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De La Salle College (Toronto)

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De La Salle College (Toronto)

De La Salle College "Oaklands"
Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve
Signum Fidei
Sign of Faith
131 Farnham Avenue
Deer Park, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1H7
School type Catholic Private High school
Catholic Private Elementary school
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
(Brothers of the Christian Schools)
Founded 1851
President Brother Domenic Viggiani
Upper School principal Joseph Pupo
Junior School vice principal Kim Sibley
Grades 5-12
Enrollment 625
Language English
Colour(s) Green and Red         

De La Salle College "Oaklands" (De La Salle College Toronto, or De La Salle) is a private, independent co-educational Catholic school in Toronto, Ontario. It is operated by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools as a university preparatory institution in the Roman Catholic tradition as founded by Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle in Reims, France, 1679 AD. It offers instruction from grades 5 through 12.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Later history - "Oaklands" 1.2
  • Patron saint 2
    • St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle 2.1
  • Overview 3
    • Campus 3.1
    • Athletics 3.2
    • Brother Arthur Tournament 3.3
    • Oak Leaves 3.4
  • Student life 4
    • De La Salle Cadet Corps 4.1
    • Drum and Bugle Corps 4.2
    • De La Salle Camp 4.3
    • Boarders 4.4
  • Notable alumni 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8


Early history

De La Salle College "Oaklands" was founded by, and continues to be administered by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. It is part of a global community of Lasallian educational institutions who are assisted by more than 73,000 lay colleagues and teach over 900,000 students in over 80 countries and vary from teaching in impoverished nations like Nigeria to post-secondary institutions like La Salle University in Philadelphia, Bethlehem University and De La Salle University-Manila. The central administration of the Brothers operates out of the Generalate in Rome and is made up of the Superior General and his councillors. From 1851 to present day, the Brothers based in English Canada have provided assistance in creating 58 schools ("Lasallian Educational Apostolates") primarily in Ontario, along with a few schools in Ottawa, Edmonton, Montreal, Saskatchewan and Cleveland, Ohio.

The Brothers of the Christian Schools arrived in Montreal in 1837 and founded the first permanent community of LaSallian Brothers in North America. At the request of Bishop Charbonnel, five Brothers came to Toronto in 1851 and established a grammar school at the corner of Lombard and Jarvis Streets. In September of that year, the Brothers extended their ministry to St. Paul's School, which is still in existence today. Among their early graduates was Denis T. O'Connor, who became the first Canadian-born Archbishop of Toronto in 1899.

The Brothers opened their own secondary school in 1863 on Jarvis Street, originally called 'Christian Brothers Commercial Academy'. In 1871, the school constructed a new building on Duke Street (258 Adelaide St. East today) and the name was changed to 'De La Salle Institute'. The Institute purchased the former post office next door in 1874 (First Toronto Post Office). Twenty years later, the school was extended to include secondary education and took over the former Bank of Upper Canada building next door. The name De La Salle Institute was changed to De La Salle College in 1880 when university entrance courses were added to the commercial curriculum. The three building site still stands at the corner of Adelaide and George Streets as 252–264 Adelaide Street East.

The next major step occurred in 1913 when De La Salle College took over part of the 67 Bond Street building adjacent to St. Michael's Cathedral. In 1916, the College vacated the buildings on Adelaide Street. In 1925, the senior section was relocated to De La Salle Moore Park in what is now Our Lady of Perpetual Help School. In 1932 and 1933, these classes were moved to nearby De La Salle College "Oaklands" which had opened in 1931.

