Thursday 15 November 2012

Mordecai Richler High School in Cote St. Luc? Help "make it so!"

Here's the CBC Local Montreal News segment from Nov.15th. Also on their website

From what I understand, the Cote St. Luc civic administration has teamed up with the English Montreal School Board to try to promote the creation of a new EMSB high school in Cote St. Luc (at the site of the old Wagar High).
Now, at, the EMSB is soliciting names for this new, projected, high school. So I’ve started a campaign to have it named in honour of the man I think was the greatest English Montreal writer of the twentieth century, Mr. Mordecai Richler.

I started a Facebook campaign which you can find here--please join us!


The response includes suggestions from Glen Rotchin and Max Layton that the high school, instead, be named for Irving Layton who apparently actually lived in, as well as wrote about, Cote St. Luc. Others have suggested a different sort of compromise: The Layton-Richler Academy. Or noted that if it was named Mordecai Richler Institute, it could be called, for short, MRI. 

In other words, we’re having fun with this!

I’d just like Montrealers (and those who have Montreal in their hearts) to know about the “name the school” campaign and hopefully vote to have the school, if it actually comes to be, named after Mr. Richler. My interest in his work is of longstanding—here are links to a couple of pieces I’ve written, one at Rover Magazine, the other for Maisonneuve Magazine's blog

I think I've got more MR elsewhere on this blog (but I actually don't have time to look it up because I've got to get ready to see David Bezmozgis at Blue Emet!)

I guess the clincher here is the article I saw a few days back that shows one in five EMSB elementary school grads are going to private schools for high school. We clearly need to change things if we want to keep these students in the public sector. Royal West Academy can only take so many of them (a whole 'nother story). Maybe this new school is the start of bringing students back to the public sector.

Last year, among the English Montreal School Board’s 1,727 Grade 6 graduates, more than one in five left the board altogether. Rather than sign on with EMSB high schools, the majority of the 382 pupils who left went to the private sector for their secondary schooling.” (from Janet Bagnall’s Montreal Gazette column, Oct. 31st)

Please pass the word along!

Notable supporters so far:

CBC's Nancy Wood
Terry Mosher (aka Aislin)
Michael Posner
Paul Vermeersch 
Linda Leith
Mikhail Iossel
Arjun Basu
Andrew Phillips (Toronto Star)
Ray Brassard (Montreal Gazette) 
Howard Richler
Karl E. Jirgens
Lally Cadeau
Ken McGoogan...and LOTS of other wonderful people! (Thank you all)

Will update as things progress...

PS EMSB, a new building would be nice! 

PPS I would have preferred a library, perhaps. But you know Montreal: "one island, one city, one snow plow, one library..." 



  1. LOL look how excited you are about this new school... weren't you one of the obnoxious parents back in 2004 that blasted the facility and highly opposed Royal Vale moving in there? I guess your children are no longer enrolled there so now you can go on being two-faced about it :)

    Nice blog.

  2. I objected to the parents of Royal Vale being railroaded into moving, against their will. The "consultation process" set up by friends of the Board was bogus: the results would only have been known a day or two before the EMSB Commissioners voted, not leaving enough time for parents to organize against the move (should the majority have been shown not to favour it). So the parents committee did its own consultation, showing the vast majority of the elementary parents and (as I recall) a slim majority of the high school parents were AGAINST the move.

    Thanks for reminding everyone how unkind the "pro-Wagar move" side was in the debate.

    I was very involved because I believed parents had the right to choose. This time, no one is being coerced. Which I have to respect.