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Jarvis Collegiate Institute

Coordinates: 43°39′57″N 79°22′39″W / 43.665971°N 79.377393°W / 43.665971; -79.377393
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Jarvis Collegiate Institute
495 Jarvis Street

, ,
Coordinates43°39′57″N 79°22′39″W / 43.665971°N 79.377393°W / 43.665971; -79.377393
School typeHigh school
MottoNil Decet Invita Minerva ("Nothing is seemly, unless with Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom")
Founded1807; 217 years ago (1807)
School boardToronto District School Board
SuperintendentMary Linton
Area trusteeChris Moise
PrincipalStephen Bain
Enrolment623 (2019-20)
Colour(s)Red, White and Blue    
Team nameJarvis Bulldogs
Jarvis Centurions (rugby)
Last updated: September 24, 2020

Jarvis Collegiate Institute is a high school in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is named after Jarvis Street where it is located. It is a part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Prior to 1998, it was within the Toronto Board of Education (TBE).[1]

Founded in 1807, it is the oldest active high school in Ontario. Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute, founded c. 1792), was the oldest but closed in 2020.


Jarvis Collegiate was founded as a private school in 1797. In 1807 the government of Ontario, then known as the British colony of Upper Canada, took over the school and incorporated it in a network of eight new, public grammar schools (secondary schools), one for each of the eight districts of Upper Canada. Of the eight were four key schools:

Commemorative plaque marking the original location of the Home District Grammar School

These were the early days of Toronto, when the first parliament buildings were established and the first church and jail were constructed. In fact, it was only fourteen years earlier that Governor John Graves Simcoe arrived at the location on Lake Ontario, home to Mississauga communities[2] and site of important Indigenous trade routes,[3] to lay out the design of the new town he named York.

After the early period 1807-1811, enrolment started at five, rose to twenty, then fell to four - the school gained momentum in 1812 when the redoubtable John Strachan took over as headmaster. In 1839, Strachan became the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, living grandly in a home known as the "Palace" and signing his name (following the "first name / diocese" format customary for Anglican bishops) "John Toronto". He also founded Trinity College.

The original 1807 school building was a shed attached to the headmaster's house. Strachan raised funds for a new two-storey building, completed in 1816 on College Square, a 6-acre (24,000 m2) lot north of St. James' Cathedral, bounded by Richmond, Adelaide, Church and Jarvis Streets. In 1825 the school was renamed the Royal Grammar School. Later the name was changed to Toronto High School. In 1829 it moved to the corner of Jarvis and Lombard Streets. When Upper Canada College was founded in 1829 it shared a building with the Grammar School and for several years the two organizations were essentially unified. UCC eventually moved to its own facilities.

By 1864, the three rooms of the schoolhouse were inadequate for the 150 students, so a new building was constructed on Dalhousie Street, just north of Gould Street, near present-day Toronto Metropolitan University. This was also the year of the founding of the Toronto Grammar School Mental Improvement Society, the predecessor to all school clubs. Later known in schools as "the Lit," the club was a literary and debating society. Originally exclusively for boys, the club began admitting girls in 1893. It was also around this time that the first debates between schools were held in Toronto, the competing schools being Parkdale Collegiate Institute and Harbord Collegiate Institute.[4] In the following decade, once again growing enrolment necessitated a new building. As the school underwent construction between 1870 and 1871, classes were held in a vacant insane asylum at Queen's Park, where the east wing of the legislative buildings are located today.

In 1871 the new building opened at 361 Jarvis Street, just south of College Street, directly in front of Allan Gardens. In 1889, the annexation of Parkdale brought a second high school (Parkdale Collegiate Institute) to the board, precipitating yet another name change from Toronto High School to Jarvis Street High School. The school was given its current name, Jarvis Collegiate Institute, in 1890. In 1924 it moved to its current Collegiate Gothic building[4] designed by architect Charles Edmund Cyril Dyson.[5]

Jarvis Collegiate celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2007.


Principal Years Born Education Other positions held
Rev George Okill Stuart 1807–1812 Fort Hunter near
Amsterdam, New York
emigrated to
Canada 1781
Union College, Schenectady, New York
King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia
A.B., Harvard College
Archdeacon of York, Ontario
Archdeacon of Kingston, Ontario
Rt Rev John Strachan 1812–1822 Aberdeen, Scotland
emigrated to
Canada 1799
King's College, Aberdeen Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada
First Anglican Bishop of Toronto
Rev Samuel Armour 1822–1825 Scotland Founding Headmaster
Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School
Rev Dr Thomas Phillips 1825–1830 England Cambridge University
Amalgamation 1830–1834
Rev Duncan MacAulay 1834–1836 Scotland
Charles Cosens 1836–1838 Resigned to teach at Upper Canada College
Marcellus Crombie 1839–1853
Dr Michael Howe 1853–1863 Ireland
emigrated to
Canada 1851
Trinity College, Dublin Founding Headmaster
Galt Grammar School
Newington College
Rev Arthur Wickson 1863–1872 University of Toronto Worked with the Christian Instruction Society
Dr Archibald MacMurchy 1873–1899 Scotland University of Toronto
Major Fred Manley 1900–1906 Jarvis Collegiate Institute Put down the Riel Rebellion
Fought at Battle of Batoche
Dr Luther Embree 1906–1914 University of Toronto Transferred from Parkdale Collegiate Institute
John Jeffries 1914–1934 University of Toronto
Fred Clarke 1934–1939
Arthur Allin 1939–1950 Taught at Jarvis from 1913
James T. Jenkins 1950–1952 Whitchurch Twp. University of Toronto Math teacher at Jarvis for 28 years
Milton Jewell 1952–1969 B.A., University of Western Ontario Principal
Malvern Collegiate Institute
Eric McCann 1969–1974 Riverdale Collegiate
B.A., University of Toronto
Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute
Ann Shilton 1974–1983 Jarvis Collegiate Institute Vice-Principal
Heydon Park Collegiate
Greenwood Secondary School
Janet Ray 1983–1989
David Wells 1989–1994[6] Principal
Malvern Collegiate Institute
David MacDonald 1995
Pauline McKenzie 1995–2009
Andrew Gold 2009
Elizabeth Addo 2009–2013
Michael Harvey 2013–2023
Stephen Bain 2023–


In the media[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

  • John Strachan - significant figure in Family Compact, headmaster of Jarvis 1812–1823, founder of University of Toronto in 1827 when he secured a charter for King's College, first Bishop of Toronto 1836

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Secondary Schools." () Toronto Board of Education. November 12, 1997. Retrieved on July 23, 2013.
  2. ^ "A guide to Indigenous Toronto". blogTO. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  3. ^ "3 places where you can discover Toronto's Indigenous history | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  4. ^ a b Hardy, Edwin Austin (1950). Cochrane, Honora M. (ed.). Centennial Story: The Board of Education for the City of Toronto 1850-1950. Toronto, ON: Thomas Nelson & Sons (Canada) Limited.
  5. ^ "Dyson, Charles Edmund Cyril | Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada".
  6. ^ "Malvern C.I. - History - 100th Anniversary".
  7. ^ "Jarvis Collegiate Institute- Principals". Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  8. ^ Torontoist (29 January 2014). "Reel Toronto: Carrie". Torontoist.
  9. ^ "J. Miles Dale '68". Bayview Glen Independent School. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  10. ^ Hewitt, W. A. (1958). Down the Stretch: Recollections of a Pioneer Sportsman and Journalist. Toronto, Ontario: Ryerson Press. p. 3. OCLC 8623829.

External links[edit]