The Ghost, Year by Year: 1918 to 1979

Updated September 16 2019

Construction of the first high school in NDG is begun  by the Coteau St. Pierre School Commission to serve the rapidly  growing school population. The CSPSC covered the area of Montreal West, Ville St. Pierre, Rockfield, Lachine, Cote St. Luc and western NDG. This same year it had ceded the eastern half of NDG to the Protestant Board of School Commissioners (PBSC), which represents the central  Montreal area....The CSPSC's other high school in the area is Aberdeen Model School opened in 1904 in Montreal West.

On February 17th the new high school opens officially. It is named West Hill High School and is located at the then northern end of West Hill Avenue, just a few blocks from its primary feeder public school Kensington. The building offers 15 classrooms, housing 53 elementary  and 113 high school students... The first year produces 2 grade 11 provincial graduates.

West Hill has eight high school and five elementary (grades 6 & 7) school classes due to the crowding in Kensington School are formed.

West Hill High is annexed by the Protestant Board of School Commissioners (PBSC) on July 1st, 1921 by a provincial Order-In-Council, becoming the 4th high school under the PBSC. The others are High School of Montreal, Montreal Girls High School and Commercial and Technical High School. Due to space problems in the high schools 6 public schools are required to house grade 8 classes. A total of 892 pupils and 33 teachers were part of the annexation which includes Kensington School...the PBSC student population totals 18,054 Protestants, 12,142  Jews, 276 Roman Catholic and 115 others in Sept. 1921....The book value of West Hill building and property in Sept. 1922 is $301,028 -  about half that of the new Baron Byng High School opened by the PBSC....Free tuition is offered to girls after Grade 7 if they indicated a desire to go into teaching and are transferred to the Belmont Street School downtown. The school's Benevolent Fund is created from the proceeds of lectures, plays and recitals. Gilson School, on Harvard Ave.,(south of the CPR railroad tracks, also becomes part of the PBSC and continues feeding students to West Hill. Gilson had been named Royal Albert School at its inception around 1919.

212 of 231 students pay monthly fees to attend....Herbert Symonds School  opens March 19th as a  feeder school to West Hill, however almost one third of its enrolment initially are high school students who should be in WHHS...In its first major renovation the board installs new windows throughout the school

The original Sloyd (crafts) and Division rooms are converted into a Drawing Room and a Medical Room...There are now 13 high school classes and two elementary classes.

12 classrooms are added by the construction of a wing to the west side of the building. Work begins on March 30th and is mostly completed by the opening of school on September 7th. The cost of the work is $73,363. ..Enrolment stands at 436 students in 17 classes with 21 teachers...The first school yearbook, The Annual, is produced by the students with the first photo of graduates from 1926 ...An academic record is established when all 34 pupils writing provincial matriculation exams pass.

The first basketball team is formed under George Gregg...Hockey also gets its start the same year under coach Charles Hewson who will  become principal of the school in 1952. The School Activities Fund is created, initially with the funds by a play produced by the teachers, His Excellency, The Governor. The fund is used to acquire equipment for the school, which is 1926 was track and field equipment as well as stone dust for the tennis courts.

In an effort to reduce crowding , Rosedale School is opened in at a temporary locaction, an old church hall, on the south side of Terrebonne Avenue...The first football game is played by the school team. English teacher J.G.S. Brash coaches 15 recruits.

Willingdon School opens in September as part of the public school expansion plans

Grades 6 and 7 are finally dropped by West Hill High now that the public schools have been expanded....Enrolment is 768, but the future is apparent. The population of NDG has grown from 5,000 in 1914 to 50,000 in 1930....Teachers include Thomas Somerville (later Director of Education at the Board), Leonard Unsworth, J.G.S. Brash (later the provincial supervisor of English), George Brown, Keith Oxley, George Gregg, and S.G. McGowan...three radio broadcasts feature West Hill students...a school song is composed by student Jack McLeish and teacher Irwin Cooper...Miss Shearing and Miss Mills leave the staff...Faust is performed by the choir in April and again on radio in May...the football has its most successful season, but lose the championship game to Catholic High

