Bishop's College School

Bishop's College School or BCS founded in 1836 is a non-profit independent school in Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada. BCS is the oldest independent school in Québec and the fourth oldest private school that still exists in Canada.[1][2] The school was established as the Lennoxville Classical School by the Rev. Lucius Doolittle (1800-1862). Traditionally, the school had catered to the sons of the residents of the Golden Square Mile and affiliated as a feeder to Bishop's University.[3]

Bishop's College School
Logo of the Bishop's College School.png
Bishop's College School Logo
80 Chemin Moulton Hill

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Coordinates45°22′17″N 71°50′33″W / 45.3715°N 71.8424°W / 45.3715; -71.8424Coordinates: 45°22′17″N 71°50′33″W / 45.3715°N 71.8424°W / 45.3715; -71.8424
Other nameBCS
School typeIndependent, day and boarding, nonprofit institution, university-preparatory high school
MottoRecti Cultus Pectora Roborant
(Correct learning strengthens character)
Religious affiliation(s)Anglican Church of Canada
HeadmasterWilliam Mitchell (interim)
Number of students220
LanguageMajorily English with some French immersion
Campus270-acre (1.1 km2) Little Forks -> Moulton Hill.
Colour(s)Purple and white
VisitorKing George V, George VI, Edward VI, The Duke of Edinburgh...

BCS became co-educational in 1973 after merging with King's Hall Compton, a nearby girls' school. Bishop's is a culturally diverse, bilingual, co-educational, independent boarding and day school for Grades 7 to 12 (Forms II to VII). It is located on a 270-acre (1.1 km2) campus in Lennoxville, a borough of Sherbrooke, in the heart of Québec's historic Eastern Townships.[4]The school has been a member of the Round Square since 1986 and the BCS Cadet Corps #2 - the oldest continuous service corps in Canada - has been affiliated with the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada since 1936 and also with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets in 1879.[5]

In academics, the school provides the International Baccalaureate and Provincial Diploma of Québec and New Brunswick.[6]


Beginnings and growthEdit

Bishop's College School was founded in 1836 as the Lennoxville Classical School by the Reverend Lucius Doolittle for "the education of sons of English Gentlemen", who also served as the first Headmaster.[7] BCS was modeled on the great independent schools of Britain, especially Eton College but providing a bilingual environment and specifically in an immersion of the Canadian culture.[8][9]Back then, the School was housed in the St. James' Parsonage at the affiliated Bishop's University,BU and within four years twenty-three boys were enrolled. Tuition fees were set at 15 shillings per quarter in the Junior Forms and 25 shillings for the Upper Forms; the board was £25 per annum (about $130 per year). BU established in 1843 as Bishop's College and affiliated with the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in 1853, the school remained under the Anglican church's direction from its founding until 1947.[10][11]

At the beginning of the establishment, the main students came from the merchant/political families of the Gault, McConnell, MacLernon, Price, Molson, MacDougall, McNaughton in the Golden Square Mile residential area of Montreal. "Bishop" in its name comes from the Archbishop of Quebec, George Mountain (DCL, Oxford) who was also the first Principal of McGill College from 1824 to 1835 and the founder of Bishop's University.[12] Bishop's College applied to Queen Victoria for a royal charter and received it in 1853 highlights providing education for young people in Lower Canada when it was still part of the Bishop's University.[3]

BCS Choir Album
Duke of Edinburgh's Visit to BCS in 1989 for the Cadet Inspection

From 1860 onwards, the surroundings of the school began to develop substantially. In October 1879, BCS obtained financial independence from the Bishop's University and established the Bishop's College School Acossiation under a capital stock of five hundred dollars registered under the company act of Quebec.[13] In June 1881, the Canadian Pacific Railway established a train station in the township of Lennoxville. It would take only eight hours or six hours from Toronto by train from BCS to Boston by then. The composition of students began to grow more diverse.

James Williams (bishop) (1825-1892) was appointed headmaster of Bishop’s College School in 1857. In 1863 he was consecrated 4th Anglican bishop of Québec. He participated vigorously in the development of the Protestant public school system in Québec and collaborated with Sir Alexander Galt in drawing up Section 93 of the British North American Act (Constitution Act, 1867) which conferred upon Parliament the responsibility of protecting the educational rights of minorities.[14]

The Era of the Great WarsEdit

BCS School Magazine Records for the Royal Visit of King George VI

In 1891, there was a major fire in BCS buildings on the Bishop's Univeristy campus, architect Alfred Arthur Cox (architect) designed several buildings on campus including: Dining Halls (1899), Kitchen (1899), addition to the Library (1899), new lecture rooms (1899).[15] BCS moved to its new campus on Moulton Hill across the river in 1922 as BU refused to sell the land. The opening ceremony was held by the Canadian governor-general Duke of Devonshire and General J. K. L. Ross. The BCS choir founded in 1878 was once considered as the best boy's choir in Canada before.[9] The prior campus of BCS continues today as the building of the science labs, New Arts, at Bishop's University.

