St. Matthew High School (Ottawa)

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Coordinates: 45°28′49.73″N 75°31′56.69″W / 45.4804806°N 75.5324139°W / 45.4804806; -75.5324139

St. Matthew Catholic High School
St Matthew High School logo.png
6550 Bilberry Drive
Orleans, Ontario, K1C 2S9, Canada
School board Ottawa Catholic School Board
Superintendent Manon Séguin
Area trustee Brian Coburn
Principal Silvio Rigucci
Vice principal John Purificati, Diane Cyr, David Nash
School type Catholic high school
Grades 7 to 12
Language English
Area Ottawa
Mascot Tiger
Team name Tigers
Colours Yellow and Black         
Founded 1981
Enrollment approx 1065 (September 2012)

St. Matthew Catholic High School is located at 6550 Bilberry Drive in Orléans, Ontario, Canada. The current principal is Silvio Rigucci. The school offers grades 7-12. The current school population rests at about 1065 students with about 90 staff members.

The school broke the Guinness world record for largest unbroken human chain, called the Bear Hug. The event was in support of Cancer research.[1]


When St. Matthew Catholic High School opened in 1981, it was known as Eastern Area Junior High School, with Grades 6, 7 and 8. Not until June 1982 was the school officially named St. Matthew.

The school opened with about 300 students. In its first year of existence, it was affectionately known by its first principal, Joseph Ryan, as “the far eastern school.” It was built by the firm Kearney and Coles with Edward Cuhaci as the architect, on property on Bilberry Drive in Orléans, straddling two sides of Bilberry Creek. The school’s first yearbook was entitled, perhaps appropriately, EMANON which is “NO NAME” spelled backwards. It did have an official name, but since it was the wordy “Eastern Area Elementary Junior High School,” it was, in a sense, nameless. This all changed at the official opening on June 16, 1982, when it was formally named “St. Matthew Catholic High School.”

The school underwent two expansions over the years to accommodate an ever-growing student population, which peaked at close to 1,800 students. In 1985, the first phase of a two-part expansion took place, adding a number of classrooms. This was followed by a second extension in 1987 that included more classrooms, specialty areas such as an automotive shop, music room, drama room and art room and a second gymnasium/cafeteria. The construction of St. Peter Catholic High School in 1992 provided spaces for some students previously at St. Matthew, relieving some of the enrollment pressures at the school. Then, in 2009/2010, the school underwent yet another expansion, adding on yet another wing as to give the school the squeeze room to remove all but the bigger portables.


The school crest, designed by teacher Joe Kelly, is a cross inside an oval, with four symbols, one in each quadrant formed by the cross. The four symbols are a quill representing writing, a book representing reading, a flame representing the spirit of sport and folded hands representing prayer. The name “St. Matthew” is on a banner at the bottom of the crest.

The school mascot is a tiger. All St. Matthew sports teams are called Tigers, symbolizing speed, ferociousness and the ability to dominate and win over other teams, no matter what.

Bear Hug[edit]

Bear Hug 1[edit]

This event was documented in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. On April 23, 2004, St. Matthew Catholic High School made it into the Guinness Book of World Records with the world's largest bear hug, an endeavour led by school Principal André Potvin, and an achievement which resulted in June 9, 2004 being officially declared “St. Matthew High School Day” by Ottawa Mayor, Bob Chiarelli. The world’s largest bear hug involved 5,117 students hugging for ten seconds. This world record was tied in with the school’s fundraising for cancer, as students and staff, with the support of local businesses and residents, raised more than $108,000 in April of that year, surpassing the previous provincial record of $40,000 and setting a Canadian record for cancer fundraising by a high school.

Bear Hug 2[edit]

Under the leadership of St. Matthew High School, planned to be home to the largest bear hug on April 25, 2008. The plan was to break the Guinness Book of World Records for a second time. They attempted to have several thousand students hugging for over 20 seconds to break the current record held by the citizens of New Mexico (6,553). They also raised funds in support of cancer research for a second time. However, they were unsuccessful in breaking the record.

Bear Hug 3[edit]

Again, under the leadership of St Matthew High School, and with the support of over 16,000 students from the Ottawa region another Bear Hug is planned to take place on May 7, 2010 around the Rideau Canal. The goal of the Bear Hug is 1. Raise over $500,000 for Cancer Patient Care and Research and 2. Set a new Guinness World Record. This record was successfully broken in May 2010, and the money raised. [1]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Devin Atherton - Hip-hop artist
  • Jean-Nicolas Carriere - Professional football player with the CFL (Toronto Argonauts)
  • Jordan David - Bassist for The Love Machine
  • Gary Dimmock - Journalist for The Ottawa Citizen
  • Erik Galas - Professional football player in the GFL (Mönchengladbach Mavericks)
  • Jeff Hurter - Owner of indie record label, Finish What You Started
  • Will Leung - Drummer of punk band, Germ Attak
  • Jason Mallette - Professional football player in the CFL (Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tigercats)
  • David Sarazin - Program director and radio host at CKCU-FM Radio 93.1 [2]
  • Senja Sargeant - Singer and songwriter with Warner/Kindling recording artists Ladies Of The Canyon
  • Norman Wong - TV producer of Amazing Race: China Rush (ICS, CCTV News), Shanghai Rush (ICS) and Asia Uncut (Star World)


The St. Matthew Tigers have been competitive within the city and province in many sports. Their most notable sport would have to be basketball, as they are considered to be one of the best basketball schools in capital region. They have had an extremely powerful girl's program over the years, appearing in 11 consecutive city finals in the 11 years, and winning 9 of them. This record is unsurpassed by any other school in Ottawa. They also have had a powerful senior girls program, where they have consistently placed in the top four in the city. They have appeared at OFSAA numerous times, and took the silver medal at OFSAA in 2001. Their boys program has also been considered as one of the top programs in the city. They have continually won city championships at the junior and senior levels. 2009 was their most notable city championship win at the senior level, as they did it with a record stretching to over 50 wins and only 1 loss. The team also took home the gold medal in the province at OFSAA. This was St. Matthew's first ever OFSAA title. They defeated the Emery Eagles of Toronto in the finals, in front of a home crowd at Lisgar Collegiate. In 1995, the Senior Tiger Football team won the city championship with a win over the Borden Bengals. In 2010, the school's junior football team took home the championship title defeating the St. Peter Knights by a score of 22 to 5. It was the first Junior football title in the program's history. The 2010 Varsity lacrosse program also dominated in the city finals and went to OFSAA in Toronto.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]