APPLY THAT
SAME APPROACH OF "DO WHAT
YOU'RE READY TO DO WHEN YOU
ARE READY TO DO IT, AND APPLY
IT TO HOW WE ARE GOING
TO GOVERN THE COMMUNITY."
AND IT WASN'T A SMALL
COMMUNITY, YOU KNOW?
AND IT WASN'T A SMALL PROBLEM
TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO LOOK
AFTER THE MECHANICS OF THE BUILDING.
AND WE ALSO HAD A FAIRLY MAJOR
PROBLEM TO RESOLVE THAT FALL,
AND THAT WAS THAT HAD BEEN
THE SUMMER OF YORKVILLE, WHEN
YORKVILLE WAS REALLY BIG,
AND THERE WERE A LOT OF KIDS
HANGING AROUND IT.
AND WHEN THE FALL CAME,
THE COLD WEATHER CAME,
THEY MOVED INTO ROCHDALE.
AND WE DIDN'T KNOW HOW
TO ANSWER THAT, OR HOW TO
RESPOND TO IT.
AND PEOPLE THAT WERE SAYING WE
HAVE TO RESPOND MORE OPENLY
THAN OTHER INSTITUTIONS DO.
WE'RE TRYING TO RESPOND
OPENLY TO THIS FAIRLY SERIOUS
PROBLEM OF WHAT TO DO
WITH ALL THESE KIDS.
AND THE PEOPLE WHO HAD
PUT A LOT OF ENERGY INTO IT
FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM WERE --
REALLY WANTED TO BE CONCERNED
ABOUT THEIR OWN THINGS,
AND NOT HELPING SOMEONE
ELSE RESOLVE THEIR
OWN DIFFICULTIES.
AND I THINK WE WENT THROUGH
A STAGE OF THINKING THAT WE
WERE GOING TO BE A GROUP OF
MATURE PEOPLE WHO COULD ALL
COPE WITH THEIR OWN LIVES,
AND THEN HAVING AN AWFUL LOT
OF PEOPLE AROUND WHO NEEDED
HELP TO DEAL WITH THEIR
OWN SITUATIONS.
AND THE NEXT FEW YEARS HAD TO
BE BEGINNING TO CREATE SOME
OF THE INSTRUMENTS TO
HELP SOME OF THOSE KIDS.

Mike says SO THE DECISION TO ALLOW THE
OVERFLOW OF YORKVILLE INTO
ROCHDALE WAS A
CRITICAL DECISION.
IT WAS A TURNING POINT THEN?

Mary says WELL, I THINK THE
NON-DECISION OF HOW TO NOT
DEAL WITH IT, OR HOW TO GET
THEM OUT, WAS PERHAPS ONE OF
THE CRITICAL DECISIONS.

Mike says HOW DID YOU CREATE
THIS OPPORTUNITY?
WERE THERE ANY SET CLASSES?
WERE TEACHERS ASSIGNED?
I KNOW YOU CALLED
THEM RESOURCE PEOPLE.

Mary says NO, IT WAS VERY MUCH, THE
APPROACH WAS, IF YOU ARE
INTERESTED, YOU TAKE THE
INITIATIVE AND YOU CONNECT.
BUT THEY ATTEMPTED THINGS LIKE
NEWSLETTERS TO LET YOU KNOW
WHAT RESOURCE
PEOPLE WERE AROUND.
BUT THAT WAS THE APPROACH.

