A Century of Excellence: Prince of Wales College, 1860–1969


279 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-919013-45-7
DDC 378.717'5




Alexander D. Gregor is director of the Centre for Higher Education
Research and Development at the University of Manitoba. He is co-editor
of Postsecondary Education in Canada.


Marian Bruce, a native of Prince Edward Island and graduate of Prince
Edward College, has made an engaging and useful addition to the growing
library of Canadian college histories. The book will be of particular
interest to readers who have been connected in some way with the college
or its community setting, but a well-written, meticulously researched
institutional history of this sort is also important to scholars of
higher education and of Canadian culture more generally.

Although there is an obvious commonality among institutions of
postsecondary education across the country, the unique characteristics
of each add shades and dimensions to that general understanding. This is
particularly the case for PWC, which was the secular (i.e.,
government-directed, if Protestant in tone) postsecondary institution in
the small and relatively compact community of PEI. Its history was
therefore intimately interwoven with that of the broader political stage
and with the various benefits and liabilities those connections can

PWC’s history is interwoven as well with that of its principal
sectarian rival, Roman Catholic St. Dunstan’s College, with which in
the 1960s it was ultimately to come to union as the new University of
Prince Edward Island. In many respects, the history of the two
institutions provides a microcosm of the issues and events shaping the
larger society, from religion to war to depression. This is notably so
in the special roles that PWC was given, as a state institution, for
programs in teacher training and agriculture.

The author pays particular attention to the administrators and teachers
who, perhaps more than could be the case today, were able to make a
powerful personal imprint on the shape of the institution. Interesting
anecdotes are offered of the college experience of students during
various periods of its history. Vivid pictures of extracurricular
activities provide a rich image of college life in all its dimensions.
The book offers a nice selection of archival photographs, as well as
useful appendixes (staff, courses, enrolment, etc.) and a bibliography.


Bruce, Marian., “A Century of Excellence: Prince of Wales College, 1860–1969,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17159.