Later history - "Oaklands"

Oaklands campus seen here in 1891

Located in [1]

Construction on Senator MacDonald's mansion on the property on the crest of the hill, began in 1860, and was completed with a tower observatory that would provide him with a clear view of Lake Ontario some 5 kilometres to the south. Currently, the Oaklands mansion has been designated as a historical building by the City of Toronto as an example of local Gothic architecture. The property was purchased in 1905 by the family of Cyrus McCormick (whose farm implement business evolved to become International Harvester).[1]

The Brothers of the Christian Schools bought 12 acres (49,000 m2) of the property in 1931 and turned it into a boys' school. Brother Alfred was the guiding genius in acquiring the property and became the school's first Director/Principal. In its first year, the school was home to 270 students and had matriculation classes ranging from Grade 5 through to Grade 10. Ten years later, grades 1 through 4 were added. In 1970 the 1st 5 grades were phased out leaving only Grades 6, 7 and 8 in addition to the full high school curriculum.[1]

The school's primary focus is its emphasis on academia above all other matters. Traditionally, all graduates advance to universities in Canada and the United States; it is very rare occurrence for a student to matriculate and not proceed to university.

Oaklands had also fostered a reputation for its musicals and drama efforts which, for the most part, commenced in 1951 and carry on to present day. As well, its student-run newspaper, Oakleaves, has been providing ample commentary of the school's goings on since 1931.

In 1950, after a great deal of effort and sacrifice on the part of the Brothers and the alumni of the school, the present main building structure was officially opened. De La Salle "Oaklands"had always been a completely private school, but in 1967, a very significant change took place when grades nine and ten were placed under the auspices of the Metropolitan Separate School Board (now known as the Toronto Catholic District School Board) while grades 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 & 13 remained under the Brothers' jurisdiction as an independent private school.[2]

Prior to the 1970s, De La Salle "Oaklands" demonstrated an order and disciplined environment where direction and goals were clear and commitment by students, teachers and parents to that culture was strong. In the 1970s and 1980s, society underwent change and the school mirrored the milieu in which it existed. Spontaneity, flexibility and creativity replaced the status quo. The traditional students' blazer was abandoned, returning in 1974.

By 1987, the maintenance, curriculum, funding and control of the entire high school was under the MSSB.[1][2] However, full funding of Roman Catholic public separate high schools in Toronto in 1987 was intended to preserve the individual identity brought to each school by its founding religious order.[2] In a joint letter, the Catholic Private Secondary School Principals of Toronto urged the continuation of each school's heritage:[3]

Individual religious communities have put their stamp on the schools that they have run. Such individual charisms are a unique and priceless legacy to our Catholic schools ... that should be preserved.

In 1989, a flood caused by student vandalism caused over $4,000,000.00 of damage to the main building.[4] More than 850 students were moved temporarily to the former site of Kingsmill Secondary School, which closed a year prior and later became Bishop Allen Academy.[5] The school was eventually completely repaired and renovated.

In September 1993, the Ontario provincial government proposed a "de-streaming" of classes, meaning that students would no longer be divided into advanced, general and basic levels (note: despite the participation of the MSSB at Oaklands since 1967, the school had only offered 'advanced' level classes). In response, the school requested the MSSB that De La Salle carry on as an 'advanced-classes-only' academy. This request was rejected by the school board.[4]

In 1993, the school began considering whether it should leave the MSSB.[6] That same year in a letter on June 28, the school notified the MSSB that as of June 30, 1994, Oaklands would re-privatize. After much ongoing thought and discussion, the Brothers of the Christian Schools determined that returning the school to its former independent status would best meet the spiritual and educational needs of the Catholic community they are called to serve. In September 1994, De La Salle College Oaklands again reopened its doors as a private, independent, now co-educational, university preparatory school.[7] The school had planned to do a "phase-out" to allow existing students to continue going to a public separate school, but by 1994, Brother Francis McCrea delivered a letter to the MSSB on February 21, 1994 that stated the school would not participate in a phase-out.[8] De La Salle had decided not to do a phase-out, and each student was willing to pay $6,300 per year in tuition, prompting protests from some parents.[9] By December 1993, there was a proposed plan to allow the MSSB to pay for the continuing education of existing De La Salle pupils.[10]

In order to serve the needs of its existing students at the time of re-privatization, the Brothers of the Christian Schools funded financial assistance, from full scholarships to partial scholarships, to any existing advanced-level student who wished to stay enrolled at the school. In all, 58 students accepted the Brothers' offer.[11] Today, the school provides numerous bursaries and scholarships, such as the Superior General's Scholarship which finances a students full tuition, to ensure that lesser-advantaged students have reasonable access to the school as was the Brothers' practice in the pre-MSSB era. As well, Oaklands strives to maintain its tuition levels to be among the lowest for independent secondary schools in the Greater Toronto Area — approximately $13,500.00 p.a. in keeping with their Founder's ideals of accessibility to all students.

