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Havergal College is an independent boarding and day school for girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school was established in 1894 and named for Frances Ridley Havergal, a composer, author, and humanitarian.

Havergal College
Havergal College.JPG
1451 Avenue Road

Coordinates43°43′12″N 79°24′51″W / 43.7201°N 79.4143°W / 43.7201; -79.4143Coordinates: 43°43′12″N 79°24′51″W / 43.7201°N 79.4143°W / 43.7201; -79.4143
School typeAll Girls Primary & Secondary School
Religious affiliation(s)Anglican
Founded1894 (1894)
PrincipalHelen-Kay Davy
Enrollment920 girls (boarders and daygirls) (2012–2013)
AreaLytton Park
Colour(s)Green and Gold         
Team nameHavergal Gators

Today, the 22-acre (8.9 ha) campus is located at 1451 Avenue Road, at the corner of Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue in midtown Toronto. Facilities include an Upper School, an athletic centre with a pool and fitness center, music studios, a theatre, computer labs, and a Junior School.

Havergal College established the Institute at Havergal to offer students a forum for community involvement, social leadership, and global action. This specially designed program has connections to local and international partners and encourages students to engage such issues as the UN Millennium Development Goals and food security.

Havergal's mission is to "[prepare] young women to make a difference."

In 2012, Havergal's elementary school was ranked first by the Fraser Institute amongst Toronto schools, receiving a "perfect score of 10."[1] In 2015, Havergal's secondary school was ranked second by the Fraser Institute amongst 749 Ontario secondary schools.[2]



Miss Ellen Mary Knox, first Principal of Havergal College, Toronto

Havergal College was founded in 1894, as a Church of England Ladies' College under principal Ellen Mary Knox. Miss Knox held a first-class in the final honour examination at the University of Oxford; a Cambridge University diploma in teaching; and a First Division Government certificate. Havergal was the sister school of Ridley College for the first several decades of the schools' history.

In 1899, land was bought and buildings erected for the college. By 1903, Havergal College (then at 354 Jarvis Street) had 120 boarders and 200 day girls, a staff of 20 resident teachers (chiefly from English universities) and a number of nonresident visiting teachers.[3] The original Havergal Ladies' College Building, built in 1898, is now the Margaret McCain Academic Building of the National Ballet School of Canada.

In the spring of 1894, a school for girls at 350 Jarvis Street was about to close its doors, and a group of men led by The Honourable H. Blake formed an organization for taking over the building and making it the home of what became Havergal College. The group of men who founded Havergal College had great faith in the future of Canada and wanted to provide a sound academic education for their daughters. Being members and strong followers of the Anglican Church of Canada, they established the continuing policy of having its beliefs and teachings in their school. Miss Ellen Mary Knox was the First Principal of the school. She was a graduate of Oxford University, a teacher at Cheltenham Ladies College in England, a devout member of the Church and Principal of Havergal College for 30 years. The school cared about the education of women long before most women began to take themselves seriously.

— Catherine Steele 1928, M.A., D.Litt. D.S. Litt.[4]


Gymnastics display at Jarvis Street Campus, 1908

The many traditions of Havergal include prayers, the Ludemus yearbook, Houses, Candlelight Ceremony, Grandchildren's Party, and the J. Herbert Mason Medal for Character. Notable observances include Carol Service and Founder's Day; both of these events take place in St. Paul's Anglican Church, on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto.


Their formal uniform is a white blouse with a green and gold tie, a forest-green kilt and knee socks, a forest-green blazer, and black oxfords. In grades 4 and below, students wear a forest-green tunic instead of the kilt; students in grades 5 and 6 wear a kilt without a blazer, and students in grade 12 wear a white blazer instead of a forest-green one. In 2018, new uniforms were introduced, and students have the option to wear black dress pants instead of the kilt.


