Our School

Canterbury HS

We acknowledge that our learning is taking place on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Territory. We thank the Algonquin Nation for hosting us and recognize their enduring presence on this land.

Our School

Located in the southeast sector of Ottawa, Canterbury is a hub of creative activity for over 1300 students. It is a school with a 40–year tradition of excellence made up of students from our local community and students who have auditioned for the specialized Arts Canterbury program. Students in the Arts Canterbury program enrol in one of the following art disciplines: dance, drama, literary, music, or visual. There is rich diversity in the school population that is respected and encouraged. As a result, the students are motivated, creative, energetic and committed to their studies, their school, and their community. The extra-curricular athletic program at Canterbury lends balance to both academics and arts. Our goals are to nurture excellence in our students by challenging them with the best of the academic, artistic, and athletic worlds, and to help students become well-rounded individuals who care about and understand our greater community.

Canterbury High School is an Ottawa-Carleton District School Board high school in the Elmvale Acres neighbourhood of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is an arts magnet school and located at 900 Canterbury Ave. It serves 1304 students. While offering both an arts program and an academic program, Canterbury is known primarily for the arts. The Arts Canterbury program began in 1983. It was recently rated by Maclean's Magazine as the top high school for the arts in Canada. It is not the top arts high school, which would mean the best school overall of all art schools. Instead it is the best high school specifically for the arts.

The school opened in 1969 as a comprehensive high school. It was the last in a series of ten high schools built by the Collegiate Board to deal with the baby boom. At the time of its opening, it was considered an extremely modern school, employing all the latest ideas in education. Most notably many of its walls were moveable, allowing for an easy reorganization of space. It also had one of the largest libraries of any secondary school.

(courtesy of wikipedia.org. April 2008.)

Our Students


Canterbury students come from Eastern Ontario, West Quebec and a variety of international locations. They form a diverse and culturally rich group spanning all socio-economic backgrounds and, as a result, are very accepting of each other's differences and needs. All students are encouraged to participate in all aspects of school life. Our graduates return on a regular basis to share their experiences in the world of work and academics. We are proud of their successes.

Our Staff

Canterbury is fortunate to have over 110 teachers, educational assistants, technicians, custodians and administrative and support staff members who are dedicated professionals, committed to providing students with an educational experience of the highest quality. All are highly trained in their individual fields of expertise and bring both theoretical and practical knowledge of their disciplines into the school. They work together and across disciplines to enable our students to achieve at the highest level possible.

Facilities & Resources

CHS is accessible for the physically challenged. Our facilities include 5 computer labs, a library with networked computers, a communications technology studio with video and audio recording capabilities, 4 drama studios, 3 dance studios, a fully-equipped auditorium, music rooms for vocal, string and wind instruction, visual art rooms with separate photography, ceramics, drawing/painting and printmaking areas, a large gym, a weight room and a cardio workout area.

Measurement of Success

Following our objectives to nurture well-rounded individuals who understand all aspects of the world, our performance measures are focused on achievement and recognition within the broad spectrum of contemporary society.

Graduate Performance

  • 50% of CHS graduates achieved Ontario Scholar status or higher.
  • 15% of CHS graduates achieved marks of 90% or higher.
  • 22% of CHS graduates received an Extended French Bilingual Certificate.
  • CHS graduates were awarded over $1.2 million in scholarships in 2009.
  • Over 50% of CHS graduates received entrance scholarships.
  • 30% of Arts graduates continued in arts-related post-secondary programs.
  • 70% continued in areas such as sciences, engineering, computers and humanities.

CHS students were nominated for Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards in the areas of Global Citizenship, Entrepreneurship, Arts & Literature, Philanthropy, and Academic Perseverance. Three of the nine awards went to CHS students.

Canterbury's Literary Arts students received over half of the awards in the 2008 Carleton University High School Writing Competition.

The Canterbury Visual Art Department, in partnership with the Ottawa Art Gallery, launched an exhibition showing the prestigious Firestone Collection together with senior students' works of art.

Eight senior Dance students were selected by a professional choreographer to perform in an original piece, along with professional dancers, at the National Arts Centre, as part of the Canada Dance Festival in June 2008.

A senior Media Arts student won top honours in the High School category of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Communications Technology students won first prize in the City of Ottawa COMPOST Radio Announcement Competition and honourable mention in the Skills Canada Photography Competition.

A grade 10 student won first place in the Provincial French Concours de L'Art Oratoire. Of the eight finalists in the OCDSB French Public Speaking Contest, five Canterbury students received gold medals and one received a silver medal.

