Unionville High School (Ontario)

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For the school located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, see Unionville High School (Pennsylvania). For other uses of the initialism, see UHS (disambiguation).
Unionville High School
201 Town Centre Blvd.
Markham, Ontario, L3R 8G5
Coordinates 43°52′N 79°20′W / 43.867°N 79.333°W / 43.867; -79.333Coordinates: 43°52′N 79°20′W / 43.867°N 79.333°W / 43.867; -79.333
School type Public Secondary School
Motto Create and Achieve
Founded 1985
School board York Region District School Board
Superintendent Peter Tse[1]
Area trustee Billy Pang[1]
Principal Suelyn Cheong[1]
Vice-Principals Krista Pummell[1]
Sonya Borrell[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrolment 1649[2] (October 2015)
Language English
Area York Region
Colour(s) Maroon      and Grey     
Mascot Sam the Wolf
Team name Unionville Wolves
Last updated: February 2017

Unionville High School (known locally as UHS) is a public high school of the York Region District School Board in Ontario, Canada. It is located west of the community of Unionville in the city of Markham. The school is located next to the Markham Civic Centre and the Markham Theatre.

Unionville High School is most well known for its enriched arts program, Arts Unionville (formerly known as Arts York). The school was purpose-built to house this regional arts program, therefore it has enhanced arts facilities. Arts York is divided into 4 categories: visual arts, music, dance, and drama. In order to gain entry to these unique programs, grade eight to nine students are required to audition.


In the mid-1970s, Superintendent Stephen Bacsalmsi proposed the idea of an advanced arts program for the region. The Ontario government accepted the idea, but needed to wait for a new high school to be built. When Unionville High School was under construction, the government decided it was a prime opportunity to initiate the program. The school was finished and opened to the public in 1985, with the schools west wing constructed in the Spring of 2002.[3][4]

Unionville High School also became the first school outside the United States to participate in the Apple Digital Campus Curriculum (ADCC) in 2002.[citation needed]

In 2005, Sheila Hetherington and Jerry Berridge, teachers in the history and tech departments, were recipients of the Governor General's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History.[5] In 2006, the same two teachers later received the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence.[6] For the 2007-08 teaching year, Donna McAdam was a recipient of the Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence.[7] The two documentaries created during this course, When We Were Young and Never Shall We Forget, were of broadcast standard and aired on TVO.[8][9]



The facilities at Unionville High include a visual arts room, communication/new media lab, construction lab, design and technological lab, dance studios, music rooms, music practice rooms, drama rooms, black box theatre, family studies labs, photography blackroom, science labs, resource centre, classrooms, guidance office, two gymnasiums, two outdoor fields, outdoor track, weight room, washrooms and shower facilities, student cafeteria, student council office, yearbook office, student parking facilities, staff dining room, and staff workrooms.[10]

There are approximately 300 computers in the school, divided between 9 computer labs. Notably, two of the computer labs employ Apple computers, as a part of the Apple Digital Campus.[10]

While officially being two separate properties, the school as well as the Markham Theatre are connected via a tunnel. The theatre occasionally hosts school assemblies as well as performances from the Arts Unionville program.[11]


Arts Unionville program[edit]

Arts Unionville, formally known as Arts York, is a four-year program that high school students take concurrently with the mainstream academic program. The high school enrolls students from all over the Greater Toronto Area. In 2010, due to school board changes, Arts York was forced to change their program name to Arts Unionville and will only take students from the Markham area, except for piano and stringed instruments.[12] Class 2012 was the last year of Arts York. However, in the 2009-10 school year, the program was renamed "Arts Unionville" [13] Shortly after, the York Region District School Board removed funding for busing, thus eliminating transportation means for long-distance students attending the program. As a result, students were forced to drop out. The decision was protested by many parents and students, and after hiring a lawyer, they settled out of court to have funding for bus transportation reinstated for the rest of the 2008-2009 school year.[14] Students living in areas not around Unionville were expected to attend arts schools in their own districts. As a result, the pool of talent for these programs has significantly declined.[15]

Musical arts[edit]

The Musical Arts department is the biggest section of Arts Unionville at Unionville High School. There are four classrooms for music situated in the east wing of the school directly adjacent to the underground link to the Markham Theater. With its strategic placement, it is often said amongst faculty, staff, and students that the Music department is located in its own east wing.

The Arts Unionville Music program is separated into six categories: piano, winds, strings, vocal, brass, and percussion.[16] Classes are divided into two types: performance and musicianship. In performance classes, students play scales, studies, and other short pieces. In the musicianship classes, components such as music history, rudiments, and harmony are taught. Arts Unionville Music classes are also taught based on a Day 1/Day 2 timetable.

