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Mulgrave's History

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are proud to share a more fulsome Mulgrave story with all our community members, past, present, and potential. Please explore the links on this page to discover our rich history and learn more about the people who played pivotal roles in our school's founding and development. 


Mulgrave School sprang to life when the Board of Directors responsible for operating the West Vancouver Montessori School envisioned the creation of a new independent, secular school on the North Shore. The Board and parents from the West Vancouver Montessori School wanted to provide an education for their children that would match and continue the excellence of experience enjoyed in their preschool and Kindergarten years.

As a result, in September 1993, under the leadership of Linda Hamer as founding Head of School, Mulgrave opened in a portable classroom on property adjacent to the Montessori facilities. Throughout the months that followed, the Board of Directors searched for a suitable site to expand the school.

Despite all efforts, no suitable site could be obtained.


During the school year of 1994-95, the student population expanded into a split Grade 1/2. In September 1994, the Mulgrave Independent School Society became a separate entity from the Independent School Society of West Vancouver. This society had hitherto been comprised of the West Vancouver Montessori School, as well as Mulgrave School. The newly established Board of Mulgrave School then began a series of complex municipal negotiations and hearings, which resulted in the securing of leased facilities at the North Shore Winter Club in the District of North Vancouver.

In September 1995, Mulgrave School opened in newly designed facilities at the North Shore Winter Club, providing the school with a secure home for the next five years. Throughout that five-year period, the Board of Directors worked diligently to fulfill its mandate of securing a permanent site to realise the Mulgrave dream of offering a complete school programme from Kindergarten to Grade 12.


After an extended search, the school purchased the new site at Cypress Bowl Lane and moved into its permanent home in September 2001. The stunning 100,000 square foot school featured spacious and well-equipped classrooms, science labs, a double gym, library, and 400-seat theatre.


Having successfully established Mulgrave School as a strong consideration for North Shore parents, Mulgrave’s first Head, Linda Hamer, retired from Mulgrave in 2002. The appointment of Mulgrave’s new permanent Head of School Tony Macoun in September 2004, ensured that Mulgrave reached capacity enrolment of 750 students in 2006. Together with the energy of the original dream and the experienced leadership and vision of Tony Macoun, Mulgrave became a fully authorised International Baccalaureate World School.


In 2008, Mulgrave expanded their programme to include an Early Learning Centre (ELC) for children aged 3 and 4 years. While a newly constructed state-of-the art facility was being built, the ELC was located off site in West Vancouver. Faculty and students moved into a brand new facility on the Mulgrave campus during the summer of 2010. Upon Tony Macoun’s retirement in 2010, the new facility was dedicated in his honour, and is now the Tony Macoun Centre for Early Learning.


In 2010 the school decided on a three-class-per-grade model and that continues to be our metric for enrolment. At that time, however, the demand for classrooms grew and the Annex gym became a temporary home for our Senior School students. In June of 2013, Mulgrave’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in favour of beginning the construction of a new Senior School.


After 18 months of work, on May 2015 the school celebrated the completion of its new Senior School. An inspiring ceremony led by members of the Squamish Nation marked the opening of the new facility. The 50,000 square foot addition includes modern classrooms, collaborative nooks, a new cafeteria and welcoming dining and public spaces. A Tommy Hunt-designed totem looking over the school and breath-taking views of the Burrard Inlet and the Pacific Ocean are the ideal backdrop to Mulgrave’s beautiful facility and provide daily inspiration to those who work and learn at the school.


As part of our plans to enrich the learning environment for our students, we have embarked on the construction of our West Wing extension, which will include custom-built classrooms for our Early Years and Middle School students, a large and airy art and design studio, and a roof-top garden. Upon completion, Junior School classrooms will be renovated to include specialist spaces for language instruction, music, science, and more. 

These changes to our physical buildings are being made in conjunction with our 5-year strategic plan called 'Making Mulgrave All We Can Be', a multi-faceted approach to creating a learning environment that is more personalised, enriched, applied, extended, and international. You can read that plan here. 

25 Years of Inspiring Excellence - A Chronicle

A Symbol of Generosity

At Mulgrave, we take pride in our multicultural identity and in our community’s tightly-knit bonds, so it is fitting that the totem pole that soars at the front of the school includes crest figures from family lineages across First Nations. Totem poles, or lineage poles as they are also known, are monuments created by First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to document and commemorate histories, events, and ancestors within a family or community.

Mulgrave’s majestic totem pole, donated by a generous alumni family, tells a story through multiple crest figures of families coming together as one over generations. From frogs symbolising luck, prosperity and stability to the intelligent eagle that symbolises power, peace, status and friendship, the cultural mythology of the Northwest Coast is represented by the various crest figures incorporated into this stunning piece of art. Tom Hunt, the son of Hereditary Chief George Hunt and Mary Hunt, is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation and the artist responsible for our totem pole. In collaboration with Sean Frank, who assisted him with the project, he included crest figures with lineage extending from his Kwakwaka’wakw Nation into the Squamish Nation.

The Mulgrave Difference

Mulgrave is focused on embracing the most effective of worldwide best practices and offering every one of our students a very unique and exceptional educational experience.

25 Years in Video

Click here for a video series chronicling particularly important moments in our wonderful history.