Bishop‘s prepared its students by then to pass the difficult McGill University matriculation examinations. And their scholarly graduates had no trouble getting into Oxford University or Cambridge University. A large range of students such as Norman Webster, David Wanklyn, P.T. Molson, the prior headmaster Odgen Glass, obtained the Rhodes Scholarship.[8]

BCS Cadet Corps #2 is the oldest continuous service corps and the only cadet corps that receive battle colours in Canada in the Fenian Raids. It was formed in 1861 as the Volunteer Rifle Company. Though there is a saying that BCS received this color by shooting a poor cow on the border. Yet, the cadet corps of Upper Canada College have similar legends of this imaginary cow so the credibility is very low.[16] In May 1989, the school‘s annual cadet inspection was inspected by The Duke of Edinburgh with a crowd of two thousand people.[17]

Hundreds of former students volunteered and fought for Canada or Great Britain during the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. The Royal Military College in Ottawa continuously posted advertisements on the BCS Magazine during this period.[18]Alumni Andrew McNaughton was the Minister of National Defence of Canada by then and the radio inventions of Reginald Fessenden permitted the information transmission on battlefields.[19] A large portion of the students was sacrificed. Each year the names of those who fell (65 boys and three masters in the First World War, 62 boys in the Second World War, and one master in the Korean War) are remembered during the School's Remembrance Day Service.[18]A stained glass window and War memorial plaques were erected as lists of honors for the Old boys.[20]

In 1901, the cadet corps took part in the Guard of Honour during the visit of Duke (later King George V) to Sherbrooke. The Cader Corps was also inspected by the Duke of Devonshire, King Edward VIII in 1919, King George VI in 1939 and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1962.[16] In May 1989, the school‘s annual cadet inspection was inspected by The Duke of Edinburgh with a crowd of two thousand people.[21] The Duke also granted the school's new coats of arms registered under the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada[22]. In 2018, the cadet corps was inspected by Canadian Governor-General David Johnston.[16]

Alumni Sir William Price (1867–1924) is one of the organizers for the Valcartier Military Camp (now CFB Valcartier) where BCS students start their year with the Cadet Orientation Camp.[23]The activities include Cadet drills, shooting, a high ropes course, camp crafts (survival skills) and a variety of other competitive games involving the BCS Clan System. The time and effort students contribute to the Cadet program also helps them as they work towards the skill component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.[23]

Into the 21st centuryEdit

BCS Physics Class

In 1958 the school gym/ballroom was transformed into the St.Martin 's Chapel announced by the Archbishop of Quebec. Since then, students no longer use the chapel at bishop's university.[24] An organ instrument was installed behind the Cross in 1958 as a donation, BCS has grown to become more and more secular proceeding into the 21st century.

BCS is proud to collect the first-ever risen Canadian flag in a blessing ceremony few hours before the Canadian Parliament Hill in 1965. The flag was donated by BCS alumni, a WWII veteran Okill Stuart, who also invited Prince Philip for an inspection visit to BCS. The flag is permanently kept in BCS Chapel[25], ironically in the province of Québec, where a strong sense of separatism is presented.

The Sunday Services are cancelled in the 2000s as the school no longer hire any clergies in the chapel but the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Remembrance Day Service, the daily Chapel Assembly is conserved managed by the Prefect, the student body and the school organist.

BCS Campus 2019

The school also invites different religious figures no matter Jewish, Christian, Islamic to the school for speeches. The most notable daily religious event in BCS today is the singing of the Anglican hymns from the books printed in two colors, Red and Green. The school hymn is And did those feet in ancient time(Jerusalem) and the song Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness is sung during a BCS spirit day where students wear in purple.

The CÉGEP system was developed in 1976 banning the High School graduates to enter into universities directly.BCS is one of the seven high schools only in Québec that owns a Grade 12 neglecting this system[26] and one of the few English university-preparatory schools that do not need a certificate of eligibility in accordance with the language law Bill 101.[27]

The school specifically focuses on small classroom size, elite, extra-curricular liberal education and provides the triple diploma program of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and provincial curriculums for Quebec and New Brunswick while AP courses and SAT preparation is also available. BCS is proud to advertise its university acceptance rate, 100% through many years. The School size is limited to around 300 students.

