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

The West Island Colleges (WIC) is a set of private Canadian, non-religious, English and French language, junior high and high schools, one of which is located in south-east of Calgary and the other in Montreal's West Island. Both schools consistently score as the top schools in their provinces.[1][2] The school briefly opened a branch in Ottawa but it was later closed. The school offers a program known as Class Afloat that provides students with an educational experience while sailing around the world.


There are 3 schools in the West Island College family. The most recent school is West Island College Calgary which was founded in 1982. Prior to that in 1980 the West Island College of Ottawa was formed, only to be later closed. The original College was opened in 1974 by Terry D. Davies in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, located on the West Island of Montreal. The Montreal campus has since moved to Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

Class Afloat[edit]

West Island College Montreal
West Island College Montreal Logo.png
851 Tecumseh, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Québec
Established 1974
Team name Voyagers
School fees $4,322 CAN + $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 Terry Davies interpreted those themes by taking a group of WIC students and teachers on an extended field trip aboard the chartered Sailing Vessel Pogoria to visit other students in countries around the world. Students may sail for one or two semesters during which time they learn seamanship and work as crew members while earning high school 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 that date, more than 1,500 West Island College Class Afloat alumni have continued to commit themselves to those original themes. They 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.[3] 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
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 SV 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.

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.[4][5] In the aftermath WIC Calgary severed its ties with the program and no longer sponsors it. However, WIC Calgary students are of course still allowed to partake in the voyage.

To this day, 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.[6]

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.

Notable Attendees[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Montreal Gazette". 
  2. ^ "Fraser Insitute". 
  3. ^ "About Class Afloat". Class Afloat. West Island College. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ Marine Investigation Report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ Class Afloat home page.
  7. ^ "Manjit Minhas | LinkedIn". ca.linkedin.com. Retrieved 2016-02-13.