St. Andrew's College, Aurora

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St. Andrew's College, Aurora
Aurora, Ontario
Coordinates 44°00′42″N 79°28′36″W / 44.011599°N 79.476600°W / 44.011599; -79.476600Coordinates: 44°00′42″N 79°28′36″W / 44.011599°N 79.476600°W / 44.011599; -79.476600
Type Independent
Motto Quit ye like men, be strong
Religious affiliation(s) Non-Denominational Christian
Established 1899
Headmaster Kevin McHenry
Enrollment 613
Colour(s) Red and white
Mascot Saints

St. Andrew's College, also known as SAC, is an independent school founded in 1899 located in Aurora, Ontario, Canada. It is a university-preparatory school for boys in grades 5 to 12, with a focus on academic achievement, athletics, and leadership development. It is accredited by the Canadian Educational Standards Institute and is affiliated with other associations, including CAIS, CASE, NAIS and the International Boys' Schools Coalition (IBSC).

St. Andrew's College was first situated near what was then the village of York Mills (now part of Toronto) on land north of York Mills Road between Old Yonge Street and what is now Bayview Avenue, in a house named Chestnut Park that was previously owned by Sir David Macpherson. In 1905, the School moved to Rosedale, and made its final move to the current campus in Aurora in 1926. The School has a 110-acre (0.45 km2) campus suburban environment.

Its Georgian architecture is built around the traditional quadrangle form. There are four boarding houses on campus, which are home to approximately half of the 613 boys. Many teaching faculty also live on campus. St. Andrew's College's Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on August 15, 2006.


St. Andrew's College in Rosedale, Toronto, circa 1910s, prior to the move to Aurora, Ontario

The School's mission statement is Dedicating ourselves to the development of the complete man, the well-rounded citizen. Sports are a compulsory activity and considered an essential part of school life and culture; 62 teams across 22 sports are offered by the School. As of 2002, every classroom and common area at St. Andrew's College is covered by a wireless network.

The students have a broad selection of courses to choose from, including Advanced Placement (AP) classes to better prepare them for post-secondary studies. As well, many AP examinations are offered at this testing location. Example of AP courses offered are chemistry, English, calculus, statistics, economics and computer science. SAC has a 100% university acceptance rate and graduates move on to post-secondary education around the world, including Canadian, American and British universities.


More than half the students from over 25 countries attending St. Andrew's College live in residence. Day boys, from York Region and the surrounding area, are a part of the four day houses: Ramsey, Laidlaw, Smith, Perrier. Middle School consists of students in grades 5 through 8 while Upper School comprises students in grades 9 through 12. Macdonald House is the home to all boarders attending grades 5 through 8. Upper School residents live in the four boarding houses: Flavelle, Sifton, Memorial and Macdonald. The programs for Middle School students are generally independent from those for Upper School. The Middle School clans are Douglas, Montrose, Wallace and Bruce. Each student is also part of a clan, where they participate in various activities to earn Clan Points.

In addition, St. Andrew's students hail from an array of different backgrounds. Half of the School's student body are boarders and nearly 50% of the boarding community is international, coming from such countries and regions as the Korea, Bahamas, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Germany, Indonesia, Spain, China, Nepal and the United States to name a few. The remaining students are from various provinces across Canada.


Academic facilities[edit]

Coulter Hall - A three-floor building designated for use by the Social Sciences and English departments. The basement floor is the lockers for Smith and Laidlaw houses and also houses the History and Cadet departments and the first floor is home to social science courses while the second is home to the history and business departments.

Ketchum Auditorium - The School's auditorium, adjacent to Coulter Hall. The Ketchum Auditorium is home to St. Andrew's annual school plays and drama department.

McLaughlin Hall - A three-storey wing connecting the Bedard Athletic Centre, Coulter Hall, and Rogers Hall. It is completely devoted to science-related studies. The first floor is designated for geographic studies. The second floor is designated for biological studies and computer science. The third is designated for mathematics, chemistry and physics. It also features a permanently installed Focault pendulum, one of only a handful in Canada.

Towers Library - the main library at St. Andrew's College. It is named after Graham Towers, the first governor of the Bank of Canada, and an Old Boy.

Wirth Art Gallery - is a facility designed to house the arts and media arts departments for the School. It is also the location of noted in-house local artist Tino Paolini. It was named for Old Bot Alf Wirth '59.