The student population has climbed to 942, despite the elimination of grades 6 and 7 from the school. In response, the board builds an eastern wing which includes 12 new classrooms and expansion of the gymnasium and assembly hall. Modifications are also made to original, central portion of the school. The work, designed by Lawson and Grimstead, is completed by Sept. 8th and costs $143,900. The new classrooms include a Chemistry Lecture room and a second Drawing Room. The school boasts a total of 30 classrooms, a division room, music room, two drawing rooms, chemistry and physics laboratories, science lecture room, library, gymnasium and recreation rooms. Outside the school boasts four tennis courts in the front and large playing field for rugby, baseball and other field sports at the rear.An article in the 1931 Annual describes the changes.. New teachers hired to staff the new classrooms are Joyce McLelland, Gwendolyn Mabon, Grace Gillson, Mr. J.A. Latham and Mr. P.L.H. Muschamp...It is announced that this is last extension of West Hill High, since construction of a new school is expected in five years - either a commercial/technical or junior high school...the school choir is featured on a number of local radio broadcasts...Due to the extensive construction, there is no closing ceremony in June for graduates

A new larger Rosedale School is built to help ease the crowding caused by the ending of grades 6 and 7 at West Hill at a cost of $191,000. Another  new public school, Iona, is built on the east side of the school district at  a cost of $262,000 planned to ease the pressure on Roslyn School. Both new schools will continue to serve as feeders for West Hill itself....West Hill exceeds 1000 students for the first time. However in 11 years it has grown from 15 classrooms to 43, and the staff from 11 to 45. Despite the growth the ratio of students to teacher has risen from 24.4 to 32.4 over the same period...the school's capacity is 1,100 students, however this limit may be tested by the number of students rising through the local feeder schools of Rosedale, Kensington, Willingdon, Herbert Symonds, Iona, Roslyn  and Gilson...Additional space has been created by the conversion of cloakrooms into class areas and the installation of lockers in the hallways...Mr. MacGowan leaves to become Supervisor of French for the school board, Mr. Sharpe becomes the principal at Pointe Claire School and Mr. Pitcairn returns from his studies at Edinburgh.

The school exceeds 1200 students and begins transferring grade 8 students to facilities in the public schools, the inverse of the situation in the 1920s. Discussions about the construction of a new high school in the area are stymied by the Depression and a declining enrollment in the elementary population...despite the lack of a school pool, the school wins the city boys water polo championship.

Due to crowding, 6 WHHS classes moved to Willingdon and Rosedale elementary schools. A further 25 pupils transfer to Montreal West. The Board hopes that lower elementary school enrollment will eventually help West Hill...Teacher salaries are reduced by 10% -  the economic conditions of the Depression are blamed...Schools begin moving to annual promotions from semi-annual frequency as a cost cutting move...West Hill has 1,250 students of which 1,052 are Protestant, 170 are Jews, 170 Catholic and 28 are "other". It is the reverse image of the other suburban high school , Baron Byng, where 1,199 of 1,215 pupils are Jewish...Utilizing the increased stage size, the school begins a tradition of producing Shakespearean plays. The first is A Midsummer Night's Dream which is later described (in 1952) as "the most successful project ever to be undertaken by West Hill students". The play is directed by teacher Charles Rittenhouse and stars Ivor Francis, Betty Taylor, Louis Burggraf, Lawrence Thornton and Jules Leavitt...the football team wins the city championship

Throughout Montreal high school enrollment is up while elementary numbers continue to decline dramatically. The effect is best seen in teacher hiring: in 1920, 203 new teachers were hired, in 1930, 177 and in 1935 just 20...West Hill is commended by the Board for it's dramatic activities. The school performs The Mikado and As You Like It. Previous years productions included Trial by Jury, Yeoman of the Guard and an original play, Full O the Moon composed by the musical director, Mr. Irvin Cooper. Some of the plays were broadcast on radio...For the first time Grade 12 is offered at West Hill. It leads to a "Senior Matriculation" and advanced standing at McGill University. Numbers are low, perhaps due to the $10 per month tuition fee.

