Lisgar Collegiate Institute
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|Lisgar Collegiate Institute|
29 Lisgar Street
(Nourish the Flame)
|School board||Ottawa Carleton District School Board|
|Area trustee||Jennifer McKenzie|
|Vice Principals||Richard Lalonde |
Kaarina Gagner 
|Communities served||Sandy Hill, New Edinburgh, Centretown, Rockcliffe Park, Ontario|
|Public transit access||Line 1 station uOttawa. Also served by routes 5 and 14|
|School presidents||Ana Balteanu |
Lisgar Collegiate Institute is located in downtown Ottawa by the Rideau Canal and is only a few blocks away from Canada's Parliament Hill. Lisgar was ranked 24th among all secondary schools in Ontario and 1st in Ottawa by the Fraser Institute in 2017/18. 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 was ranked number one for public schools in Ottawa and 4th in the province by the Fraser Institute in 2016. Its Reach for the Top team won the Canadian national finals in the 2008, 2015 and 2017 seasons. 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 student-run Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation.
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, moving the front wall towards the street and enclosing the front entrance stairs.
A fire in 1893 caused the school to be temporarily closed. Lisgar was one of a limited number of buildings to survive the Great Ottawa fire. There have been a total of 23 fires at the school, including three major ones: 1893, 1915, and 1942.
In 1903, the east wing was built with eight new classrooms. In 1908, Ottawa architect Edgar Lewis Horwood added a west wing with laboratories, an auditorium, and the main tower. The auditorium balcony is suspended by iron rods which lead to huge beams above the ceiling.
A rifle range for the cadet corps, in the now blocked-off fifth-floor attic, was added in 1912. Students practised shooting there until after World War II when shooting moved to the nearby Cartier Square Drill Hall.
A basement cafeteria was added 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. The tunnel was not open for the use of students for many years, but it was re-opened in October 2015. The new building was enlarged in 1962. The old gym was turned into what is now the cafeteria. The old building and the newer building are now referred to as the North and South buildings, respectively.
In 1953, the current, near-vertical roof was installed over the previous sloping roof. This was done to reduce the build-up of winter ice. The old roof is still there and there is an odd-shaped attic space between them.
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. This renovation included a small westward extension to the auditorium to add fire exits which replaced external fire exits on the north side of the auditorium. To meet fire code requirements, the existing west staircase was moved from the stair tower westward to just beside the entrance to the auditorium. The result is that now many windows on the north wall do not line up as intended. The windows in the stair tower had been placed a half-way between floors to align with the landings. These windows now lead into classrooms and floor-aligned windows lead into the stairway.
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 in the reconstruction.
A brass plaque and print were erected by students and alumni in 1986 to Sergeant Edward James Gibson Holland, VC of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, a graduate of Ottawa Collegiate who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in action during the Boer War at Leliefontein, Komati River, South Africa on November 7, 1900.
The Ottawa Lisgar Collegiate Institute erected a brass plaque which is dedicated to the memory of students of Ottawa Collegiate Institute who gave their lives in the Great War. Another memorial is dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Alexis Hannum Helmer who was killed in action during the war and was part of the inspiration for In Flanders Fields. Unveiled in 2001, the plaque was erected by the Lisgar Alumni Association.
Another memorial plaque is dedicated to the memory of former Lisgar students who died during the Second World War. A memorial framed poster erected by the school is dedicated to the sixteen Canadians awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery during the Second World War.
Lisgar Collegiate Institute and Vintage Wings of Canada erected a memorial plaque, unveiled in 2008, dedicated to the memory of Pilot Officer David Francis Gaston Rouleau, who died during the Second World War while trying to get to Malta.
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 the Concert Band (Beginner level), Wind Ensemble (Intermediate Level), Symphonic Winds (Senior Level), Concert Orchestra (Beginner level), Sinfonia (Intermediate level orchestra), the Lisgar Symphony Orchestra (Senior level), 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 the Ottawa Kiwanis Music Festival, where Lisgar has often taken 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 their parents and other spectators.
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.
Athletic Wall of Fame
One of the many successful under-takings of the 160th Reunion was the establishment of the "Athletic Wall of Fame". There have been three inductions to date, with the third group inducted during the 175th Reunion in May 2018.
