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      Our History

About HSC

Our History

Hillfield Strathallan College was founded in 1901 and has a storied legacy that includes many notable alumni of great influence.
Hillfield Strathallan College was founded in 1901 by John H. Collinson as Highfield School for Boys. Since then, our storied history has spanned five locations, two world wars and one prevailing mission to deliver excellence in education.
Read more about the incredible story of HSC in Echoes That Remain, a comprehensive history of the College from 1901-2001, crafted by Headmaster Emeritus Barry Wansbrough. Please click here to access Echoes That Remain.
Aberdeen Avenue

Highfield was built in 1861 by John Brown and purchased by the Turner family in 1874. Senator Turner and his family lived there until 1889 after which Lord and Lady Aberdeen took up residence prior to Lord Aberdeen’s appointment as Governor-General.
At the turn of the century, the property was purchased by a group led by Major John Hendrie for the purpose of establishing a local private school. The original school was founded in 1901 by John H. Collinson. On May 5, 1918, the school was severely damaged by fire and although it was able to continue operations after the fire, the search had begun for a new site.

Headmaster John H. Collinson 1901 to 1919
Main & Queen Street

In the fall of 1920, with the support of the old Highfield constituency and Reverend C.A. Heaven, the new school was opened with an enrolment of 60 boys. Hillcrest was established as a temporary solution to the rebuilding of a new successor for Highfield.

Headmaster Cecil A. Heaven 1919 to 1929
Robinson Street

Strathallan School was founded in 1923 by Miss. Janet Virtue and Miss. Eileen Fitzgerald. 

In July 1923, the founding patrons (Lady Gibson, Lady Hendrie, Mrs. J.P. Bell, Mrs. C.E. Doolittle, Mrs. William Hendrie, Mrs. S.O. Greening, Mrs. Olmstead and Mrs. Colin Gibson) purchased the house on Robinson Street for $17,000 to establish Strathallan School. Miss. Virtue, an experience Headmistress, attended to the academic and religious side of school life, while Miss. Fitzgerald fueled the creative side and supervised the daily living and learning arrangements. In the mid-1950s, 25 Robinson Street was purchased to augment the facilities.

In 1961, Strathallan School was renamed to Strathallan College. 

Headmistress Janet Virtue 1923 to 1948
Headmistress Eileen Fitzgerald 1923 to 1948
Headmistress Evelyn M. Mills 1948 to 1950
Headmistress Elsie M. Bartlett 1950 to 1957
Headmistress Hilda M. Pearce 1957 to 1962

Main Street West

Through the generosity and patronage of the Gibson family, a generous parcel of land, including the late Col. Robert Ainslie’s house, was acquired. The temporary Hillcrest School had survived through the 1920s, and Hillfield School was built.

In 1959, Hillfield School was renamed to Hillfield College. 

Headmaster Arthur F. Killip 1929 to 1950
Headmaster Col. John P. Page 1950 to 1969

Fennell Avenue West

In 1962, the two schools moved to their current location—a 50-acre campus on Fennell Avenue West on Hamilton Mountain. In 1999, an addition to the campus created the current Montessori School, the Virtue-Fitzgerald Theatre and new music facilities.

Most recently, in 2014, the College completed construction of the 134,000 sq. ft. Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Excellence. This addition includes the new Michael G. DeGroote Senior School (which opened in 2012) and an Athletic Complex with three large gymnasia, a multi-purpose athletics studio, change rooms, conditioning room and significant bleacher seating. It also features state-of-the-art music and arts rooms, a heated and covered alumni walkway and an alumni lounge.

Headmaster Col. John P. Page 1962 to 1969
Headmistress Kathleen T. Bruce 1962 to 1968
Headmistress Edith Grinstead January to June, 1968
Headmistress Audrey G. Southam 1968 to 1972
Headmaster M.B. Wansbrough 1969 to 1995
Headmaster William S. Boyer 1995 to 2002
Headmaster David Hodgetts 2002 to 2003
Headmaster Dr. Tom Matthews 2003 to 2010
Head of College Marc J. Ayotte 2010 to Present 

    • Remembrance of Our Fallen

Remembrance of Our Fallen

The HSC community gathers annually for a Remembrance Day ceremony to honour the 47 alumni killed in the two World Wars as well as all those who served and continue to serve in the protection of Canada’s values and ideals.
Highfield School Old Boys Who Gave Their Lives in the Great War 
Lt. Hubert H. Washington
Lt. Charles A. MacGillivray
Lt. Francis M. Gibson
Lt. Mascal Brooks H. Boyd
Lt. Henry W. Vallance
Lt. William K. Domville
Lt. John C. Mewburn
Lt. Col. James A. Turner D.S.O., M.C.
Capt. Theodore O. Purdon M.C.
Capt. William O. Boger D.F.C.
Lt. Waldemar S. Marshall
Lt. Gordon M. Matheson
Lt. William F.H. Tidswell
Maj. John B. Mitchell M.C.
Lt. Herbert W. Dobbie
Ian D.S. MacDougal
Lt. Geoffrey Lynch-Staunton
Maj. Victor G. Tupper M.C.
Lt. Reginald H. Gilbert
Lt. William A. Crawley
Lt. Charles B. Tinling
Lt. Gordon M. Pearce
Lt. Malcolm C. Crerar
Cpl. Joseph S. McCoy
Capt. Robert Leighton M. Ferrie M.C.
Maj. Charles C. Gwyn
Capt. Ch. Charles A. Sparling
Cpl. Donald E. Turner
Capt. George E. Tinling M.C.
Capt. John S. Dobbie
Lt. Henry R. Thomson
Lt. George K. Holland
Lt. Bernhard C. Montagnon M.C.
Lt. George V. Robinson
Lt. Geoffrey C. Hilliard

1919 - Pte. George F. Glassco
1920 - Lt. Gordon M. Pirie
In Memory of Old Boys Killed in Active Service 
(1939 - 1945)
Maj. James M. Bostwick
P/O. Calder L. Cleland
Lt. David S. Hill
S/Lt. Frederick S. Ker
F/Lt. Gordon G. McLean
P/O. Edmund M. Tew
Lt. John W. Osborne
F/O. Ivan R. Glassco
Maj. John D. Young
Lt. Ian H. Wright
    • Coat of Arms

      Coat of Arms Album

      hsc-coat-of-arms (1)

Coat of Arms

In 2005, HSC acquired our own official coat of arms that brings together elements of our storied history.

The scrolls feature latin mottos derived from our founding schools—“Excelsior” (Ever Higher) from Strathallan, and “Velle est Posse” (Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way) from Hillfield. The colour green and the boar represent Hillfield School while the colour purple and prairie crocus represent Strathallan School. The upside down “V” is a chevron to symbolize the Hamilton mountain as well as our College mission to strive for excellence. The laurel wreath is an ancient symbol of excellence and achievement with the helmet and mantling also harkening to traditional coat of arms elements. For more information, please visit The Canadian Heraldic Authority and The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. 
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