Visual arts[edit]

The Visual Arts program provides opportunities for individual creative and imaginative growth as well as development of technical skills.[17] In this program, students are introduced to both traditional and experimental perspectives in painting and drawing. They will also be specializing in sculpture, photography, digital, printmaking (etching and silkscreen), and video. Students will also study history of art and will learn to critically analyze their own work, enabling the students to discover individual strengths and directions. For the purpose of developing the aptitudes of talented students interested in the Visual Arts, programs are offered in all four years.

Dramatic arts[edit]

The Drama Department explores university level dramatic arts. Disciplines such as mask, mime, clown and Shakespeare are presented to the actors and explored through self-discovery.[18] Many Arts York and Arts Unionville Drama graduates, like Hayden Christensen and Emmanuelle Chriqui, have gone on to professional careers as actors, singers, comedians and production staff in both film and television as well as studied at top institutions such as the National Theatre School.[19]

Dance arts[edit]

Dance arts is another popular program in Arts Unionville. This program focuses on the development of creativity, artistry, and technique needed to improve dance expression.[20] Students in this program are given opportunities to participate in dance programs such as Dance Access, and The Nutcracker productions in December staged by the National Ballet of Canada.


NewMedia was a program that ran for three years from 2003 to 2006. Although it wasn't as popular as its Arts York counterpart, it was still considered a respectable program within York Region.[by whom?] Students were introduced to, and studied extensively in, Communication Technology and the study of Graphic Design. There was only one class per grade, approximately 30 students per class. The main reasons for the cessation of the program were funding problems and attendance. Finally, NewMedia was only made available to students in the Markham area, unlike the Arts York program, which had then accepted students from all over York Region.

Academic achievement[edit]

Students at Unionville High School has in recent years performed very well in academics, whether it be in compulsory provincial testing, or in extra-curricular academic competitions. Academically, the Fraser institute 2014 Report Card gave the high school a rating of 9.5/10 and a rank of second out of 740 schools in Ontario, and sixth out of 690 schools in Ontario over the past five years.[21] When the Fraser Institute originally began publishing report on Ontario secondary schools in 2001, Unionville was rated at 8.9/10 and ranked at 36 out of 568 schools and 21 out of 349 in Ontario.[22]

Provincial assessment[edit]

Each year, Grade 9 students across Ontario are issued province-wide standardized tests in Mathematics. The tests themselves are administered by the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). The Mathematics assessment is graded under the Ontario rubric, where level 3 is considered the provincial standard, and level 4 is considered above the provincial standard. In the 2012-13 academic year:

  • 34% of Unionville students, enrolled in the academic program, scored level 4 in EQAO Math Assessment (only 13% of all students in Ontario achieved this standard).[23]
  • 97% of Unionville students, enrolled in the academic program, scored level 3 or above in EQAO Math Assessment (only 84% of Ontario students achieved this standard).[23]

In addition to the Grade 9 mathematics assessment, EQAO also administers the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, a standardized test for high school students in Ontario who wish to graduate from an Ontario secondary school and obtain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The test is written every year on the last Thursday of March in all public secondary schools including Unionville. In the 2009 testing:

  • 96% of Unionville students who were taking the test for the first time passed the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, (compared to an 82% success rate for the province as a whole).[24]

Extra-curricular competitions[edit]

The school itself has also formed extra-curricular clubs or teams to compete in academic competitions such as the national Reach for the Top trivia game show and the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). Several students representing the school have been sent to represent the province in international DECA competitions, and in some cases, achieving stellar results during the competition.[25][26] Students also have the opportunity to compete in the Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge (COMC) each year as individuals and as a part of the school team each year.[27]

Clubs and extracurricular activities[edit]


Besides the school's arts programs, the school also has a respectable athletics program competing in the York Region Athletic Association and OFSAA. Following are some of the sports in which the school participates:

  • Basketball - Jr./Sr. Boys, Jr./Sr. Girls
  • Volleyball - Jr./Sr. Boys, Jr./Sr. Girls
  • Ice Hockey - Jr./Sr. Boys, Girls
  • Girls Field Hockey
  • Girls Slowpitch
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Track and Field
  • Curling
  • Mountain Biking
  • Badminton
  • Golf
  • Boys and Girls Soccer
  • Girls Rugby
  • Boys Rugby
  • Swim
  • Ski and Snowboard
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Indoor Rock Climbing

A notable member of the Unionville High hockey team was Cody Hodgson, currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL. An autographed jersey can be found in the school.


