Woburn Collegiate Institute

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Woburn Collegiate Institute
Woburn Collegiate Institute.JPG
Studium Eruditionis Crescat
Let the Zeal for Learning Flourish
2222 Ellesmere Road
Woburn, Scarborough, Ontario, M1G 3M3
Coordinates 43°46′40″N 79°13′42″W / 43.77778°N 79.22833°W / 43.77778; -79.22833Coordinates: 43°46′40″N 79°13′42″W / 43.77778°N 79.22833°W / 43.77778; -79.22833
School type Public High school
Founded 1963 (1963)
Status Active
School board Toronto District School Board
(Scarborough Board of Education)
Superintendent John Chasty
Area trustee David Smith
School number 4202 / 954160
Administrator Nancy Hamilton
Principal Karen Hume
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 760 (2015-16)
Language English
Colour(s) Red, Blue, and White             
Mascot Wildcat
Team name Woburn Wildcats

Woburn Collegiate Institute (Woburn CI, WCI, or Woburn) is a non-semestered secondary school on Ellesmere Road in the Scarborough district of Toronto part of the Scarborough Board of Education in which later merged into the Toronto District School Board. Its motto is Studium Eruditionis Crescat (Let the Zeal for Learning Flourish).


In the early 19th century, education in Scarborough was not very well established. There was only one school, set up in a primitive building. By 1847 however, Scarborough had grown to the point where something more organized was required, so 16 School Sections were established; SS # 6 included the Woburn Community. At this time, a school, also designated SS # 6, was erected on Markham Road, just north of the 2nd Concession (Ellesmere Road). This one story frame structure was 23' x 33'. Several windows provided light and a wood stove provided heat. Between 1850 and 1862, Alexander Muir taught at SS #6. He composed The Maple Leaf Forever, which for many years was Canada's unofficial national anthem; hence the maple leaf in the school crest.[1]

The original school site comprised one acre were purchased from James Purvis for $200 in 1862. S.S. # 6, Woburn Public School erected on the site in 1863. In 1895, an addition to the back of the building expanded it to two rooms. A few years later, the convenience of two outdoor privies was finally added. The school operated this way until 1956. By then, though, the old school just could not keep up with the demands of modern education.

When the Scarborough Board of Education was formed in 1954, additional land for the new Woburn were acquired for $21,000. In 1960, the new school yet to be built, officially named Woburn Collegiate Institute.The Woburn building was designed by architects Parrott, Tambling and Witmer. By 1962, Contract for construction was awarded to Louis DonoloOntario Ltd to build the new Woburn $1.4 million. S.S. # 6 was later demolished.

Woburn Collegiate Institute opened on September 3, 1963 as Scarborough's ninth collegiate to a total enrolment of 443 students and the ceremonial opening took place on November 28, 1963. Two major additions were completed at a cost of $2.6 million in 1965 and 1969, including a new auditorium and auto shop. In 1973, its enrolment reached is peaked at 2302 students. Today, Woburn Collegiate can be accommodated with the capacity up to 1521 students.



Woburn is a single two-storey 216,634 square foot building located in 16.4 acre land, containing 72 classrooms, 2 large gymnasia (which may each be divided into two smaller sections), a weight training room, a dance studio, an auto shop, two music rooms, two tech shops, a library (resource center) and a 960-seat auditorium. The school also has a main office, a guidance office (student services) and an office for each of its departments. The building encompasses a rectangular garden in the centre, referred to as the "quad", which is famously known throughout the school for a peculiar statue by Romanian-Canadian sculptor Sorel Etrog entitled "Soma". Identical statues can be found inside the Yonge-Eglinton Centre and York University's Accolade East building. Behind the school is a 400-m track, football field and goalposts for outdoor sports activities.[2]


As of 2014, 1231 students are in attendance at Woburn.[3]

The school has been the home for Scarborough's gifted programme for exceptional students since 1978.[4]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Student Activity Council (SAC)[edit]

The SAC is selected by the Woburn students:

  • to represent their interests
  • to support and fund their sports and clubs
  • to organize special activities within the school

The SAC represents Woburn students at the school and in the community. The SAC organizes social activities and encourages school spirit. In the past SAC events have included dances, Charity Week activities, Spirit Week, Carnival, Woburn's Got Talent, Spirit Days, Grade 12 BBQ and the Formal. Funding for all clubs and most sports teams comes from the sale of SAC/ID cards and from fund-raising activities.


Prefects are the good-will ambassadors of Woburn. Working closely with faculty, the Prefects of Woburn are responsible for making sure school events run smoothly, such as Welcome Day, photo days, and other various fairs such as the career and volunteer fairs. Furthermore, the Prefects also plan an annual event for the children at Woburn Jr. called Springfest.

Woburn Robotics[edit]

Woburn Robotics is an extracurricular high school team based at Woburn Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada, which gathers every year to take part in the FIRST Robotics Competition, an international contest that teams students up with engineers and sponsors from local businesses to develop skills in science, technology, marketing, and leadership. In six intense weeks the team brainstorms, designs, constructs, and tests its 120-pound robot for the competition, whose objective is different every year. The robots are then immediately shipped off to compete in other tournaments.



