Fisher Park High School
- 250 Holland Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Y 0Y6
story of Fisher Park begins In 1945 when Ottawa had only 4 high
schools, and a plan was underway by the Collegiate Institute
Board (a cooperation between the Ottawa Separate School Board
and the Ottawa Public School Board) to build Ottawa its fifth
high school in what was then referred to as the West end. On
July 25, 1945, after much debate, Fisher Park was chosen as
the site for the new school, and was touted as "...the
most up-to-date building for student and community use that
can be built." Architectural and physical planning began
immediately, and on December
21, 1946 it was announced that the Ontario Department of
Education had approved the plans and building would begin in
the spring. The school was estimated to cost $1,450,000 at that
content on this page also appears on Wikipedia. The content
on both sites was authored by, and all research done by,
Tim Welch, therefore the content does not violate a copyright
By 1948 construction was well underway, and on November 12, 1948,
His Excellency Viscount Alexander, Governor General of Canada, laid
the cornerstone of Fisher Park High School.
By 1949, however, cost overruns in the building of the school were
"deplored" and resulted in a protest by the Board of Trade.
"The additional cost of Fisher High School will have a very decided
impact on Ottawa's taxpayers." said Roy F. Fleming, the secretary
of the Property Owner's Association at the time. Many felt that there
was an over-emphasis on recreation (the plan had been to make Fisher
Park not only a high school but also a community center). Somewhere
at this time plans to make the small gym into a pool, as well as a
"girls" gym on the second floor, were scrapped.
Fisher Park High School opened in 1949, the first day of classes
was September 6, 1949 with construction still taking place,
and construction continued for the entire first year the school
was open. The school was officially opened by the Honourable
Leslie Frost (Premier of Ontario 1949-61) on May 2, 1951. You
can read the text of an article from The
Ottawa Journal from May 3, 1951 as well as the
Ottawa Citizen article covering the opening. The school
was named for a former Ottawa mayor and "distinguished
Canadian", Harold Fisher.
In 1950, a contest was held to name the Fisher Park yearbook.
Out of over 200 entries, a student named John Foulds won both
a cash prize and the honour of having every Fisher Park High
School yearbook branded with his suggestion: "Fi Pa Hi".
You can see samples of many of our yearbooks in our The
Fisher Years pages.
was Harold Fisher?
- Respected Ottawa lawyer
- Mayor of Ottawa 1917-1918
- Initiated the building of the Civic Hospital
- MPP for Ottawa - Opposition Finance
- More details
1969 former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau sent a letter of
greetings to the students of the school as it entered it's 20th year,
which was published in the 68-69 FiPaHi. Click on the image of the
letter to see and read a large version.
For 38 years Fisher Park High was a proud, strong school described
as "a student's dream come true", and claimed the distinction
of being Ottawa's first composite vocational school, teaching academic
subjects alongside with metalwork, woodwork, machine / auto shop,
electricity, drama, arts, as well as finance and business. The first
student body was 491 students from Grade IX and X, peaking at 1,900
students in 1958 before the opening of Laurentian High culled Fisher's
population back to a manageable 1,439 in 1961, a number that remained
relatively stable for decades.
On October 25th and 26th, 1974, there was a 25th Reunion held at Fisher
Park. Hundreds of Fisher Park graduates returned to the school for
festivities and what seems to have been a celebrated event. A separate
page dedicated to this first big reunion has been created, because
there are references to items and memorabilia from that reunion that
we would love to have at our 2007 reunion! An excerpt from the yearbook
entry about the 25th reunion:
"...All the students involved saw that hundreds of graduates
were enthusaistically returning to Fisher Park to salute it. Their
obvious pride in their old school, and the smiles of their faces as
they recalled old memories at the Dinner Dance on Saturday night proved
to be contagious. As one Fisher student remarked, "Nowhere have
I seen so many people having such a really great time."
Please click here to visit our 25th Reunion
page...if you have information, memorabilia, or any of the items
listed, we would greatly appreciate photos or copies of them!
was closed by the Ottawa Board of Education in 1987. On July 16, 1986
the then trustees of the OBE voted (9-7) to close Fisher Park High
School (read the
Ottawa Citizen article). Few FPHS students who were at the school
in 1986 will forget an assembly at which Trustee Alex Cullen promised
to help keep the school open, and then reneged and voted to close
it. As a sidenote,
In the Fall of 1998 as a new MPP Cullen became the only Liberal MPP
to vote against the Calgary national unity framework, which got him
removed from caucus, whereupon after 28 years as a Liberal he switched
sides and ran and won as an NDP candidate, and has pulled other such
tricks over the course of his career...to no surprise to Fisher students
who will remember - and despise - him forever. June 2004: The
father of current Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (also named Dalton)
was a Trustee in 1986 and voted to close Fisher Park.
school crest was designed by Mr. Robert Walker, then the art director
of Fisher Park High School's vocational art course, in the summer
of 1952. The crest represented all courses within Fisher Park. The
open book on the crest is symbolic of the general course, the open
book representing learning. The three smaller panels below represent
the three other courses at Fisher, the technical course, the art course,
and the commercial course. The technical course is represented by
a T-square, flask, cogwheel and electrical spark, the commercial course
is represented by the ship of commerce, and the art section represented
by a pallette, brushes, pen and ink. The motto "Est Dignus",
"Be Worthy", was given to Fisher Park by its first vice-principal,
Mr. L. McCarthy." - 69-70 Fi-Pa-Hi Yearbook
This image is taken from the '69-'70 Fi-Pa-Hi yearbook, and is an
aerial shot of Fisher taken that year. The now-familiar sound barriers
on the Queensway are notably absent, and the former stone chimney
remains in place. I have put an imagemap in place on this picture;
if you hover your mouse pointer over the roofs of the various building
sections, you will see those sections described. This yearbook also
was the 20th anniversary edition and contained some historical notes
about the school.
picture was taken from the air in 1987 with all of the students
of Fisher spelling out FP on the two hockey rinks. The letters in
red below the rinks are "1949 - 1987". I am not certain
who actually took this shot; I am happy to give credit if you let
me know who you are.