Student and school facilities[edit]

Ackerman Field - named after Gorden Ackerman, a former football coach and teacher at the College, the Ackerman Field is one of the School's sports fields.

Bedard Athletic Centre - This building, named after the School's sixth Headmaster, Robert Bedard, is home to the School's athletic needs. It houses one of the two gymnasiums on campus, as well as 6 international squash courts, a 25-metre six lane indoor swimming pool, the fitness and weight training facility, 10 locker rooms, and a fully staffed sports injury clinic.

Dunlap Hall - This is one of the original four buildings on campus. Today it houses the School's administrative facility. Dunlap Hall is separated into two floors: the first serves numerous functions including the Headmaster's office, admission office and the School's administration office. The second floor houses the alumni and advancement office and the university guidance office.

Staunton Gallery - The main part of the School where most of the students congregate, was dedicated to departing Headmaster Ted Staunton. The commons area is adjacent to the Wirth Art Gallery.

Great Hall - The dining hall where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily. It is also the site for many formal meals and ceremonies, like the yearly St. Andrew's Day dinner in November. The music rooms are also located in the basement of the Great Hall.

High Ropes Course - The high ropes course is the School's only rope course and is frequently used to train the School's cadets, especially those in grade 12 who wish to become cadet instructors, where completing the high ropes course is mandatory.

Memorial Chapel - The School's main Chapel, which is dedicated to the Andreans who fought and died during World War I and II. The donation was made by Sir Joseph Flavelle, who also donated funds to establish Flavelle House. Morning services as well as some special services like the Remembrance Day Service are held in the Memorial Chapel.

Quad - Located directly in front of the boarding houses, the quad is supposed to represent the sacred ground at St. Andrew's, and is used to host Prize Day in June and the annual Cadet inspection in May. However, students are allowed to use the quad for athletic purposes at designated times during the day.

Yuill Family Gymnasium - The main athletic facility for all Middle School students. Yuill Gym may also be used for Upper School activities, such as the annual Homecoming dance or some assemblies. Moreover, the Yuill gym is home to the Middle School rockclimbing facility. It was named for Old Boy Bill Yuill '57.

Yuill Family Athletic Complex - The upper fields of the School. Consist's of a state of the art synthetic turf field, with an 800-seat stadium, press box, and scoreboard. Surrounding the field is a 6-lane regulation track. The complex also includes a regulation size baseball diamond, batting cages, warm-up mounds, and multipurpose athletic courts. The complex was completed in Spring of 2012 and is named for its lead donor, Old Boy Bill Yuill '57.

La Brier Family Arena - A new hockey arena. It is being used for U12, U14, U16, JV and Varsity teams. Built and completed in 2014, it is the cornerstone in our athletic program.

Rogers Hall - Built in 2003, this is the main building for the Middle School.

Residential facilities[edit]

In addition to the School's academic and athletic facilities, there are four residential facilities for the boarding students at St. Andrew's. They are:

  • Memorial House — named after the soldiers who died during World War I and World War II.
  • Flavelle House — named after Sir Joseph Flavelle.
  • Macdonald House — named after St. Andrew's first Headmaster - D. Bruce Macdonald.
  • Sifton House — named after the School's prolific alumni and donors, the Sifton family, descended from Sir Clifford Sifton.

Cadet Corps[edit]

St. Andrew’s is also home to Canada’s second largest Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps. Established in 1905, the #142 St. Andrew's College Highland Cadet Corps is now a credit earning, multi-year leadership program, but still culminates in an annual inspection in May. The School's cadet corps is also affiliated with the 48th Highlanders of Canada, retaining the same motto ("Dileas Gu Brath" - "Faithful Forever") as well as uniform (scarlet tunic and Modern Gordon tartan). In 2005, the centennial year, the Corps was granted the Freedom of the City of Aurora.

The Pipes and Drums Band is an integral part of the St. Andrew's College Highland Cadet Corps and one of its best known elements. The primary responsibility of the Pipes and Drums Band is to provide music for the Battalion when it is on the march. In this role, the Band will be front and centre at the Annual Church Parade, the Headmaster's Parade and the Annual Inspection in May.

