Milestone anniversary for Glebe Collegiate Institute

Glebe Collegiate Institute, when it was completed in 1923, was considered to be on the outskirts of town.
Photo: Courtesy of GCI

By Connie Boynton

“Yellow and blue, yellow and blue!
What we want we always do! Who are you!? Who am I!?
We’re the gang from GCI!
A-rick-a-rack a-rick-a-rack, hullabaloo, balloobala, humpty dumpty, rickety-rack, sis boom ba!

Plans are underway for celebrating Glebe Collegiate’s 100th anniversary in 2022-23. Glebe school council is seeking input from the community and alumni for ideas to mark the special occasion. We are holding a brainstorming session on February 6 at 7 p.m. Spread the word and come on out and join us.

Glebe Collegiate Institute began holding classes in the fall of 1922. The school wasn’t fully completed at that time, so its official opening was held in 1923 when the building was finished.

Glebe was created as an expansion of Ottawa Collegiate Institute (OCI) which was housed in the building that is now Lisgar Collegiate Institute. In 1919, the Adolescent School Attendance Act had made attending school compulsory until age 16, leading to a dramatic rise in secondary school enrolment. Glebe was built on what was then the outskirts of town. In old photos, you can see dirt roads and empty hills. At that time, the Glebe would have been considered far from the downtown.

OCI initially consisted of the Glebe and Lisgar campuses which led to much rivalry between the schools. Early on, Lisgar students were attending a banquet at Glebe when a food fight broke out! Only the principal was able to quiet things down and bring peace. Eventually, Glebe and Lisgar became separate entities with their own administrations.

Glebe holds fond memories for the many alumni and families who were affiliated with the school and evokes strong devotion from current students. Past students have gone on to excel in various disciplines in the arts and sciences. Glebe even has its share of illustrious alumni such as Peter Mansbridge, Alanis Morissette and Angela Hewitt.

In a building almost a century old, Glebe is in need of some revitalization. Certain aspects are difficult to fix in an older building, as anyone who lives in an old home will know. One difficulty is the lack of air conditioning. Some classrooms are unbearably hot in the spring and fall when temperatures are high. A fundraising effort is underway to provide fans to all these classrooms. Some fans have already been purchased, but more are required. If you would like to contribute to the Glebe Fan Club, please bring a cash or cheque into the school office. A tax receipt is available.

Other parts of the school are aging but can be repaired. One large project that has been brought to the attention of the school council is fixing the auditorium. The auditorium is well used by the high school and also by the community and other schools. For example, Mutchmor Public School holds their Grade 6 graduation there to accommodate the crowd that attends the ceremony. The Glebe community would like to facilitate repairs and upgrades so the auditorium can be used more widely.

Glebe school council is beginning the planning and fundraising process for this landmark 100th anniversary celebration. We are planning fundraising events in the new year as well as the February 6 brainstorming symposium to see how we should celebrate this event. To stay informed, please watch for the next Glebe CI article in the Glebe Report and check the school’s website for updates.

Connie Boynton is a Glebe resident and member of Glebe parent council. She is the parent of a current Glebe student and a future Glebe student.

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