Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School

Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School
Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School
201 McDonnel Street
Peterborough, Ontario, K9H 2W1, Canada
School number 935182
School board Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
Superintendent Reet Patterson
Principal Denise Severin
Vice principal Paul Doig
Staff 73
School type Public High School
Grades 9 to 12
Area Peterborough
Mascot Ralph The Raider
Team name Raiders
Colours Garnet and Grey         
Founded 1827; Board voted to close in 2012, review request being submitted to Ministry of Education
Enrolment approx. 750 (2011)

Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School(PCVS) is a public high school located at 201 McDonnel Street in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. One of the oldest public schools in the country, PCVS was founded in 1827. Since 2006, it has operated at capacity with 960+ students, 73 teachers and support staff. It has had the most successful Integrated Arts programmes in the city of Peterborough with over one third of its students enrolled in the Integrated Arts Programme. It is a member of the amalgamated KPRDSB school board Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board.


Potential School Closure

On September 29th,2011 despite public delegations and protests by PCVS students, parents and community members, an Administrative Review Committee (ARC) of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) passed a resolution to close PCVS in September 2012. Two KPRDSB trustees from within the city of Peterborough and two others did not support the resolution to close PCVS.

On October 24, 2011 about 60 concerned parents and students from PCVS and the surrounding community attended Peterborough City Hall to address Peterborough City Council. City councillors were asked for their support regarding a proposed review process with the KPRDSB and the Minister of Education. Peterborough City Council voted 8-2 to support the Peterborough Needs PCVS Committee's (PNPC) request for an administrative review. (Peterborough Examiner October 24, 2011

On October 27, 2011 about 40 PCVS supporters attended the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board meeting, some holding signs and others wearing I Heart PCVS T-shirts. Several delegates addressed the KPRDSB and spoke out in favour of keeping the high school open (Peterborough Examiner October 27, 2011

On October 27, 2011 the Peterborough Needs PCVS Committee (PNPC) submitted a formal Request for an Administrative Review of the Peterborough city high school Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) process to the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board Trustees and the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education will provide a response and/or a decision to appoint a facilitator within 60 days upon receipt of the request(Peterborough Needs PCVS

On October 31, 2011 PCVS students held another public protest against the closing of PCVS. It was billed as a "Ghost Walk" where the students dressed as ghosts and marched downtown to symbolize that Peterborough, Ontario will become a Ghost Town if PCVS closes. (The Peterborough Examiner, November 1, 2011 <>)


Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS) is one of the oldest schools in Ontario. Reverend Samuel Armour opened the first school in Peterborough on May 1, 1826. The school, originally known as the Peterborough Government School was first located in the back playground of present day Central Public School on Murray Street in Peterborough. It functioned as a public elementary school and the early Victorian equivalent to a public high school. As the population of Peterborough increased, public school students moved into smaller schools while the Grammar School high school students stayed in the original school building.

By 1854 the school trustees had leased an old church, on the corner of Hunter and Sheridan Streets, to hold the school but the student population soon grew too large. In 1855 plans to build a new school had begun. The new building was completed in 1859 and was intended to be used by both common and grammar school students. It was located where the present day Central School is built. The new school was known as the Union School. By 1868 the principal of the school asked that girls be allowed to attend grammar school. A new building was constructed west of the Union School to allow for the increased student population. In 1871, with a government bill abolishing the term grammar school and replacing it with collegiate, the Union School became the Peterborough Collegiate Institute (PCI). Due to overcrowding and various moves within the buildings it soon came time for the Collegiate to have its own building, separate from the public school. PCVS is also one of the 4 high schools in the Peterborough Area considered for closure in the next 2-3 years.

On August 1, 1907 the cornerstone for the new school was laid. The new school opened in 1908 on the corner of Aylmer and McDonnel Streets near the Armouries. In 1927 a vocational school was added to the P.C.I. After this date, the high school was known as Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational Institute (PCVS). This new section includes the Upper Gym, Cafeteria and Library. The building is an example of restrained Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The limestone used in the building was provided by the Longford quarries. In 2008 the school celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school building on May 17 by hosting a Gala/Reunion with entertainment talent featuring PCVS alumni including Sean Cullen, Rick Fines and Graham Rowat among others.


PCVS offers courses in a wide variety of areas. These departments include Business Studies, Family Studies, Languages, Science, Computer Studies, Geography, Mathematics, Technological Studies, Dramatic Arts, Guidance, Music, Visual Arts, English, History, Physical & Health Education and the Integrated Arts Program. PCVS is also the only high school to offer an ESL (English as a Second Language) program.