Today, BCS serves approximately 220 students with a faculty of over 40 educators. The campus is composed of 26 buildings set on 270 acres (1.1 km2), including playing fields and woodlands. There are students from, among others, Canada, Vietnam, China, Korea, USA, England, France, Mexico, South America, Bahamas, Bermuda, Germany, Japan and Thailand[28] In 2020, the most recent residence built in fifty years, Mitchell Family House, obtained the Prix d'excellence en architecture by Ordre des architectes du Québec in 2020.[29]

King's Hall in Compton (KHC)Edit

Compton Ladies' College was founded by the Reverend Joseph Dinzey in 1874. A girls' school, the College was managed by a corporation composed of the Bishop of the Diocese of Quebec of the Church of England and four other members appointed by the Synod of the Diocese. In 1884, the College closed because of financial difficulties. It reopened in 1886 under the administration of Reverend George Herbert Parker and a new corporation presided over by the Bishop of Quebec. It also acted as a sister school of Bishop's College School.[30][22]

King's Hall Compton

In 1902, Gena Smith, then Headmistress, reorganized the school on the model of British ladies' schools and had its name changed to King's Hall to mark the coronation of King Edward VII of England, which took place on the 9th of August of that year. A new corporation, formed by the Bishop of Quebec and twelve other members, was established. Through the years, King's Hall expanded its buildings and modified its philosophy of education to suit the needs of a modern educational institution. Girls from different countries and across Canada attended.[30]

Time Zone: Thanks to a willful headmistress, the boarding school was well-known for the fact that it is one hour out of sync with the surrounding areas for much of the year neglecting the Daylight saving time.[31]

In the 1972-73 school year, girls became an integral part of school life when BCS and King's Hall located 20 minutes away amalgamated. The original junior school, Bishop‘s Preparatory School, or Prep was changed into Glass House and the KHC Gillard House was re-built on BCS campus to accommodate the female students. (Gillard House was named after Dr. A. E. Gillard. She was Headmistress at KHC from 1930 to 1968) The white rose in the school logo, coats of arms demonstrate recognition of KHC. The glass passage connecting the school buildings was built in memories of King's Hall. Nearly all traditions of King's Hall is inherited by BCS and the KHC Old Girls joined the BCS alumnus association.[30][22] Some of the girl's residences such as Glass and Gillard adopted the KHC coats of arms as their logo. The prior KHC campus in Compton, Quebec was sold to a hotel group when transferring to BCS in 1972. The hotel group then sold this property to an unknown Chinese company from Toronto in 2018 for selling language immersion courses to Chinese secondary students.[32]

In 1995, Nancy Layton was appointed as Head of School, becoming the first female Head of a coeducational boarding school in Canada.[18]


Students in BCS Quad

BCS provides the diploma program of International Baccalaureate and provincial curriculum of Quebec (Diplôme d'études secondaires) for grade 7~11 and the New Brunswick‘s Canadian High School Diploma for Grade 11,12 while AP courses and SAT preparation is also available.[33]

BCS graduates have been accepted to Cégeps such as Marianopolis College, Dawson College and universities worldwide such as the ones in the Ivy League, G5 (universities), Mcgill, Toronto, UBC, Waterloo, Melbourne, London School of Economics, National University of Singapore, etc.[34]

The school's senior students may be eligible to take credit courses at Bishop's University for advance standings through the BU Bridge Program. BCS is one of the few schools in Canada providing such programs. The T.H.P. Molson Bilingual Option program at BCS provides the students with an exceptional opportunity to learn a second language and to benefit from the unique cultural richness of Quebec and Canada.[35] The R.D.W. Howson Enrichment Centre provides free tutoring to the students every weeknight from Monday to Thursday.[34]

BCS Cadet Corps #2Edit

BCS Black Watch Affiliation
BCS Annual Inspection
BCS Weight Room

BCS Cadet Corps #2, the oldest continuous service corps in Canada, was formed in 1861 as the Volunteer Rifle Company. Today, the Corps plays a major role in the lives of students, school and community. The program, compulsory for all students, is organized and run almost entirely by senior cadets. Instruction is given in skills such as first aid, outdoor survival, shooting, archery, and service-type activities and focuses on leadership education.[23] Returning cadets carry out and organize a number of service-orientated activities. They include participation in the School Bands, literary magazine Inscape, the Round Square and Outreach programs, the environmental Green Group, Adventure Training, Community Services and the Yearbook.[16]