The Cadet Corps closely resembles that of the Canadian army. Beginning from grade 8, all students at St. Andrew's must participate in the Cadet program. Those who wish to further pursue their leadership position in the Cadet Corps can either become platoon instructors or apply for senior positions within the corps. There are four mandatory levels in the cadet program, which accompanies each grade, and they are as follows:

  • Green Star (grade 8) - if the student passes the final Green Star exam, he will be promoted from a cadet to a lance corporal.
  • Red Star (grade 9) - if the student passes the final Red Star exam, he will be promoted from a private to a corporal.
  • Silver Star (grade 10) - if the student passes the final Silver Star exam, he will be promoted from a corporal to a master corporal.
  • Gold Star (grade 11) - if the student passes the final Gold Star exam, he will be promoted from a master corporal to a sergeant.

As well, the St. Andrew's College Cadet Corps has won a multitude of awards. It won the Strathcona Cup for general efficiency of private school cadet corps in 1944, 1945, 1947, 1954, 1955, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1973, 1980, 1981 and 1983. Moreover, it won the Earl Grey Challenge Trophy for the Best Cadet Corps in Canada in 1960-1961.[1]

Rank structure[edit]

Similar to the Canadian Forces, a Cadet can be promoted on merit gained through Cadet accreditation and leadership within the corps. The rank structure is equivalent to that of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets; the Cadet Corps is one of only a few Cadet Corps in Canada which still keeps Cadets officers ranks.

Piping and drumming[edit]

In addition to the normal Cadet Corps, the Pipes and Drums Band are also paramount to the School's Cadet Corps. Internationally renowned as "North America's piping heartland" for its Piping and Drumming program, St. Andrew's College attracts hundreds of potential pipers each year to its summer "Ontario School of Piping and Drumming at St. Andrew’s College" camp.[2]

Like the Cadets in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets program, pipers and drummers can elevate their rank in the same way that the normal school Cadets do.

St. Andrew's terms[edit]

  • GLC - short for "Guided Learning Centre," students usually come to the GLC to finish their outstanding homework, assignments or tests.
  • Demerits - will be given out if students miss a breakfast, assembly, house meeting, late for study and lights out, or other misbehaving. Boarding students will be given a Tier One Gating if they get 12 demerits while day boys can only have 6 before they are given a Tier One Gating.
  • Tier One Gating - a detention given out to students either because of an accumulation of demerits, a disciplinary or academic problem. Students serve this gating in the School's Resource Centre for five hours on Saturday or Sunday.
  • Tier Two Gating - The same as a Tier One Gating, except the student must come in for five hours on both days of the weekend.
  • Help Desk - A centre manned by Fujitsu-certified professionals and interns where students can bring their tablet computers for any software or hardware problems.
  • The Shads - the name for the creek that runs through the Malone playing fields, also the origin of the name of the Shad Valley organization.
  • Day boy - Informal name given to a day student.
  • Boarder - Informal name given to a boarding student.
  • Old Boy - Term used for alumni of the School.

School events[edit]

Each year, St. Andrew's hosts certain events that are special only to the School. Some of these activities and events involve the School's entire student body, while others invite Old Boys (SAC alumni), alumnies and their friends and families. These events serve different purposes, some of which are integral to the School's identity while others are used for fundraising causes.

