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Elmwood School has been an institution in the Village of Rockcliffe Park for over one hundred years. It was founded in 1915 as the “Rockcliffe Preparatory School” by Theodora Philpot.  The School opened for business in 1915 with only four students, aged four to seven. The educational ambitions of the first Headmistress were high. She wrote: “The discipline of the school and the instruction are in accordance with the best modern methods, and constant care is given to the proper development of each pupil and the fostering of good school spirit.”

When the school was rebuilt in 1925, it welcomed the first 25 boarders. With a matron and maids, there were some 40 people living here at one time. The Boarding School closed in 1966.

The school’s enrolment continued to grow—from 130 or so in the 1960s to over 300 in the 1980s. More room was urgently needed. A massive building campaign eliminated the courtyard and created new classrooms, offices and a large new gymnasium. This era also saw the introduction in 1978 of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme to the school. Later on, Elmwood School became the first school in North America to be accredited for all three levels of the IB Programme.

At the dawn of the 21st century, Elmwood had over 500 students, and was bursting at the seams: a separate Junior School was constructed, and a fine new library, art rooms and a music studio were built in the main building.

Elmwood celebrated its Centennial throughout the 2015 – 2016 school year. The entire community came together to mark this impressive milestone. Over the past 10 decades, more than 5,000 students from around the world have passed through the doors of Elmwood School. Our graduates have gone on to make positive contributions to their families, their companies, their communities and their countries. Truly, there was much to celebrate.

Today, the School continues the work started a century ago by Mrs. Philpot. We think she would be very proud of this school she built.

Elmwood: From 1915 til Forever

Heads of School

Get to know the people who have led Elmwood through the past 100+ years. 

Discover our Heads of School

Traditions and Symbols

Learn about the unique traditions and symbolism that are essential to the Elmwood experience.

Learn more

Celebrating 110

As we enter the 2024/2025 school year, we are reminiscing and beginning to prepare for our 110th birthday in 2025.

Explore Elmwood through the years