Lisgar Collegiate Institute
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|Lisgar Collegiate Institute|
Nourish the Flame
|29 Lisgar Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 0B9, Canada
|Public transit access||Transitway stations Campus and Mackenzie King. Also served by routes 5, 6, and 14|
|School board||Ottawa Carleton District School Board|
|Area trustee||Jennifer McKenzie|
|Vice Principals||Ashley Sleeth
|Chief custodian||Chris Hennessey|
|Communities served||Sandy Hill, New Edinburgh, Centretown, Rockliffe Park, Ontario|
Lisgar Collegiate Institute, one of the country's best regarded public schools, is located in downtown Ottawa by the Rideau Canal and is only a few blocks from Canada's Parliament Hill. The school serves the neighbourhoods of Sandy Hill, New Edinburgh, Centretown, and Rockcliffe Park, and has many students transferring from other areas, attracted by the school's reputation and prestige. In previous years, parents and students have camped out overnight to secure a "coveted transfer spot" to Lisgar, causing some controversy in the news. Lisgar is known for its gifted student program, and has been ranked number one for public schools in Ottawa and 12th in the province by the Fraser Institute in 2008. Its Reach for the Top team won the Canadian national finals in the 2008 season. Lisgar has also won the National and International Whiz Quiz Trivia Challenge for the past two years Lisgar's Improv team is also well known for its continued excellence in the Canadian Improv Games, winning the National Tournament back to back in 1999 and 2000 and qualifying for the Canadian National tournament every year since 2004. Lisgar is also home to the OCESS, a student-run Space Simulation program.
In 1843, a grammar school with 40 paying students was opened in the Sandy Hill area of Ottawa in a house at the corner of Waller Street and Daly Avenue. In 1859, the school became one of the first in Ontario to admit girls. The school changed locations several times in the first few years, and was renamed first Bytown Grammar School and later Ottawa Grammar School. In 1871 the school was raised to a high school and in 1873 to a collegiate institute, becoming Ottawa Collegiate Institute.
The school found a permanent home in 1873 when a lot at what was then the southern edge of the city was purchased. The school board acquired the land on Biddy Street for $3,200 and paid a squatter $100 to give up any claims on the land. Biddy Street was renamed Lisgar Street in 1880 after Lord Lisgar, an Irishman who served as Canada's second Governor-General. A Gothic Revival style structure, designed by W.T. Thomas and W. Chesterton, was built at a cost of $26,000. Governor General Lord Dufferin (another Irishman) laid the cornerstone and the school opened in 1874.
In 1892, the school became the first public secondary school in Ontario to hire a female teacher. Four new classrooms were added on the south side in 1892, but a fire in 1893 caused the school to be temporarily closed. Lisgar was one of a limiited number of buildings to survive the Great Ottawa fire In 1903, the east wing was built with eight new classrooms. Ottawa architect Edgar Lewis Horwood added a west wing with laboratories and an auditorium in 1908. A rifle range for the cadet corps, in the now blocked-off fourth-floor attic, was added in 1912, and a basement cafeteria in 1923. After the school was split in 1922 to form Glebe Collegiate Institute, OCI was renamed Ottawa Lisgar Street Collegiate Institute, which was soon shortened to Lisgar Collegiate Institute. Officially, the school remained OCI for several decades. Since the split, Glebe and Lisgar have been traditional rivals.
In 1951, a new gymnasium was built across the street with a tunnel connecting it to the main building. This building was enlarged in 1962. The old gym was turned into what is now the cafeteria. The two buildings are now referred to as the North and South buildings.
In 1957, Lisgar was the first school in Ontario to introduce a special program for gifted students.
In the 1970s, a cash-strapped Ottawa Board of Education decided to close the school and sell its valuable downtown real estate. This action was blocked by community members and alumni, and the school was completely renovated instead.
In 1996, the third floor of the North building was completely renovated and the science labs were modernized. In March 2003, parts of the first and second floors and the basement of the North building were damaged by a water main break that closed the school for a week, coincidentally before the previously-scheduled March Break, thus giving the students two weeks off school. Some minor changes were made to the affected floors floor in the reconstruction.
Students have frequently placed highly in mathematics competitions. Lisgar students take part in the University of Waterloo contests, the Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge, the Canadian Math Olympiad, and the AMC 12. For instance, they have frequently placed in the top ten amongst Canadian Mathematical Olympiad Winners.
Students also take part in a lot of science contests. Lisgar offers the chance to take the University of Toronto Biology Exam (national competition), Avogadro Chemistry Contest, and Physics Contests. Many students have placed in the 90th percentile and above on these contests.
Lisgar has been the home of the Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation since 1990. The school is the only one in the region and one of the few in Canada to run such a program. Lisgar was also one of the original members of the now-defunct International Student Space Simulation.
Lisgar has a huge selection of ensembles to take part in. These include Junior Concert Band (Grade 9), Senior Concert Band (Grade 10), Wind Ensemble (Grade 11 and 12), Intermediate Orchestra, Senior Orchestra, String Ensemble, Choir, and Junior and Senior Jazz Bands. In total, there are 10 different groups. These groups take part in many music competitions, including Kiwanis, where Lisgar often takes home gold. Every year, there are two major performances given by all the ensembles, Winter and Spring Music Nights (in December and May). At these performances, students have the chance to demonstrate the skills they have achieved throughout the year to the parents. Each year, it is a huge success.
Lisgar has a large athletics department. Some of the sports Lisgar participates in include Rugby, Soccer, Hockey, Basketball, Rowing, Cross Country, and many others. Each year, tens of athletes are invited to city finals, and provincial finals in their respective sports, and each year, students bring home awards and medals.
