Trafalgar Castle School

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Trafalgar Castle School
Whitby, Ontario
Coordinates 43°52′43″N 78°55′58″W / 43.87856°N 78.93289°W / 43.87856; -78.93289Coordinates: 43°52′43″N 78°55′58″W / 43.87856°N 78.93289°W / 43.87856; -78.93289
Type girls and young women Private Boarding/Day
Motto Veritas, Virtus, Venustas
Established 1874
Principal Dr. Leanne Foster
Grades grades 4 through 12
Language English
Colour(s) Blue Marine and White
Mascot Dante the Dragon
Affiliations Non Denominational

Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby, Ontario is an internationally known, independent day and boarding school for girls and young women in grades 4 through 12[1]. Boarding at the school begins in grade 7. Founded in 1874 as "Ontario Ladies' College", Trafalgar Castle School is one of the oldest independent schools in Canada and the second-oldest girls' school in Ontario.


The castle was built by Nelson Gilbert Reynolds, Sheriff of Ontario County, as a private residence in 1859. Reynolds was named after Lord Nelson and named his castle Trafalgar in honour of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The castle was the largest private dwelling in Canada until Casa Loma was built. It cost Reynolds $70,000, which was an exorbitant sum; a home at that time was built for $2,000, and a bank complete with vault could be built for $5,000 to $7,000. Reynolds was a colourful character and a gambling man, and indeed it was gambling losses that reportedly forced him to sell his beloved home to the Methodists in 1874 for the sum of $30,000.

The Methodists of that day were very interested in establishing higher learning institutions for young women. Rev. J. E. Sanderson convinced the Town of Whitby that this would be beneficial to its economy. James Holden, Esq. founder of the Dominion Bank, a local politician and businessman (with 5 daughters of his own) supported this idea. Sanderson and Holden were instrumental in raising the money and shares for the purchase of the castle and the establishment of Ontario Ladies' College.

Trafalgar Castle hosted its share of royalty and dignitaries through the years; both as Reynolds' residence, then as Ontario Ladies' College and now as Trafalgar Castle School.

Student life[edit]

The school has approximately 220 day and boarding students; all girls from grade 4 to grade 12. Boarding students from many countries including but not limited to Mexico, Korea, China, England, Spain, Nigeria, The Bahamas, Australia, Jamaica, and Japan. The boarding program starts in grade 7. While the school was historically Methodist, students today are from all faiths.

Students gather in the Chapel for presentations based on different weekly themes, such as values or events occurring in the world. At lunch, everyone gathers for a communal meal in the Dining Hall where announcements about student sports and daily events are made. Students attend an Academic Advisor period before and after school.

The current and 11th Head of School is Dr. Leanne Foster. She holds a BA from the University of Toronto, a B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT), and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Toronto. Dr. Foster assumed the role as Head of School in August 2015.

House system[edit]

The most significant development at OLC in 1947 was the establishment of a House System, which divided students into groups to compete for points in departments, neatness of uniforms, and athletics. The first Houses to be established were Farewell, Hare and Maxwell, named after the prominent personalities of the School’s early days. Dr. John James Hare served as the School’s first Principal until 1915. Rev. Frances Farewell succeeded him serving the School as Principal until his death in 1929. Ms. A.A. Maxwell was the Lady Principal and Dean for 21 years and was remembered as a teacher of first magnitude, a leader, and friend to the students.

Carter House was added in 1962. Ms. J. May Carter was also a Lady Principal and Dean who served the School from 1951 to 1957.

Students and staff remain dedicated to the House system, competing in activities throughout the year to ultimately attain the coveted House Cup. Each student is assigned to a house upon arrival at Trafalgar, where they mingle and meet students within their house. Currently, students accumulate house points for participation in academic and extracurricular activities. At the end of the year, the house with the most points wins the House Cup.

Over the past number of years, the succession of House Champions has been Hare '05-'06, Hare '06-'07, Hare '07-'08, Carter '08-'09, Farewell '09-'10, Hare '10-'11, Hare '11-'12, Maxwell '12-'13, Carter '13-'14, Carter '14-'15, Hare '15-'16, Farewell '16-'17


Trafalgar has teams of various age levels in the following sports:

  • Basketball - U20 - undefeated season 2010 and 2013
  • Running Club
  • Field hockey
  • Ice hockey
  • Soccer
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Track and Field
  • Tennis
  • Dance Pac
  • Volleyball -U16-CISAA champions 2013 undefeated


Trafalgar offers many after school clubs such as:

  • FIRST Robotics (USFIRST Robotics Competition FRC Team 1547)
  • FIRST Lego League Robotics Team (FLL)
  • S.M.A.T. (Science Math And Technology)
  • Art With Heart
  • Peer Mediation
  • Reading Team
  • The Castle Singers Choir
  • Band
  • Debating Society
  • ACT Club (Active Citizenship Team)
  • Eco Club
  • Instrument Ensembles
  • Archery Club
  • Swimming Club

There are also two main leadership groups in the school, the Prefects (a group of 6-10 grade 12 students hand-selected through a rigorous application process) and the Trafalgar Athletics and Spirit Council, or TASC (a group of ten grade 11 students who function as the House Leaders).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]