Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts

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Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts
Wexford Collegiate logo.png
Wexford Collegiate Institute.JPG
1176 Pharmacy Avenue

, ,
Coordinates43°44′45″N 79°18′24″W / 43.745972°N 79.306601°W / 43.745972; -79.306601Coordinates: 43°44′45″N 79°18′24″W / 43.745972°N 79.306601°W / 43.745972; -79.306601
School typePublic High school
MottoPalman Qui Meruit Ferat
(Let him bear the palm who has deserved it)
School boardToronto District School Board
SuperintendentAudley Salmon
Area trusteeDavid Smith
School number4190 / 952990
PrincipalTom Lazarou
Enrollment1250 (2016/17)
Colour(s)Green, lime green and White             
MascotHarry The Viking
Team nameWexford Vikings

Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts (commonly known as Wexford Collegiate, WCSA, Wexford CSA, Wexford or "Wex" for short); formerly Wexford Collegiate Institute is a public high school located in the Scarborough district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Run and organized by the Toronto District School Board, the school officially opened to students in September 1965 as Wexford CI by the Scarborough Board of Education and was renamed Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in 2006 in recognition of its specialized arts programs.[1]

The school is located in the Wexford neighbourhood of Scarborough, north of the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Pharmacy Avenue. The motto for the school is Palman Qui Meruit Ferat which means "Let him bear the palm who has deserved it".


Located on Pharmacy Avenue in Scarborough, Wexford is a mid-sized, three storey secondary school. The origins began when the Scarborough Board of Education decided to apply for accommodation for 1200 pupil secondary school named Northwest Collegiate Institute on April 2, 1962 and took steps to acquire the 8.59 acre farm owned by the late William Henry McGuire. Meanwhile, the Board offers $200,000 to James Worrall (McGuire's son-in-law) who later accepted it.

Page & Steele was appointed architects for the Northwest C.I. project and the contract for removal of buildings on the McGuire site was awarded for $1800.

On March 18, 1963, Northwest C.I. was given the official name, Wexford Collegiate Institute. The next month, the contract for construction of school awarded to Noren Construction for $1,870,220.18 with the application for funds $2,232,000.00. The board appointed Lorne Shewfelt as the principal and Al Kerr in the Vice Principal position effective September 1, 1964. Work began on the Wexford school began on July 2, 1964.

Wexford Collegiate opened for classes on September 7, 1965 as Scarborough's thirteenth collegiate institute with only the classrooms on the upper floors. Other rooms such as home economics, industrial arts, science labs, music rooms, gymnasia, library and cafeteria are eventually completed and become available for use. The school officially opened on February 4, 1966 and the datestone ("1964") officially inserted into position in the front foyer on April 1 of that year.

In 1972 a large new wing was built in the north parking lot and opened at the north end of the school, which housed the new Art Centre, as well as a new gym and library. The new wing also included an elevator, making it one of the accessible schools within the TDSB system. By 1977, the 25 metre tank swimming pool was added.

Along with instructing the regular, core program leading to an OSSD, the school also consists of two art programs, known as the Performing Arts program and the Visual Arts program. Each program is further divided into more pathways, which is distinguished through the courses taken by the student. The encouraged growth of the Music Theatre Program in the 1990s and the continuing success of the Art Centre resulted in the declaration of the school as Wexford Collegiate School For The Arts in 2000. This designation was sought after by the then principal Gail Darling, who fought fiercely in the board administration for this permanent stature for the school.


For students that geographically reside in Wexford Collegiate's catchment area, the general TDSB admission policies apply for the regular academic program.[2] Feeder elementary schools include Maryvale Public School, Buchanan Public School, George Peck Public school and Wexford Public School. Students, including local community students, wishing to enroll in one of the two Specialized Arts Programs must successfully participate in an audition process in order to be offered a position in one of these Programs.[3]


Visual and Media Arts Program[edit]

Wexford has had a specialized Visual Arts Program for over forty years. All visual arts courses taken at the school are done in one of the classrooms located in The Art Centre. The Art Centre consists of nine studios, each specifically equipped to deliver a specialized course. One of these courses is the Life Drawing course, in which Wexford is the only secondary public school in Toronto that offers the course.

For students in the Special Series and Media Arts Program (more commonly known as the "Visual Arts program"), a choice can be made at the end of grade ten where students can either earn the Grand Masters Certificate or the Visual Arts Certificate. For students earning the Grand Masters Certificate, they must take four art credits in both grade eleven and twelve, meaning half of their schedule consists of art credits. For students wishing for the Visual Arts Certificate, they must take 2 art credits in both grade eleven in twelve.

For students who have graduated from Wexford but would like to construct a portfolio as a part of their college, university or career application, they can apply for the Portfolio Year, where they will spend half to a full year constructing their portfolio with the assistance of the art teachers.

Each year, the Special Series Visual Art Program staff and students put on an original exhibit known as, The Great Masters Art Show. It typically takes place during the month of May, and is open to the public free of admission.

Performing Arts[edit]

If accepted after participating in the audition process, students will be placed either in the Music Theatre program or the Drama Focus program.

Music Theatre[edit]

Music Theatre students will take a Music Theatre course as well as a course either in Drama, Vocal or Dance, depending on where they are placed.

The Music Theatre program holds strong ties to the film, television and theatre community in Toronto. Workshops are frequently conducted between these artists and students.

