Should a High School on the Memorial Centre Site be Considered?

The Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce is calling on Kingston City Council to reconsider its previous decision not to explore the Memorial Centre site as a possible location for the new high school set to replace KCVI and QECVI.

By way of background, the Limestone District School Board approached the City of Kingston to explore city-owned sites that could potentially accommodate a secondary school. The school board expressed interest in exploring both the Cooks Brothers site and the Memorial Centre site as options. In February, City Council voted not to consider the Memorial Centre site as a possible location for the new high school. Following council’s decision, the School Board chose to locate the new school on the existing QECVI site.

Decisions about where to locate schools are important for the community as a whole, and although the decision of where to locate the new high school is made by the school board and not council, all elected officials benefit from knowing the pulse of the community.

Memorial Centre - high school - draft concept site plan - 2015


[polldaddy poll=8948486]

61 Responses

  1. Ann Scilley says:

    QECVI needs to be demolished and the new school built on that site. The Memorial Centre is a 10 minute walk from LCVI, which is adjacent to a transit hub at the Kingston Centre. How many times does council need to say ‘no’ to the use of the M Centre ? The new poll is obviously extremely biased, surely council has better things to do with it’s time. In fact, I know it does.

  2. haroldhemberger says:

    Are they going to reconsider this until they get a response they like . Enough

  3. John Graham says:

    Spread your schools out Kingston. There is already a school in that neighbourhood.

  4. Chris says:

    The QE site is a wonderful place for both new schools. There is lots of land and access. The Memorial Center would only cause traffic problems that are not needed

  5. Dave says:

    Do people think that draft concept site plan would work? Where would people park? Google map other schools and see if you notice anything different. There would be no atmosphere here. You would either be in the school or in a parking lot. You would barely be able to walk around the poor thing. One entrance. Where would the buses pick up the students? Out on the street. Think about it people. The area the school board decided has lots of room for potential to be a great school and atmosphere. Do not worry! Your precious children will be “safe” and happy with the location that makes the most sense.

  6. Kirk says:

    I can hear the KCVI mouse clicks out my window!

  7. Bill says:

    Please stop wasting Kingston’s time and money!

  8. As I said on a post on Alicia Gordon’s Facebook page, from a planning and transport POV it’s a no-brainer and as Alicia said will help revitalize Williamsville and the entire area. The potential synergy with the existing facilities holds out interesting possibilities. Despite the death of KEAF (assassination) I am glad to see some forward looking and sensible planning decisions being made in Kingston recently. Densification of the downtown core is a key and I am happy to see this is starting to happen. Locating a new school centrally at the moribund Memorial Center grounds will certainly help.

  9. Laura Gifford says:

    So great for downtown business!!

  10. E.B. says:

    We are a 2 person household, therefor should have 2 votes. Not possible with this poll, therefor not accurate.

  11. KPHB says:

    My husband and I are professionals- we moved to Ontario in 2007 and could have moved to many different cities. We chose Kingston – solely because of its mixed purpose downtown (combining families, students, recreation, and businesses) , it is walkable (to work, kid’s schools, piano lessons, to the dentist, to summer camps etc) but above all – because of the reputation of having a highly regarded public high school within the downtown core. This was the only reason we moved downtown. We bought a crazy expensive old house so that we would be in the catchment area of KCVI- and our youngest was only 1 at the time. We are members of DARN and make a point of only shopping or using services that are downtown and as part of this sold one of our vehicles.
    If the new high school is built on QECVI grounds-this is too far to walk and we will move out of the downtown core so that our kids will be able to walk to their school. I suspect that our house will be sold to someone who will re-purpose it for student rentals as is happening to the other house on the street and it would be a shame for downtown Kingston to lose the lovely (and rare!) mix of integrated housing of single families next to university students. Currently, the 4 students next doors have Nerf wars in the back alley every Friday. Mayor Patterson- I hope you take this cause up- your predecessor ignored this important anchor to having a healthy downtown core.

  12. Ken Hall says:

    If city council makes a decision, why can they not stand by their actions when challenged? The councillors are elected by the citizens of Kingston and represent our opinions. The members of the Chamber of Commerce are not elected by the citizens of Kingston and do not represent us, therefore I don’t believe they have the right to challenge Council’s decision. The Memorial Centre is a wonderful feature of the City of Kingston that benefits many citizens. It is not a matter of profit for the Downtown Business Association. Please stand firm on your well considered decision to keep the Memorial Centre off of the chopping block. As citizens and electors, we have the right to enjoy this amazing community resource. Thank you for your consideration, Ken and Kathie Hall

  13. Tons of money has been put into the memorial centre. It makes sense just to leave plans as they are and use QECVI’s property. Should not have a new school that close to Regiopolis.