Student overflow sends students to Westmount High and Argyle Junior High, both outside the Board's jurisdiction. Another 8th grade is added to Willingdon school to make space. Many parents resort to the "zoning provision" of the education regulations that allow them to send children to schools in Verdun and elsewhere in response to the distance to West Hill as well as the overcrowding. The Board's only two "community high schools" - West Hill and Baron Byng are both overflowing while the downtown schools are losing students due to a shift of population to the suburbs of Mount Royal, Montreal West and Cote St. Luc/Hampstead....The Shakespearean play for the year is Romeo and Juliet...Public Speaking is introduced as a course. It will continue until the September the West Hill Rifle Club is formed. They use a shooting range on Draper and Cote St Antoine...the football team shares the  Wallace Trphy with Westmount as both teams went undefeated (they tied in their only match against each other). Roy Chesley-coached teams have been unbeaten in three years...

At the 1st Quebec Music Competition held April 5th to 9th, and the West Hill  orchestra wins an award, the school's first...the drama production of the year is  Taming of the Shrew...The Girls Menorah Club is started on March 16,

2% of the 10% salary reduction of 1934 is reinstated for teaching staff....The Shakespearean play series ends as Charles B. Rittenhouse leaves to join the Board as Supervisor of Speech Training and Dramatics...the big production is H.M.S. Pinafore  complete with accompaniment from the Montreal Orchestra. and  The Christmas drive produces 32 baskets of food and $102 for needy families...Miss Sutherland forms the Knitting Club....the International Affairs Club is started in October...Iroquois Chief Clear Sky addressed the students on September 29th...Graduation Exercises were held in the gym and auditorium for  160 graduates - the largest group to graduate to date....the football team wins the city championship...the first school rink is built by students in the workshop, and funding was made possible through the collection and sale of old newspapers...

Overcrowding continues, and 6 classes are moved to Willingdon...A further 3 % of the salary reduction is returned. New women teachers salaries start at $800 per year with $50 per year increases...Irvin Cooper leaves West Hill to become the Board's new Supervisor of Music...Orchestral Classes begin at West Hill...The Pirates of Penzance, directed by Frank K. Hansen is the big show...The first radio receiving set is installed in the school...West Hill joins the first city wide scholastic sports association...The school celebrates it's 20th anniversary...the senior football team wins its second city championship

The war leads West Hill to mount newspaper, toothpaste tube and bottle drives...At the Board Irvin Cooper writes two patriotic songs to be sung in schools...West Hill boasts the only band in the high school ranks, although the High School  of Montreal claims to have a symphony. The Education Ministry creates the first credit course for bands - it applies to large ensembles only...Principals are allowed to exempt up to 15% of the students from paying fees on the basis of "poverty"...the senior boys basketball team wins the city championship....the senior football team wins its third city championship

Despite a Canadian wide decline in enrollment, West Hill actually increases by 65 students. Eight classes are transferred to Herbert Symonds School...Charles Rittenhouse writes two "patriotic plays" - one for high schools and one for the elementary level. The plays are called A Victory Loan Youth Play and features a song co-written with Irvin Cooper called The Torch of Freedom. The play, song and an accompanying pledge are performed in all of the Board's schools...West Hill forms a Cadet Corps. Unlike other high schools, their corps is aligned with the Air Cadets. The others have an army cadet affiliation. By the end of the war the other schools will have switched to the Air Cadets as well...Air raid drills are held bi-weekly. The school building is inspected and certain areas are designated as first aid stations or casualty clearing stations. Staff members take first aid lessons...The drama production is Patelin, a 15th century French farce...Boyd Humphrey, a WHHS graduate, receives the Order of the British Empire as a war decoration...The senior boys basketball team, unbeaten in two years, wins the city championship.