BCS students begin the year by attending Cadet Camp, which is held in Val-Cartier, Quebec at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB Valcartier). Here, they spend one night and the purpose of this activity is to provide the students with an introduction to outdoor activities and skills, as well as some of the cadet activities that cannot be conducted indoors.[23]

In early March, the BCS No. 2 Cadet Corps takes a day trip to CFB Farnham, Quebec. At the base, students are challenged to push their own personal limits by walking across rope bridges, scaling down rappelling towers, running through obstacle courses, doing some Zip Lining and solving skill-testing challenges that require considerable teamwork and effort.[23]

Bishop's College School is affiliated with the Black Watch Regiment of Montreal and the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. In early May each year, the Corps sends two platoons and the Colour Party to march with the Regiment in their Church Parade. The Annual Corps review is held on the Friday of May long weekend; this event includes demonstrations by the drill team and the band.[5]

Duke of Edinburgh's AwardEdit

BCS Annual Cadet Inspection

Bishop's College School offers all students, beginning in Form IV, the opportunity to earn The Duke of Edinburgh's Award which is an international program that operates in more than 100 countries. Annually the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec gives out the award to its recipients in the school chapel.[36]

BCS has been a member of the Round Square Conference of Schools since 1980s.[37]

Introduced to Canada in 1963, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is open to all young people between the ages of 14 and 25. The Award currently attracts some 30,000 participants annually and is operational in all 10 Provinces and 3 Territories.

There are three levels to the award: Bronze, Silver, and Gold – each with an increasing degree of commitment. Within each level, there are four sections.[38]


BCS consists of 10 family-style houses (residences), 2 of them being for day students, and the remainder for boarders:[39]

BCS Mitchell Family House
  • Ross Boys (Day Students)
  • Ross Girls (Day Students)
BCS Williams House
  • Glass (Senior Girls)
  • Gillard (Senior Girls)
  • Grier South (Junior Boys)
  • Grier North (Senior Boys)
  • Smith (Senior Boys)
  • Mitchell (Senior Boys)
  • Williams (Junior Girls)
  • McNaughton (Senior Boys)
  • Chapman (Closed)

In 2020, Mitchell Family House obtained the Prix d'excellence en architecture by the Quebec Order of Architects.[29]

All of the houses are named after former BCS/KHC headmasters/mistresses or a famous alumni/staff member of the school. For example, the McNaughton House is named after famous BCS alumni Andrew McNaughton. Williams House has constantly switched between being a boy's house and a girl's house over the years.[40]

Abuse allegationsEdit

In 2007, a class action was launched by several former students who alleged physical, mental and sexual abuse by masters, head boys, and prefects during the 50s and 60s. One of the main perpetrators was Harold Forster, an Cambridge-graduated Anglican priest, and the school's chaplain and choir director. He also taught at Eton College. 43 known victims came forward before the class action was settled in early 2010 by the school. Reverend Forster was killed in a train accident in England while teaching at Harrow School in the mid-60s. In 2013, the school owned up to the abuse in a private ceremony on school land.[41]


U16 Hockey Team in BCS Arena
BCS Skiing Trials in the Woods

BCS sports a wide range of interscholastic teams at varying skill levels, as well as intramural and non-competitive activities to provide something for everyone. In recent years BCS teams have won championships in basketball, football, rugby, soccer, swimming and tennis. Part of this success is due to the first-rate coaching in all sports. Facilities including a fitness centre, various outdoor trials, an archery station, a 40-foot (12 m) climbing wall, squash and tennis courts, and an indoor hockey rink. Especially the school's ice rink is the oldest indoor ice rink in Canada. It was established in 1925 with 25,000 $ donated by alumni, in an area of 175* 75 square feet. There are 22 creases (sports) to choose from.[42]

In 2008, Stephan Lebeau, a former professional hockey player and experienced youth hockey coach, joined BCS as the coordinator of hockey, to create an elite hockey programme at the School. Since 2012-2013, BCS Hockey programme host two teams (U18 and U16) which are both playing in the Ligue de Hockey Préparatoire Scolaire (LHPS).[43]

Arms, motto, and crestEdit

Bishop's College School Royal Coats of Arms
The latest letters patent granting Bishop's College School and KHC its coat of arms (middle), and badge (middle lower)

Motto: RECTI CULTUS PECTORA ROBORANT; This Latin phrase means "Good learning habits strengthen the hearts". (Also the motto of Bishop's University)

BCS shared a crest with Bishop's University over a century. However, as its growing independence and the amalgamatation with King's Hall, a new coats of arms was needed. According to the Registration on the website of the Canadian heraldry, the coats of arms presented to BCS by Prince Philip has the following characteristics:.[22]

Arms: Argent on a cross Gules an open book edged and bound Or in the canton a rose Argent barbed Vert seeded Or fimbriated Azure all within a bordure Purpure;

Order of Canada Insignia

Crest :A mitre Argent the orphreys semé of maple leaves Gules;

Symbolism: The cross of St. George and the book are found in the arms of Bishop’s University, for which the school was established as a feeder institution, hence the addition of a border. The cross of St. George shows a link to the Anglican Church. The book indicates the school’s role as an educational institution. Purple is a colour used by bishops in the Anglican church, as well as being the school’s sporting colour. The rose was used as an emblem by King’s Hall, the girl’s school which was absorbed by Bishop’s College School in 1972.