Havergal has several symbols. The Havergal Crest, comprising maple leaves, laurel branches, a torch, and a lamp of learning, symbolizes the school motto of Vitai Lampada Tradens — passing on the torch of life. The marguerite was chosen as the school flower "because it grew so cheerily wherever its luck found it, and because it looked up so steadily at the light that its heart was pierced with purest gold, its petals the purest white." (First Principal Ellen Knox)[5]

Upper School (US)Edit

The Upper School refers to both the Middle School and the Senior School (together, grades 7 to 12) and is located at 1451 Avenue Road. The building was completed in 1926.

Upper School curriculumEdit

The Liberal Arts program exceeds the expectations of the Ontario Ministry of Education. All courses are college-preparatory and are at the advanced level. A credit is granted with the successful completion of a course for which a minimum of 110 hours has been scheduled. Many students choose to write Advanced Placement exams. Upon graduation, students receive the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.[6]

Dramatic artsEdit

Each year, the Drama Department presents the Middle School-Havergal Youth Theatre play, the Senior School play, and Senior School One Act plays in the Legacy Theatre.

Guidance and career educationEdit

The Guidance and Career Education program helps Senior School students develop learning and social skills, with a focus on university and career planning.[7]


The Languages Department at Havergal offers courses in French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin.[8]

Technological educationEdit

Students learn the fundamentals of web design, video and multimedia production, animation, and graphic design. Courses provide the opportunity to explore current industry-standard software, including PhotoShop, InDesign, GoLive, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack, LiveType, Motion, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Microsoft Office.[9]

Visual artsEdit

The Visual Arts program at Havergal provides an opportunity for students to experience the joy of the creative process and to acquire various skills. Aesthetic judgments and skills which students develop enrich their ability to perceive and communicate ideas. Ultimately, students develop their creative and critical thinking skills and experience a sense of achievement and fulfillment through their studies in design, art history, and studio.[10]

Musical artsEdit

Vocal, string, and band courses are offered.


As a member of the CIS eLearning Consortium (ELC), Havergal offers online courses for students. The CIS eLearning Consortium is a cooperative not-for-profit organization that provides online curriculum for the benefit of students in member CIS schools.[11]

Advanced PlacementEdit

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program gives students exposure to university-level material and, in some cases, credit towards university courses, and helps students acquire the skills and habits they will need for success at university.[12] Havergal offers Advanced Placement courses in biology, calculus, statistics, French, and Spanish.[13]

Boarding schoolEdit

The boarding school is a residence for approximately 50 students (Grades 9 to 12), representing countries all over the globe.[14] Fully integrated in the life of the school and with Day Students, boarding students participate in life skills programming, recreational programming and The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, in addition to the curricular and co-curricular programs. The Boarding School also hosts exchange students who visit for several weeks each term from partner schools located in six countries worldwide.[15]


Student PublicationsEdit

  • Ludemus: the annual student yearbook, produced by the students
  • Behind the Ivy (BTI): a student-produced newspaper, usually published three times a year
  • The Bluestocking: an annual, student-produced literary magazine
  • Fishnets: a bi-annual, one-page, literary publication produced by the Bluestocking ‘crew’
  • The Artery: an online publication of student work
  • Kneesocks: an annual Junior School compilation of creative writing.

Junior School (JS)Edit

Located at 460 Rosewell Avenue, the Junior School, often referred to in writing as the JS, is home to students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Junior School Specialty Program OverviewEdit


Ballet is part of the Junior School curriculum for students in JK to Grade 3 and is offered as an after-school activity for students in Grades 4 to 6.

The Classical Technique component of the curriculum is based on the syllabi of the Royal Academy of Dance, an internationally acclaimed institution. Other units of study in the ballet curriculum include Grooming and Preparation, Character Dancing, Creation and Performance, Deportment, Free Movement, Exploration of Themes, Musical Appreciation and Physical Conditioning.