The Senior football team is disqualified from play in a dispute with league officials, but returns to win a fifth straight city championship... WHSS dispatches it's first group of "Harvesters" to the west to help with the prairie harvest. Unfortunately when they arrive there, after 2 nights and 3 days traveling, they find no work....There are over 900 West Hill "Old Boys" elisted in the various services.

Original principal H. C. Atkinson retires after 25 years at the helm. He has been West Hill's only principal since it's opening in  1919......A number of teachers leave for other assignments: Edgar Davidson (navy), K.H. Oxley (v-p of Commercial High), G.F. Brasford(leave of absence) and Mr. Davies (principal of Macdonald College High). Replacing them are Mr. A.D.G. Arthurs (formerly principal of Cowansville High), Miss R. E. Woodburn, Miss K.I.M. Frack, H.R.W. Goodwin, W.O. Searle (physical instruction) and Miss B.J. Merovitz (better known to later years as Mrs. Bertha Rohr)...the Junior Red Cross produces 900 articles of clothing, all hand knitted or sewn, for troops overseas...students but $5,200 in War Savings Stamps. The target was $4,000...air raid drills are started. Signaled by a "V" in Morse code on the school bell system, boys gather in the gym and the girls in the Assembly Hall...In April Flt. Lt. Ian Ormston, a 1939 graduate,  is awarded the Distinguished Flight Cross for destroying three enemy fighters in Europe...In all the school has lost 21 teachers to the war effort to date...the first Student Council in the school's history is formed. First president is Shirley Potter...the Board announces that four new community high schools will be built in Montreal, including one on Somerled Avenue to be called Somerled High School. Although this will solve the crowding problem at West Hill, no date is set for the second NDG school...the hockey team, led by Doug Harvey moved to defence by coach Jack Black, is undefeated (63 goals for, and only 5 against) and wins the city championship...The football team loses to rival Catholic High in the championship game on a controversial call, but later beats the Burlington Vt. High team in an exhibition match 9-0...girls teams win both the city badminton and baseball city championships...The number of classes transferred to Herbert Symonds remains at eight.

The new principal is 49 year old  Gordon Herbert Heslam. Born in Cowansville, he graduated from McGill in 1916 enlisted in the Canadian Army and was wounded in WWI. He is transferring from rival Montreal High where was vice principal. Although appointed in June, he will first address students only  in October, stressing the need for  academic, physical and moral perfection...Despite assurances from the Board about enrollment relief, nine classes must be transferred to other schools...The province announces that text books will be free for the first time for students in Grades 1 through 9, as well as the elimination of fees for grades 8 and 9 as well...For the first time a School Certificate will be offered by West Hill. The Provincial Certificate has proven too difficult to achieve for many students who instead leave school well before grade 11. The School Certificate is an effort to convince students to stay in school longer. Combined with the text book and fee changes, this adds more pressure on the facilities at West Hill...The highlight of the year is the Musical and Dramatic Evening...The Shakespearean productions resume under Filmore Sadler after a six year hiatus...The senior football championship is captured by West Hill for the sixth time in seven years, while the junior squad loses their championship game  to St Leo's....Both senior and junior hockey teams make it to the city championship but neither is victorious...The senior basketball team  returns the city championship to the school for the first time in three years.

The Protestant Board of School Commissioners is merged with seven other school commissions to form the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (PSBGM). Most new plans for buildings are put on hold while a building survey takes place and the requisite redistribution of staff and students between the newly federated schools takes place....The senior football team wins the city championship once again., while the football squad wins the senior championship again...Pete Finlay who played on both and was captain of the cage squad wins the Allan Hall Memorial Trophy as to athlete...the hockey team rolls to seven shutouts and the Cecel Hart Trophy as city champions.