The school is home to many clubs, although the number of clubs and their continuance varies per academic year. Some of the more longstanding clubs would include:[28]

  • Academic Decathlon
  • Anime Club
  • Anime and Manga Drawing Club
  • Archery Club
  • Amnesty International
  • Badminton Club
  • Beach Volleyball Club
  • Book Club
  • Breakdance Club
  • CHARIS Christian Fellowship
  • Chess Club
  • Chinese Cultural Association
  • Classical Music Appreciation
  • Classics
  • Community Involvement
  • Computer Science Club
  • DECA
  • Debate Society
  • Drum Circle
  • Eco Action
  • Equestrian Club
  • Episilon Phi Lambda
  • Finance Club
  • Family Studies
  • Fashion
  • Free The Children
  • Guitar Club
  • Greek Culture
  • Lauxes
  • Math Club
  • Photography Club
  • Robotics
  • Trained Responders
  • Reader's Guild Society
  • Smash Club
  • UHS Charity Club
  • United Nations
  • Writers Anonymous Association
  • White Pine Reading Club

YRDSB International Languages Program[edit]

The YRDSB International Languages Program holds Cantonese, Greek, Japanese, and Mandarin classes for Senior Kindergarten to Grade 8 on various days of the week at Unionville High School.[29]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Unionville H.S.". York Region District School Board. © 2015 York Region District School Board. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "York Region District School Board - Monthly Enrolment Report" (PDF). York Region District School Board. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Chairs’ Committee: Minutes of Meeting #5 (Public), York Region District School Board. May 13, 2002. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  4. ^ "West wing construction," UHS 25th reunion. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  5. ^ Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean Speech on the Occasion of the Presentation of the Governor General’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History,” Governor General of Canada. November 29, 2005. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  6. ^ Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence,” Prime Minister’s Awards. November 17, 2008. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  7. ^ 2007-08 Award Recipients,” Premier’s Awards for Teaching Excellence. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  8. ^ http://professionallyspeaking.oct.ca/june_2006/war_stories.asp
  9. ^ http://tvo.org/sites/static/pdf/TVOListingsNov07.pdf
  10. ^ a b Unionville High School Our Students, (Retrieved 2010-01-27.)
  11. ^ "Theatre marks quarter century," Yorkregion.com. (Retrieved 2010-01-27.)
  12. ^ "Arts Unionville". Arts Unionville. Unionvile High School. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Unionville H.S. no longer for elite students?". yorkregion.com. Metroland Media Group LTD. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  15. ^ Leung, Justin. "The Plight of Arts York/Arts Unionville". CANYOUTH. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Admissions". York Region District School Board. York Region District School Board. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Visual Arts Information". York Region District School Board. York Region District School Board. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  18. ^ http://www.unionville.hs.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/artsunionville/drama_audition.html
  19. ^ http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/2014/01/17/tca_2014_canadian_native_pioneers_wave_of_online_tv.html
  20. ^ "Dance". Arts Unionville. Unionville High School. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Report Card for Unionville High School,”
  22. ^ Report Card on Ontario's Secondary Schools : 2001 Edition,” Ranking the schools. No publication date. (Retrieved 2010-10-03.)
  23. ^ a b Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics, 2012-2013,
  24. ^ Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, May 2013,”
  25. ^ 2010 ICDC Business Service Marketing Winners, DECA. 2010. (Retrieved 2010-5-21.)
  26. ^ 2010 ICDC Accounting Applications Winners, DECA. 2010. (Retrieved 2010-5-21.)
  27. ^ 2009 Results Euclid Contest, Canadian Mathematics Competition. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  28. ^ Curriculum and Co-Curricular Activities, York Region District School Board. (Retrieved 2009-09-08.)
  29. ^ "International Languages Program" (PDF). York Region District School Board. York Region District School Board. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  30. ^ Pasternak, Sean B. “Ready or Not, Lani Ballard Has Arrived,” Thornhill Times. July 1995. (Retrieved 2009-09-06.)
  31. ^ Steve Byers as Jason Tanner,” Falcon Beach. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-09-096.)
  32. ^ Christina Cox,” The New York Times [online only]. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-09-06.)
  33. ^ Lynch, Lorrie. “Adam Sandler’s costar, Emmanuelle Chriqui,” The Who's News Blog, USA Weekend. May 23, 2008. (Retrieved 2009-09-06.)
  34. ^ Hayden Christensen,” NNDB. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-09-06.)
  35. ^ Dakota Synopsis,” El Duo Motion Pictures. (Retrieved 2010-10-03.)
  36. ^ OHA's Annual Convention & Exhibition Excitement from Beginning to End. Ontario Hospital Association. July 2000. Archived May 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ Hayakawa, Mike. “Will Stamkos go No. 1?,” yorkregion.com June 18, 2008. (Retrieved 2009-09-06.)
  38. ^ [2] "Arts York" program refers to Unionville High School
  39. ^ "Sarah-Lynn Wells". 2012 London Olympic Games. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 

External links[edit]