Jonn Ord KFK Bio

Jonn Ord is a founding member and president of the SciLink educational computer network in Toronto. He is also one of the 3 founding members of the extraordinary KIDLINK project, the Project Director of the KIDS FROM KANATA program and the Canadian director of HyperLink Multi-Media Communications, an international company specializing in educational, youth and group communications.

Jonn coordinated one of the first Canadian trials connecting schools using computer conferencing technology in a pilot project for the Ontario Ministry of Education at TVOntario in 1985. The success of this project lead Jonn to develop the SciLink computer network dedicated to science education and youth oriented projects. From his early experiences of computer networking, Jonn believed that this was a powerful medium for a personal kind of communication. This was dramatically demonstrated by the supportive on-line relationship he developed with his own family including his 13yr old niece who was struggling with a dysfunctional family and who was eager to discover a world other than the one she was living in. Krystal soon established a virtual community of her own and became the first respondent to the 4 questions of the global KIDLINK project. Until she was 94, Jonn's mother was the family member to most regularly use telecommunications, staying in touch from her small Ontario community with regular bulletins for family members.

On the SciLink network were developed the following projects linking young people via computer:




Later projects on SciLink included the Cradleboard Teaching Project, directed by Buffy Sainte-Marie, ParentNet, by the C.M. Hincks Institute in Toronto and the Canadian Asia-Pacific Project by the Youth Commission/TGMagazine in Toronto. Jonn worked with Buffy Sainte-Marie for several years during the launch and development of the Cradleboard Teaching Program which was intitially hosted on Scilink and operated in the States. In 1999 Jonn worked with Tom Jackson to support and enhance Jackson's cross-Canada Dreamcatcher Tour with technology being used by KFK.

Jonn was born a war child in England (during an air-raid) to a Canadian father and English mother. His father, a doctor, served in both world wars and was awarded the Croix de Guerre in France in 1917. Jonn's great-great-grandfather was William Botsford Jarvis, the sheriff of York (Toronto) and part of the Jarvis family descended from Stephen Jarvis, the well known 'United Empire Loyalist' who settled in Toronto and contributed much to the early formation of the town.

Jonn has two university degrees in which he studied science, philosophy and music and he spent the early years of his life in the world of music. He studied classical piano and pipe organ, winning a scholarship from the Kiwanis music festival at 15. He attended Ridley College, a private school in St. Catharines, ON. Later, when the organist was taken ill, Jonn took over the school's twice-daily and Sunday chapel services on the pipe organ (playing entirely by ear). For this Jonn was awarded the first Headmaster's Tie for outstanding contributions to the school. He also had his first experience in non-classical performance as the keyboard player in the popular school "Jazz band".

Jonn later studied with well known Canadian arranger & composer Gordon Delamont and obtained an honours degree in music from York University. Jonn played with one of the leading Canadian bands of the late 60's, the Paupers, recorded an album with Richie Havens and played in a backup band for Chuck Berry. While the Paupers were in New York, managed by Albert Grossman, he and several members of the band played some informal sessions in the studio with Janis Joplin who later invited bass player Brad Campbell and drummer Skip Prokop to join her new band. Brad became the base player for Full Tilt Boogie Band and Skip declined the offer to fulfill his dream of starting up a Canadian big band. This became Lighthouse.

In the '80's, Jonn lived in Boston and travelled all over New England with the Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble playing accordion, piano, bass and tamboritza in the orchestra. He also played in too many clubs and bars all over Ontario such as the Pretzel Bell in Toronto in the '70's, and is glad not to be doing that any more! Oops, well he WAS doing it some more, twenty years later, playing with Cordon Blues, Return Trip, Romantic Traffic, Street Music, and other bands in the Georgian Triangle. And he IS glad to be doing it now that it's not for a living 6 nights a week. He's actually delighted and appreciative to be playing again with live bands. Nothing quite like it ...

As well, Jonn is occasionally asked to play the pipe organ in a church for a Sunday service or a wedding. This he did in St. George's Anglican Church in Owen Sound in July 2007.

Jonn later developed Dupuytren's Disease, a hereditary disease affecting the hands and feet and this reduced his ability to play the keyboard. He became a founding member of the Canadian Dupuytren Society and has written an article on the subject for the government's Canadian Institutes for Health and Research (CIHR)  where he became a Research Ambassador.
Before losing his ability to play serious classical music, Jonn recorded a favourite Chopin polonaise ("Heroic" in Ab) as a tribute to his hands and to honour the great enrichment of his life from the journey that his hands have taken him on.

 In 2001 Jonn built a SERIOUS bio-filtered swimming pond using the extra space available in his country location on Georgian Bay.

Hobbies include old Norton motorcycles (he had a 1969 "S" Commando model for 50yrs) .. in 1970 he drove a brand new Norton from England through Europe, down the coast of Yugoslavia to Athens and back through Italy, Switzerland and Belgium in a three month trip), garden ponds, windsurfing, flying (he has a private pilot's license and has done some hangliding), scuba diving, indoor soccer and skiing. Jonn is interested in permaculture and has constructed a modular rainwater barrel collection system. A description of this system was published in the Eco-Farm & Garden magazine and demonstrated at the Living Home exhibit at the Toronto Home Show, in 2003. He later added a very effective solar shower to the water system. Having reluctantly given up the idea of owning his own airplane, he has decided to go back to the fun of flying models. He received his model wings and has a 4' model P51 Mustang.

Jonn is particularly interested in the subject of personal growth and the empowerment of all people to be in control of their lives. Jonn has a goal of living without making judgements about people (a tough one!). He is also passionate about the search for identity, on the individual level and also for Canadian society. He believes that Canadian society is similar to a dysfunctional family in denial of its relationships, and that Canadians and First Nations people must learn to love and support each other - as family members- to reach the next stage of growth.

JO Sketch

PS The picture was a caricature drawn by a street artist in Toronto in the '80s  - Jonn has a little less hair now!