The first veterans returning from the war begin returning home. The younger ones still hope to finish high school...The school produces two noteworthy efforts on the stage, Our Town and Merrie England...The junior football team wins the city championship with William Shatner on the squad....The senior football team wins its third straight championship with a 21-5 win over rival Loyola....The debating club wins the Hersey Trophy, losing only one debate in the process....The Annual Musical Concert is led by music teacher Harrison Jones

New salary scales will pay men teachers $1800-$4200 per year while women teachers receive $1800-3400. Principals receive $4800-$5800 under the new post war salary scales. Many teachers left the profession during the war to enlist or for better paying jobs. As an effort to make up for the shortage the new salary scale is put into place as well as anew pension plan. During the war the ratio of male to female teachers changed dramatically and the Board is hoping to attract returning veterans to balance the ratio. Teachers who enlisted will be given credit for years in uniform as a further enticement... West Hill's overcrowding makes their situation desperate....the senior football team wins its fourth straight city championship

The senior football team loses the city championship to the High School of Montreal by a score of 9-6, however they will get some measure of revenge on New Year's Day 1953 when a rematch of the participants yields a 17-0 win at Trenholme Park...School scholarships awarded are from the WHHS Memorial Fund created  by the Old Boys Association in honour of WHHS graduates who lost their lives in WWII. Between 1947 and 1953, 43 scholarships will be won.

Sod is turned for the new high school by Rev. Malcolm Campbell, Chairman of the PSBGM on June 2nd. The Somerled Avenue location is described as destined to be home for the "massive Monklands High" which will contain 74 rooms( 41 classrooms) and a capacity of 1,100 students...WHHS wins the city football championship...tragedy strikes the school as Edward Crane, age 16,  dies while installing window screens on May 29, 1950. He was killed when a rivet struck him in the head.

Monklands High School suffers delays and cost overruns and is not ready for use by September 1951 as planned. To cope with the explosive growth of students a new elementary school (Van Horne) is opened, three receive major additions (Rosedale, Roslyn and Bronx Park) and two whole new schools are planned (Coronation and Sir Arthur Currie). A new high school is opened, Mount Royal High, but it offers no relief to the NDG high school situation...The Board replaces the WHHS original boilers with a new set as part of the ongoing tradition of roasting students in situ ..The last play in the old West Hill High School is I Remember Mama, directed by Filmore Sadler...Principal Heslam's son Murray opens a medical practice on Monklands Avenue...Board Scholarships are re-instated after a ten year absence. School psychologists suggested the ban since scholarships might create an inferiority complex for non-recipients...The West Hill Key Club is formed in April...The football team retains the city championship 

The school board is under tremendous enrolment pressure. They have 6,000 more students than they did in 1948... The new high school on Somerled Ave. is finally operational in September, but in a cruel twist the name "West Hill" is appropriated by the upstart. It has cost the Board $2,000,000 to build ... The first Principal of the new West Hill is Lawrence Unsworth who taught math and physics at the old school between 1929 and 1936...The football team has played in 16 city championships since 1927 and won 12 of them. In the last two seasons the team is unbeaten and untied under coach Roy Chesley.

West Hill gets both  new principal, Mr. C.G. Hewson, previously vice rector and the High School of Montreal,  and a new name, Westward School. It's a "middle school" or junior high and so won't be called Westward High School. Two weeks after the  opening of the new West Hill High, it is discovered that the school is 400 students beyond its capacity and students are transferred to other high schools, notably Westward School. The Board announces geographic zoning limits for the new school and that Westward School will have to revert back to senior high school status within two years...In another odd twist Westward School essentially fills the role of Herbert Symonds School in the old days. Not only does it hold the grade 8 overflow from the new West Hill High it also has a number of grade 6 and 7 classes from the overfilled elementary schools. 467 pupils in limbo now rattle around a school that once held over 1,400...Vice-principal George F. Savage dies at age 54. He was also vp when the school was West Hill...The Board has closed both William Dawson High and the Commercial and Technical School and diverted building resources to the elementary sector. 11,000 high school students have to fit into 10,000 spaces leading to a number of interim measures such as half-day classes and the use of community centers and church halls...The school building benefits from renovations to cooking, sewing and metal workshop rooms.