Advanced Placement Courses
Lisgar Collegiate Institute offers many Advanced Placement courses. Apart from Advanced Placement Latin: Vergil and Advanced Placement Spanish, students taking AP courses take an advanced form of a regular course, which provides them with an Ontario Credit, as well as taking the AP exam in May.
- Music Theory - part of the theory curriculum of wind and string music courses.
- European History
- Calculus AB
- English Literature - Grade 12 English is mandatory and this course provides both and AP and a mandatory credit for graduation
- English Language - This course is known as The Writer's Craft
- French Language - The grade 11 extended French course
Lisgar has a wide variety of clubs available to students. The school's best-known clubs throughout the city are Amnesty International [AI] Lisgar's Environmental Action Force (LEAF), Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation (Space Sim), and Kiwanis Educating Youth (KEY). Lisgar's Student Council consists of nine committees that oversee events throughout the school year, some of which include the well-known Annual United Way Pancake Breakfast and the Canned Food Drive for the Ottawa Centretown Food Bank. Lisgar also offers a lot of unique clubs to attract all students. These include Debate Club, Biomedical Club, and Chess Club. The Euchre Club is also a notable club, started in 2011. Here, students play the classic card game, and have tournaments and competitions on a regular basis.
In 2006, the school's Reach for the Top team became the first Canadian team to participate in the NAQT High School National Championships, placing 25th. In 2008, the Lisgar Reach team became the first team to qualify for both the Canadian Reach for the Top finals and the NAQT High School National Championships in Chicago, placing second in Ontario for Reach and first in their qualifying division (Ottawa) for NAQT. Electing to attend the Reach Nationals in Edmonton, Lisgar came from behind to beat two-time champion University of Toronto Schools 420-415 for the national title. In 2010, Lisgar was able to qualify two teams for the NAQT Chicago tournament.
Lisgar's Improv Team, founded in 1997 and affectionately known as 'Jimmy', has a reputation for being of the highest calibre. Regular attendees of the National Festival of the Canadian Improv Games and National Champions in 1999 and 2000, Jimmy has been a pillar of the Ottawa Improv community for years.
- Paul Anka - Singer 
- Fay Beale (née Doyle, 1927–2011) - one of the early female Chartered Accountants in Canada; the only woman in Canada to qualify as a Chartered Accountant in 1953
- Henry Botterell - World War I Canadian Fighter Pilot
- Desmond T. Burke - Canada's Sports Hall of Fame marksman
- Adrienne Clarkson - noted broadcaster and 26th Governor General of Canada
- Eugene Forsey - Former Canadian Senator, constitutional expert
- Jessa Gamble - Author and science journalist
- Lorry Greenberg - Former Ottawa mayor
- Lorne Greene - Newsreader, actor, and Star of TV's Bonanza
- Bruce Halliday - Physician and Member of Parliament
- Laura Hannant - Child activist
- Ann Heggtveit - World and Olympic ski champion
- Lieutenant Alexis Helmer - Inspiration for the poem In Flanders Fields
- Sergeant Edward J.B. Holland VC - a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons who won the Victoria Cross for valour during the Battle of Leliefontein on November 7, 1900, in the Second Boer War
- Donald Jackson - World champion figure skater, first to perform a triple lutz jump
- Peter Jennings - ABC News anchor
- Martin John, professional soccer player, full back for Welsh soccer team Cardiff City.
- Evelyn Lambart - animator
- Rich Little - Impressionist
- Naomi K. Lewis - author
- Adam Logan - Former world Scrabble champion
- David McGuffin - CBC News Africa Correspondent
- Susan McMaster - Poet, performance poet
- Kagher Neiber-Shieg - World War I German fighter ace
- Matthew Perry - Actor
- Paola Pivi - International multimedia artist
- Shelagh Rogers - Journalist, host of Sounds Like Canada
- Mike Shaver - Software developer
- Max Valiquette - Youth culture and pop culture expert
- Shane Smith - Journalist, founder of Montreal-based Vice Magazine
- List of Ottawa, Ontario schools
- Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation
- List of designated heritage properties in Ottawa
- List of high schools in Ontario
- "OC Transpo System Map" (PDF). OC Transpo. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-12-25.
- "Ottawa-Carleton District School Board / Community Corner / School Programs". Retrieved 2010-06-23.
- [dead link]
- Fraser Institute high school rankings 2008
- Czekaj, Laura (2008-03-31). "Local school bumps up grade". Ottawa Sun.
- Reach For The Top National Champions 1998-2010
- Canadian Improv Games
- < - - - Spacesim.org - - - >
- http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1529A Edgar Lewis Horwood
- Ottawa Improv
- Alere Flammam - Fall 1997
- Fay Beale obituary, Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
- Leroux, Marc. "Lieutenant Alexis Hannum Helmer". Canadian Great War Project. Retrieved 2010-08-23. "Lieut. Helmer was a close friend of Capt. John McCrae and was the inspiration for "In Flanders Fields"."
- Canadian Women in Film, Collections Canada
- Hot List: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Matthew Perry
- By Ottawa Collegiate Institute. Ex-pupils' (January 12, 2010), A History Of The Ottawa Collegiate Institute 1843-1903 By Ottawa Collegiate Institute. Ex-pupils', Ottawa, Ontario: BiblioLife This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.
- School Website
- Lisgar Alumni Association
- OCDSB Website
- 2006-2007 OCDSB School Profile
- 2005-2006 OCDSB School Profile
- 2004-2005 OCDSB School Profile
- More Information on Lisgar
- Lisgar's Sports Site
- The CEMC Waterloo Math Contest Website
- Lisgar Environmental Action Force
- Science Teachers at Lisgar
- Picture Peter Jennings in Lisgar
- Ottawa Citizen on Fraser Institute Secondary School Rankings for 2008
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