West Island College

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West Island College
School type Private preparatory school
Motto Praestatantiam Consectemur
(The Pursuit of Excellence)
Established 1974 (first location)
Founder Terry D. Davies
Accreditation Canadian Accredited Independent Schools

West Island College (WIC) is a name associated with three Canadian private schools: West Island College Montreal, founded in 1974;[1] West Island College Calgary, founded in 1982;[2] and Class Afloat–West Island College International, founded in 1984.[3] Historically the schools shared varying levels of affiliation, though today no financial or administrative association remains, and each school operates independently. A West Island College school was opened briefly in Ottawa, Ontario, but is no longer in operation.[4][additional citation(s) needed]

West Island College (Montreal)[edit]

West Island College Montreal was the first West Island school to open and was founded in 1974 to provide an academic program dedicated to preparing students for post secondary education. It was first established in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, on Montreal's West Island, an area at the western end of the island of Montreal. The school moved to its present location in Dollard-des-Ormeaux in 1978 in order to accommodate a growing student body.[citation needed] Today West Island College in Montreal has an annual enrolment of 400 students,[5] and includes both a French school and an English school housed within the same facility.

West Island College (Calgary)[edit]

West Island College Calgary was opened in 1982 to provide an academic program dedicated to preparing students for post secondary education.[2] The original campus was located in Riverbend and opened with 40 students. They then moved to the Fairview campus on Fife road. The school moved to its present location at 7410 Blackfoot Trail S.E., Calgary in 1994 in order to accommodate a growing student body. The college has expanded to a second building adjacent to the original site. Today West Island College in Calgary has an annual enrolment of 550+ students,[5] and includes both a French immersion track and an English track housed within the same facility.

Class Afloat—West Island College International[edit]

West Island College Montreal
West Island College Montreal Logo.png
851 Tecumseh, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Québec
Mottoes The Pursuit of Excellence
Established 1974
Team name Voyagers
School fees $4,392 + $200 Contract Signing

In 1984 the United Nations, under the banner of "International Youth Year", invited schools and agencies worldwide to interpret the themes of "participation, development, and peace". Founder of West Island College, Terry Davies, interpreted those themes by taking a group of students and teachers on an extended field trip aboard the chartered sailing vessel Pogoria to visit other students in countries around the world.

In 1992 the school commissioned the building of their own ship, the S/V Concordia.

West Island College Calgary
West Island College Calgary Logo.png
7410 Blackfoot Trail S.E. Calgary, Alberta
School type Private Preparatory School
Mottoes The Pursuit of Excellence
Established 1982
Status Operational
Grades 7-12
Houses Davies, Bedard, Goodall, Grant
Team name Wolves
School fees $15,200 CDN for Alberta Residents

During the 2008/2009 year, the school operated a second vessel named the SY Fryderyk Chopin in addition to the S/V Concordia. Students enrolled in the high school program were placed upon the Concordia, while students in the gap year program were placed on the Fryderyk Chopin.

Class Afloat—West Island College International
Class Afloat—West Island College International Logo.png
School type Sailing; Experiential Education
Motto Learn. Sail. Discover.
Established 1984

On February 17, 2010, The Concordia was knocked down in a squall and subsequently sank, about 550 km from the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All the passengers and the crew were rescued without serious injuries by two merchant ships after being located by the Brazilian Navy.[6][7] In the aftermath WIC Calgary severed its ties with the program and no longer sponsors it. However, WIC Calgary students are still allowed to partake in the voyage.[citation needed]

Class Afloat continues to be a co-educational sailing program that provides high school credit to students while living aboard a tall ship. Also, since 2010, the Class Afloat program has taken place aboard the SS Sørlandet, a fully rigged Norwegian vessel, built in 1927.[8]

The S/V Concordia alongside the SS Sørlandet.
The S/V Concordia alongside the programs current vessel SS Sørlandet.

The ship operates with a full complement of professional crew, administration, teachers and students. It sailed a different route every year and it circumnavigated the globe many times. In 2008-2009, the Concordia crossed the Atlantic three times, sailing through Northern and Western Europe, South America, Western and Southern Africa, and the Caribbean before finishing the year in Nova Scotia.

Students enrolled can sail for one or two semesters during which time they learn seamanship and work as crew members while earning high school or university credit with help from their on board teachers. Port programs in the cities visited provide the students with an opportunity to meet and interact with other cultures, giving them an international perspective on their education. Since the first voyage, more than 1,500 students have attended and the voyages combined have sailed more than 700,000 nautical miles to over 250 ports of call worldwide. Any student from grades 11, 12, university or gap year may take part in Class Afloat so long as they pass the application process.[9]

Notable Attendees[edit]


  1. ^ "WIC Story | West Island College Montreal - High School". West Island College Montreal - High School. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  2. ^ a b "Discover WIC - West Island College". www.westislandcollege.ab.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  3. ^ "About the Program". Class Afloat. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  4. ^ "Best Private Schools in Calgary". Ross Pavl & Associates. Retrieved 11 Dec 2017. 
  5. ^ a b ourkids.net. "West Island College (Montreal) - Montreal (DDO) Private School". www.ourkids.net. Retrieved 2017-03-23. 
  6. ^ Marine Investigation Report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada
  7. ^ "Students safe after capsizing of N.S.-based ship". CBC News. Nova Scotia. Associated Press. 19 February 2010. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Class Afloat home page.
  9. ^ "About Class Afloat". Class Afloat. West Island College. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Marc-Édouard Vlasic". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  11. ^ "Manjit Minhas | LinkedIn". ca.linkedin.com. Retrieved 2016-02-13. 

External links[edit]