  14. Joseph Leduc says:

    The Memorial Centre property would be an ideal location for a new school serving people in the core of the city, within walking distance for many of the students. This would bring business and development to an area that needs it very much. Concession Street is well connected to other major routes, which would simplify transportation. And let’s face it, the Memorial Centre grounds are vacant most of the time.

    Do dilapidated barns, a horse racing track, a swimming pool, and a one-week-a-year fairground constitute a memorial? There’s a structure and a plaque in front of the arena, but how many ever pause to take note of it? Being a major military town, there is no shortage of memorials and commemorative ceremonies around Kingston. Replacing a few old barns with a modern educational institution would not be disrespectful to those who made their sacrifice for the very benefit of those young people who would gain greatly by this. My father and several uncles fought overseas in the Second World War and Korean War, and there’s no doubt in my mind how they would vote, if they had a say in this. And would the living veterans of the conflicts in the Baltics, Africa and Afghanistan choose differently?

    Let’s decide what’s best for the people of today and tomorrow. That is the choice that yesterday’s people have given us.

  15. Justine Scala says:

    I voted yes as I am strongly in favour of a central location for the new high school. It is important, however that a new space on the property will be found for the farmer’s market.

  16. Bety Bradlynn says:

    YES, YES, YES. As a mother of a student in Rideau who will go to “Vanier” then “KCVI” I can’t think of a better location for my child to be exposed to what I think is one of the best downtown areas in Ontario while keeping in touch with her past and commemorating those from the war. Working in a profession where I interact with teenagers daily I know that sometimes they make decisions that are not great … this has been true for generations… yet their level of respect for others when deserved is tremendous. They are thankful for those who fought for them but in a generation where the world is moving so quickly around them they can lose touch with things like this. Should the schools be build there, 1000’s of kids will get the opportunity to be educated in a past/present/future environment. The Memorial Centre area epitomizes many of the things we love about being Canadian and I can’t think of a better way to honour the past while building the future.

  17. Jack Babcock says:

    I feel the QE site will be an under-attended school, the downtown parents will not likely send their students to a site that far out of the downtown core. The Memorial center site will still retain the feel of a downtown school and help further support downtown businesses by keeping students and their parents living close by or staying where they are. As a teacher many parents have communicated to me that they will send their kids to the separate school system or to LCVI rather than attend the QE site. By utilizing the memorial center it will preserve the idea of a downtown school and help further develop/revitalize the memorial center area. Furthermore most of the housing in the QE area are smaller sized dwellings and wouldn’t attract people to purchase in that area. The city needs a symbolic school to represent a more dynamic and progressive vision for the city. Finally the site offers many amenities that would be utilized by the students and staff to enhance the educational expectations of the provincial curriculum. The costs of maintaining the grounds could also become a partnership between the province and the municipal levels of government.

  18. Sonia says:

    This is how the school closing issue should have been dealt with in the first place, the decisions made do not in my opinion reflect the majority view in Kingston.

  19. Stephanie MacFarlane says:

    It was built as a “memorial” centre. It should be taken care of as what it was meant to be.

  20. Patrick Bulch says:

    Please tell me how you intend to continue to honour our war veterans should the Memorial Centre site be utilized. Thank you kindly. Take care, God bless.

  21. Ian Alexander says:

    Much better more central location!

  22. Dave Hamburger says:

    Dear Mayor,

    Thank you for opening the Memorial centre discussion again. I live downtown, and have 2 KCVI aged kids. I am not a doctor or a lawyer.

    I believe in the city plan for downtown densification…its a good plan. Downtown is a vibrant place to live and work. To me, the real benefit is a place to live where I do not need to own a car. Work, school, shopping and entertainment are all within walking/biking/busing distance. The benefits are many…less pollution, less wasted fossil fuels, less traffic, less cost, less time wasted in cars, less car storage, better tax base, and increased health to name a few, 12 years ago I bought a house in the Queen’s area for my family, and chose to NOT have a car. Its a drastic lifestyle change which has proven to be great. We practice active transportation every single day.

    However, when KCVI closes, my son (my daughter will have graduated KCVI by then), will have a long way to go to get to the QECVI property. In good weather he could bike. However, as you may be aware, much of the school year is winter. Although winter biking is possible, it has increased risks and demands…its just not that common when its 20 below…its not the temperature, its the road conditions…2 wheels need friction to remain upright. There are no direct buses.

