Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
MGCI Emblem2.png
135 Overlea Blvd
Toronto, Ontario, M3C 1B3, Canada
School board Toronto District School Board
Superintendent Rauda Dickinson
Area trustee Gerri Gershon
Principal Ricky Goldenberg
Vice Principals Anastasia Liebster
Chris Sharp
Annamaria Mazzaferro
School type Public high school
Grades 9-12
Language English
Area East York
Mascot Cougar
Newspaper The Reckoner of MGCI
Founded 1972
Enrollment 1804 [1]
Communities served Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park
School Council Chairs Ali Baig
Patty Wen
Special Offerings TOPS
Advanced Placement Physics C
Advanced Placement Calculus BC

Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute (MGCI) is a high school in Toronto, Canada, and part of the Toronto District School Board. It is the host school of the TOPS program, a selective math, science and english enrichment program. It is the only high school in Canada dedicated to helping students with careers in the space sciences.[2] The school features several recipients of the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence such as Mr. Michael Hussey, Mr. Michael McMaster, Mr. Henrik van Bemmel, and Mr. Clyde Chamberlain. The school provides avenues for students to pursue standardized American Advanced Placement courses in Calculus and Physics C.


Originally named Overlea Secondary School, MGCI opened its doors in 1972 as one of the first open concept schools in Canada. On October 16, 1987 it was rechristened Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute after Canada's first astronaut Marc Garneau, who regularly visits the school and its students. It hosts the TOPS program and has offered pilot courses in Earth and Space Science, Science Journalism and Cisco Networking.

It is the only high school in Canada dedicated to helping students with careers in the space sciences. Valley Park Middle School is the main school that feeds students into MGCI but there are other schools as well such as Cosburn Middle School.

In 1993, MGCI was honoured with the Roberta Bondar Science and Technology Award in recognition of the school's achievements in numerous student programs, particularly its Students for the Exploration and Development of Space chapter, which no longer exists. Renovations to the school in 1998 removed many of the open concept elements of the school's original design. As of 2013, MGCI is one of the most densely populated secondary school institutions in the province of Ontario. Due to the neighbourhoods it serves, the school has a noticeably large Muslim student population.

Student life[edit]

There are numerous extra curricular activities at Marc Garneau. Some of the clubs include chapters of DECA, Student Council, The Reckoner of MGCI, Amnesty International, and Key Club. In recent years the school has had several first and second place finishes in the International DECA Competition.[3] Additionally, the MGCI Yearbook is the work of the Yearbook course and committee. It is distributed in June of the academic year.


Garneau provides students with a wide variety of sports teams including: Football, Rugby, Basketball, Soccer, Volley Ball, Baseball, Field Hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, Cricket, Tennis, and an annual ball hockey tournament. The official mascot for the school is the cougar.

Music and drama[edit]

Offered extracurricular activities include the Concert Band, Choir, Steel Pan Ensemble, Guitar Club, Music Council, Mock Trials, Reach for the Top, and Stage Band. Although there is no official strings program offered by the school, students play in the completely student-run String Orchestra.

Drama students at Marc Garneau not only perform musicals and plays, but also participate in many activities, such as the Canadian Improv Games and the Sears Festival.

The Reckoner[edit]

The Reckoner of MGCI is the school's newspaper. The student-run organization publishes news articles, creative writing pieces, editorial pieces, and original student art. The Reckoner's website is updated several times a week and a print edition is distributed monthly. The site's authors consist of volunteers from all grades who undergo an application process in late August and early September. The Reckoner was named "Best Volunteer Newspaper" at the "Toronto Star High School Newspaper Awards" in 2014 and "Best Electronic Newspaper" in 2012 and 2014. The presiding Editor-in-Chief of The Reckoner is Susie Liu.


Students are provided with more opportunities to customize their high school experience and build on their strengths and interests through a variety of new and enhanced learning options. One of those options is the new Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM). Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute has been granted by the Ontario Ministry of Education the first Information Communications Technology SHSM for Design & Publishing. MGCI at present is the only high school in Ontario developing this type of program. This Design and Publishing course will be offered to students in any career path. The purpose for the program is to allow students to acquire skills, knowledge and experience that will best assist them in their post secondary education pathway or to enter the workplace. The SHSM is a ministry-approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. It will also assist in their transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university, or the workplace. The SHSM enables students to gain sector-specific skills and knowledge in the context of engaging, career-related learning environments and helps them focus on graduation while pursuing their post-secondary goals.[citation needed]


The Talented Offerings for Programs in the Sciences (TOPS) program is a merit-based specialized program open to students from across Ontario, housed at MGCI along with Bloor Collegiate Institute. The program offers enriched courses for its students in its core subjects of science, mathematics and English, as well as courses in humanities and computer programming. TOPS accepts approximately sixty students each year through a competitive application process. The selection board weighs in results from an entrance exam as well as the applicant's profile information to help determine admission offers. The vast majority of applicants are Ontarian residents from the Greater Toronto Area and a few other outer regions.

The Canada-Wide Science Fair, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the University of Waterloo's Mathematics & Computing Contests are some of the competitive avenues through which TOPS students have made a strong showing. A primary claim to the program's fame nearly all of its graduating students go on to post-secondary studies, both domestically and abroad. The 2008 graduating class received approximately $1.8 million in scholarship offers. The program features a strong sense of community in the high school environment, mainly due to its small size and emphasis on community-building projects, science and technology events, field trips and science expeditions.[4]

Recognition and awards[edit]

In the case of the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), students have won at all levels of the Canadian national science competition. In 2000, Aaron Judah won the Best of Fair National Champion prize and, in 2002, Faizal Ismail and Mahvish Jafri won the same. Overall, however, Fuad al-Amin and Tahbit Chowdhury won the most number of medals while representing the school. In 2005, one in three members of the Toronto delegation to the CWSF were from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute.

In 2004, Maclean's magazine ranked the TOPS program at MGCI as among the best schools in Canada, suggesting it was the top-ranked program for students pursuing science or mathematics in their later studies.[5] The September 2006 issue of Toronto Life also stated that MGCI was the best high school in Toronto for mathematics and science, once again largely crediting the TOPS program.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°42′37″N 79°20′09″W / 43.710266°N 79.335735°W / 43.710266; -79.335735