Students in SK, Grades 1, 3, 4 and 6 wishing to be entered for Royal Academy of Dance Exams in May have the opportunity to train further.

Core French

The core French program uses the AIM (Accelerative Integrated Method) and its corresponding program, Histoires en action! for Grades 1 to 6. This kinesthetic method develops strong oral and written communicative skills using an integrated, drama-based approach designed for students specifically at each grade level.

Information and Communication Technology

The Havergal College Junior School curriculum for Information and Communication Technology was developed from the Bruce and Levin model (1997). The curriculum focuses on four application areas of technology: inquiry (e.g. visualization software, spreadsheets and databases), communication (e.g. word processing, email, conferencing and tutorials), construction (e.g. robotics, computer-aided design) and expression (e.g. presentation software). The Junior School program features a Macintosh computer lab, a portable laptop lab and classroom computers. The girls can also use colour scanners and digital or video cameras to integrate images into their computer-generated printed work or multimedia presentations.


As they progress from Kindergarten to Grade 6, students develop library-learning skills that enable them to locate materials, select and interpret, record and present information. These skills are taught in connection with projects and assignments. Throughout the year, the library hosts a number of guest speakers: authors, illustrators, storytellers, musicians, scientists and others with special skills and information to share. The library holds a Book Fair in February each year.

Strings and Band Program

An introductory program for students with no previous string or band instrument experience is offered to students in Grade 6, classes run every other day. The course introduces students to basic techniques and note-reading, emphasizing both individual skills and ensemble playing in string orchestra and band through scales and a wide variety of literature.

Students from Grades 3 to 5 who have previous strings experience are welcome to participate in the String Ensemble. In this course, students further refine their technical skills and ensemble skills continue to be developed.

All string and band students will participate in the Junior School Band/ Orchestra and will have opportunities to perform throughout the school year.

Visual Arts

Specialist teachers teach the Visual Arts program from JK through to Grade 6. Curriculum planning is done in consultation with teachers from other disciplines. Projects are designed to deepen and enrich a student's understanding of topics covered in the core curriculum. Links in art are made to English, History, Math, Technology, Science, French, Social Studies and Music. The goal of the Visual Arts program is to develop perceptual skills as part of the critical thinking process. Students develop integrated projects reflecting the elements of design and expression of visual ideas. Techniques are incorporated using a variety of media while developing fine motor and problem-solving skills. The program is also augmented by the study of artists and field trips to museums and art galleries. An after school art club is also offered during the school year.

Vocal Music Classes

Vocal music classes from JK to Grade 3 follow an Orff-based program. Grades 4 to 6 classes are primarily vocal in emphasis with some Orff influences.

Private Music Lessons (optional)

Piano Lessons – SK to Grade 6: A comprehensive study program is offered from beginning to advanced piano levels.

The program is classical in emphasis but students also experience a variety of styles. A more structured program in the form of preparation for Royal Conservatory of Music exams is also offered to suitable candidates. Piano lessons are offered to students in Grade 1 through Grade 6 on a per term basis, with payment in advance for each term.

Strings Lessons – Grade 1 to Grade 6: A comprehensive study program of private violin, viola and cello lessons is offered from beginner to advanced levels. Technical skills, an understanding of how the instrument works and note reading are stressed so that students develop confidence in playing. [16]

Havergal Community Committee (HCC)Edit

Parent association The HCC is a group of parents who volunteer to serve as a liaison between the parent body, the staff and the students. The HCC leads several community-building events throughout the year including the Parent Luncheon, the Staff Appreciation Luncheon, Used Uniform Collection and Sale, Used Textbook Collection, Birthday Book Program and Father-Daughter Dance, along with ongoing support of Horticulture and the Green & Gold Shop.

Havergal Old Girls AssociationEdit

The Havergal Old Girls Association (HOGA), governed by the Old Girls Directorate, is an organization of approximately 8,000 members throughout 50 countries. Old Girls share close ties to one another and to the school through special initiatives such as reunions, an online alumnae community, mentoring programs, publications and events. Every student who attends Havergal for one year or more becomes a member of HOGA.

