|Gateway Public School|
|55 Gateway Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario, M3C 1B4
|School type||Public, high school|
|School board||Toronto District School Board|
|Area trustee||Gerri Gershon|
|Communities served||Flemingdon Park|
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute is a high school in Toronto, Ontario, and part of the Toronto District School Board. Best known for being the host school of the TOPS program, a selective math and science enrichment program. It is the only high school in Canada dedicated to helping students with careers in the space sciences.
Originally named Overlea Secondary School, MGCI opened its doors in 1987 as one of the first open concept schools in Canada. On October 16, 1987 it was rechristened Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute after Canada's first astronaut Marc Garneau. It is host school to the TOPS program and has offered pilot courses in Earth and Space Science, Science Journalism and Cisco Networking. It is the only high school in Canada dedicated to helping students with careers in the space sciences.
In 1993, MGCI was honoured with the Roberta Bondar Science and Technology Award in recognition of the school's achievements in numerous student programs, particularly its SEDS chapter, which no longer exists. Renovations to the school in 1998 removed many of the open concept elements of the school's design.
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There are numerous extra curricular activities at Marc Garneau. Some of the clubs include chapters of DECA, Student Council, Amnesty International and Key Club. The MGCI Yearbook is the work of the Yearbook course and committee. It is distributed in June of the academic year.
Garneau provides students with a wide variety of sports teams including: Football, junior and senior Rugby, junior and senior Basketball, Soccer, Volley Ball, Baseball, Field Hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, Cricket, tennis and the annual hockey tournament. The school has thriving sports teams the cricket team being no exception, who advanced to city finals in 2009 with its strongly middle eastern demography. The official mascot for the school is the Cougar.
Music and Drama
Offered extracurricular activities include the Concert Band, Choir, Steel Pan Ensemble, Guitar Club, Music Council, and Stage Band. Although there is no official strings program offered by the school, students play in the completely student-run String Orchestra. There were few bands came out from this school, which includes 'NUM' the most popular school rock band. Drama students at Marc Garneau not only perform musicals and plays, but also participate in many activities, such as the Canadian Improv Games and the Sears Festival. The drama department has won numerous awards: an Award of Merit for the ensemble of 'Hit the Ground Running', and for the play’s Original sound-scape. Their second entry 'Truth or Dare', another original play written by students and under teacher direction, also won gold, and various students received awards for lighting, performance, and production. Also it should be noted that Marc Garneau entered another student created play called "Burn" in 2009 Sears Drama Festival. It has then gone on to win Award of Excellence and came out on top of district finals. It went on to perform at U of T Hart House to compete for regional entry.
The Talented Offerings for Programs in the Sciences (TOPS) Program is a merit-based specialized program open to students from across Ontario, housed at MGCI. The program offers enriched courses for its students in its core subjects of Science, Math and English, as well as courses in History and Computer Programming. TOPS accepts about 60 students each year through a competitive application process (involving supplementary applications and an exam), the vast majority of whom are residents of the Toronto area. A primary claim to the program's fame is that all or nearly all of its graduating students go on to university studies, both domestically and abroad. The program also features a much stronger sense of community than one usually experiences in the high school environment, mostly because of its small size and emphasis on community-building projects, events, and field trips.
Recognition and Awards
In 2004, Maclean's magazine ranked the TOPS program at MGCI as among the best schools in Canada, suggesting it was the number-one program for students pursuing science or math in their later studies. The September 2006 issue of Toronto Life also stated that MGCI was the best high school in Toronto for math and science, once again largely crediting the TOPS program.
TOPS students have received a numerous scholarships: in recent years the graduating class of about 55 students has won over $1.3 million in scholarships. Many of the graduating students have also continued studies at prestigious universities around the world, including Harvard, Yale, Wellesley, Princeton, Oxford, University of Toronto, and McGill. TOPS students are known for getting into extremely competitive university programs (such as Engineering Science at UofT) in droves. They have also enjoyed success in city-wide, provincial, national, and even international Science Fairs.
Five of the teachers at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute who teach courses in the TOPS program have received the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence.
Moving the Program
In recent years, there has been an ongoing discussion about moving the TOPS Program out of MGCI. Advocates point to the overcrowding (estimated at 144% in 2009) of the school, and the need for the program to admit more students and hire more specialized teachers if it is to retain its current teaching model. In 2009, a presentation was made to the TDSB Trustees by parents, teachers, and students, and an external audit of the situation was commissioned. The council responded by creating a satellite program at another location in an attempt to alleviate the overcrowding issue.
Currently, the TOPS Parent Council and the student-led Marc Garneau Student Council continue to advocate moving the program.
- CBC Digital Archives: Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
- Macleans.ca - Spot Stories - Education - A-Plus Learning. Macleans.ca. Retrieved on September 17, 2006
- Canadian Space Resource Centre
- TOPS Program
- School Website
- School Library Website
- Overlea/Marc Garneau Alumni Website
- Marc Garneau Newsletter (April)
- Marc Garneau Online (Website)