Glebe Collegiate dials through the decades


by Megan Doyle Ray

The First World War had ended just four years earlier when Glebe Collegiate Institute first opened its doors to students in 1922. The mood was celebratory, the Jazz Age was in full swing.

On Friday October 28, the cafeteria at Glebe Collegiate will be transformed into a 1920s Jazz Club where alumni, current and former staff, students, parents and community friends will gather to celebrate Glebe Collegiate’s first decade, the Roaring Twenties.

The evening will feature the live music of The Chords, a local band that includes two former Glebe teachers, Bruce MacGregor and Brian MacMillian, a signature Glebe 1920s cocktail, Charleston demonstrations and lots of Glebe memorabilia.

“The idea is to hold an annual event to celebrate the decades leading up to Glebe’s 100thanniversary in 2022. This year we’re celebrating the 1920s, Glebe’s first decade. Next year’s celebration will highlight the 1930s and 40s, the following year the 1950s, and so on until we reach 2022, which isn’t really that far away,” said Steven Massey, Principal of Glebe Collegiate.

The evening is turning into a Glebe reunion of sorts, as many former Glebe students and staff are keen to return to their old school. Guests are invited to dress the part in 1920s fashion.

Proceeds from this event will go toward the school’s Learning Commons Library renovation project. Tickets are $25 and available either at the Glebe Collegiate main office, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., or online at or www.universe.comglebeginjazz. A limited number of tickets are available, so be sure to get yours soon!

Megan Doyle Ray is from a family of three generations of Glebe students. She graduated in 1983; her father Brian Doyle attended in the 1950s, then returned as a teacher, and later head of the English Department; and both her children have attended Glebe. She lives across the canal in Old Ottawa South.

Did someone you know attend Glebe Collegiate Institute in the 1920s or 1930s? We’d love to include them, or memories of them, in our Gin and Jazz celebration. For more information, please contact

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Sports at Glebe back in the day – the 1930s

by Adam Coplan

There are so many things that make Glebe Collegiate a great school, whether it be the outstanding arts program, dedicated and excellent teachers and staff, or, of course, sports. Glebe has arguably the longest and most successful sports history in the Ottawa area, and the tradition thrives today. At Glebe, our motto is “Strive for the Heights,” and our sports teams, past and present, have demonstrated this for generations.

There are multiple similarities and differences between the Glebe of 2016 and the Glebe of the 1930s. One similarity is the success of our sports teams. As some may know, sports teams at Glebe often do really well. Enthusiastic and experienced coaches, along with dedicated athletes, help to strengthen athletic competition. Previous articles have chronicled last year’s spring and winter sports, and many of those results were podium finishes and impressive scores. Looking at some of the archives of Glebe Athletics in the 1930s, it was exciting to see that there were countless newspaper articles reporting historic championships and memorable victories for Glebe athletes over 80 years ago.

One 1930s headline in The Citizen read “6,000 See Glebe and St. Pat’s Battle for Title.” High school sports are exciting, provide a great atmosphere, and are fun to watch, but attendance at these events today is usually limited to the students of the schools involved. However, back in the 1930s, this was clearly a big deal! Having 6,000 people attend a high school title game is a lot, especially when you compare it with attendance today. The average attendance in 2015 for an Ottawa Fury soccer team home game was 5,164 and for an Ottawa 67s home game was 3,484, several thousand fewer than attended a 1930s Glebe high school football game!

What baffles me is that the Fury and these WNBA teams are professional sports teams in professional leagues, and the 67s play in the highest level of junior hockey competition. Judging by these statistics, back in the 1930s, people were more interested in high school athletics than people in 2016 are in some professional sports. That tells you how much high school competition meant to the people of that time. They used high school sports as one of their prime sources of sports entertainment. It didn’t matter who was playing; even if you weren’t connected with a certain high school, you went and watched the games because they were fun, exciting and had a great atmosphere.

Another difference between now and then is that the terminology used in the 1930s was monumentally different from the way we communicate today. For example, one article described the members of a 1938 softball team as nerds and eggheads. If I used terms like that, it would be deemed unacceptable, as today, those terms are used to make fun of someone.

One similarity that I found is how much Glebe Collegiate supports and cheers on their sports teams. Unlike in the 1930s, our high school sports don’t seem to generate as much interest from adults, but the love of athletic activity from within the school still speaks volumes. Our incredible coaches and excellent athletes show how much of a sports school Glebe can be. If that’s not enough, we have all 1,500 students to back them up.

The 1930s were a thriving time for Glebe Collegiate sports teams, with all the support they had and the interest that the games drew. With all the similarities and differences between these two decades, one thing is clear – the storied tradition of sports at Glebe has, does and will always “strive for the heights.”

Adam Coplan is a Grade 10 student at Glebe Collegiate with a love of sports, and is a budding sports reporter.

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