The school is home to a very successful Integrated Arts program, however the vast majority of students are enrolled in regular high school programming. There have been several attempts to close the school over the past 30 years, all have failed. In the early 1990s, the Integrated Arts program was created, offering students from all around Peterborough the opportunity to take specialized programs in the Arts. Prospective grade 8 students are interviewed and required to submit a portfolio and participate in an audition in order to be considered. The Integrated Arts Program offers general art courses for Grade 9, with drama, art, music, and comprehensive arts. Grade 9 Integrated Arts students must also take English and Physical Education, designed specifically for Arts students. The entire Grade 9 Integrated Arts population presents their own show each year to the student body and guests outside of the school, known as the May Production. In Grade 11, a three-credit Musical Theatre class is offered (earning a Drama, Vocal and Theatre Production credit). Students must audition for vocal, dance, and acting skills. This class performs a play at the end of the semester that is open to the student body and city to see. In the past, The Wiz, Grease, The Sound of Music, among many other plays, have been performed. In Grade 12, a similar three-credit drama course is offered (earning English, Drama, and Drama in the Community credits), known as Theatre In The Community (TITC), where you must also audition. This class travels around the city performing a thematic series of skits to mainly elementary schools.

House System

The House System is unique to PCVS. There are four houses: Keswick, Caernarvon, Warwick and Wiggin. Each house is represented by a colour: Blue, Yellow, Red and Green respectively, and is led by a team of one male and one female. House Leaders organize fun events such as dress-up days and lunch events and, through involvement in these, you can earn points for yourself and your house. Friendly competition among the houses culminates in an award for the house with the greatest involvement. The House System encouraged school spirit and a positive environment.

Student effort is recognized by the awarding of points, which form the basis for Student Activity Council Awards. There are three areas of student life at PCVS - Scholarship (academics), Activities and Athletics. Students can gain points in all these areas and the points have a dual application - to the individual and to the house. Student Activity Council awards are based on these points. The House Award goes to the house with the most points. Individual awards are given based on individual points.


Peterborough Collegiate consists of many regular classrooms as well as specialized rooms for certain classes. PCVS has four computer labs as well as a Resource Centre, a library, two gyms, a music room, two drama rooms and enough space for the sewing machines, video editing suites, art rooms and other special equipment for the various classes. PCVS is centrally located in the heart of downtown Peterborough across from City Hall, with easy access by public transportation. The school is used by numerous community groups after hours and on weekends. The current school building was erected in 1908 and is historically significant to the community and was recently upgraded with emphasis on maintaining its architectural beauty. The walls of PCVS bear plaques that honour students who served and died in both World Wars and they are honoured every November 11 by current students through special ceremonies and performances attended by living war veterans. The school does not have a sports field on site and uses Nicholl's Oval, which is owned and maintained by the City of Peterborough as well as the Pagans Rugby Club, saving the school significant maintenance costs.

The front of the PCVS building.

Beginning in the 1940s, the Student Councils of Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School, with the encouragement of their art teacher Zoltan Temesy, bought original Canadian art works for the enjoyment of students at their school. These works are currently on extended loan to The Art Gallery of Peterborough and displayed in the Margaret L. Heideman Gallery. Artists include: Andre Bieler, A.J. Casson, Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, Manley MacDonald and Henri Masson. Reproductions of these paintings now hang throughout the school. [1]


  • Approximately 200 in the Integrated Arts Program, of 800 total (close to capacity)
  • More than 100 participate in academic enrichment programs and activities
  • Extracurricular activities include an outstanding athletic program which produces top ranked basketball, volleyball, rowing, field hockey, tennis, badminton and track teams
  • Home to outstanding drama and music departments
  • School choirs (PCVS Singers and PCVS Ladies Choir) and concert bands have garnered many awards
  • PCVS Ladies Choir ranked in top 10 choirs in Canada
  • Drama productions and annual musical are community highlights
  • The school is also well known for its high-tech communications technology programs, enriched physical education courses and a career counselling/co-operative education program
  • Offers peer tutoring programs in reading and mathematics, individualized instruction through our Learning Enrichment Department as well as English Second Language (ESL) classes for students who are learning English
  • Peterborough Collegiate was listed by MacLean's magazine as one of the top five high schools in Canada in the category of Student Leadership.[2]

Notable alumni

Notable Instructors

  • Walter Theodore Brown, Languages Instructor, later Head of Yale Department of Religion, Principal and President of Victoria University in the University of Toronto
  • H.Allan Craig, served In W.W. I with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Regiment and was awarded the D.C.M. for courageous acts in the trenches. During the Second World War he served as commander of the Peterboro Collegiate Rangers. As of 1953 he held the rank of Colonel.
  • Connie Brummel Crook, award-winning author of historical fiction for young readers
  • Dr. James Mills, Classics Instructor, later President of the Ontario Agricultural College from 1874 - 1879.
  • Francis J.A. Morris, Classics Instructor, Head of the English Department, renowned author of books and articles on Botany
  • Fern Rahmel, writer, playwright and regular contributor to CBC Radio
  • Oscar Schlienger, artist, painter, instructor, associate of the Group of Seven
  • Paul Webster, National Development Coach for the Canadian Curling Association
  • William Tassie, 19th century educational reformer, President of Ontario Grammar School Teachers' Association (1869,1870), President of Ontario Grammar School Masters' Association (1871)


  1. ^ Kristin Rushowy "School makes smart use of art" Toronto Star May 21, 09
  2. ^ Brian Bergman, Ken MacQueen, & Karin Marley. "Best High Schools." Macleans Aug 22, 95

External links

Coordinates: 44°18′33″N 78°19′20″W / 44.30928°N 78.32233°W / 44.30928; -78.32233

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