Heather says I THINK, ALSO, I'D LIKE TO
INTERJECT HERE, I LIVED AT THE
END OF ROCHDALE.
AND I FOUND THAT
PHILOSOPHY DID CARRY ON.
THAT IS PEOPLE WHO KNEW
THINGS FELT AN OBLIGATION
TO TEACH OTHER PEOPLE
WHO ASKED THEM FOR HELP.
LIKE, DURING ONE OF THE YEARS
I WAS THERE, A PERSON WHO
KNOWS A LOT ABOUT COMPUTERS
WAS GIVING LITTLE CLASSES
EVERY NIGHT TO THREE OR FOUR
PEOPLE WHO WERE INTERESTED
IN COMPUTERS.
AND YOU FELT AN OBLIGATION
IF YOU KNEW SOMETHING.
LIKE I WAS INTO LIBRARIANSHIP.
SO I SPENT ONE SUMMER
FIXING THE LIBRARY UP.
AND PEOPLE WOULD COME TO ME
AND ASK ME ABOUT LIBRARIES.
AND I WOULD FEEL AN
OBLIGATION TO TELL THEM.
AND I THINK THAT HAPPENED IN
A LOT OF CASES IN PHOTOGRAPHY
AND IN THE LOOMS, AND IN THE
DANCING, AND THE POTTERY,
YOU FELT YOU HAD
THE RIGHT TO LEARN.
I THINK ALMOST EVERYONE DID.
ANOTHER THING THAT HAPPENED,
THERE WAS A LOT OF TALKING
WENT ON AT ROCHDALE.
PEOPLE TALKED.
WE TALKED AND WE TALKED.
AND THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE
DROPOUTS AND HAD GONE TO
YORKVILLE AND SOME OF THEM
WERE MIXED UP, I THINK MOST
TEENAGERS ARE MIXED UP ANYWAY,
SO THEY CAME INTO ROCHDALE.
THEY WENT, THEY LEARNED A
LOT WHEN THEY DIDN'T KNOW
THEY WERE LEARNING IT.
I KNOW ONE GIRL I KNEW, SHE
WENT BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER A
NUMBER OF YEARS IN ROCHDALE, AND
SHE FOUND IT EXTREMELY SIMPLE.
SHE DROPPED OUT IN HIGH
SCHOOL, AND SHE WENT BACK.
SHE FOUND IT REALLY EASY, JUST
SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE TALK
THAT WAS AROUND.
SHE HAD ALL OF THESE CONCEPTS
IN HER HEAD ALREADY.
THAT I FIND, LIKE, WHEN I'M
AT A COLLEGE IN TOWN HERE, AT
SCARBOROUGH, AND SOME OF THESE
STUDENTS WHO COME STRAIGHT
OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL AND
HAVE BEEN LIVING AT HOME,
THEY FIND IT DIFFICULT,
AT FIRST, TO GRASP THEM.
WELL, IT WAS SORT OF A
SUBLIMINAL KIND OF LEARNING,
BUT IT DID HAPPEN.

Mike says I THINK WHAT YOU'RE
SUGGESTING IS THAT
THERE WAS A
COMMUNITY AT ROCHDALE.

Heather says OH, YES.

Jim says DEFINITELY.
NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.
I MIGHT JUST ADD THAT ONE OF
THE SORT OF THINGS -- I THINK
A LOT OF PEOPLE FELT
SOME KIND OF OBLIGATION
TO DO SOMETHING.
I HAPPENED TO
OWN A LAND ROVER.
AND AS PART OF MY LITTLE
OBLIGATION, I TOWED THE
GARBAGE BINS OUT
OF THE BASEMENT.
YOU KNOW, I JUST FELT THIS
WAS A REASONABLE THING TO DO.
A LITTLE CONTRIBUTION
THAT COULD BE MADE.
AND AFTER THE CLARKSON COMPANY
TOOK OVER THE THING, AND WHEN
I SAW THE WAY THEY WERE
OPERATING IT, I CONTINUED TO
TOW THE GARBAGE BINS OUT...
AT TEN BUCKS APIECE.

Mike says THIS NOTION THOUGH OF
INFORMAL LEARNING, YOU KNOW,
SOUND LEARNING, BUT AT YOUR
OWN TIME AND YOUR OWN PACE,
THIS HAD PRETTY WELL DIED BY
THE TIME YOU TWO GOT THERE,
IS THAT RIGHT?

Jim says NO, I WOULDN'T SAY THAT.

Heather says NO, I WOULDN'T SAY THAT.
I WOULD SAY CERTAINLY IT
WAS OCCURRING, BUT IT WAS
OCCURRING BECAUSE PEOPLE
WERE TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE
AND BECAUSE THERE WERE
EDUCATIONAL THINGS GOING ON.
EVEN AS FAR AS ROCHDALE WAS
CONCERNED, VERY TRADITIONAL IN
TERMS OF ROCHDALE'S IDEAS, IN
TERMS OF TRADITIONAL LEARNING.
THAT IS WE DID HAVE
EDUCATIONAL SPACES WHICH WERE
BEING USED AS
EDUCATIONAL CENTRES.

