By name, King George is the oldest secondary school in Vancouver. The original building opened in 1915.
Written by Emma Hughson, 1974-75; Revised by William Davison, 1990
Final revision by Chris Lee, 2011
Although the first school in the community which was to become Vancouver was a private school built by the Hastings Sawmill in 1872, the first public school was not opened until 1888, two years after the city’s incorporation. By this time the wooden city had been destroyed by fire and the first transcontinental train had arrived a year earlier.
The West End had become a social and economic district of a city of 5,000 and an elementary school which became overcrowded very quickly, was built at the corner of Burrard and Barclay Streets. When Sir William Dawson school was constructed on Nelson Street in 1892 to meet the demands of a growing student population, the school board was criticized for building a school too far into the woods. The student demands on this building, however, necessitated the addition of another wing the following year.
On August 24, 1914, this building was turned into a much needed high school and renamed King George High School after King George V. The school enrolled 196 pupils its first year. Thirty-two of these pupils along with one teacher were to lose their lives in World War I.
From the beginning, the school stressed scholarship, but during these troubled years the staff and students were also involved in many worthy projects such as the sale of Victory Bonds, aid to Belgium and relief for the school children displaced by the Halifax Explosion. During these early years, King George was also very successful in the sporting arena, in particular track and field, rugby and ice hockey, winning many prestigious awards.
During the 1930s, the school population increased to 525 students taught by a staff of 18 teachers. In 1939, the social hall and the library were opened. During the Second World War, King George was alive with activities which reflected this state of affairs. The fields became drill grounds and parade squares and the attic became a rifle range. Small portable units were added to accommodate soldiers in training. The school even owned a small plane donated by a West End man.
In the 1950′s an Official King George Song was produced that came from the tune Anchors Aweigh.
Check out the past principals of KG!