Picture of the School's first cadet corps in 1905.
  • Annual Cadet Inspection - the annual Cadet Inspection is mandatory for the entire student body at St. Andrew's. The Inspection is usually held in May and invites prominent representatives from all across Canada to inspect the School's student body. A tradition that finds its root since 1906, the annual inspection is integral to the School's identity and preserving the School's Scottish background.
  • Cadets in Concert - This musical concert showcases the School's Pipes and Drums and feature the Corps Concert Band, Stage Band and a few outstanding soloists, percussionists and dancers. It highlights traditional Celtic music, military band music, and some show tunes.
  • Andrean Christmas - The annual Andrean Christmas is held at Roy Thompson Hall in midtown Toronto in December and showcases the School’s musicians and singers. The church holds over 2,000 people and is generally filled to capacity. Like the annual Cadet Inspection, the Carol Service is mandatory and everybody from the student body must attend.
  • Focus Festival of the Arts - This program is a three-day festival of plays, a film festival, visual arts, music and social events for students, parents and guests. Boys who have never been involved in drama or on the stage before are encouraged to participate by writing their own plays, directing, producing or acting in performances large and small.
  • Homecoming - an annual gathering of all St. Andrew's alumni to return to St. Andrew's in September. Held in conjunction with the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 reunion dinners, this annual gathering is for the entire Andrean community. The Homecoming celebration includes games for the children in the Quad and in the Great Hall, and various sports competitions, especially soccer and football. For Upper School students, the Homecoming event usually includes the annual Homecoming dance on Saturday evening.
  • MacPherson Tournament - an annual hockey event where the St. Andrew's varsity hockey team competes with hockey teams from other top schools for the MacPherson Cup. The cup is named after three Andreans: Lloyd MacPhearson, Jim Hamilton and Bob Meagher, all of whom loved hockey with passion and contributed greatly to the St. Andrew's hockey team. The tournament has a North American flavour, hosting schools from Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Quebec, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, New York, Nova Scotia and Michigan as well as a variety of regions in Ontario.[3]
  • Prize Day - Prize Day is the culmination of the School's academic year, and features many awards and prizes earned by the School's students. There are two ceremonies, one for the Middle School and one for the Upper School. Prize Day takes place after exams, which are usually completed by early June.
  • St. Andrew's Dinner - every November, a traditional St. Andrew's night dinner is held, complete with Haggis. All students must attend, wearing their kilts for this special occasion. Like the annual Cadet Inspection, the St. Andrew's Dinner has taken place since the inception of the School and is integral to the preservation of the School's Scottish traditions.


Middle School Clans:

  • Bruce Clan
  • Douglas Clan
  • Wallace Clan
  • Montrose Clan

Students in a particular Upper School house, both day and boarding, are in the same clan.

Upper School Clans:

  • MacPherson Clan, Flavelle House
  • Buchanan Clan, Memorial House
  • Chattan Clan, Smith House
  • Ramsay Clan, Ramsey House
  • Robertson Clan, Laidlaw House
  • Stewart Clan, Sifton House
  • Craig Clan, Perrier House
  • MacDonald Clan, MacDonald House


St. Andrew's College is one of the original members of Ontario’s “Little Big Four” (the others being Ridley College, Trinity College School, and Upper Canada College). The photographs of each year’s representative teams line the walls along the first and second floors of the Bedard Athletic Centre. Sports are mandatory — all Upper School boys must participate in two out of three sports terms during the year, while Middle School students must participate in all three terms.

St. Andrew's has a tradition of sporting, as shown by its participation in both private and public school leagues and associations:

  • Private schools competition
  • Little Big Four (L.B.F.) 1899-1968
  • Independent School League (I.S.L.) 1968-1982
  • Independent Schools Athletic Association (I.S.A.A.) 1982-1993
  • Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (C.I.S.A.A.)1993–present
  • Canadian Association of Independent Schools (C.A.I.S.) 1981–present
  • Public schools competition
  • York Region Secondary Schools Athletic Association (Y.R.S.S.A.A.) 1971-1995
  • Georgian Bay Secondary Schools Athletic Association (G.B.S.S.A.A.) 1973-1986
  • Durham-York Secondary Schools Athletic Association (D.Y.S.S.A.A.) 1986-1995
  • York Region Athletic Association (Y.R.A.A.) 1995-2004
  • Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (O.F.S.A.A.) 1948–present

St. Andrew's College has teams for the following sports:


  • Reverend George Bruce (1899–1900)
  • Reverend Bruce Macdonald (1900–1935)
  • Kenneth Ketchum (1935–1958)
  • Dr. Joseph Robert Coulter (1958–1974)
  • Dr. Thomas Hockin (1974–1981)
  • Robert Bédard (1981–1997)
  • E.G. (Ted) Staunton (1997–2009)
  • Kevin McHenry (2009–present)

Notable faculty[edit]

Old Boys[edit]

St. Andrew's alumni include:









  1. ^ Captain J.M.Stephens, CD. "History of 142". Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  2. ^ "Ontario School of Piping and Drumming at St. Andrew’s College". Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  3. ^ History
  4. ^ "I am Andrean" "St. Andrew's College", Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Rob McEwen profile
  7. ^


  • Scoular, William (1998): Not An Ordinary Place: A St. Andrew's Century, St. Andrew's College.

External links[edit]