Mike says THE REASON I ASK THAT IS
DENNIS LEE, WHOM I UNDERSTAND
CAME FROM VICTORIA COLLEGE AND
WAS A KIND OF RESOURCE PERSON
IN THE BEGINNING, HAD A
GROUP WHO WERE INTERESTED
IN PHILOSOPHY, AND THEY
USED TO MEET ONCE A WEEK
AND TURN IN PAPERS.
THESE ARE IN THE EARLY DAYS.
BUT HE SAYS SOMEWHERE, IN
THE END, IT PETERED OUT,
THE PHILOSOPHY GROUP, LIKE
EVERYTHING ELSE PETERED OUT
AT ROCHDALE.

Heather says NO, I THINK PEOPLE LIKE
DENNIS LEE WERE REALLY
DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE, AS I
SAID, I THINK THEY HAD AN
IDEA ABOUT ROCHDALE
AS A CASUAL UNIVERSITY.
AND WHAT HAPPENED IN ROCHDALE
WAS A COMMUNITY, WHICH IS A
TOTALLY DIFFERENT
IDEA, REALLY.
WHAT HAPPENED IN ROCHDALE
WAS -- I LIKED ROCHDALE BECAUSE
I COME FROM A SMALL TOWN.
IT'S IN THE YUKON TERRITORY.
AND IT WAS VERY SIMILAR TO
THE EXPERIENCE I'D HAD THERE.
AND THAT IS -- A SMALL COMMUNITY,
THE KIND OF COMMUNITY WHERE
PEOPLE KNOW EACH OTHER, IF
ONLY TO SEE EACH OTHER.
WE RECOGNIZED FACES.
AND EVEN IF WE NEVER TALKED TO
EACH OTHER, WE SAW EACH OTHER
ON THE ELEVATOR.
AND WE HEARD ABOUT PEOPLE.
AND IN THE SAME WAY AS A
SMALL TOWN, THERE WAS GOSSIP.
BUT THERE WAS A FEELING
OF BELONGING, TOO.
LIKE, I KNOW IN OTHER
HIGH-RISES I'VE HEARD ABOUT IN
TORONTO, PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO
GO DOWN TO THE PARKING AREAS.
I WAS NEVER AFRAID
IN ROCHDALE.
BOTH TIMES I'VE MOVED OUT
OF ROCHDALE SINCE I REACHED
TORONTO, I'VE HAD
BAD EXPERIENCES.
IN THE PLACE WE'RE LIVING
NOW, WE'VE HAD THINGS STOLEN.
AND I MOVED OUT FOR A SHORT
PERIOD LAST SUMMER, AND DURING
THAT TIME, SOMEBODY WAS
COMING INTO MY APARTMENT.
I MEAN, SOME WEIRD PERSON
WHEN I WASN'T AT HOME.
AND IN ROCHDALE,
THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN.
AND I KNEW EVEN THOUGH THE
HALLWAYS WERE DARK, AND THERE
WERE PEOPLE THERE THAT LOOKED
FUNNY IN COMPARISON TO THE
REST OF "STRAIGHT TORONTO" OR
SOMETHING, I ALWAYS KNEW IF
SOMETHING HAPPENED, AND I
MADE ENOUGH NOISE, THERE WAS
ENOUGH CURIOSITY AND GOSSIP
GOING AROUND THAT SOMEBODY
WOULD HELP ME.
I NEVER EVER FELT UNSAFE
THERE, EVER, IN ANY PLACE
IN ROCHDALE.
AND I THINK THAT'S
VERY IMPORTANT.

Mike says JIM, WHAT DID YOU
LEARN AT ROCHDALE?

Jim says I THINK THAT CAN SUMMED UP BY
SAYING HAVING BEEN BROUGHT UP
IN A MIDDLE-CLASS ENVIRONMENT,
HAVING REMAINED IN A SUBURBAN
MIDDLE-CLASS ENVIRONMENT
UNTIL I WAS 72 -- (Laughter)
UNTIL 1972, THE REASON I
DID MOVE INTO ROCHDALE WAS
BECAUSE I'D JUST
SEPARATED WITH MY WIFE,
AND I WAS LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO
LIVE, AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE
TO GO, AND ALL THIS STUFF,
AND SOMEBODY I MET AND LIKED
LIVED THERE AND
INTERESTED ME IN THE IDEA.
AND THE MAIN THING I LEARNED
WAS THAT, MY GOD, MIDDLE-CLASS
SUBURBIA ISN'T THE WORLD WHICH
I HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WAS.

Mike says SO IT WAS AN OPENING EYE?

Jim says VERY DEFINITELY, YES.
QUITE SO.

Mike says AND A FINDING OF SOME
KIND OF COMMUNITY.

