The first school for the Deaf in Montreal was founded in 1869 by Thomas Widd, a deaf newspaper editor who emigrated from England. Since 1877 the school has carried the name of Joseph Mackay, the individual who donated the money and the land for the building. In September 2013, Widd was honoured with a mural on permanent display outside the Mackay Centre depicting his journey from England to Montreal and on to his final resting place of California.
In 1977, under the direction of the Ministry of Education
and the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Protestant
School Board of Greater Montreal was given the responsibility for educating
the children. Since that time the Mackay Centre has evolved into an organization
in which two different organizations cooperate to meet the needs of deaf
and disabled children. The MAB-MackayRehabilitation Centre focuses on rehabilitation while
the Mackay Centre School concerns itself with the educational needs of
the children. There are many joint efforts in accomplishing these goals.
In 1998, as a result of changes in the Canadian Constitution, the Protestant
School Board ceased to exist, and Mackay Centre School became the responsibility
of the newly created English Montreal School Board. This had no effect
on the location of the school or its programs. At the the present time,
the school has a population of 10 deaf children and 119 physically disabled
/ language students ranging in age from 4 years to 21 years. However,
the majority of our students are between 4 and 12 years of age. Students
come to the school from all corners of the city as well as from off island
schools. There are additional children who are not disabled in the
school, but who attend the school on our reverse integration program.
These students are from the Montreal area.
There are 29 teachers in the school, 3 teachers of the deaf and 26 for
the physically disabled and language students. All our teachers are trained
in special education, and most have advanced degrees.
The curriculum is the same as that followed in all
E.M.S.B. schools. Courses and textbooks are based on the Ministry
of Education's Régime Pédagogique. The services of the School
Board Consultants are available to us.
Most children travel to and from the Mackay Centre School by school bus.
Those who live within the E.M.S.B. boundaries will be transported by Seguibus Inc.
transportation. Buses are equipped with seatbelts which are to be used
at all times. Children failing to use this safety equipment may be denied
the use of the buses. Please make sure your child is ready, watching for
the bus each day. Bus drivers wait three minutes and then must continue
on their route.
If your child is not coming to school you must inform your bus driver.
If you bring your child to school or pick him / her up at school yourself
during the day, it is your responsibility to inform the bus driver of
Attendance must be as regular as possible because each absence interferes
with your child's progress. A student who is late or absent MUST bring
a note of explanation signed by parents or guardian, upon return to school.
If it is necessary for your child to be dismissed early, a written request
should be sent to the class teacher, who will forward it to the school's secretary.
Please notify the bus driver.
The Mackay Centre School has two recess periods: 'little recess', a 15
minute mid-morning break, and 'big recess', a half-hour break after lunch.
Recess, under the supervision of teachers, is outside as long as weather
permits. When the weather is unsuitable, students remain indoors.
The children eat lunch in the Mackay Centre School dining rooms where
they are closely supervised at charge to the parents.
There is no facility available for children to heat food. The Mackay Centre
School is a PEANUT , Seafood and Blueberry FREE SCHOOL. For the safety of our
children who have allergies to nuts, parents must make sure that snacks
and lunches do not contain peanuts or nut products. We thank you for your
Volunteers play a vital role in assisting teachers and rehabilitation
staff in carrying out the many programmes at the Mackay Centre School.
Examples of assistance in education would be: working in a classroom with
one child or a small group, tutoring, reviewing lessons, assisting children
whose disabilities make writing difficult (e.g. being a 'secretary'),
helping during creative activities, during swimming classes , in the gym,
and during class outings. All activities are under the supervision of