One of the defining qualities of Pickering College is Morning Meeting. It is a time to gather collectively - as a school and as a community - in a sense of friendship and shared purpose. It is a time to share our accomplishments and hear about upcoming events. It is also a time to open and tackle important issues – whether they are global issues, or issues of importance to students and staff. And, in doing so, it will always be a time to reflect on who we are as a school and what it means to live our values. It is a time each day to build our community, as with our Quaker founders, in an atmosphere of respect, of listening, of trust, of integrity and of compassion. There are four traditional Meetings for Worship held at Pickering College each year: Opening, Remembrance Day, Christmas and Closing.
The Four Pillars
Pickering College’s four pillars, at the main entrance to the school, evoke images of strength, tradition, endurance and simplicity in their design and beauty. They have become an expression of all that is important to our school and are so aptly named Faith, Freedom, Friendship and Fun. They are the gates we pass through when we enter the school and as our graduates set off into the world. They remind us of the spirit of each of those who has gone before.
Faith -In our students and our friends, in the school and the human spirit.
Freedom - To speak our minds, to pursue the right path and to take risks.
Friendship - At the heart of establishing our beloved community.
Fun - Which we encourage and seek out every day.
Our school’s motto, "Bene provisa principia ponantur," translated freely means, “Let foundations be well planned.”
When each student enters Pickering College, he or she is assigned to a House --- Blue, Silver, Gold or Red. This is a long standing tradition at Pickering College, beginning with the first annual Sports Day competition (then called "Field Day") in 1929. The students were divided into colour teams for that special day.
Since the 1950s, these colour teams, now known as "Houses" began competing throughout the year, chalking up points for sports and co-curricular activities to win the coveted House Cup. Additional activities are sometimes added. For example, over the past few years, students have collected for the Newmarket Food Pantry as part of the House competitions. With good-natured rivalry, sportsmanship, cheers, colours, and most importantly, in raising lots of school spirit, the tradition of House Teams and House Colours is an important part of student life at Pickering College.
A brief history of Pickering College
West Lake School, near Picton, Ontario, is where the story begins.
The school moved to Pickering, Ontario, under the care of Canada Yearly Meeting. The Quakers also provided the funding for the building of what would soon be known as Pickering College. This magnificent structure burned to the ground on New Year’s Eve 1905. Fortunately, not a single person was injured.
Pickering College re-opened in Newmarket, Ontario. The Rogers family, founders of Newmarket and for whom Rogers House is named, along with other leading Quakers, were very generous in their support of its construction. The building's architect was John Lyle, who also collaborated on Toronto's Union Station, and featured a Georgian-style façade. The four grand pillars were eventually named Faith, Freedom, Friendship and Fun, which represented the school's approach to education.
The Old Gym was added in 1927, thanks to a generous gift from Albert S. Rogers, the Chairman of the Board at the time. In 1933, Mr. Rogers left his 250-acre farm to the school in his will.
Firth House was built and housed the “prep” or younger students. An addition was added in the late 1940s.
Our beautiful Dining Hall opened, moving the kitchen and dining room out of the lower level of Rogers House.
The Arena was built with the support of Old Boys, while long-time teacher Eric Veale was acting Headmaster. “The Barn” as it is fondly known also has the reputation as “the best ice in Newmarket.”
The Right Honourable Governor General Edward Schreyer opened New House as the new residence. Rogers House had suffered a disastrous fire in 1981, requiring a relocation of the boarding students and a full renovation of the building. A significant fundraising effort, including the sale of the farmlands beyond Memorial Field and a number of important pieces of art from the school’s collection was necessary during this time.
Pickering College celebrated its 150th anniversary, adding a Junior School (starting in Kindergarten) to the existing Middle and Senior Schools. It also marked the return of coeducation to Pickering with the admission of girls for the first time in nearly seven decades.
Our gymnasium, Egan House, opened after a successful fundraising campaign led by former Board Chair and volunteer extraordinaire Beth Egan. Now, Pickering College is able to host more indoor tournaments as part of the CAIS competitive family, as well as provide an excellent athletic experience for our students.
The student lounge, new kitchen and servery were added to our school, to the delight of students and staff alike, after a very generous gift was dedicated to this purpose by Jim Spring ’47. Our ’40s Student Lounge pays tribute to the wonderful 1940s alumni who have been and continue to be involved with and supportive of Pickering College.
Long-time teacher and alumni ambassador the late Charles Boyd chose to leave his beautiful Blue & Silver Farm to Pickering College in his will, and to encourage its use as a nature-learning centre. The farm is an asset to every student who visits and the cornerstone of our exceptional outdoor education program.
Pickering College introduced its trailblazing Global Leadership Program. Every student, Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, benefits from its fully integrated, enriched programming. The Global Leadership Program teaches students to deeply consider the global context, and to develop the skills necessary to effectively participate in this context. Creative and innovative decision making drives all programming in academics and activities beyond the classroom. Students learn to take theory to action, and to assess the impact of their actions.
The Dining Hall was expanded and renovated as the next stage of the Campus Master Plan. It was the first major project supported by the Light The Way capital campaign and was renamed as the Harry M. Beer Dining Hall. Like the renovation of the Pillars, our community invested to make this project a reality.
The first class graduates from Pickering College with both the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and the Global Leadership Diploma. The school also celebrates its 175th anniversary.
Peter Sturrup, PC's longest-serving Head of School, retired after 36 years at Pickering College, 27 years spent as Head of School. Dr. Cinde Lock, the first female Head of School in Pickering College’s nearly 180 year history begins her role on August 1, 2022.