The Halton Catholic District School Board traces its roots back to 1856, when Father Jermiah Ryan founded St. Mary’s School – the first Catholic elementary school in Oakville to establish education programs for Catholic children in the town of Oakville. This was, in part, a response to a large influx of Catholic settlers in the Trafalgar area of Oakville.

The Oakville Separate School Board was formally established in 1856. Over the next 102 years, other school boards were established in Halton and by 1958, there were four municipal school boards:

  • Burlington
  • Oakville
  • Georgetown; and
  • Milton


On January 1, 1969, as a result of provincial legislation that mandated the consolidation of school boards throughout Ontario, the four municipal school boards amalgamated into the single regional structure called the Halton Roman Catholic Separate School Board. 

In the years following amalgamation, the Board witnessed, not only the physical growth of its English language schools, but also the development of French language schools, and the eventual establishment of a French Language Section of the Board to govern the three French first language schools in 1986.

The amalgamation of the four municipal school boards into one regional structure also opened the school system to special needs students, and as a result the Special Education Department was created. This was formalized in 1980, when Bill 82 was enacted, ensuring that school boards were to provide Special Education programs and services for all exceptional students.

Secondary Schools Established

In the late 1970s, the school board ventured into the area of secondary education, and assisted by the legislative provision for full funding to Ontario’s Catholic secondary schools in 1986, established five secondary schools:

  • Assumption Secondary (1977)
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola Secondary (1982)
  • Bishop P. F. Reding Secondary (1986)
  • Notre Dame Secondary (1989)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary (1990)
  • Christ the King Secondary (2002)
  • Holy Trinity Secondary (2002)

In 1986, the new department of Continuing Education Services was created, which first operated out of a portable classroom at the Board’s Drury Lane Catholic Education Centre.

Over the same years, the Board dealt with unprecedented growth, particularly in the southern half of Halton Region, increased demands on the education system and numerous changes in the education field itself.

In 1998, under the Ministry of Education’s restructuring of school boards province-wide, the Halton Roman Catholic Separate School Board became the Halton Catholic District School Board.

Our 25th Anniversary

In 1994, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of our amalgamation and establishment as a school board. In celebration of this milestone, The Halton Catholic District School Board: A 25th Anniversary Perspective was created, documenting the history of our school board leading up to that point. 

Half a Century of Excellence in Catholic Education 

In 2019, HCDSB turned 50! A number of events and initiatives were planned to honour and celebrate our journey in faith as a Catholic education community, including the establishment of our HCDSB Alumni Awards Program.

HCDSB Logo + 50

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of HCDSB, a special emblem was created to be featured alongside the HCDSB logo. The emblem incorporates the 4 primary colours in our palette, representing the 4 municipalities that make up our district: BurlingtonHalton HillsMilton and Oakville. The colours are positioned within the emblem to represent a path or journey, with the number ‘50’ visible in the negative (white) space.

There are a number of elements in the emblem that symbolize our faith: the cross at the top of the hill; the fish (in orange) and the Eucharistic Host (in yellow). The emblem is also encased in a circle, an important symbol in our faith, representing God, wholeness, and eternal life. ​