Patron saint

St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle

St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle was born in Rheims, France on April 30, 1651. He was just 29 years old when he realized that the educational system of his day was inadequate to meet the needs of the poor children of 17th century France. He provided a Christian and human education that would be practical and effective, De La Salle founded a religious community of men, the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Latin: Fratres Scholarum Christianarum), dedicated to the instruction of youth, especially the poor. After many hardships, De La Salle died on Good Friday, April 7, 1719. He was canonized a saint of the Catholic Church in 1900 and declared "Universal Patron of All Teachers" by his Holiness Pope Pius XII in 1950. The feast of St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle is celebrated on the 15th of May by the worldwide Lasallian movement.[12]



The Oaklands campus in the heart of Toronto, obtained its name because of the great Oak trees that adorned the property. To this day, the great Oaks still stand, providing the ideal setting for study. There are seven major areas to the campus:

  • Main Building (which includes senior school classrooms, administration, auditorium, gymnasium and chapel)
  • Arena
  • Oaklands Stadium
  • De La Salle Centre (junior school classrooms, library & administration)
  • De La Salle Hall (music & arts)
  • Heritage House at Oaklands (previously the Brother's Mansion)
  • Gate House

The school recently completed construction of its outdoor, all-purpose gym/tennis courts/batting cages.


De La Salle "Oaklands" have won multiple city and provincial championships (particularly in hockey and football) in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Its earlier accomplishments include winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the Ontario Hockey Association Junior Championship in 1917-8 (the predecessor to the modern day OHL). After the school had re-privatized in 1994, its initial efforts on the competitive playing fields were pale in comparison to its rich history. However, by the year 2000, teams from De La Salle were beginning to be noticed. Teams such as the Girls and Boys Varsity Hockey, Boys Varsity Basketball, Girls Volleyball, and Girls Soccer were regularly advancing far into the playoffs of their respective leagues, with some making their way to the OFSAA championships. In the fall of 2002, its Senior Boys football team made its improbable run to upset heavily-favoured Upper Canada College and St. Andrews College for the CISAA championship, and then beat Markham, Lakeshore Catholic, and Nelson for the Ontario Golden Horseshoe Bowl (regional championships).[13]

From 1952 to 1957, the school's senior football team was coached by Toronto Argonauts legendary quarterback Nobby Wirkowski[14][15] and won consecutive league championships in 1955, 1956 and 1957.