2004 Inductees 
- Petra Cada (1996), a distinguished international career, competed in both the 1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens Olympics in table tennis.
- Joan Fisher (1967), former Head Girl, an outstanding sprinter who highlighted her career by competing in the Mexico Olympics.
- Justice Hugh Fraser (1970), outstanding career as a sprinter at the international and Olympic level, and, among other things, for his work on the Dubin Commission and at the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
- Anne Heggtveit (1957), won Olympic gold in the slalom at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics.
- Donald Jackson (1957), won bronze in the 1960 Olympics and gold as the 1962 world champion in figure skating.
- Bruce Kirby (1948), Former Head Boy, a three-time Olympian in sailing who is equally well known as a yacht designer, with the laser design and both Canada 1 and Canada 2 to his credit.
- Paul Paddon (1965), quarterback University of Ottawa to the Vanier Cup final and awarded the Hec Crighton Trophy as Canada's outstanding university football player.
- Pat Stoqua (1976), who went on to an outstanding university career at Carleton in both football and basketball, and played six years of professional football for the Ottawa Rough Riders.
- Linda Thom (1958), gold medal winner in pistol shooting at the 1984 Olympics.
- Joe Zelikovitz (1934), an outstanding multi-sport athlete at Lisgar, who went on to a successful career in professional football for the Ottawa Rough Riders, where he still holds the CFL record for interceptions in a single game (seven).
2009 Inductees 
- Lt.-Col. Dr. Desmond Burke (1923), shooting
- W. G. "Bud" Clark (1934), skiing, uncle to Anne Heggtveit and brother-in-law of Halvor Heggtveit, both of whom are also inductees
- Blake Dunlop (1971), NHL player, drafted in 1973 by Minnesota North Stars (NHL round 2 #18 overall) and New England Whalers (WHA round 1 #12 overall)
- Barclay Frost (1961), track and field, longtime official at international sporting events
- Margo (Green) Dewsnap (1991), 2000 Pan American Games and 2002 Canadian National Champion in squash
- Leszek Nowosielski (1987), fencing, 1992 Summer Olympics
- Danek Nowosielski (1985), fencing, competed at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics
- Alex Smith (1924), played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League winning the Stanley Cup in 1927 with Ottawa
- Nigel Stephens (1944), figure skating, Canadian champion and Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA) official
- Ralph St. Germain (1923), competed in the 1936 Winter Olympics, helping to win silver in hockey.
2018 Inductees 
- Marjorie Blackwood (1974), national champion tennis player, longtime coach, and member of the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame.
- Frank Boucher (1937), manager/coach of the 1948 Olympic Champion RCAF Flyers.
- Ron Byrnes (1962), single game record of 61 points in Ottawa Junior Basketball in the 1950s still stands.
- Peter Chance (1939), a national champion Junior figure skater in both singles and pairs whose career was cut short by WWII and a subsequent distinguished Royal Canadian Navy career.
- Ajay Dubé (1978), multi-Olympic Canadian Field Hockey Team player and team manager.
- Bill Fraser (1961), teacher 1965–99, athlete, Lisgar faculty member, and long-time dedicated coach of Lisgar teams in many sports.
- Halvor Heggtveit (1923), national ski champion, coach and Olympic Team member.
- Brian Kilrea (1950), AHL/IHL/WHA/NHL player; legendary coach and general manager of the Ottawa 67's; member of the Ottawa Sports, AHL, and Hockey Halls of Fame.
- Jon Love (1972), multi-sport player and coach, record-setting basketballer, and member of the Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame.
- Pat Lowe (1949), ranked no. 1 in Canadian Junior and Senior Women's Tennis in the 1940s and 50s.
- Bill Pratt (1948), chair of the Calgary Olympics, co-founder of the Canada Trail, and member of both the Olympic Order and the Order of Canada.
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. As of 2016, Lisgar inaugurated its AP Capstone Program which requires students to take AP Seminar and AP Research as well as four other AP Courses with a score greater than 3.
- Music Theory – part of the theory curriculum of wind and string music courses.