    The choice of the QECVI property makes our current lifestyle impossible. It would be forcing my son, and most of the other students, into cars. Densification will only succeed when most of the downtown residents do not own a car (like the Queen’s students now). Closing KCVI has jeopardized that plan. Its not just about getting my son to school each day, but picking him up when he is sick, has an appointment, going to and from school events, clubs and sports teams. The school is a centre for the community.

    A downtown with no high school is inconsistent with densification. It also sends a negative message to families…that children are not welcome downtown.

    Although I would prefer to see KCVI renovated and stay open, the M centre is a far better location for the new school than the QE property.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Contact me anytime.

    Dave Hamburger
    318 Collingwood Street

  23. Linda Oatway says:

    We have only just had big improvements on our Memorial Centre green space. There are always people there working out, walking, biking hanging out with their dogs. Please find somewhere else for the new school.!!!

  24. Elaine Savor says:

    A perfectly good spot has been chosen already for the school. The Memorial Centre area services many good causes: the market, the ball diamonds, the fair and last but not least the dog park. It would be a shame to lose this venue for these activities unnecessarily. A choice has already been made. There is a perfectly good spot to build the school that has been chosen – let it stand. The mayor should stop wasting the public funds and time with ridiculous debating. There are other more pressing issues he should be concerned with.

  25. Alison morgan says:

    Now that the number of High rises in Kingston is increasing, I hope the city and the board take into account where demand may be increasing. The Globe today mentioned how Toronto was playing catch-up With School demand, because It had not kept up with new building

  26. SImon Barber says:

    My name is Simon and I am in grade 7 at Sydenham ps. I walk to school now. I want to walk to KCVI. I can walk to memorial centre but QECVI would be too far to walk-maybe we would sell our house and move to another place

  27. suzanne says:

    In many discussions with parents, I have heard clearly that they will not send their children to the QECVI site and will only consider sending their children to KCVI now or next year if the new school site is the Memorial Centre, please, please reconsider this as it is, in my opinion, the best site!

  28. Deborah Hudson says:

    We strongly support the memorial centre as the site for the new high school. I think it would be good for the city, the students, and Williamsville. We need a high school location that meets the needs of both QECVI and KCVI and the Memorial Centre site is perfect.

  29. Susan Long-Poucher says:

    I think a high school on the Memorial Centre site would be a perfect way for young people to learn about the sacrifices of those in whose memory the Memorial Centre was erected. I could envision a “Kingston Memorial High School” using a name that reflects the community and honours the fallen. Legacy memorabilia could be displayed throughout the public areas of the school, ( still leaving room for the artistic and academic expression of the students.

    I don’t believe erecting a school on the site diminishes the value of sacrifice, but I do believe such a school must reflect the reason the Memorial Centre was originally built.

  30. mike says:

    I’m stunned that it is even being considered to shut down KCVI. One of, if not the oldest school in Canada, one of its headmasters was Sir John A. MacDonald – our first Prime Minister. From a historical point of view, to simply abandon her is foolish and unpatriotic. From a political point of view, taking a perfectly vibrant school out of a downtown core makes no sense to growing families. It appears as though you are merely trying to expand Queen’s at the sake of the long term growth of families that will otherwise not settle in Downtown Kingston. As a consequence, the downtown core will continue to see businesses shut down and Kingston will suffer the same fate as other medium sized cities that decided to focus on development of big business interests at the expense of the quality growth of a community that loves their city. Please consider this very carefully when you decide, you’ll be losing more than your next vote, but the city will ultimately suffer.

  31. DTSB says:

    A high school that is within walking distance is essential for the vibrancy of down-town. Kingston — are we envrionmentally sustainable or not? Kingston has talked about sustainability for years- but the last mayor did not walk the walk with this important environmental issue. We chose to buy a house downtown Kingston and we can walk to work and our kids walk to school. A new highschool at QE is too far to walk- and bussing is not ok. We will likely move out of the downtown ward. Memorial centre is a good option for our highschoolers in the downtown area. Let’s promote healthy and sustainable living and support our downtown community with this compromise.

  32. Anne says:

    Concerned that the surrounding infrastructure will not support the addition of a school and the traffic that accompanies it. Housing in area is set close to roads, not allowing for expansion. Parking and traffic will become an issue. We already have an existing high school 2 blocks away.
    Locating new school at QE site will stimulate/revitalize the Kingscourt area and continue businesses growth further down division street, while leaving the Memorial Centre for multi purpose community use and much needed green space in the area.
    The Chamber has left it a little late to decide to speak up on a much discussed and publicized issue.

