Strathcona School for Boys

In 1929, a small group of Calgary parents developed the idea of founding a school for boys. Under the first headmaster, Clarence Taylor, Strathcona School for Boys first opened its doors with a foundation class of 10 students in a room in the Central Park Library.

strathcona-school-for-boys-2The school was named after Donald Alexander Smith who received the title Lord Strathcona for his part in building the Trans-Canada Railroad. School colours and dress regulations were established at the outset and many of these have remained with the school over the years. 

With an increasing enrollment, the School moved to a house at 2211 Hope Street and included a small number of student boarders. In 1933, Myles Ellissen purchased the School and, again with increasing enrollment, it relocated to 740 – 15th Avenue S.W. In 1937, the School moved to its final location at 1232 Riverdale Avenue with an enrollment of 40 students. This latest location provided a field within a short distance for sports and was adjacent to the Elbow River where hockey could be played if the ice was sufficiently thick.

strathcona-school-for-boys-1In 1940, Alfred M. Howard took over the role of headmaster, a position he would hold for 27 years. Mr. Howard established programs at the School which were designed to encourage the participation of all boys and to bring out the best in everyone. Field trips to local farms and to the countryside were regular features of the boys’ activities. The tone of the School was set in the classic tradition of the English public school system. Tolerance, patience and respect were key attributes taught at Strathcona School. There developed a strong sense of family in the School during these years. Sports activities, as well as public speaking, became hallmarks of the boys’ education. Mr. Howard placed great emphasis on marking the celebratory events of the school year.

Mr. Howard retired in 1967 and Mr. W.A.”Sandy” Heard, who had attended Strathcona himself, became the new headmaster. During Mr. Heard’s tenure the School’s enrolment increased from 60 to 160 boys and yet maintained the same family feeling. Mr. Heard and his family lived at the School and all the students were known very well by every teacher. The City of Calgary was itself experiencing tremendous growth due to the boom in oil and gas exploration and similarly Strathcona School had to add several new rooms both at the Riverdale Avenue site as well as rooms in the basement of Riverview United Church. Mr. Heard created a sense of excitement about the future of the School. Due to increasing enrolment and shortage of space, it was not long before discussions about amalgamation with Tweedsmuir: An Academic School for Girls began to take place.