Halifax Grammar launches historic $10 million capital campaign

“One Grammar” vision enhances mission to grow critical and creative thinkers, doers

Halifax (September 15, 2017) – Hundreds of Grammar family members, faculty and staff gathered last evening at the independent school’s annual Ice Cream Social to officially launch the Halifax Grammar: Engaging Excellence capital campaign inspired by the independent school’s foundational premise to support an experience that goes far beyond the classroom.

Headmaster, history buff and award-winning author Steven Laffoley recounted the story of the school’s founding noting that 22 parents - academics, professionals and radicals - were driven by their shared vision to mortgage their homes to purchase the first Grammar School building in 1958.

“What we set out to do here today is build a school that brings our family back together under one roof and create an inspiring space that enriches our academics, athletics, arts, and altruism,” he said.  “What we set out to do here today is to build a school that makes clear to all, for generations to come, that Grammar remains resolute in its commitment to provide an educational experience worthy of our founding ideal to challenge conventional thinking and aspire to excellence.”

Photo (from left): Halifax Grammar School Engaging Excellence Capital Campaign co-chairs Doug Reid and Scott Armour McCrea, Headmaster Steven Laffoley, and Board Chair David Wilson following the launch of the public phase of the campaign. (credit: Halifax Grammar School)

Photo (from left): Halifax Grammar School Engaging Excellence Capital Campaign co-chairs Doug Reid and Scott Armour McCrea, Headmaster Steven Laffoley, and Board Chair David Wilson following the launch of the public phase of the campaign. (credit: Halifax Grammar School)

The campaign’s $10 million goal is the largest private investment in independent schools in Nova Scotia, and will unite the Tower Road Middle School and Atlantic Street Preparatory and Senior schools in a single Tower Road campus.

Grammar Board Chair David Wilson unveiled the Engaging Excellence campaign thermometer showing that more than 80% of the goal had already been raised through:

  • Contributions from 100% of Grammar faculty, staff, and board members

  • Proceeds of the 2016 Atlantic Street Campus sale

  • A successful and ongoing major gifts campaign

  • Existing resources

“Nova Scotia has the ingredients to become the preferred destination of the world’s talent - smart, creative, ambitious, and diverse people looking for a place to call home,” said Scott Armour McCrea, campaign co-chair. “I believe Grammarians will play a critical role in helping our province realize its vast potential as a thriving, culturally rich place to live, learn work and play.”

Holly Dunn is a Grammar alumna and campaign supporter whose two daughters now attend the school.

“Every time I enter the school I get a warm, family feeling and I’m reminded that Grammar made me who I am today - this school is a gem,” she told the group, her eyes tearing her up slightly.

“My family discussed what Grammar means to us and our community, and we made a five-year pledge to ensure the Grammar vision, and the closeness of its family, continue to shape more lives.“

While there is still $2 million in fundraising work to be done, Laffoley acknowledged the extraordinary character and exceptional commitment of Grammar students, parents, teachers, alumni and friends.

“Fifty-nine years have past since Grammar opened just up the road from here, and while the world and education are very different today, what hasn’t changed is our absolute fearlessness in pursuing our dream, just like the resolve of those first 22 parents almost 60 years ago .”


The school expansion – designed by Halifax-based Architecture 49 and constructed by Armour Construction Ltd. – boasts a state-of-the-art learning commons, a double gymnasium, science labs, a media arts room, and collaborative workspaces that support 21st Century learning.

In addition to reducing operating costs, the new building will also provide Grammar and the broader community new spaces for public and private athletics, arts, and community events.

The Tower Road expansion is scheduled to open in September 2018.

One Grammar facts:

  • Nova Scotia’s largest-ever independent school capital project: $14.5 million will cover construction, land purchases, furniture and equipment, professional services, and an appropriate contingency.

  • School mission and One Grammar vision align with Ivany Report’s call for Nova Scotians to lead their own recovery and sustainable growth.

  • Halifax Regional Municipality Council unanimously approved Grammar’s campus plan, with support from City staff, the Peninsula Halifax Planning Advisory Committee and the Heritage Advisory Committee.

  • The broader Halifax community will benefit from Grammar’s new double gymnasium (league games, tournaments) and theatre/multipurpose room (live performances, meetings).

  • Grammar is committed to continuing its open dialogue with community, neighbours and other stakeholders.

  • Click here for Grammar's Engaging Excellence campaign, One Campus vision, and drawings.

About Halifax Grammar School

At Grammar, we believe in challenging conventional thinking and aspiring to excellence in everything we do, with a liberal arts curriculum focused on the four pillars of academics, the arts, athletics and altruism, Grammar students and their teachers are known as critical and creative thinkers and leaders in their areas of interest.

Founded in 1958 by 22 academics, professionals, and radicals who believed “we can do better” when it came to educating their children, the Halifax Grammar school now welcomes 500 children from junior primary through grade 12, is a Canadian Accredited Independent School, and is Halifax’s only independent International Baccalaureate® World School.

Visit www.HalifaxGrammar.ca

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Media contact: Robyn McIsaac, robyn@prhive.ca, 902 440 1551