Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School

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Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School
Centre for Self-Directed Learning
MWCSS Logo.svg
Mary Ward CSS.jpg
3200 Kennedy Road
Steeles, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, M1V 3S8
Coordinates 43°48′46″N 79°18′18″W / 43.8127°N 79.3050°W / 43.8127; -79.3050Coordinates: 43°48′46″N 79°18′18″W / 43.8127°N 79.3050°W / 43.8127; -79.3050
School type Catholic High school
Motto Because We Believe
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
(Loretto Sisters)
Founded 1985
School board Toronto Catholic District School Board
Superintendent Kevin Malcolm
Area 7
Area trustee Mike Del Grande
Ward 7
School number 544 / 730882
Principal Andrea Magee
Grades 9–12 (Non-semestered)
Enrollment 1067 (2016-17)
Language English
Area Northwest Scarborough
Colour(s) Red and Blue         
Team name Ward Wolverines
Newspaper Mary Ward Planet
Public transit access TTC:
North/South: 43 Kennedy
West/East: 42 Cummer
Rapid Transit: Kennedy, Finch
Parish Epiphany of Our Lord
Specialist High Skills Majors Health Care and Construction Technology
Program Focus Extended French
Self-Directed Learning

Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School (abbreviated Mary Ward C.S.S., MWCSS, MW, Mary Ward, or simply Ward) is a Roman Catholic secondary school in Scarborough, a district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


We should be such as we appear, and appear such as we are

— Mary Ward

The nun[edit]

Ward was born to Marmaduke Ward and Ursula Wright. Mary's first word was "Jesus", which was a sign of things to come. Mary was born at a time of great conflict for Roman Catholics in England. She was born in Ripon and in 1595 saw her family home burned down in anti-Catholic rioting. As the home was burning, Mary and her sisters knelt down and prayed for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the children were saved by their father. In 1599 she moved to the house of Sir Ralph Babthorpe at Osgodby, Selby. It was there at the age of 15 that Mary felt called to the religious life. She entered a monastery of Poor Clares at Saint-Omer in northern France, then in Spanish Flanders, as a lay sister in 1606 and the following year she founded a new monastery of the Order for English women at nearby Gravelines.

At age 15, Mary Ward was called to become religious. Since religious communities had been dispersed decades previously in England, and on the continent cloistered life was the only option for women at that time, she left England to become a Poor Clare. Through special graced insights God showed her that she was to do something different and greatly to God's glory. Mary Ward was declared "Venerable" by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 December 2009; this is the first of three steps on the path to being declared a saint.[1]

Establishment as the school[edit]

Former South Campus of Mary Ward on Greenfield Avenue (now Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts) from January 1985 to 1986.

Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School started out as two campuses known as the "Tin Can", one which later became Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts and a demolished relocatable. It was founded on January 23, 1985, during the 400th anniversary of Mary Ward's birth[2] as a conventional high school in northeast Toronto under the leadership of the first principal, Mary Anne O'Leary with 200 students.[3] The school came to existence due to overcrowding population at Francis Libermann and Senator O'Connor. The North Campus of Mary Ward was situated on 25 Canongate Trail at Birchmount and Steeles near the current building with 102 students in relocatables and the South Campus is located at the former St. Edward Catholic School on 36 Greenfield Avenue near the Board offices on Sheppard and Yonge (later the site of Cardinal Carter) with 47 students until they were consolidated in the Canongate campus in 1986 with 400 students.

By 1987, another "South Campus" was built with 600 students and 70 portables on the present site at 3200 Kennedy Road in the northwest corner of Kennedy Rd. and McNicoll Ave. where the current parking lot stands next to the Mon Sheong Nursing Home. The physical building for 861 students was built and completed by September 1991 as the school was opened and blessed in January 1992, designed specifically for its self-directed learning program (formerly called Direction 2000[4] established in the late 1980s.) By the 1992-93 school year, the school had grown to over 1,000 students.[5]

Originally, there was another school that was to be called Mary Ward near St. Elizabeth Seton, that was later changed to Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School by then-trustee Harold Adams.

In 1995, Mary Ward CSS became a founding member of the Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Learning Schools (CCSDL). The CCSDL is a grass roots organization of secondary schools across Canada that shares a similar vision and philosophy. CCSDL schools strive to build learning communities that embrace several core beliefs about teaching and learning. These beliefs serve as “the pillars and the foundation” of the program. The school, however by 1996, had an independent learning system. Sandra Gionas of the Toronto Star stated in 1996 that "Mary Ward is the only school outside Calgary where this experiment in independent learning has succeeded."[6] According to Gionas, "There are no classes or classrooms at Mary Ward. It's sometimes said the teachers don't teach. There's no first period or second period, no semester system or terms. And students decide when to write exams. "[6]

A case of Tuberculosis was confirmed at the school on September 26, 2013. It was said that about 20 people came in direct contact with the person. The school offered to meet with parents about the problem.[7][8][9]


The current Mary Ward campus shares 26 acres of land with the L'Amoureux Community Centre that is also attached to the school. With Mary Ward built for the self-directed learning program, the existing configuration shares with the community centre that has five English classrooms, three mathematics classrooms, five Canadian and World studies classrooms, five science labs and classrooms, three ESL classrooms, six French classrooms, four business and tech studies classrooms, three home economics rooms, five music rooms, a test centre room, a visual arts room also used for the Arts Administration course, a drama room, six religion classrooms, four special education classrooms, three gymnasiums with the larger one that can be split into two small gymnasia, an exercise room, a larger cafetorium with a couple seats fitted, an atrium, a student services area, several technological labs for communications that has four, manufacturing, and construction that has three rooms, five video studio labs, an Aces room, four computer labs with one for the Inspire program, a circular chapel, and the day care room that is attached. It also has three staircases as well with the students entering and exiting the school using the front entrance.[10]

A large parking lot is on the eastern side of the property where the portables previously stood. The school has a 400m race track and soccer/football field with a baseball diamond on the northern side of the school.

School publications[edit]

  • MW Planet – School Newspaper
  • Mary Ward Yearbook – Yearbook
  • Mary Ward Happenings - Parent newsletter

Feeder Schools[edit]

  • Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Academy
  • Holy Spirit Catholic Elementary School
  • Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School
  • Prince of Peace Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Aidan Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Bartholomew Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Florence Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Gabriel Lalemant Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Gerald Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Henry Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Maria Goretti Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Rene Goupil Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Sylvester Catholic Elementary School
  • The Divine Infant Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School
  • St. Timothy Catholic Elementary School

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Promulgation of 19 December 2009
  2. ^ Mary Ward C.S.S. – Program
  3. ^ Mary Ward Planet, Spring 2009
  4. ^ John Del Grande (Spring 2006). "WARD 7" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 20 successful years of the specialized Mary Ward Self-Learning Program – Direction 2000 
  5. ^ "Deal afoot to save Altona." Toronto Star. February 18, 1993. Scarborough/Durham p. SD.1. Retrieved on August 22, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Gionas, Sandra. "Educational revolution stirs Mary Ward staff, students." Toronto Star. March 8, 1996. Scarborough p. SC 2. Retrieved on August 22, 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mary Ward Agenda, 2012-13 - back cover.
  11. ^ 2006 Commonwealth Games Melbourne
  12. ^ Director's Annual Report 1998. Retrieved on 2007-05-27. "Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School student Craig Kielburger received the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship."
  13. ^
  14. ^ 2005 Top 20 Under 20T Award Recipients
  15. ^ 1998 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships

External links[edit]