Crest: The bishop’s mitre alludes to the name of the school. The maple leaves on the mitre indicate the Canadian identity of the school.

On the grant to BCS, the Sovereign's insignia of the Order of Canada was depicted below the Royal Arms of Canada due to the significant portion of BCS students obtaining this award. This is the only instance where the Sovereign's badge has been incorporated into a grant document。[44]

Notable AlumniEdit

Paul Almond, Director of the Up Series
General Andrew McNaughton BCS'01

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Thomson, Ashley; Lafortune, Sylvie (1999). Handbook of Canadian Boarding Schools. Toronto: Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 488. ISBN 1-55002-323-3.
  2. ^ "Ranking the oldest private schools in Canada".
  3. ^ a b "1843–1853 | Bishop's University". November 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "Bishop's College School | Discover BCS".
  5. ^ a b "The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada - Cadets - Bishop's College School".
  6. ^ "Bishop's College School | Our Approach".
  7. ^ "Bishop's College School | Discover BCS".
  8. ^ a b Siggins, Maggie (June 2, 1979). "Bassett: John Bassett's Forty Years in Politics, Publishing, Business and Sports". James Lorimer & Company – via Google Books.
  9. ^ a b "From Little Forks to Moulton Hill Vol 2" – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ "From Little Forks to Moulton Hill Vol 1" – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "Bishop's University | The Canadian Encyclopedia".
  12. ^ "Historical timeline | Bishop's University". June 30, 2015.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Chronology of Bishop's University Buildings | Bishop's University". November 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine Alfred Arthur Cox (architect)
  16. ^ a b c d "BCS Bulletin Winter 2001" – via Internet Archive.
  17. ^ Heritage, Canadian (August 23, 2017). "Past Royal Tours". aem.
  18. ^ a b c "Bishop's College School | Our History & Traditions".
  19. ^ "Generals - A.G.L McNaughton". Canada and the First World War.
  20. ^[permanent dead link] War Memorials
  21. ^ Heritage, Canadian (August 23, 2017). "Past Royal Tours". aem.
  22. ^ a b c d General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "Bishop's College School [Civil Institution]".
  23. ^ a b c d e "Bishop's College School | Cadets".
  24. ^ "From Little Forks to Moulton Hill Vol 2" – via Internet Archive.
  25. ^ "50th Anniversary of the Canadian Flag". Bishop's College School. February 16, 2015.
  26. ^ Kalbfuss, Elisabeth (December 12, 2018). "Why do some private schools offer Grade 12?".
  27. ^ "English Language Eligibility". Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Bishop's College School | International Students".
  29. ^ a b Prix d'excellence en architecture 2020 - Le public invité à voter pour son projet coup de cœur
  30. ^ a b c "King's Hall (Compton, Que.) - Eastern Townships Archives Portal".
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Bishop's College School | Our Approach".
  34. ^ a b "Bishop's College School | University Preparation".
  35. ^ "Bishop's College School | Bilingual Option".
  36. ^ "The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards Ceremony". Bishop's College School. May 23, 2017.
  37. ^ "Bishop's College School".
  38. ^ "Home". The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Bishop's College School | McNaughton House".
  41. ^ The Montreal Gazette; The Harrow Observer; The Globe and Mail; CBC-TV and Radio; CJAD, CTV-TV; Global TV; The National Post; The Sherbrooke Record; La Tribune, Le Journal de Montreal;, The BCS Bulletin; Archived 2017-10-26 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ "Bishop's College School | The Student Community".
  43. ^ "Révolution dans le monde du hockey". La Tribune. October 30, 2013.
  44. ^ MVO, Christopher McCreery (January 1, 2018). "Order of Canada, Second Edition: Genesis of an Honours System". University of Toronto Press – via Google Books.
  45. ^ "Norman Webster". The Gazette. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  46. ^ " - Your favorite newspapers and magazines".
  47. ^ Thesen, Sharon. "Michael Ondaatje". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 November 2016.

External linksEdit