The baby boom has struck the Board full force at the elementary school level and they embark on a massive building program providing new elementary schools and simultaneously announce a number of new high school initiatives....Enrolment is already up to 569 pupils....In January the school is home to Civil Defence courses for NDGers ready to fight the Cold War

The PSBGM reports that enrolment has risen from 39,625 in 1949 to 49,362 in 1954. They expect 60,000 in 1956 and 100,000 by 1960. They know the causes are the growth of the suburbs, the baby boom and increased immigration. What they don't have is the answer

Suddenly Westward School is gone, renamed Monklands High School (once of the intended name of the new NDG high school on Somerled) and the new Monklands (in the old building) gears up to a return of the a three  year program, with Grades 8 & 9 beginning this year, and adding one year each year...NDG is divided into two districts with everyone west of Grand Blvd. going to Monklands, and those on the east side assigned to West Hill. Herbert Symonds will handle grade 7 and 8 level students who live south of Monkland Ave. Later the far western side of NDG will become Montreal West High territory, and Herbert Symonds will give up it's grade 8 classes...The ever-growing school records 181 lunch-room days, serving 29,120 "partial meals", despite having no cafeteria...A new addition to the school is announced, but is only in the planning stage. An architect has been named, Grattan D. Thomson, but no further details are known. It also turns out that the new West Hill High is also in need of expansion...668 students are now filling the school...A new Home and School Association is formed and November 3rd an open house is staged so that parents can tour the "new" school.

Despite the contention held in 1931 that no more extensions could be considered for the building, the Board announces a major project to add another wing to Monklands High. Seven new classrooms, an industrial arts shop, technical drawing room, visual education room, commercial classrooms, a biology lab music room and new library are to be housed in a new wing on Benny Ave. at a cost of $169,000. At the same time a new girls gymnasium will be constructed and alterations will be made to existing building. The purpose is to "render this school more up to date than it has been"...The Winter Carnival is overseen by king Butch Montgomery and queen Monica Wolf.

A new school crest is adopted. It is designed by student Mel Glickman, winner of the design competition...The Winter Carnival names a king and queen (Hank Wolf and Margie Orser) and for the first time a prince and princess are named from the junior grades...The Intermediate Band finishes second in the Ottawa Music Festival under the direction of Grant Blair. In March more musical excitement happens when the Montreal Symphony Orchestra rehearses in the auditorium. MHS student Winston Purdy is a "guest soloist" on clarinet...A Sadie Hawkins Dance in February is not a success, but the talent show in March packs them in. The theme is "Old New York to Gay Paris"...Monklands prepares for it's first graduating class. 118 students will receive diplomas on June 6th. Boys will wear blue gowns and the girls, white. The grad dance is held in the gym which sports a Jungle Theme, courtesy of art teacher Gordon Day. The valedictory is given by Ron Williams and a Class Paper by Judy Stockwell...The first school annual, called the Banner appears just prior to the grad. It is 60 pages long...Westward and Monklands vice principal is transferred...There is a teacher shortage throughout North America - the PSBGM hires a record 277 new teachers, including 115 from outside Quebec.

The new spaces are ready on Sept. 8th for class, and the student population erupts to 1,052...Monklands also initiates the first Summer School program in it's history...The final layout adds music, typing, office practice, visual education and technical drawing classrooms as well as a biology lab and a library. Students especially enjoy the desperately needed third stairwell and a sixth exit. The new girls' gym is ready a month later...the school also gets two new vice-principals: Herbert Matthews and Lydia Davison...The first dance is the "New Wing Fling" to inaugurate the extension featuring Swing King and and the Companions...Miss Black is hired as the girls physical ed teacher...The National Film Board shoots a movie in and around Monklands for release in the spring. The film is called The Threshold...A "Rumble Reunion" dance is held to welcome back MHS and other graduates of the school to see the new digs. This is followed by a "Hard Times Hop" which raises money for Springhill, NS disaster victims' families...The Eaton's Santa Claus parade features the Monklands Majorettes for the first time...Dorothy Roll wins her second consecutive Seniors Diving Championship..."The outstanding band from Montreal, Monkland's High school under the direction of W. Grant Blair, was awarded the Henry Morgan Trophy as  the best brass and reed band with players in grades 9-11."...the graduation dance is held in the gym which has been re-decorated as a "Chinese Paradise" under the direction of art teacher Gordon Day