CHS Music Ensembles have excelled at the regional, provincial and national levels. Our Concert Band won the Most Outstanding Band trophy at the National Capital Kiwanis Festival and the CBC Music in the Schools Award of $1,000.00. Our Senior Saxophone Quartet won the Ottawa Temple Choir Trophy and the Ronald Duck Memorial Scholarship of $1,000.00 as the most outstanding Chamber Ensemble in the Kiwanis Festival.

Senior Drama students are taking their June Grad show to Scotland during the summer of 2009 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Of the 2400 schools that applied, 60 were selected with only 8 from Canada.

Over 350 students in grades 9, 10, and 11 achieved averages of over 80%.

Student Leadership

CHS students are well known for their involvement in, and commitment to social and community issues. Students live our credo of respect for themselves and others. This stems from the leadership of a very active Students' Council. Each member is a leader whether as a grade representative, a sports organizer, an activities coordinator or a committee chair. Some of the group and individual initiatives which have taken place over the past year include: Canterbury's Children's Theatre performed for students in 18 elementary schools and several Lighthouse programs.

The Canterbury Social Awareness Club fosters a healthy understanding of community issues.

In partnership with the Ottawa Hospital, senior Visual Arts students have painted murals at both the General and Civic Campuses.

Over 400 students, staff and parents participated in a 12-hour Relay for Life and raised over $35,000 to support the Canadian Cancer Society.

The Canterbury Dance Company performed and conducted workshops in elementary schools throughout the city. Dance students also participated in the Ontario Dance Festival in Cornwall and the OCDSB Dance Festival. This was all part of their continuing emphasis on community outreach and dance education.

Communications Technology students produced a video for the 'Dare to Dream Program' documenting the challenges faced by a 12-year-old girl with a rare form of epilepsy.

In collaboration with the City of Ottawa, Canterbury students promoted the 'Live It Up' and 'Eat Smart' Campaigns

O.S.A.I.D. Students presented information to other students on the dangers of impaired driving.

Canterbury Ensembles are in constant demand in the community and were recently featured in community performances including the National Peace Officers Memorial on Parliament Hill, the Trees of Hope fundraiser for CHEO and various events with the Salvation Army.

96 Winds, Strings and Vocal students travelled to Austria and Hungary in March 2009. They presented five concerts to very enthusiastic audiences, including one at the prestigious Haydn Conservatory in Eisenstadt.

Successive graduating classes have averaged over 100 hours of community service hours per student.

Programs & Services

Academic Program

Canterbury provides a full range of academic programs including the Extended French program which leads to the OCDSB Extended French Certificate and a concentration of Business courses that can lead to the OCDSB Business Certificate. We also provide an opportunity for students to learn a third language through our Spanish classes. A comprehensive co-operative education program allows students to gain experience in the world of work while at the same time earning valuable credits.

The four-year Arts Canterbury program allows students to receive instruction in their chosen art discipline (dance, drama, literary arts, music or visual arts) on a daily basis in addition to a full academic load.

Classroom Organization

Canterbury is a semestered school. Students attend four classes per day. Students are enrolled in 8 courses per year in grades 9, 10, and 11 with the option of 6 or more courses in grade 12. However, with the Extended French and the Arts Program, most students enrol in 8 courses throughout their high school years at Canterbury.

The majority of Arts Canterbury Courses are full-year courses. Exceptions are in the Visual and Music disciplines. Students enter the Arts Canterbury program through an audition process which takes place in February.

Additional information can be found on our website or in the Arts Canterbury booklet available at the school.

Special Education

The Physical Support Program assists physically challenged students to integrate into a mainstream education program. Learning Support Teachers assist students who have been identified as requiring special education support.

The Student Success Team supports students experiencing difficulty with the academic program.

Clubs & Activities

Clubs are an important means of developing specific interests and there are always new groups emerging in response to students' requests. At any time during the school year, there are a multitude of student-initiated clubs and activities operating throughout the day. CHS has become known for its social awareness activities.

School-wide participation in the arts is encouraged through coffeehouses, the Arts Festival, the Film Festival, performance assemblies, school plays and exhibitions.

Canterbury participates in an extensive variety of athletics ranging from traditional sports such as basketball and volleyball to others such as ultimate and rowing.

Canterbury's commitment to its students is evidenced by the fact that 95% of its coaches are teachers within the school.

CHS offers over thirty individual and team sports. During the 2008/2009 season, athletes from track and field, wrestling and cross country skiing competed successfully at OFSAA with 2 individuals winning gold.

Safe Schools Initiative

Canterbury operates on a credo of courtesy, respect for another person's dignity and commitment. Academic excellence, attendance, and punctuality are top priorities.

The school encourages and expects that students will respect themselves, others, the environment and the learning process.

Our Code of Behaviour was developed by students, staff and parents. It is included in the Student Agenda and reviewed with students at the beginning of each school year.

This tradition of excellence operates within a safe and caring learning and work environment.

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