Western Canada High School

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Western Canada High School
Western Canada High School, Main Entrance.jpg
641 17 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, T2S 0B5
Type Private (1903 - 1928, as Western Canada College)
Public (since 1928)
Motto Motto: Intelligentia, Vires, Virtus
(Latin for: Understanding, Strength, Courage)
Established 1903
School board Calgary Board of Education
Principal Martin Poirier
Grades 10-12
Enrollment 2056 (2015)
 • Grade 10 650
 • Grade 11 675
 • Grade 12 731
Campus Urban
Team name Redhawks
Communities served Mount Royal Mission, Cliff Bungalow, Connaught
Last updated: November 26, 2015

Western Canada High School (WCHS) is a public senior high school in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It has classes for grades 10 through 12. Western is located in the 17th Avenue business district of the Lower Mount Royal community, and is the most centrally located public high school in Calgary.[1]


The original school building was completed in 1903 as a British-style exclusive high school for boys called Western Canada College (not a college in the North American sense of the word). It was created by "The Western Canada College Bill of Incorporating Ordinance" enacted by the Government of the Northwest Territories, which Calgary was then a part of before the province of Alberta was created in 1905.[2] To raise funds for the new college, 5000 shares were sold for $10 each. Many of the original investors read like a "Who's Who" list for Alberta; Pat Burns, R. B. Bennett, A.E. Cross, William Pearce, A.C. Rutherford (who was premier at the time), and George Lane.

A granite shaft bearing a Cross of Sacrifice was dedicated as a list of honour memorial to Western Canada College students who were killed during the First World War and who served during the Second World War, the Korean War and as peacekeepers.[3]

The private school had financial problems and was sold to the Calgary Board of Education. The CBE renamed it, re-opened it as public school, and constructed additional buildings on the land.

Western was Calgary's first composite high school, providing both technical and academic courses of study. The school has been substantially renovated and additions have been made to the building over the years. Linda Raasveldt became the first female principal of the school in 2002. The school recently underwent a series of renovations which were completed in Fall 2012.


Special programs[edit]

The school provides French and English language as a primary language instruction. In addition, it is one of a select number of schools in Calgary to offer French immersion. Western is one of a small number of Calgary high schools to offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Each year, about 20-40 students graduate with an IB Diploma[citation needed], and significantly more graduate with an IB certificate.[citation needed] The school also offers an extensive performing and visual arts program, and offers a certificate to recognize students that have made fine arts a focus of learning at the high school level. The school is part of the Action for Bright Children Society.[4]


The Western Redhawks compete under the governance of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association[5] and Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association[6]

The school boasts teams in the following sports:

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Cross Country
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Swim and Dive
  • Track and Field
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
  • Dance[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

  • St. Mary's High School - The only other high school in the nearby area. It also predates the province of Alberta.


External links[edit]