Havergal College

Havergal College is an independent day and boarding 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 typeIndependent day and boarding
Religious affiliation(s)Anglican
Founded1894 (1894)
PrincipalKatrina Samson
Enrollment920 (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.

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]


Ellen Mary Knox, first principal of Havergal College

Havergal was founded in 1894 as a Church of England Ladies' College, under principal Ellen Mary Knox. She 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 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.[3]
Gymnastics display at Havergal's Jarvis Street campus, 1908

In 1898, a new building was constructed for the school at 354 Jarvis Street.[4] By 1903, Havergal College had 120 boarders and 200 day girls, a staff of 20 resident teachers (chiefly from English universities) and a number of nonresident visiting teachers.[5] The former Havergal Ladies' College building at 354 Jarvis Street is now the Margaret McCain Academic Building at the National Ballet School of Canada.[6]


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)[7]

Havergal College's official mascot is the HaverGator,[8] an alligator dressed in the Havergal school uniform. The HaverGator, known as "Allie Gator" amongst Havergal students, represents the Havergal Athletics program and school spirit.

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.[9]


The Languages Department at Havergal offers courses in French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin.[10]

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.[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]

Bullying controversyEdit

In May 2020, the school was the defendant in a lawsuit filed by a student of the school and her mother alleging 'relentless' bullying, both digitally and in person, that the school did not prevent, seeking $38 million in damages.[16]

This is not the first time the school has been the subject of lawsuits about failing to prevent bullying, with a $5.5 million lawsuit filed in November 2019 after the school allegedly expelled the victim in question, following her parents complaints.[17] A report by York University psychology professor Debra Pepler found bullying to be a "significant, systemic problem" at the school (the report was commissioned by the victim's father).[18] As part of the latter case, allegations of racism were made (the victim in question is of Asian heritage).[19]

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.

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, Orange & 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.[22]


  • Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS)[23]
  • Conference of Independent Schools (CIS)[24]
  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)[25]
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)[26]
  • CIS eLearning Consortium (CISELC)[27]
  • Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association (CISAA)[28]


  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. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. Havergal College. 2010. p. 2.
  4. ^ 354 Jarvis Street, Architectural Conservancy Ontario.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Canada's National Ballet School – Facilities". Nbs-enb.ca. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  7. ^ Havergal College Family Handbook. 2010. p. 3.
  8. ^ "THE POST CITY MAGAZINES MASCOT RIVALRY CHALLENGE IS BACK!". Havergal College. Havergal College. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  9. ^ "Ontario Schools Kindergarten to grade 12: Policy and Program Requirements, 2011" (PDF). Ontario Ministry of Education. 2011. p. 54. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  10. ^ Course Calendar 2011–2012 Academic Year. Havergal College. 2011. pp. 21–24.
  11. ^ "Havergal College Technological Education". Havergal College. 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 private school failed to prevent 'relentless' bullying against girl, $38-million lawsuit claims". thestar.com. 2020-05-11. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  17. ^ "Toronto father fights with private school over alleged bullying among 7-year-old girls". Global News. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  18. ^ Carter, Adam (17 December 2019). "Bullying lawsuit highlights lack of oversight for Ontario's private schools". CBC. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  19. ^ "MANDEL: Dad sues posh school after expulsion of girl at centre of bullying complaint". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  20. ^ "Not One Person I Talked to at a Free Speech Event Could Recall Being Silenced". Vice. 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "House System". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  23. ^ "Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS)". CAIS. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Conference of Independent Schools (CIS)". Conference of Independent Schools. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  25. ^ "The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)". TABS. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  26. ^ "National Association of Independent Schools". Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  27. ^ "CIS eLearning Consortium Our Schools". Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  28. ^ "CISAA Member Schools". CISAA. Retrieved 19 June 2012.

External linksEdit