Jim says A DEFINITE FINDING OF
COMMUNITY, AS HEATHER MENTIONED.
THE ELEVATORS IN ROCHDALE WERE
THE FRIENDLIEST PLACES IN TOWN.

Heather says YES.

Jim says YOU COULD NOT GET ON AN
ELEVATOR AND RIDE UP SIX OR
EIGHT FLOORS WITHOUT EITHER A
CONVERSATION, OR AT LEAST
SOMEBODY NODDING
AND SAYING HELLO.
WHEREAS YOU GO INTO AN
ORDINARY HIGH-RISE AND YOU
RIDE UP THE ELEVATOR FOR 34
FLOORS AND EVERYBODY SITS
THERE AND LOOKS
AT THE CEILING.

Mike says MARY, WHAT WAS YOUR...

Mary says I GUESS FROM -- I
CONTINUED TO BE INVOLVED
IN COOPERATIVE HOUSING.
AND I STILL THINK THAT'S A
VERY IMPORTANT APPROACH TO
RESOLVING SOME OF THE PROBLEMS
OF CREATING COMMUNITY.
BUT I GUESS I LEARNED SOME
OF THE THINGS ABOUT THE
DIFFICULTIES OF MANAGEMENT,
AND DOING MANAGEMENT
CREATIVELY IN SUCH A WAY AS
TO ALLOW COMMUNITY TO HAPPEN,
AND YET GET ON WITH SOME OF THE
PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF MANAGING.
I CERTAINLY LEARNED A LITTLE
BIT ABOUT THE SORT OF
ECONOMICS OF HOUSING AND
THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPMENT.
WHICH IS AN AREA I'M
VERY INTERESTED IN.

Mike says DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT
YOURSELF OR ABOUT PEOPLE?

Mary says OH, SURE.
I HAD THE SIMILAR EXPERIENCE
IN TERMS OF -- OUR CORRIDOR WAS A
GREAT PLACE TO BE, AND WE
LIKED THE PEOPLE ON IT.
AND IT WAS A NICE, FRIENDLY,
KIND OF ENVIRONMENT.
I MOVED FROM THERE TO A HOUSE,
AND WE'VE LIVED IN THE SAME
YEAR EVER SINCE.
AND IN SIX YEARS, I NOW KNOW
THE PEOPLE ON MY STREET AND
FEEL AT HOME WITH IT.
THAT HAPPENED FAIRLY
QUICKLY IN ROCHDALE.

Mike says WHY DID IT FAIL?
MONEY?

Mary says I THINK MONEY WAS
A BIG, BIG PROBLEM.

Jim says LARGELY.
THEY DIDN'T PAY THE MORTGAGES.
AND IN THIS SOCIETY, YOU CAN'T
GET AWAY WITHOUT PAYING
THE MORTGAGES.
MY PERSONAL FEELING IS IF
SOMEHOW THEY HAD PAID THE
MORTGAGES, IF THEY HAD NOT GOT
INTO DEBT SO BADLY THAT THE
POLICE AND THE DO-GOODERS, AND
EVERYBODY COULD HAVE YELLED
AND SCREAMED ALL THEY WANT
ABOUT ROCHDALE, IT WOULDN'T
HAVE MADE A WIT OF DIFFERENCE.
THE PLACE WOULD
STILL BE RUNNING.

Mike says BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS WHOLE
SUGGESTION THAT THE LEADERSHIP
WAS TOO NAIVE, THAT THEY
WEREN'T ABLE, REALLY, TO FIND
THE MECHANICS OF THIS
PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY,
THIS COMMUNITY, THIS FREEDOM.

Heather says WELL, THERE WAS A SOCIAL,
EVEN THE TIME I WAS THERE,
BY THE TIME I GOT THERE, THE
FINANCIAL THING WAS GONE.
THERE WAS NO WAY TO WIN.
I KNOW THERE WAS CONTROL
OVER THE KINDS OF PEOPLE
THAT WERE COMING IN.
AND I THINK AS PEOPLE
GOT OLDER, TOO.
THERE WAS A HUGE AMOUNT
OF TOLERATION IN ROCHDALE
FOR PEOPLE.
AND PEOPLE WERE CHANGING
UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES.
BUT I THINK, ALSO, PEOPLE WERE
COMING TO REALIZE THAT YOU
HAD TO CLAMP DOWN, TOO.
I THINK THERE WAS ATTEMPTS,
AND I THINK THOSE ATTEMPTS
COULD HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL,
EXCEPT THAT THE FINANCIAL
THING WAS IMPOSSIBLE.
ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE.

