West Point Grey Academy was founded by four families who envisioned a progressive coeducational independent day school on Vancouver’s west side. There was no coeducational option in the area at the time, and they wanted all their children, boys and girls, to attend the same school.
In 1995, Andrew Chan of Hong Kong and Dr. Peter Wong of Vancouver met to discuss opening a school, and soon after invited friends Ronald Khoo, Jack Siu, Peter Tsang, Raymond Yue and Dr. Raymond Kwan to consider their proposal. The group looked at three locations before deciding to lease 18 acres on beautiful Jericho Hill, overlooking English Bay and the North Shore mountains. (The three school buildings, located beside Jericho Community Centre, were built in 1964; WPGA originally occupied MacDonald Hall.) This group of entrepreneurial families managed building renovations, set up the business office, procured school equipment and designed the first uniform.
In April 1996, Andrew Chan, Dr. Wong, Michael Choi (Hong Kong) and Elsie Sze (Vancouver) established West Point Grey Academy under the name West Point Grey Academy Independent School Society. The Society is registered as a charity with the federal government and as a Group 2 Independent School with the Province of British Columbia.
That June, Clive Austin was hired as Head of School. The initial business plan was to enroll 150 students, yet word spread and 325 children (junior kindergarten to grade 8) enrolled in the “little school with a big vision.” Today the school enrolls 942 students in junior kindergarten to grade 12, employs 129 teachers and 30 staff members, and occupies three buildings on its West 8th Avenue campus.
When Clive Austin retired from WPGA in 2013, Tam Matthews became the school’s second Head of School, bringing over 25 years’ experience in leadership roles at independent schools across Canada.
WPGA has always had a growth mindset and has continually embraced new ideas and ways of thinking. With a focus on hiring outstanding teachers, developing future-focused, experiential programs, and nurturing each student to his or her potential, WPGA has enjoyed remarkable success and is consistently ranked as one of Canada’s leading independent schools. Visionary founders, innovative leaders and a spirited, open culture have created a school experience like no other.