Our Story

Welcome to St. Anne’s School!
 
After more than 120 years as a leading independent school for boys, St. Andrew’s College (SAC) announced its plan to open a sister school, modelled after SAC and offering an inspirational learning environment for girls to build character, own their voice, imagine their future, strive for distinction, and, ultimately, build a better world. 

Our story is one of relationships, persistence, and lofty dreams. It’s not a quick or easy story, but our decade-long journey saw us climb to great heights only to find a more challenging vista on the horizon. 

St. Andrew’s College has taken great pride in their leadership role, “developing the complete man, the well-rounded citizen,” and strengthening their communities at every level. They recognized their responsibility to evolve and lead in a manner that would meet the requirements of the world for the next 120 years. Providing the same educational opportunities for girls is an important part of that responsibility. 

The St. Anne’s campus, located one kilometre away as the crow flies from the St. Andrew’s College main campus, was originally built and owned by past SAC parents, Anne and Andrew Dunin. In 2007, Kevin McHenry, Head of School for St. Andrew’s, jokingly said to Andrew that his stately manor would be an ideal setting for a school for girls. Andrew agreed. So, the slow journey to today’s St. Anne’s School began. 

A friendly relationship between Kevin and Karan McHenry and Anne and Andrew Dunin began in 2007. The Dunins have long been passionate contributors and members of the Andrean community and worked alongside Kevin to help SAC obtain their stately Jacobean manor, an ideal setting for a school, sitting on the land owned by Shining Hill Group (SHG). 

After speaking with the Town of Aurora and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Kevin and Andrew set to work on sharing their passion for single-sex education. Along with others from SAC, the pair quickly demonstrated the value a school for girls would bring to York Region, and ultimately, the Shining Hill community. 

SHG was inspired by the vision for St. Anne’s School. Through collaborative negotiations, a very fair deal was struck to purchase acreage for the future development of academic and arts buildings, an athletics centre, and residences. 
 
St. Anne’s logo and name
 
When you walk around the campus, you may notice the Dunin coat of arms, sometimes in stained glass, sometimes chiselled into a fireplace mantel. It served as inspiration for the logo we have now and pays appropriate tribute to the Dunin family’s commitment alongside the St. Andrew’s team to bring St. Anne’s to bear. 

Notably, the colours in the Dunin coat of arms align nicely with the St. Andrew’s logo and crest, ensuring a long-lasting connection between the two schools. The oak leaves that serve as the swan’s wings ready to take flight are not only part of the Dunin coat of arms, they are a nod to the beautiful oak trees prominent on the school grounds. 

The powerful swan is the centrepiece of the logo, a symbol of peace, tranquillity, loyalty, strength, grace, artistry, and beauty. 

Swans mature into their white coats, showing girls that nothing is born into perfection. Swan symbolism is about learning and finding your radiance and excellence – not that which has been prescribed by others.

Even through trials and tribulations, the swan is a reminder of grace and the need to be humble. Girls must consistently strive to find their voice, happiness, knowledge, and place in this world, and appreciate and celebrate their imperfections. What a phenomenal message this sends to young women. 

Swans embody faith and humility, which are also the virtues of Saint Anne. She is the patroness of many things female, but what stands out is that she is the patroness of educators. How apt for a school for girls. Her virtues are those we hope to instill in girls attending St. Anne’s: grateful and generous, attentive and discerning, compassionate and loving, faith-filled and hopeful, eloquent and truthful, learned and wise, curious and active. 

Coincidently, Anne is also the name of one of St. Anne’s biggest supporters, Anne Dunin. We felt it appropriate to pay homage to her and her family; they have given their hearts and precious time to this incredibly worthwhile venture. 

Anne points to Kevin’s love of learning that has led to endless possibilities for so many boys. “Look what a dream and passion for learning can lead to for our daughters as well: St. Anne’s School for girls, ‘Anne Extraordinary Place’ for exceptional opportunities and achievements,” she said. “It’s time to enhance our daughters’ futures. Let’s go, girls! Rise like the swan and leave the nest, and you, too, can soar to greatness!” 

St. Anne’s and St. Andrew’s will benefit greatly from the proximity to each other. The schools are close enough to easily come together for educational and co-curricular opportunities, such as theatre productions, the White Ribbon Campaign, and community service initiatives, but far enough apart to establish their own paths forward. The success students have found in a single-sex educational environment will only stand to be strengthened through this new model, offering the best of both worlds under one umbrella. 

The story continues to evolve. This is just the beginning! 

Watch this five-minute video and see for yourself what a St. Anne’s education can offer your daughter.
© 2020 St. Anne's School | A day school for girls - Grades 5-9.
306 St. John's Sideroad, Aurora, ON L4G 0N3