- European History
- Calculus AB
- English Literature – Grade 12 English is mandatory, this course provides both an AP credit 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
- AP Capstone program
Lisgar has a wide variety of clubs available to its students, including:
- Lisgar DECA
- Debate Club
- Biomedical Club
- Model United Nations Club
- Chess+ Club
- Amnesty International
- Lisgar's Environmental Action Force (LEAF)
- Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation (Spacesim)
- Key Club
- Vox Lycei – yearbook
- Lisgarwrite — school newspaper
Lisgar's Student Council consists of 30 executive member positions. These include the Co-Presidents, Student Senator, Administrator, Communications Director, and 6 elected grade representatives, with 5 committees consisting of the remaining 19 positions. Student Council is responsible for running a variety of school-wide events and activities throughout the course of the school year, including the well-known Annual United Way Pancake Breakfast, the week-long 'Battle of the Grades', and the Canned Food Drive for the Ottawa Centretown Food Bank.
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, 2000, and 2014, Jimmy has been a pillar of the Ottawa Improv community for years.
- Alexis Helmer – World War I soldier, Canadian Field Artillery, part of inspiration for In Flanders Field
- Henry Botterell – World War I Canadian Fighter Pilot
- Maurice Brodie - polio researcher
- Desmond T. Burke – Canada's Sports Hall of Fame marksman, doctor
- Sam Berger - lawyer, involved with the Ottawa Rough Riders, as its legal advisor, president, and winning 4 Grey Cups as owner
- King Clancy - played 16 seasons in the NHL for the Senators and Maple Leafs, member of three Stanley Cup teams
- Adrienne Clarkson – noted broadcaster and 26th Governor General of Canada
- Peter Cureton – actor and playwright
- Ted Finn - the first director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- Eugene Forsey – Canadian former Senator, constitutional expert
- Jessa Gamble – Author and science journalist
- Arnold Gosewich – Record industry executive and literary agent
- Lorry Greenberg – Former Ottawa mayor
- Lorne Greene – Newsreader, actor, and Star of TV's Bonanza
- Bruce Halliday – Physician and former Member of Parliament
- Laura Hannant – Child activist
- Anne Heggtveit – World and Olympic ski champion
- David Hein – Co-author and co-composer of Tony Award-nominated musical Come from Away
- 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
- Dominic LeBlanc – Lawyer and politician. Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade and former Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
- Rich Little – Impressionist
- Naomi K. Lewis – author
- Adam Logan – Former world Scrabble champion
- Pegi Nicol MacLeod - a teacher, war artist and arts activist, member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Canadian Group of Painters.
- David McGuffin – CBC News Africa Correspondent
- R. Tait McKenzie - was a Canadian physician, educator, athlete, soldier, Scouter and renowned sculptor; childhood and lifelong friend of James Naismith inventor of basketball
- Susan McMaster – Poet, performance poet
- Timco Mucunski – Macedonian Member of Parliament and academic
- Kagher Neiber-Shieg – World War I German fighter ace
- Kate O'Brien – pediatric infectious disease physician; Director of the World Health Organization's Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals
- Chamath Palihapitiya – Founder & CEO of Social Capital, part owner of the Golden State Warriors, and former senior executive at Facebook
- Matthew Perry – Actor, known for the role of Chandler Bing on Friends.
- Paola Pivi – International multimedia artist
- Shelagh Rogers – Journalist, host of Sounds Like Canada
- Mike Shaver – Software developer
- Shane Smith – Journalist, founder of Montreal-based Vice Magazine
- Percy Sparks - was a Canadian manufacturer and environmentalist. He is widely credited with being the Father of Gatineau Park
- Valdy – Folk and country musician
- Neil Rau - Infectious Diseases specialist and Medical Microbiologist. CTV Infectious Diseases Specialist during H1N1 and COVID-19. Queen‘s Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded 2012 by the Town of Oakville, ON.
- List of Ottawa, Ontario schools
- Ottawa-Carleton Educational Space Simulation
- List of designated heritage properties in Ottawa
- List of high schools in Ontario
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- Alere Flammam, Lisgar Alumni Association Newsletter, Fall 2009
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lisgar Collegiate Institute.|
- 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