Longtime private English school to close its doors after this year

Dorval’s Queen of Angels Academy victim of low enrolment, rising costs

By Kevin Woodhouse and Alan Hustak

Despite going through a re-marketing program and reducing overall costs in 2011, Dorval’s Queen of Angels Academy will graduate its last class this spring before closing its doors.

The school, which occupies the historic former clubhouse of the Royal Montreal Golf Club on Bouchard Avenue in Dorval, was founded in 1888 by the Sisters of St. Anne.

The private girl’s school also tried other initiatives such as the possibility of merging with another academic institution, providing more college level courses as well as adding more French instruction. But low enrolment has taken its toll with only 186 students at the academy, a significant drop of just seven years ago when more than 500 students attended QAA.

Because QAA was “forecasting a further decline for next year if we were to stay open. In fact, the number of graduating students has exceeded the number of incoming students for some time,” stated QAA Board Chairman Dominic Varvaro in a letter sent home to parents last week. “In order to compensate for the smaller student body, we have almost doubled our fees over the past seven years, and we project that we would have to more than double them again next year to reach break-even. This is clearly unrealistic.”

The school will not leave the current students in the lurch as parents are invited to attend information sessions this week to help place their children in a new school for next fall.

Varvaro noted that, while he regrets the decision to close the school after so many decades of service, “our declining enrolment has left us with no other option. By pulling together, however, we will ensure that the next months of this school year reflect the proud heritage of Queen of Angels and are positive and rewarding for all of our students.”

Efforts to sell some of the land on which the school sits proved fruitless. There is speculation the property may have to be sold to developers to pay the school’s outstanding bills.

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