Athletic championships (since 1932)
team years
College Group Midget Hockey Championship 1932
OHA Provincial Junior "B" Hockey Championship 1944, 1946, 1947
OHA Provincial Midget Hockey Championship 1948
THL Minor Bantam Hockey Championship 1950, 1952, 1955
THL Minor Juveniles Hockey Championship 1958
THL Midget Hockey Championship 1948, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1958
THL Juvenile "A" Hockey Championship 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1962
OCAC Senior Hockey Championship 1958
TDCAA Senior Hockey Championship 1964, 1977
CISAA Varsity Boys Hockey Championship 2012
TDCAA Junior Hockey Championship 1965, 1966, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1990, 1991
TDCAA Bantam Hockey Championship 1964
CYO Bantam Hockey Championship 1979-80
CISAA Boys U-14 Hockey Championship 2001
Brother Arthur Memorial Hockey Championships 1988, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011
UCC Invitational Boys U-14 Hockey Tournament Championship 2001
TDCAA Varsity Girls Hockey Championships 1999, 2000
CISAA Girls Varsity Hockey Championship 2000, 2005–06
Varsity Girls Hockey Ice Gardens Tournament Championship 2005
OCAC Bantam Football Championship 1962
OCAC Junior Football Championship 1953, 1957, 1959
OCAC Senior Football Championship 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1961
TDCAA Bantam Football Championship 1966, 1967
TDCAA Junior Football Championship 1964, 1965, 1973
TDCAA Senior Football Championship 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971
CISAA Boys Football Championship 2002
OFSAA Golden Horseshoe Bowl Senior Football Championship 2002
OCAC Bantam Basketball Championship 1954, 1958
OCAC Midget Basketball Championship 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962
OCAC Junior Basketball Championship 1957
OCAC Senior Basketball Championship 1957
TDCAA Senior Basketball Championship 1966, 1967, 1973, 1974
CISAA Junior Basketball Championship (D II) 2008
CISAA Girls U-14 Basketball Championship 2004, 2006
TDCAA Senior Baseball Championship 1983, 1984, 1985
TDCAA Bantam Volleyball Championship 1984
TDCAA Boys Bantam Soccer Championship 1990, 1991,2008
CISAA Girls Cross-Country Championship 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006,2008, 2009, 2010
CISAA Overall Cross-Country Championship 2005, 2006,2008, 2009, 2010
CISAA Girls Track and Field Championship 2005 2008, 2009, 2010
CISAA Division 2 Junior Boys Basketball Champions 2012

Brother Arthur Tournament

Every December, Oaklands hosts an invitational hockey tournament named after Brother Arthur Brockman (1915–1979). The tournament began a year after his death and is held annually to this day.[1]

Oak Leaves

Oak Leaves began as the school's student paper that is still published today. It has won recognition from the Columbia University Literary Society and the Canadian School Papers Association not only for its appearance, but also for its journalistic qualities of writing and layout.[1]

Student life

De La Salle Cadet Corps

The Oaklands Cadets (De La Salle Cadet Corps, DLSCC) was formed January 7, 1911 as #269 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps — involving nearly all the students at De La Salle College. (Though according to Corps historian Mr. Murt Howell, there is evidence to support the fact that the Cadet Corps at De La Salle existed even at the De La Salle grammar school at the corner of Lombard and Jarvis Streets even as far back as the 1860s). The Cadet Corps participated in the Guard of Honour for the Royal Visit in the 1930s. During the Second World War one of the ex cadets, Major Fred Tilston, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Hochwald Forest. Following the Second World War, the Cadet Corps was disbanded December 1, 1947, and perpetuated in the De La Salle Drum and Bugle Corps — which grew to great renown in the 50's, 60's and 70's.

The Oaklands Cadets reformed September, 2004 by petition of Oaklands Lasallian student Mena Ghabbour. The Cadet Corps is independent and is not associated to the Canadian Cadet Organizations sponsored by the Army Cadet, Air Cadet and Navy League in partnership with the Canadian Forces. The President, Brother Domenic Viggiani, FSC is the Corps Honorary Lieutenant Colonel — keeping in tradition with that begun by the Brother who began the program in 1911, Hon LCol, Brother Rogatian, FSC.

The De La Salle Cadet Corps (DLSCC) is a student-run, teacher-moderated program designed as a leadership laboratory for the participants in the program. Cadets are taught to systematically assess problems of a task, determine best courses of actions, strike out a plan, and then lead a team of their peers to successfully accomplish that plan. The military model is used to help further develop the values of honesty, loyalty, integrity, and intelligent obedience, as well as the academic prowess and physical fitness that it entails. The Corps was awarded "Team with the most Spirit" by the Patients and Staff at the Hospital for Sick Children for their participation in the Cadet Corps selected Charity: Meagan's Walk, in 2006.