  33. Chris Finnegan says:

    OMG leave it be. NO the Memorial Centre is not a spot for a school. Reasons being that the Memorial Centre is the only green space and recreation area for families from this neighbourhood to enjoy. High traffic ( safety) and what about the money already spend on the property ? I am tired of this debate . Stop wasting our time and money, and start talking road repairs, bridges, the well being of Kingstonians, Open dialogue on how to better Kingston life for the less fortunate. How to help downtown business’……… and so many more important issues than something that is in the past and has already been dealt with!

  34. Karen says:

    The Memorial Centre makes so much sense in so many ways. Accessible, lots of room, already landscaped, pool.A beautiful new school for our youth would be a fantastic memorial to our veterans. The old buildings aren’t worth the dollars the taxpayers keep pouring in for upkeep.

  35. brian brooks says:

    it is central location location COULD BE A MEMORIAL SCHOOL HONOURING

  36. Mitch says:

    It would be nice if you could provide some information on why we should consider this site, and maybe even why not.

  37. thank you says:

    Regiopolis is literally 300 meters away. QECVI is literally 1 km away.

    Is there really a need for another HS in that district? That said, if the plan is to close the old worn out QECVI, than yes… great idea for an upgrade. If not, let’s build a casino there instead…

  38. Anne Kent says:

    KCVI support group, LET IT GO!

  39. Fiona Charles says:

    I’m opposed to taking away precious park land for other purposes. The Memorial park is quite heavily used throughout the week, especially in the mornings, by runners, walkers, and many others. It’s also the site of the only in-town off leash dog park, and although I wouldn’t argue that dogs should take precedence over school kids, it’s another consideration and another site would have to be found. Re the barns, my understanding is that the agricultural fair was granted their site by the city in perpetuity in exchange for the former crystal palace site. Although the fair is only a once a year event and the buildings are run down, it too will need to be accommodated if a school goes here.

    There is a perfectly viable site in the old KCVI. The school board perversely chose to reject it. Why not use existing school board property rather than grabbing park land?

  40. Dwayne Donnelly says:

    63% yes? Are you kidding me?!!! Nothing right about this at all! NO, NO, NO, NO,NO!!!!!! This can not be allowed to happen! SAVE OUR PARKS!!!!!!!!

  41. Spiroula Anagnostopoulos says:

    Absolutely…. I believe this is the ideal location right in the middle of both neighbourhoods and still considered a downtown inner city school. It would make everyone happy and I think it would help with a the revitalization of Williamsville. It is totally not fair for the KCVI community to have to send their kids on a bus to QECVI!! The KC kids could still bike or even walk in the warmer months and so can the kids who live around QE.
    Thank you for your renewed interest in this matter.

    Spiroula Anagnostopoulos

  42. Dennis Williams says:

    Where is the Kingston Fall Fair to be held if a school is built according to the “Draft Concept Site Plan”?
    What about the 1950 Kingston Act between the Province of Ontario, the City of Kingston and the Kingston and District Agricultural Society?

  43. dcgoldring says:

    What stops someone from voting multiple times?

  44. Alan Clark says:

    It is most unreasonable to close KCVI in the first place, and it is good a good idea to even close QECVI. Both those schools have been doing well and are in good locations, so should not be closed. We need a school to each neighbourhood so kids can walk to school, benefitting their health, making life easier for their parents, and protecting our environment. KCVI has been FULL, so it makes absolutely NO logical sense to close it.

  45. Gary says:

    I think the mem is the perfect site and will help in the much needed regen of the incredibly and shamefully run down midtown. Putting it out at qe will only help the exodus of small businesses. Listen to the business owners..without them kingston is doomed.

  46. Justin Connidis says:

    Dear Mayor, Thank you for conducting this poll. However, I think the question City Council should really be considering is the decision Council, and in particular the previous Mayor, made to not loudly object to the closing of schools in the old downtown area and to work with the Boards of Education to ensure this does not happen. As someone who lives downtown and has business interests downtown, I fear and believe the loss of downtown schools will lead to the death of the downtown core of the City. (We do not have children and I attended Henderson PS and Frontenac SS, so it is not a personal issue.) Council and the Mayor should be using all political influence they have to maintain and enhance downtown schools. Failure to keep KCVI open and rejuvenated, along with downtown intermediate and primary schools, will have serious long-term repercussions. At the same time, I do not favour repurposing the Memorial Centre site so voted against that in your poll. The existing KCVI site or other vacant or soon to be vacant downtown lands would be better suited than the Memorial Centre site which already serves an important green space function and downtown link to agriculture. Justin

  47. Marc Shaw says:

    Here’s a great opportunity for council to revisit this issue and this time make the right decision. The Memorial Centre property would be a most appropriate setting for a new school. One that our veterans and fallen heroes would feel worthy of their sacrifices. Geographically central. Politically neutral. Currently poorly-utilized.

