“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared May 20, 2003.
Western Canada College
641 17th Ave. S.W.
THEN: Western Canada College, 641 17th Ave. S.W.
• Western Canada College for Boys was founded in 1903 and officially opened by Premier Frederick W.A.G. Haultain in a two- storey house on 15th Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets S.W. A year later, a four-storey school was built on 20 acres (between 5th Street and College Lane and 17th and 20th avenues S.W.) donated by the Canadian Pacific Railway. In subsequent years, numerous buildings were constructed on the site to accommodate a growing student population, including those who lived in residence. By 1910, student registration was around 130. The college motto was Luceat Lumen -- Let the Light Shine. The school song: "Here at Western College, where they teach uncommon sense, is where you tear your Sunday clothes, by shinnying under the fence." The property and buildings of the private school were sold in 1926 to the Calgary School Board for $35,000. In 1928, two wings were added to the old college. The new 31-room facility, designed by William Branton, was completed in 1929 and opened for use as a junior technical college. In 1935, Western became the city's first composite high school, offering academic and technical studies.
NOW: Western Canada High School
• The 1929 building and subsequent additions accommodate a student population of around 2,000 and a teaching staff of 105. The school offers an academic program including International Baccalaureate and French immersion. Western also offers programs in second languages, fine arts, career and technology studies and physical education. Next month, Western's alumni will be celebrating the school's 100th anniversary. Only paid-up members of the Alumni Association are invited to register for the two-day celebration. For more information, call 228-2781 or log-on to www.wchsreunion2003.ca