In anticipation of the production of "Yeoman of the Guard", the Glee Club and Choir are suspended for the year. The major production under the direction of Miss Dumbell takes place in February to rave reviews, despite Chris Milligan's chime mishap during the dress rehearsal before the entire school. The hockey team withdrew from competition (as did many high school teams) due to the high cost...the football team struggled to get two victories under head coach Ross Firth

Vice-Principal Claire (Harrison) Dobie joins the staff, arriving from St. Laurent High. Beyond her administrative duties she teaches English and History...Veteran MHS mathematics teacher Oscar Purdy leaves the classroom after 9 years and assumes the other Vice-Principal's position, replacing G. King. The Student Council arranged five dances during the year, but insufficient snow meant no snow sculpture contest. The Melting Pot was introduced as the first MHS student newspaper with Ken Johns at the helm. The first student constitution was also put into place, along with a new  Senior Science Club and Radio Club. The Film Club showed North by Northwest. The school supported three musical groups- Junior, Intermediate and Senior Bands as well as the school orchstra which included a string section for the first time. The bands appeared at the Montreal and Ottawa music festivals. The annual Spring Concert was held as well as a Christmas Pageant which featured "The Ceremony of Carols". Despite a dismal season in terms of wins -the football team, for example, won only once -, the school hosted the first Athletics Night which provided a demonstration of the various sports and was followed by a dance.

Charles Hewson retires as Principal after 12 years at the helm of Westward and Monklands. He is replaced by Ernie Dinsdale, a graduate of the old WHHS... The legendary Esther Boskey begins her career...Roy Wagar, keynote speaker at the 1962 graduation exercises dies on the MHS stage during his speech. He was a city councilor, school board member and tireless worker for NDG issues. Wagar High School in Cote St. Luc is later named for him in 1965...Tom Mooney joins the staff as a teacher and football coach and the junior football team wins the city championship...Miss Pick and Miss Dumbell retire..Bertha Rohr directs Monklands first full length dramatic presentation, Out of the Frying Pan while the school choirs combined to perform Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury...a successful Winter Carnival features many events including noon time Twist contests

Students experience a change in the structure of the courses offered. The two main streams follow Science or Latin, but changes mean more flexibility and choice for students...the Winter Carnival  is highlighted by a Coronation Ball on February 1and the traditional snow sculpture contest...earlier events included an Orientation Party for new students, Red Cross movies in the auditorium (and on November 14th a special presentation in the Kent Theater...January's Activities Week featured Limbo, Bossa Nova and Hootenanny  parties...The January 31 Talent Show is called "Bon Voyage"...The Drama Club produced Time Out for Ginger, directed by Bertha Rohr and two MHS teams competed in the McGill University competition....the school choirs (led by Mr. Hurrle) performed at Christmas and Spring Concerts along with the Staff Choir...the MHS three bands (with 150 members under the guidance of Grant Blair) played locally and competed in the Ottawa and Montreal Music Festivals. During the year a fourth band was created - the Monklands Dance Band...inspiration was also provided by a performance at MHS by the McGill Chamber Orchestra led by Alexander Brott on January 18...the senior football, hockey and basketball teams captured city championships and the first Principal's Trophy went to Brian Gill.....the senior football team wins the city championship under Tom Mooney who leaves the school for Michigan at the end of the school year...Muriel Prew English and Latin) retired as well as  Helen Brown (Home Economics)

The drama production is Ladies in Retirement... 

The Drama Club stages The Heiress, a two act play in February.....the new Wagar High School is opened on Parkhaven Ave. in a bid to lessen overcrowding at Monklands and West Hill High and to provide a more convenent location for the growing school populations of Cote St Luc and Hampstead.

Gilson School on Harvard Ave closes, having fed students into WHHS/MHS for almost 50 years. It was demolished in 1966 to make way for duplexes. Due to changing NDG demographics, there is no alternative school in the immediate area...