Notable alumnaeEdit

Notable facultyEdit

House SystemEdit

The house system forms the basis for organization in the school. The Houses have been named for women who have contributed to the welfare of Havergal. Some have been principals of the school, some have been much loved staff members and others have influenced the growth of the school. Havergal is divided into 10 Houses and every student (JK to Grade 12) and faculty member is assigned to one of these Houses when she/he enters the school. The purpose is to create smaller units within which students from various grades can cooperate for the common good under the guidance of teaching advisors, and thus develop qualities of initiative and leadership, as well as get to know more students who are both younger and older than them. Each girl's efforts and achievements in schoolwork, games and co-curricular activities credit her House.

House Name Colours Mascot
Agnes Hansen Pink & White Panther

Catherine Steele

Purple & Silver Unicorn
Edith Nainby Red & White Lion
Ellen Knox Green & White Frog
Frances Ridley Black & White Penguin
Kate Leonard Baby Blue & White Elephant
Marcelle De Freitas Royal Blue & Silver Dolphin
Margaret Taylor Orange & Dark Blue Butterfly
Marian Wood Yellow & Black Bumblebee
Mary Dennys Teal & Gold Dragon

The House tradition is a characteristic of the Havergal community is part of the history of the school. The House system recognizes the contributions of ten women within the life of the school, it also provides an important link between students and Old Girls throughout the generations.[19]

Buildings and groundsEdit

  • Athletic Centre
  • The Junior School
  • The Upper School
  • The Boarding School
  • Chapel of St. Cecilia
  • Labatt Quad
  • Lisa Hardie Woodland Trail
  • Dr. Catherine Steele Archives 1928
  • Old Girls Legacy Theatre (and Labyrinth)
  • Brenda Robson Hall
  • Ellen Knox Library
  • Upper Pitch
  • Lower Pitch
  • Junior School Field


  • Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS)[20]
  • Conference of Independent Schools (CIS)[21]
  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)[22]
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)[23]
  • CIS eLearning Consortium (CISELC)[24]
  • Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association (CISAA)[25]


  1. ^ "Havergal College lives up to academic expectations". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  2. ^ "Toronto all-girls school ranks second in Ontario: Fraser Institute". Toronto. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  3. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 190.
  4. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. Havergal College. 2010. p. 2.
  5. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. 2010. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Ontario Schools Kindergarten to grade 12: Policy and Program Requirements, 2011" (pdf). Ontario Ministry of Education. 2011. p. 54. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  7. ^ "The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Guidance and Career Education" (pdf). Ontario Ministry of Education. p. 3. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  8. ^ Course Calendar 2011-2012 Academic Year. Havergal College. 2011. pp. 21–24.
  9. ^ "Havergal College Technological Education". Havergal College. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  10. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. Havergal College. 2010. p. 55.
  11. ^ "CIS eLearning Consortium". Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Learn About Advanced Placement". College Board. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Havergal College: Senior School". Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  14. ^ "CAIS Boarding". CAIS. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  15. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. Havergal College. 2010. p. 27.
  16. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. Havergal College. 2010. pp. 43–44.
  17. ^ "Not One Person I Talked to at a Free Speech Event Could Recall Being Silenced". Vice. 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  18. ^ Lett, Dan (August 19, 2017). "Rebel Media's meltdown and the politics of hate". Winnipeg Free Press. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "House System". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  20. ^ "Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS)". CAIS. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  21. ^ "Conference of Independent Schools (CIS)". Conference of Independent Schools. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  22. ^ "The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)". TABS. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  23. ^ "National Association of Independent Schools". Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  24. ^ "CIS eLearning Consortium Our Schools". Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  25. ^ "CISAA Member Schools". CISAA. Retrieved 19 June 2012.

External linksEdit