These ties to the professional community have also given professional opportunities to some Wexford students in film, television, musical theatre and radio jingles. In the 1990s, Wexford established a great relationship between the Music Theatre students and the Hospital for Sick Children's Telethon produced by CFTO. The students were invited back for a seventh year in 1997. In 1993 they had four "spots" on the telethon, including the final number which they shared with Colm Wilkinson (The Phantom) and Michael Burgess (Les Miz, Man of La Mancha). The Music Theatre students also performed in a video with Donny Osmond (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat) and in 1994 shared the stage with Micheal Bell (Show Boat).

In addition, the students have performed live both on CBC and CTV networks; live on stage at the New Yorker Theatre; recorded the original song "Keep the Spirit Alive" for the special Olympics; performed at the Celebrity Sports Auction; performed with Robert Pilon at Casa Loma for CEO's from all over the world; performed along with the Leahy's and Andre Philipe Gagnon; entertained 5,000 representatives from all over North America at the Metro Convention Centre; and, appeared along with the cast of Rent at Mel and Marilyn Lastman's Inaugural Ball. In 2011, the Wexford Glee Club, known as "The Wexford Gleeks" won the first ever Show Choir Canada National Championship.[4] In 2012, the Wexford Gleeks placed second in the SCC Nationals, but were the audience favourite as the only choir to receive two standing ovations during the competition.[5] In 2013, the Wexford Gleeks placed 2nd once again in the SCC Nationals, but won eight out of the ten awards that were given to individual choirs and choir members. In February 2013, the Wexford Gleeks recorded a song with an extraterrestrial Chris Hadfield and Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies. Hadfield, astronaut and amateur musician, was circling the earth on the International Space Station at the time of the recording.

At the end of each school year, a musical is put together by the students and staff of the Music Theatre program.

Drama Focus[edit]

Drama Focus students will take a course of their choice either in Vocal, Dance or in Instruments in addition to their required Drama Course. Drama Focus students and staff put together a showcase in the Fall during each school year.

Comprehensive Arts[edit]

In addition to the Performing and Visual Arts programs, students who have gone through either audition process may be placed in the Comprehensive Arts program. This program allows students to take two, as opposed to one, art credit beginning in grade nine. These credits, however, are not specialized credits like those found in the Performing and Visual Arts programs. These credits are regular credits taken by students who attend the school but are not a part of either programs.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Shary Boyle - Canadian artist who works with sculpture, painting, drawing and performance. She has been chosen to represent Canada at the 2013 Venice Biennale
  • Todd D Claydon - Canadian stipple artist known for his work with Mötley Crüe as well as his portraits of Pierre Trudeau, Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II.[6]
  • Wayne Dillon - A former Canadian professional hockey player for the National Hockey League.
  • Nina Dobrev - Canadian actress, famous for her starring role in the television series "Vampire Diaries".
  • Fefe Dobson - Juno Award-nominated recording artist.[7]
  • Jahmil French - Canadian actor noted for his role in the television series, "Degrassi: the Next Generation".[8]
  • Lamar Johnson - Canadian actor
  • Warren Hudson - CFL Running Back 1985-1989,1993 Toronto Argonauts; 1990-1992 Winnipeg Blue Bombers; Grey Cup's Most Valuable Canadian 1990; CFL Western Division All-Star 1990 & 1992.[9]
  • Dan Kearns - Canadian football player
  • Steve Kearns - Canadian football player
  • Helen Mann - Canadian radio personality and journalist, currently a senior writer for CBC News Network, and frequent guest host of CBC Radio programs.[10]
  • Craig Martin - Founder of Canadian concert series "Classic Albums Live".[11]
  • Mark Nicholls- Mark was a School Council President at Wexford in the late 70s. When he was not at school he interned at Chum Radio. He then went on to a Radio career in many Markets in Canada and the United States. He has been an announcer at all stations and Program director as well at many stations .He currently works in BC on the air in Radio.
  • Ansari Rahaman- Canadian Artist, "Scarborough fight against racism".
  • Rajiv Surendra - Canadian actor noted for his role in the movie, "Mean Girls".[12]
  • Brent Townsend - Canadian wildlife artist who designed the iconic polar bear image for the reverse of the Royal Canadian Mint's "toonie".[13]
  • Torri Webster - Canadian actress, starred in the YTV sitcom Life with Boys
  • Kristine Sa - Vietnamese-Canadian singer/songwriter
  • Dewshane Williams - Canadian actor, starring in several movie and television series including "Baxter" and "Defiance".[14]
  • Vinson Tran - Canadian actor, starring in the Nickelodeon sitcom Make It Pop
  • Alex Eling - Canadian actor, starring in the Niceklodeon sitcom Make It Pop
  • Natasha Negovanlis - Canadian actress, starring in Carmilla and Almost Adults.
  • Glenna Walters - Canadian actress, starring in Anne (TV series)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ TDSB Special MeetingTDSB 31 May 2006
  2. ^ Operational Procedure PR545TDSB 17 February 2009
  3. ^ Application PackagesWexford CSA
  4. ^ With This Much Show Choir Drama, Who Needs TV?Torontoist 11 April 2011
  5. ^ Show-choir ShowdownThe Grid 18 April 2012
  6. ^ Claydon Fine Arts - Portrait Of A Stipple Artist
  7. ^ "Fefe Dobson". Canadaka. Canadaka.net. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  8. ^ Jahmil French IMDb
  9. ^ Cancer claims ex Argo Warren HudsonToronto Sun 16 February 2012
  10. ^ Helen Mann @ CBC.ca
  11. ^ Rock and Roll Report interview with Craig Martin
  12. ^ Rajiv Surendra IMDb
  13. ^ Balance and composition – the 2-dollar coin
  14. ^ Dewshane Williams IMDb

External links[edit]