New Principal Herre de Groot runs one of 21 high schools under the PSBGM, with 1109 students, 63 staff and 42 classes. By comparison the High School of Montreal has 2,029, Wagar 1,635, West Hill 1,594 and Westmount 1,004 students...The school features "completely revamped locker and shower rooms"...Mrs. R.E. Fleming retires... 



Ruth Macey and Mabel Probert retire... W.A. (Art) Wilkinson arrives to take over the principalship in mid year. Previously he was principal at Mount Royal High, and a former student at West Hill. Dr. de Groot moves on to Wagar High. The first Alumni Choir is formed, to go along with four other choirs under the guidance of  Mr. Whyte. The choirs also participated in a memorable exchange trip with paris, Ontario. Grant Blair led three bands throughout the year (Junior, Intermediate and Senior). The Man Who Came to Dinner was the featured play in English under Bertha
Rohr and Le bal de voyeurs was performed in French with Miss Blake's guidance.Man Who Came to Dinner, 1969

George Brown of the PSBGM retires - he was once a teacher at West Hill. Also retiring are Claire Dobie (vice principal), Doris Potter and Bertha Rohr

Mrs. F. Spilker retires

Hugh Patton and Principal Arthur (Art) Wilkinson  retire. Peter Klym is named new Principal.

Vice -Principal Walter Herring, teachers Dorothy King and Ruth Sherman call it a career...Two ex-West Hill teachers retire from the PSBGM: District Superintendent Lorne Hamilton (taught 1939-41) and Assistant District Superintendent Robert Rivard

Margaret Varey retires

Freda Parker retires as does ex-principal Ernie Dinsdale

School enrolment declines 4.4% in Montreal in two years. From a peak in 1966/67 of 64,521 student numbers are down by 22% to 50,089 in 1976/77. Monklands has only 602 students, substantially less that other area schools, with the exception of Montreal West which is at 696. West Hill and Wagar hover around the 1,200 mark...The PSBGM earmarks Monklands as a probable school closure...the last renovations to the school are completed in 1977

Peter Klym leaves and Robert McEwen arrives as Principal.

The PSBGM announces the closure of Monklands at a February meeting held, ironically, at West Hill High. Parents who fought against the earlier reports of closure two years earlier will not fight the final decision which is being repeated all across the city. Enrolment is at 350 and is projected to be 270 in 1979/80...Louise Lessard and Werner Schultz take early pre-retirements. 31 other teachers and staff will be redistributed to other schools. Students will have the choice of attending any other PSBGM school in the coming year..Louise Lessard organizes a final Reunion Event on June 16, 1979 and 500 tickets are sold at $10 each. Guests of honour include a member of the 1927 teaching staff, a 1934 graduate and ex-Principals including first MHS principal Charles Hewson...Monklands last Principal is Robert McEwen who says that "It's a lovely school. I'm very sad that it has to be closed"

Epilogue: The Closure

From 1970 to 1980 the PSBGM closed 41 schools. In 1979 alone 3 high schools were closed. Monklands was joined by Wentworth High, a French immersion high school in the area. Soon many other schools were closed including most of the feeder schools. Herbert Symonds is demolished, Kensington becomes condominiums, Rosedale, a police training center. Even the modern "backyard" Somerled School Elementary eventually succumbs. Only Willingdon has survived from among the original schools. Among the high schools Montreal West, Baron Byng, flagship High School of Montreal and even the "new" West Hill High didn't survive to the turn of the millennium. The board blames the anglo exodus of the "family generating" age group in the 1970s and 1980s and the language laws of the era.  For graphic evidence of the decline in the student population, see the Enrolment page

The building itself itself will become almost immediately the subject of a takeover plan from the MCSC which had planned to transfer Ecole secondaire de Roberval to the building. Instead the building will remain unused until 1984 when it is renovated into a seniors residence by the City of Montreal. In 2009, a milestone of sorts is reached - the building has had a longer life as a seniors complex than it did as Monklands High School. In 2012 it  exceeds the life span of the West Hill High era as well.