A Short History of Albert College
Founded in 1857 by the Methodist Episcopal Church as the Belleville Seminary, Albert College is Canada’s oldest co-educational independent boarding school. Initially, the Belleville Seminary was a secondary school offering a classical and commercial education. In the past, the school also had a small Preparatory Department for younger students who possessed some knowledge of arithmetic and geography.
In 1866 the College received its university charter and was renamed Albert University in honour of the Royal Consort to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert. Until the Canadian Methodist Union in 1884, the College awarded university degrees in the arts, engineering, theology and music. In addition, women were afforded the rare opportunity to advance beyond the level of high school studies and were awarded degrees of MML and MLA (Mistress in Modern Literature and Mistress in Liberal Arts). In fact, the first woman in Canada to graduate with a university degree studied at Albert College.
The original College, located on what is now College Street East, was partially destroyed by fire in the spring of 1917. Construction on the present site began in 1923 and the new school opened in 1926. The architect of the landmark neo-Gothic building that forms the heart of the school today was Alfred Chapman, whose other accomplishments include the Rosedale Presbyterian Church, Knox College (University of Toronto), Havergal College and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
When the College reopened, it admitted boys only, but in 1934, girls were welcome once again. Students in Grades 7 and 8 were admitted in the late 1970’s, primarily as day students, in response to the growing need for an educational option in the area. In 1995, the College introduced Grades 5 and 6, extending its elementary day program through to include Kindergarten in 2003, with the construction of a modern Junior School on the main campus.
Since its beginnings, Albert College has served the needs of its students creatively and sensitively, honoring its long tradition of coeducation. It has been a college, home and friend to many from all over the world. Presently, the College serves boarding and day students (JK – Grade 12/PG) from the local area, across Canada and over twenty-five countries around the world.