Drum and Bugle Corps

In 1958, with the dissolution of the De La Salle Band, the De La Salle Drum and Bugle Corps was born. Different from a traditional marching band, the Drum Corps (as they became known) played modern music with quick-paced formations that were clearly designed for crowd appeal. In their first 2 years, the Drum Corps placed 3rd in the Junior A National Championships. From 1961 to 1965, the Drum Corps would finish in 2nd at the Canadian National Championships and finally in 1969, would win the National Championships. They would go on to win consecutive national championships in 1970, 1971 and 1973.[16]

De La Salle Camp

A boys' camp was opened by the Brothers in 1916 on the shores of

  • De La Salle College "Oaklands"
  • De La Salle College Cadet Corps
  • De La Salle College "Oaklands" Student Council
  • Brothers of the Christian Schools -
  • Conference of Independent Schools

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001
  2. ^ a b c Chronological List of School Openings and Closings 1828-2006 - "Some Schools listed are now run privately or, in the case of French-language schools, run by the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud. They are included due to their historical association with the TCDSB."
  3. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 89, parag. 4
  4. ^ a b Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 94, parag. 1
  5. ^ Students move to new school as vandalized building fixed." Toronto Star. February 7, 1989. News p. A7. Retrieved on September 23, 2013. "Students and staff at De La Salle College in Toronto are being temporarily relocated to an Etobicoke school after the building was vandalized last month.", "Classes have been cancelled this week and the approximately 850 students will be moved Monday into the former Kingsmill Secondary School.", and "The $200,000 trashing of the secondary school on Farnham Ave., in the Avenue Rd.-St. Clair Ave., area has left remnants of ceiling asbestos exposed, a potential hazard Metro separate school board officials want cleaned up before students return to the classrooms, board spokesman John Fauteux said yesterday."
  6. ^ Wright, Lisa. ".. A Toronto high school may break from the Metro Separate ..." Toronto Star. June 26, 1993. News p. A6. Retrieved on September 23, 2013.
  7. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 96, parag. 2
  8. ^ Daly, Rita. "Brothers abandon De La Salle phase-out Separate board's 'deal' falls apart." Toronto Star. February 22, 1994. News p. A6. Retrieved on September 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Daly, Rita. "A crowd of parents and students lashed out at Metro ..." Toronto Star. October 15, 1993. News p. A26. Retrieved on September 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Ainsworth, Lynne. "Talks stall over plan to make De La Salle a private school." Toronto Star. December 20, 1993. News p. A7. Retrieved on September 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 95
  12. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. John Baptist de la Salle". 
  13. ^ "Golden Horseshoe Bowl 2002". 
  14. ^ "Nobby Wirkowski Profile". 
  15. ^ "Former Toronto Argonauts star Nobby Wirkowski dead at 88". Toronto. 
  16. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, pages 61 & 62
  17. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. 
  18. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 49, parag. 1
  19. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 82, parag. 4
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Andlauer: Owning piece of Habs ‘new chapter in my life’". 
  22. ^ 
  23. ^ Weisblott, Marc (1997-07-10). "Keanu's speed:Tracing the steps of our Toronto homeboy". Eye Weekly. Retrieved 2006-08-08. 
  24. ^ Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 59, parag. 3
  25. ^ "Mr. D. - About the Show". 
  26. ^ [2]


See also

Notable alumni

The Gate House at the property's south-west corner (which stood guard over Senator MacDonald's original still-standing ornate entrance) was converted for student housing. Also, an exclusive home donated to the Brothers by the late Senator Frank O'Connor at his Wexford estate was converted to student housing. With the onset of the MSSBs participation at Oaklands in 1967 (which resulted in an influx of more locally based students), the need for boarders at the school had diminished and eventually, the programme was phased out.[19]

Boarders were commonplace at De La Salle dating back to 1871. At Oaklands, boarders first occupied 6 rooms at the Brothers' residence. The school opened its Junior Hall on what is now the arena grounds in 1936 and two years later, the house at 423 Avenue Road was leased, then purchased to house students.[18]



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