Dr. F.J. Donevan Collegiate


In the 1950s, only two collegiates existed in Oshawa: O’Neill Collegiate, built in 1910, and Central Collegiate, built in 1949.  A third high school was desperately needed as the population of Oshawa increased.  Home buyers were moving towards the eastern part of Oshawa, and it was decided that a third school be built in this area.  The site chosen was a field on Harmony Road South, between Olive Avenue and Taylor Avenue.

When the school was built in 1958, it consisted of a spacious gymnasium, two home economics rooms, two industrial arts rooms, four laboratories, a business machines room, typing and book-keeping rooms, a cafeteria and twenty other classrooms.  In 1962, three new classrooms were added as well as an enlarged cafeteria.  It also had newer features, such as a larger library.

The school was named after Dr. Frederick James Donevan, who was born July 18, 1880, in Gananoque.  He graduated in Medicine from Queen’s University in 1907, and had an active medical practice from 1908 to 1948.  In 1919, he set up a practice in Oshawa.  He was elected to the Oshawa Board of Education in January 1926 and was chairman for the years 1931 and 1932.  For many years he was chairman of the Property committee.  Dr. F.J. Donevan died on December 10, 1948 at the age of 68.

Dr. F.J. Donevan Collegiate Institute opened on Wednesday November 5, 1958.  The dedication address was given by Lt. Col. K.R. Swinton, who was the vice-president and managing director of Encyclopedia Britannica of Canada Ltd.  Welcoming remarks at the ceremony were given by S.G. Saywell, chairman of the Board of Education, and Mayor Lyman A. Gifford, who offered greetings from the City of Oshawa.  T.D. Thomas, MPP for Oshawa riding, presented a master key to Donevan’s first principal, Norman A. Siscoe.  Dr. F.J. Donevan’s wife dedicated a portrait of her husband to the school in order for it to be hung.  A prayer of dedication was given by Rev. C.D. Cross, who was a rector of St. George’s Anglican Church.  An orchestra was organized and they performed “Water Music” and a choir sang “God of Our Fathers.”  The two groups were directed by F.A. Reesor of Donevan Collegiate.  The Hon. Michael Starr, MP and the Minister of Labour, officiated the laying of the cornerstone at Donevan Collegiate on September 7, 1957. Guests who were also involved in the dedication were: representatives of John B. Parker Associates of Toronto, and architects Bathe and McLellan of Oshawa, the general contractors.

Four hundred students attended the school when it first opened. Forty years later, in 1998, roughly 800 students attended Donevan Collegiate.

The school closed in 2010. The Durham District School Board declared it surplus in 2016, offering it for sale. It was demolished by 2017, and in the early 2020s, the site of the former school was developed into housing.


Ross, Douglas J. Education in Oshawa: from Settlement to City. 1970.

Oshawa This Week, Wednesday May 4, 1983.

Oshawa Times, May 1, 1982.

Oshawa Times, Thursday November 6, 1958.

Dr. F.J. Donevan Collegiate Institute: Official Opening Booklet, by Mr. T.D. Thomas, November 5, 1958.

Sale of Oshawa’s closed down Donevan Collegiate now underway https://www.durhamradionews.com/archives/88810

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Harmony Road South 250
Oshawa L1H 6T9 ON CA
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