Oshawa Central Collegiate Institute

School: 1950 - 2016; building still standing and in use

Opened in 1950 at 240 Simcoe Street South, Oshawa Central Collegiate Institute was the second high school to be built in Oshawa. The attendance in the O.C.V.I was overcrowded and was no longer able to accommodate everyone. The Central Collegiate was built on the site of Bishop Bethune College, the original T.N. Gibbs home. Mr. H.E. Murphy, head of the English department in the O.C.V.I., became the first principal of the new collegiate. The school served students from grades 9 to 12 and offered a range of academic and extracurricular activities.

In the late 1960s, General Vanier Secondary School was constructed at 155 Gibb Street. Decades later, in the mid 1990s, Vanier and Central amalgamated and retained the name Oshawa Central Collegiate. The new amalgamated school moved into the Vanier facility, and Village Union Elementary School took up residency at the former OCCI at Simcoe and Gibb.

According to a report from the board in 2015, 386 students were expected to attend Central Collegiate by 2023, indicating a decrease in enrolment. However, Oshawa Councillor John Aker noted that new development initiatives could reverse that trend. Speaking at the meeting on March 31, 2015, he stated that the area around the school could be revitalized by the construction of a new 12-storey condo project on Bond Street and the planned 2,200 residential units to be built at Drew and Bruce streets.

The Durham District School Board trustees decided on February 1, 2016 that Oshawa Central Collegiate Institute would close their doors forever in the following June. This came after reports of closing the school decades before, in the late 1990s. City Councillor John Aker said that it did not make sense to close a high school when the city was in the midst of rapid residential growth. A large number of those who attended the meeting were dissatisfied with the board’s choice. Some booed while others quietly dejected.

After the controversial closing of Central Collegiate, Oshawa’s Village Union traded in its old spot at the corner of Simcoe Street South and Gibb Street, for the spacious Gibb Street building. This marked the third time the Durham District School Board transformed a high school into an elementary school.

Many changes had to be made to transform the school. Built in kid-friendly features were added in, with lower water fountains and hopscotch lines on the pavement. The new Village Union. P.S. included four new purpose-built kindergarten classrooms, a learning commons style library in the former cafeteria space, updates to the gym and change rooms and two new outdoor play spaces.

The project had a budget of $12 million with Village Union also receiving a one-time funding of $15,000 from the board to help cover transition costs.

The former Village Union location at 155 Gibb became the new home of Durham Alternative Secondary School, which used to be located in leased premises next to the Oshawa Centre.

Give three cheers for OCCI
Oh, loyal friends so tried and true
Work and fight
For the right –
All our best to you
Though the days before us are long,
Strength and hope we’ll find in our song,
OCCI Onward, maroon and gold!
-Song of the CCI (A998.17.22)

With information from:







Oshawa Museum archival collection, Oshawa Central Collegiate Institute file (0026/0004/0020).

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Simcoe Street South 240
Oshawa L1H 4H4 ON CA
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