The flagship subject of Woburn academics is a part of many Woburn student's lives, and it is rightfully considered an extracurricular activity in itself. Perhaps the best method to describe Woburn's strength in mathematics is to look at the school's representation in the International Mathematical Olympiads (IMO). Canada first began sending the now six-member team to the event in 1981. Beginning with Woburn's first student representation at the event in 1986, over the next 18 years Woburn would be represented at the IMO an impressive eleven times, exceeding the representations of more famous academically elite high schools such as Earl Haig Secondary School (seven times), and Upper Canada College (five times).[5]

Physics and Chemistry[edit]

In addition to the IMO, Woburn students have also gone on to represent Canada in the International Chemistry Olympiads (IChO)[6] and International Physics Olympiads (IPhO).[7]

Programming Enrichment Group (PEG)[edit]

Woburn is noted for its excellence in computer science.[8] PEG[9] is a group of students who meet on a weekly basis after school to study advanced computer science topics, discuss algorithms and approaches to difficult problems, often on the level of the International Olympiad in Informatics (at which Woburn has been represented a total of thirteen times).[10] Topics covered and types of problems approached vary depending on competition entries.

The learning methods used vary as well: sometimes students meet in study groups with their leader teaching them and solving practice sheets or programming problems, sometimes they are taught by one of the senior students, sometimes they work on the problem as a team, and sometimes they are taught by their coaches.

PEG students meet after school typically two nights per week to prepare for competitions in programming. Every year, members take part in competitions at provincial, national and international levels. PEG additionally started its own competition, called Woburn Challenge, to draw in both students from other schools and university students. This contest had grown to become province-wide (occasionally wider). It was discontinued in 2002.

The Woburn Challenge was restarted in October 2015.

Since its formation in the early 1990s, PEG has participated in a large number of competitions.[11]

Woburn Music[edit]

The school is notable for its music programme, consisting of several hundred students in band and choir classes, a Madrigal Choir, a concert choir, a Chamber Choir, two concert bands, a Wind Ensemble, a jazz band and a jazz combo.

The ensembles of the music programme have regularly been invited to perform at national-level competitions and often make excursions to the US, including Orlando, Florida in mid-May, 2006. The Wind Ensemble and Madrigal Choir have done particularly well in competitions, consistently placing at or near the top of the standings.[citation needed] On February 17, 2006, the Wind Ensemble travelled to the Musicfest competition held at the Le Parc Hotel, in Markham, Ontario, playing at the highest level, B500. The band received a gold rating.[12]

Woburn's music department is student-represented by way of the Music Council, a body of elected students who help to keep the programme running smoothly. The Council plans and runs many events and fundraisers through the year.[3][13]

In May 2012, Woburn's Festival Chorus, Festival Winds and Jazz band performed at MusicFest Nationals in Ottawa, Ontario. All three ensembles received a silver award.

Woburn Rookie Drama Festival[edit]

The Woburn Rookie Drama Festival (usually just called Rookie) is a festival of short plays held annually every spring at Woburn. The most notable part of the festival is that all of its plays are directed, acted, crewed, and sometimes written entirely by students with no teacher assistance. Furthermore, students do all of the organization required to put on the festival each year and act as Masters of Ceremony. At over 40 years old, it is among the longest running high school clubs in the city. The first Woburn Rookie Drama Festival took place in the spring of 1963 and was overseen by then drama teacher John Wilcox.

Any student who wants to direct a play is automatically accepted. A month before the festival, there is an open audition during which actors perform short scenes that are either improved or done with only a short time to prepare. Directors request the actors they want, and the organizers assign actors to plays (often the most popular actors are assigned to several plays in smaller roles). The festival itself lasts for one to three evenings with two to four plays per night. There are usually short scenes between plays. Every year the festival has a theme chosen by the organizers. Sometimes the plays themselves are sometimes related to the theme, but normally the theme only applies to the short scenes between plays while the next cast is setting up. These scenes are usually directed or starring the MCs.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of Woburn". Woburn Collegiate Institute. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Woburn Collegiate Floor Plan" (PDF). Woburn Collegiate Institute. May 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  3. ^ a b "Woburn Collegiate Institute" (PDF). Toronto District School Board. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  4. ^ "The Gifted Program at Woburn CI" (PDF). Woburn Collegiate Institute. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  5. ^ "Historical Summary of Canadian IMO team results". Canadian Mathematical Society. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  6. ^ "History - Previous Chemistry Olympiad Participants". Canadian Chemistry and Physics Olympiads - National Programme. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  7. ^ "History - Previous Physics Olympiad Participants". Canadian Chemistry and Physics Olympiads - National Programme. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  8. ^ "Woburn Robotics in the News". Canada Computer Paper. September 1998. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  9. ^ "Welcome to Woburn's Programming Enrichment Group!". Programming Enrichment Group - Woburn Collegiate Institute. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  10. ^ "Canada at the IOI". Mathematics and Computing Contests. Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing - University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  11. ^ "Achievements". Programming Enrichment Group - Woburn Collegiate Institute. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  12. ^ "Wind Ensemble is golden again". Woburn Music. 2006-02-17. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  13. ^ "Council". Woburn Music. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 

External links[edit]