Galt Collegiate Institute and Vocational School

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Galt Collegiate Institute and Vocational School

Galt Collegiate Institute and Vocational School (GCI) is one of sixteen secondary schools in the Waterloo Region District School Board, located in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. GCI offers a complete academic and extra-curricular experience to a student body of more than 1,300 in a wide-range of academic and vocational programs. GCI has been designated as an historic landmark in Cambridge and is the oldest continuously-operating educational institution in Ontario. The school was founded in 1852, with Michael Howe as headmaster, after it was decided to move the grammar school from Palermo to Galt. William Tassie became headmaster in 1853. Under his leadership, the school, informally known as "Tassie's School", gained a reputation as one of the top schools in Ontario. It graduated many men who later rose to prominence, including Joseph E. Seagram. It was one of the first collegiate institutes in the province. However, by 1881 Tassie's methods of teaching were deemed outdated, and the entire staff resigned. John E. Bryant became principal and new staff were hired, including Thomas Carscadden, who became principal in 1884. The school, which had formerly been a boarding school for boys, became a day school for boys and girls. There were 70 students in 1881. In 1905 a major addition was made to the two-story building. The three-story addition, made of stone quarried from the adjacent Grand River, opened in 1906. Carscadden stepped down as principal in 1914, a role performed by A. P. Gundry until his death in 1925. During World War I, Galt saw a larger proportion of its residents enlist in relation to its population than anywhere else in Canada. Three hundred fifty present and former students enlisted, 48 of whom died while serving. After the war, a plaque was erected in the school commemorating these 48 former students. Also after World War I, the concept of vocational education gained popularity in Ontario. The name of the school was changed from "Galt Collegiate Institute" to the present name, and another large addition was made to the school to accommodate vocational classes. GCI is also home to both the French Immersion, and ESL programs.

Notable alumni

  • Cabbie Richards
  • Graeme Ferguson (inventor of IMAX film format)
  • Peter Gzowski (until grade 11, when he transferred to Ridley)
  • Ian Leggatt

Galt offers numerous programs in competitive sports. Regarded for its well rounded football program, Galt competes every year in WCCSSA and often extends well into the playoffs for football. Its Volleyball program is successful, having gone to CWOSSA in 2008, 2009, 2010. The male soccer and basketball programs are very well respected as well. Numerous athletes have gone to play OUA sports, and a couple have made it to the professional leagues.

Building Activity

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