Mike says WAS ROCHDALE AN ESCAPE FROM
AUTHORITY FOR MOST OF THE
PEOPLE THAT WENT THERE?
AND DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU
REALLY CAN'T RUN ANYTHING
WITHOUT SOME FORM
OF AUTHORITY?

Mary says I'M NOT SURE.
I THINK THAT'S TOO SIMPLE.
I THINK IT'S A WHOLE
LOT OF OTHER THINGS.
SOMEONE ONCE SAID TO ME, IF
GREENWICH VILLAGE WAS ONE
HIGH-RISE, THEN THE SOCIETY
WOULD HAVE INSISTED THAT IT
GET CLOSED DOWN.

Mike says BECAUSE IT WAS TOO VISIBLE?
TOO CENTRAL?

Heather says YES, I THINK SO.

Mike says THE PRESS WERE AT YOU?

Heather says THE PRESS WAS AT US, TOO.
AND ALSO BECAUSE WE WERE
A COMMUNITY, WE HAD OUR
"GOOD" PEOPLE AND
OUR "BAD" PEOPLE.
AND WELL, FOR INSTANCE, THE
BUSINESS ABOUT THE PEOPLE
COMMITTING SUICIDE, AND THE
VIOLENCE THAT OCCURRED THERE.
THAT DID OCCUR THERE.
BUT THEY NEVER TALKED ABOUT
THE PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T
COMMIT SUICIDE IN ROCHDALE.
AND I KNOW -- (To Jim) LIKE THE WOMAN YOU WERE
TALKING ABOUT WHO WAS A
DANCER, WHO DID, IN THE END,
COMMIT SUICIDE AFTER SHE HAD
TO MOVE OUT, SHE
HERSELF HELPED PREVENT
AT LEAST FIVE SUICIDES.

Mike says MARY, IF YOU HAD CHILDREN
TODAY AND ROCHDALE WERE
STARTING AGAIN, WOULD
YOU SEND THEM THERE?

Mary says I'M NOT SURE YOU COULD SEND
CHILDREN, BUT I WOULDN'T GET
UPSET IF THEY WENT.

Mike says JIM?

Jim says IT WOULDN'T BOTHER ME.

Mike says I DON'T WANT IT TO BOTHER
YOU, I'D LIKE YOU TO BE
ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT IT.

jim says WELL, I GUESS, I FEEL
BASICALLY, ONCE THEY ARE OF A
DECENT AGE, ANYWAY, CHILDREN
SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO
WHAT THEY WANT.
AND IF THEY WISHED TO GO TO
ROCHDALE, I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T
STAND IN THE WAY.
I DON'T KNOW IF I'D NECESSARILY
ENCOURAGE THEM EITHER.

Mike says WHY NOT?
WHAT NEW ELEMENT
WOULD IT HAVE TO HAVE
FOR YOU TO ENCOURAGE THEM?

Jim says I DON'T THINK THAT'S
ANYTHING TO DO WITH ROCHDALE.
IT HAS TO DO WITH MY
PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY.
I DON'T THINK PARENTS HAVE
THE RIGHT TO ENCOURAGE OR
DISCOURAGE THEIR CHILDREN
TO DO ANYTHING, REALLY,
AFTER THEY'VE REACHED...

Mike says YES, BUT THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO
FEEL JOYOUS ABOUT A DECISION.

Jim says I WOULDN'T FEEL
BADLY ABOUT IT.

Mike says I WANTED YOU TO
FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT.

Jim says YOU WANT ME TO BE MORE
POSITIVE, DON'T YOU?
I'M NOT GOING TO BE.

Heather says I THINK IF THEY'D ORDERED
PEOPLE TO GO TO ROCHDALE,
I WOULD'VE SAID, ALL RIGHT...

(Lyrical music plays again)

A voice sings and says "PEOPLE
ARE THE LUCKIEST
PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
PEOPLE...

LUCKY PEOPLE..."

The End Slate shows the group at the table with the caption "The Education of MIKE McManus" over the image.

(Theme music plays)

The End Credits roll.

Guests, Jim de la Plante, Mary Lewis, Heather Macfarlane.

Story Editor, Ruth Columbo.

Director, David Moore.

Producer, Clifford Solway.

Executive Producer, Mike McManus.

Ontario Educational Communications Authority. 1975.

Watch: The Rise and Fall of Rochdale