Doors Open offers chance to peek inside historic boys’ school

August 12, 2015   ·   0 Comments

By St. Andrew’s College

If you’ve never visited St. Andrew’s College, you’ll have your chance on Saturday, August 15 when the independent all-boys school opens its doors to the public.

The College was actually established in Toronto in 1899. In 1905 it had outgrown its space and moved to a newly-built campus in Rosedale. It was there that one of the School’s oldest traditions, the Pipes & Drums, was established. St. Andrew’s is believed to be the only high school in Canada offering a music course in bagpiping. Many Aurorans will have seen the Pipe & Drums playing at events in town such as the Santa Claus Parade and when the band marches in full regalia down Yonge Street each spring.

In 1926, needing more space and a setting away from the perceived negative influences of the city, SAC moved to its present Georgian-style campus in Aurora. The sanctuary, whose 94-foot spire is visible from Yonge Street, was consecrated in 1931 and prevails as a welcoming symbol of the School. The building was made possible by a significant donation from a former board chairman who wanted to honour the 106 Andreans who lost their lives in the First World War. The chapel also holds several weddings, baptisms, and memorials annually, most often for alumni, faculty, and staff.

Over the decades, several new buildings, additions, and facilities have been added through fundraising, including residences on Masters’ Row (almost 40% of faculty and staff live on campus). In 2003, Rogers Hall was opened to accommodate a centralized Middle School that included classrooms and a gym. That same year, Staunton Gallery joined the outdoor space between Coulter and Dunlap Halls into a gathering space for students and special events.

The last five years have seen the biggest period of growth in St. Andrew’s history with $42 million in capital improvements through the Not An Ordinary Place Campaign. A $6.5M Yuill Family Athletic Complex was constructed on the vacant upper fields and boasts a six-lane rubber track, all-weather synthetic turf field with grandstand seating, a baseball diamond, and batting cages. In September 2014, the $13.5M La Brier Family Arena opened with an NHL-sized ice surface and a 6,000 sq. ft. weight-training facility. The 50-year-old dining hall was also renovated, and the newly renamed Cole Hall has the additional kitchen services to facilitate the serving of over 1,200 meals daily.

In March, the $22M Centre for Leadership, Innovation & Performance opened, offering state-of-the art facilities for drama, music, engineering and robotics, and business and leadership studies. This included a complete overhaul to Ketchum Auditorium with additional seating and inclusion of the spectacular Wirth Theatre, an intimate thrust stage surrounded by seating for 250.

Today, St. Andrew’s College’s population is 625 boys, with 365 day students and 260 boarders representing Canada and 31 countries worldwide. Kevin McHenry is St. Andrew’s eighth Headmaster, having assumed the role on July 1, 2009.

Many well-known and prominent Canadians spent their formative years at St Andrew’s including Vincent Massey; artists Lawren Harris and Paul Mantrop; actors Donald Davis, Kiefer Sutherland, and Stephen Amell; writer Timothy Findley, politician John Crosbie; judge Roy McMurtry; father of Canadian aviation J.A.D. McCurdy, and broadcaster and reality TV star Brad Smith.

Doors Open runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 15. Visitors to St. Andrew’s College can proceed to the Main Reception to pick up a campus map or join in a guided tour.



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