Kitchener–Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School

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Kitchener–Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School
Kci logo.png
787 King Street West

, ,
Coordinates43°27′20.88″N 80°30′31.03″W / 43.4558000°N 80.5086194°W / 43.4558000; -80.5086194Coordinates: 43°27′20.88″N 80°30′31.03″W / 43.4558000°N 80.5086194°W / 43.4558000; -80.5086194
School typeSecondary school
MottoVeritas Vincat
(May Truth Prevail)
School boardWaterloo Region District School Board
School number920495
PrincipalDennis Haid
Enrolment1,334 (November 2017)
LanguageEnglish & French Immersion
Colour(s)Red, yellow, and black
MascotRodney Raider (Pirate)
Team nameRaiders

Kitchener–Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, commonly named Kitchener Collegiate Institute and referred to as KCI, is a public secondary school in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It is a member of the Waterloo Region District School Board. The school dates from 1855, making it one of the oldest high schools in Kitchener and Waterloo. Its sports teams are known as the Raiders.


The school first opened on April 2, 1855 as the Berlin Senior Boys' Grammar School (Kitchener was formerly named Berlin, but changed at the time of World War I). It initially was located in a building at the corner of King and Eby streets in the downtown area, and tuition cost five shillings per month. From 1857 to 1871, it occupied space in the Berlin Central School (now Suddaby Public School) on Frederick Street. Girls were first admitted to the school in 1866. With increasing numbers at the Central School, the school then moved to the former Swedenborgian Church on Church Street.

In 1874, land was purchased at a cost of $650 for the first permanent home for the school at its current location on King Street West, closer to the Waterloo border. The building cost $5,804 and opened in 1876. By this time it was called Berlin High School (Ontario legislation passed in 1871 renamed grammar schools "high schools)."

In 1876, teacher David Forsyth started laboratory experiments in science class. He and the school were considered pioneers in this regard. Commercial subjects were added to the curriculum by 1884. Manual training was also introduced in the 19th century. Music was also introduced in 1884. Athletics became available after 1891.

Many of the school's eleven additions are visible in this photograph of the back of the school. The 1903–04 addition is the centre right with the peaked roof.

In 1903, building commenced on the first addition to the school (since then, ten other additions have been made).[1] While construction was taking place, some classes were moved to the City Hall and to Kitchener's Carnegie library. On November 30, 1904, a Provincial-Order-in-Council raised the school to the status of a collegiate institute, and the school became the Berlin Collegiate Institute. By 1905 the new building was in use. The school changed names along with the city in 1916 to Kitchener Collegiate Institute.

By 1919 the school was quite crowded, and the office and other unsuitable rooms were being used as classrooms. As well, the Dominion and Provincial governments had recently announced a policy assisting municipalities in funding of schools. Plans for an expansion were drawn, but were not approved by the municipality. Two years later, however, a set of revised plans were approved. These plans involved demolishing the 1876 building, modernizing the 1903–4 building, which still stands, and placing in front of it a new gymnasium, auditorium, front hall, and classrooms, as well as an east wing of classrooms in place of the 1876 building. Construction started on July 2, 1922. The new school opened for classes on September 4, 1923. The formal opening of the building took place on April 4, 1924, when the school was given its current name.

Kitchener–Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School shortly after the opening of the 1924 extension.

In 1924 there were 550 students, a figure that had increased to 1,418 students by 1932. Due to cramped conditions, grade 9 classes were held in the downtown Victoria Public School and in King Edward Public School from 1933 to 1951, when the west-wing addition was completed.[2]

In 1948, KCI introduced driver education, one of the first schools to do so.

In 1955, KCI celebrated its 100th anniversary. For the previous hundred years, KCI had been the only public high school in Kitchener and Waterloo. However, in 1956, Eastwood Collegiate Institute opened. Less than 20 years later there were eight high schools in Kitchener and Waterloo. Many of the new schools' principals were former teachers at KCI.

In 1969, the Kitchener and Waterloo High School Board, which had been the governing body of the school for over a century, came to an end. KCI became part of the Waterloo County Board of Education (now the Waterloo Region District School Board).

In the 1970s, the City of Kitchener designated the front foyer of the school as a heritage structure under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The school's 125th anniversary celebrations took place on the weekend of May 16–18, 1980. Over six thousand former students took part.

In 2003, considerable controversy arose when the Waterloo Region District School Board was selecting a high school to close, in order to open a new school in the southwest end of Kitchener (this was required under the provincial funding model of the time). A large public outcry began when the staff report recommended the closure of KCI, along with Southwood Secondary School. Although the school was plagued with many heating, plumbing and electrical problems due to its age, sentimentality and emotions won the day and some repairs and renovations were decided upon. Critics of this proposal noted that KCI had a significant history and a unique culture among secondary schools in Kitchener and Waterloo, partly due to the wide variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds among its students. Regardless of the enormous job and associated costs, further analysis of the financial situation by trustees, eliminated the need for a Kitchener school closure.[3]

In 2004, football coach Ed Dietrich was selected runner-up "NFL/CFL High School Coach of the Year".[4]

In 2005, the school celebrated its 150th anniversary reunion from May 27–29.

The school underwent extensive renovations in 2006, with money from the provincial government. Some students are concerned that there is still no air conditioning.

Building facade, 2005

In March 2017, KCI opened its renovated main office. The space now includes a new meeting room, staff mailbox area and unisex washrooms; the construction used wood reclaimed from the original office.


The school colours are red, yellow, and black (adopted from the flag of Germany because of the city's German heritage), and its motto is Veritas Vincat (Latin, May Truth Prevail); until 1916 the motto was Höher Hinauf (German, To the Heights). At various points since his introduction, there have been contentious debates about the propriety of the former school mascot, a First Nations raider named Rodney. Citing the issue of racism and pressure from special interest groups, the school reluctantly change the school mascot to a pirate while maintaining the raider name.

Notable alumni[edit]

Statue of W.L.M. King, on the school's lawn

The most famous alumnus of the school was William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada for over 21 years, who was a student between 1887 and 1891. During the school's 150th anniversary celebrations, a statue of him as a student was unveiled on the front lawn of the school.

Other noted alumni and former students of the school include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KCI - Kitchener–Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School". Archived from the original on 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
  2. ^ Boulden, 1980
  3. ^ "Comm_schools presentation book" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
  4. ^ "Canadian University Sports". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
  5. ^ 1981 NHL Entry Draft - Al MacInnis
  6. ^ Hicks, Jeff (November 4, 2006). "Kitchener's Great One". The Record, Kitchener, Ontario. p. A1, A8, A9.
  • Boulden, John; et al. (2005). Grumbler 150th Anniversary Edition. KCI 150th Reunion Committee, Kitchener, Ontario.
  • Brown, H.W., B.A. (1927). "The Kitchener and Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School: Its History". Fifteenth Annual Report of the Waterloo Historical Society. 15: 268–284.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Stauch, Warren (1980). "Preserving Waterloo Region's Architectural Heritage". Waterloo Historical Society. Kitchener, Ontario. 68: 61–71. ISSN 0315-5021.
  • Woodley, Don (1980). "K.C.I.'s 125th Anniversary". Waterloo Historical Society. Kitchener, Ontario. 68: 71–73. ISSN 0315-5021.
  • Boulden, John (1980). "The Echoes of History". Waterloo Historical Society. Kitchener, Ontario. 68: 74–89. ISSN 0315-5021.

External links[edit]