Westdale Secondary School

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Westdale Secondary School
Westdale Crest.png

L8S 1A5

Coordinates43°15′36″N 79°54′05″W / 43.2601°N 79.9015°W / 43.2601; -79.9015Coordinates: 43°15′36″N 79°54′05″W / 43.2601°N 79.9015°W / 43.2601; -79.9015
School typeHigh school
MottoAlius Alia Via Ad Astra Ascendit
('Each Reach for the Stars in Their Own Way')
PrincipalBrian Goodram
Colour(s)    Green and gold
MascotThe Westdale Warrior
NewspaperThe Sequitur
Last updated: 30 November 2020

Westdale Secondary School is a public high school founded in 1931 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is a school in the city of Hamilton and is located in Westdale Village, a suburb in the west-end of the city. It is administered by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Westdale is also the most populated public high school in Hamilton, Ontario.[1][2]


Westdale was founded as a collegiate school—housing three collegiates under one roof—and was, at a time, the largest school of its kind in the British Commonwealth. The original building was referred to as "Westdale Composite School", or "Westdale Tripartite School", because it housed three separate schools. The collegiate, technical and commercial schools were housed on the left, middle, and right side of the school, with the cafeteria on the fourth floor (the cafeteria has since moved to the first floor). Mr Nurmi currently teaches business at Westdale Secondary School and is revered as a teacher. The architects Prack and Prack designed the building with arched doorways and pseudo-buttresses of the "school gothic" architectural style. Constructed by J.M. Pigott Construction Company at an initial cost of $1,306,521 (including 4.7 hectares of land), the school has undergone four major renovations, which occurred in 1959, 1974, 1975 and 2018 (currently underway). Westdale Secondary school has also become an IB school as of 2008.[3]

Westdale Secondary School, front view

Charity activities[edit]

Westdale regularly participates in and plays host to numerous fundraisers and awareness rallies. Each year the students organise such events as Keep the Beat, Coffee House, and the 30 Hour Famine. Westdale makes annual contributions to the Stephen Lewis Foundation through crêpe sales and other fund raiser activities. In 2005, Westdale students were part of the effort to keep the Victoria Cross of Frederick George Topham in Canada, as it was being auctioned off by his family. Westdale also runs an annual canned food drive for the food banks in Hamilton.

Terry Fox Run[edit]

Westdale Secondary also raises money for cancer research every year in the Terry Fox Run. Westdale students collect pledges in the weeks before the run, then they may choose to walk, jog, or run through Westdale Village. Over 2 million people around the world participate in the Terry Fox Run every year.

Drama and theatre[edit]

Theatre Westdale participates in the Sears Drama Festival, putting on annual productions of musicals, and a host of other activities including an annual 24-hour Improvathon. In terms of musicals, in 2004 Theatre Westdale performed West Side Story to audiences in four sold-out nights and in 2005 they performed Grease. At the Sears Festival in early 2005 Westdale submitted two plays, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World. Both plays won numerous awards and The Complete Works advanced to the provincial showcase. The following year (2006) Westdale submitted the Greek tragedy Antigone to the festival and won much critical acclaim, including 4 out of the 17 awards available at the regional level of the competition. In 2007, Westdale again entered two plays: The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), and The Bald Soprano. The Bald Soprano advanced to the provincial showcase, winning a total of twelve awards throughout the 2007 festival. The 2008 Sears Festival year included one entry from Westdale, the student-written, student-directed play Prizefighter. The play received 10 awards at the District and Regional levels, including one for outstanding prop direction.

During 2007–2008, Westdale ran a pilot program of a Theatre Production course, in which students learn the on- and back-stage jobs that go into producing and performing a musical production. The production, Guys And Dolls, was performed in January 2008. Theatre Westdale's 2008–2009 production, Cabaret, was performed in December 2008 and was directed by Erin Newton. In 2009, Westdale performed a Sears Drama Festival entry named Enter Alice which was written and directed by Aaron Jan. The play received three awards in the District Festival (Awards of Excellence for Costumes, Performance, and Original Script) and three awards at the Regional Showcase (Costumes, Performance and Original Script). On 9/10 December Theatre Westdale performed the musical Annie which sold out for all matinee performances. In 2010 for the Ontario Sears Drama Festival the cast did a student written play by Aaron Jan. The play is called Rain which deals with the issues of homophobia in a high school setting. Rain won 4 awards including 1 for performance, lighting and direction and an outstanding performance award. The play went on to win 4 more awards for performance, dancing, stage management and the adjudicator's award for script. In 2010/11 Theatre Westdale put on the musical Footloose. In 2011 for the Ontario Sears Drama Festival Westdale performed a production of Elephant's Graveyard. In 2012 a collective of students wrote the Historical piece Triangle, the collective focuses on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the problems of working without a union. The collective was performed at the District, Regional and Provincial levels of the Sears Ontario Drama Festival winning awards in Stage Management, Music, Acting, Technical Theatre and Direction. In 2012, Theatre Westdale presented a representation of Little Shop of Horrors, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, however the production was cut short because of the labor dispute between the Ontario Government and the Teacher's Unions. Following the labor dispute, Westdale put on two productions in the spring of 2013 for the Sears Drama Festival, Drafts and Asylum, directed by students Greg Waters and Russel Niessen, respectively.[4]

Extra curriculars[edit]


Westdale has many music groups, including the Jr. Band, Sr. Band, Marching Band, Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Jr. Jazz, Sr. Jazz, and the Choir. The music department at Westdale competes regularly in local and international music festivals and competitions. In recent years, the music department has consistently won a variety of awards in the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival, which is hosted from Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ontario. The music department at Westdale Secondary School also puts on concerts and events throughout the school year for students, parents and staff members.[5]


Westdale Secondary School has a DECA chapter with members ranking in the Regional, Provincial and International levels. The Westdale DECA team often achieves top places at the regional, provincial and international level. DECA at Westdale is operated as a student-run, teacher-supervised club.

Model United Nations[edit]

Model United Nations (Model UN, or MUN) is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda. Westdale students rank highly in Model UN conferences, and also host HAMMUN every year, a conference with participation from across Southern Ontario.

Specialist High Skills Major[edit]

The Specialist High Skills Major Program (SHSM) is a ministry-approved program which allows students to focus their skills in specific areas of interest as they earn their Ontario Secondary Diploma. Westdale Secondary School students have the option to complete their Specialist High Skills Major in either the Arts & Culture, Construction, Hospitality & Tourism streams and Health & Wellness.

The Sequitur[edit]

The Sequitur is Westdale's student-run school newspaper, and is one of two school newspapers in Hamilton. Students write news articles, stories, poetry, and short essays. The paper also includes cover art and illustrations designed by students. There are monthly publications of The Sequitur, where there are paper and digital copies available.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "School History | Westdale Secondary School".
  2. ^ https://www.app.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/sift/schoolProfileSec.asp?SCH_NUMBER=951820&x=28&y=16
  3. ^ "School History." Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Drama | Westdale Secondary School".
  5. ^ "Music | Westdale Secondary School".
  6. ^ Len Blum  – Biography
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Celebrity High: Westdale Secondary Alumni" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator. 19 May 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2007.
  8. ^ Eugene Levy – Biography
  9. ^ "John Lawrence Reynolds." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Biography in Context. Web. 10 Jan. 2014. Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000131826
  10. ^ Myron S. Scholes, "Autobiography", in The Nobel Prizes 1997, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1998
  11. ^ Reynolds, John Lawrence. "Where did the money go?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  12. ^ Martin Short (I) – Biography

External links[edit]