  48. Kingstonian Cricketer says:

    Kingston government last year approved memorial center ground for a cricket pitch and allocated $60000 to renovate the site for cricket pitch. This work is almost done.

    Now they want to reconsider it for a school at Memorial Center. There is another space allocated for school and the work is in progress. If they change the school site to memorial center the money spent at the current location for school will be wasted. At the same time $60,000 spent for cricket pitch will also be wasted.

    I don’t think this is a reasonable call as the school planning is already done. And it is merely a waste of tax payer’s money at the same time by taking a unanimously passed motion (for cricket) back will hurt the dignity of the councilors.

    We want to see a beautiful cricket pitch in the city that is already attracting tourism as well as generating revenue for our beautiful city. As Ottawa Valley Cricket Council has already announced games in Kingston in their yearly schedule and five different teams from Ottawa are to play in Kingston during this summer.

  49. Todd says:

    How many times are you going to waste are tax dollars debating the same things No school on the M centre property . We elected you in to make our dessions not too keep debating the same topic over and over, we had said No once stick to your guns and grow some ball

  50. Michele says:

    This is ridiculous, the decision was made after much deliberation. Why is it even being considered further and to create a poll about it? Build the school already!

  51. Sayeda Hazan says:

    i guess there is something suspicious going on, how can withing a span of 20 minutes almost 1% change in polls can occur?

  52. Jane says:

    Yes, it’s a good idea – as long as there’s still a memorial on the site to remember the people who fought in the wars.

  53. Tammy says:

    I really don’t think it should be consider to go at the Memorial Centre leave it at the QECVI site where there is lots of space for a high school.. The Memorial Centre should never be consider as it has the Farmer’s Market and the new pool why change what is already done… leave it be at QECVI

  54. Helga Elliott says:

    Leave the Memorial Centre for all the people of Kingston to enjoy! The decided on site is the appropriate location for a new super school!

  55. Sailor girl says:

    The city spent so much money redoing the fair grounds at the memorial center. Please do not undo that progress. Choose a location suitable for expansion years from now and a location that is easiest to build on.

  56. Deep Threat says:

    I don’t have a horse in this race. The ‘memorial site’ make sense because it will intensify and improve housing and services in the area, minimize traffic to an extent, keep money nearer to the downtown core which helps all Kingstonians because of more tourist dollars a beautiful core might engender.

  57. mark heeler says:

    Is it too late to say “yes” to the poll asking if council should reconsider its decision and consider the possibility of locating the new high school on the m.Centre site?

  58. Harry Schmidt says:

    No not at all. If you want to ask anyone about building, ask the vets and people in the military. Its a memorial centre!

  59. Lisa McCarthy says:

    I heard about this survey and looked all over the city website for it, in vain. Looks like I have found it now, too late to enter my vote. Just a note to indicate my support in favour of using the Memorial Centre grounds for the new high school. Best of luck in trying to accomplish this goal. Thank you. LM

  60. sandi dinsdale says:


    I grew up in Kingston as a child attending KCVI then Queens, I never would have made it up to the Memorial Ctr, for school in the mornings from where we live down at King & Barrie, it would have been a horrific commute during the cold winter months, KCVI as it was took me over half an hour to walk to in the warmer months…. easily.

    The Memorial Ctr location would have been out of the question for me to get there on my own steam for school.

    If I may ask, What is wrong with K.C. & Q.E. that you are wanting to move/close them in the first place, where did all this come from?

    Is it because Queen’s wants the property? They are consuming the entire city, all the houses where our friends used to live down Barrie st. are now Queen’s buildings & so severely run down many of them are literally rotting & growing moss on the wood, it is shameful what a low level of maintenance is being offered them & the growing state of disrepair these once lovely & beloved old stones of Kingston are being offered, some of them it looks like complete neglect. I didn’t know the university was so broke what with their 20,000+ enrollment of students a year. Any reason why this is so?
    If I had seen the poll whilst it was still open I would have voted No. I see the count on this poll is very close indeed, likely those who live near the area vs those who do not. And so it goes.
    Thats’ my 2 cents anyhow.

    p.s. my father now deceased Col C.W. Jones was the designer of & ran the Queen’s/Hospital/Prison Physical plant down on King St & designed the water front for the city down by the Time Statue as well as the Olympic Harbour & was Director General for the 1976 Olympics…I know he would be opposed to losing the high school for this vicinity. Just saying.

    Sandi Jones Dinsdlae
    formerly of 5 Emily St.
    Kingston, K7L 2W2

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