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Canadian and World Studies

The program in Canadian and World Studies at Holy Cross will invite your student to develop the critical discernment skills to navigate an increasingly complex world.  We seek to help our students gain the ability to see, judge, and act on the issues that make up our society.  In so doing, our students understand the various social perspectives and develop their own view of how the world should work.  Central to this academic journey is a rooting in the gospel values of compassion, justice, and peacemaking.

Students engage in a mandatory set of courses in grade 9 Geography and grade 10 Canadian History and Civics.  In the senior years, students can elect to take a variety of courses in World Issues, World History, Law, and Interdisciplinary Social Science.

Our department believes that developing skills in the social studies is enriched by experiences outside of the classroom where they get a chance to engage with people and places.  To this end we offer a yearly, two day grade 10 trip to Ottawa, a bi-yearly seven-day train trip for grade 11 and 12 students to Quebec, Montreal, and Halifax, and a variety of day trips specific to our other courses.  We also host a school-wide Speakers’ Forum on social issues every second year on poignant topics such as: Immigrants and Refugees, Housing and Homes, Aboriginal Perspective, Canadians Working Overseas, Children and War, and the Aids Epidemic.

Welcome to Holy Cross where we seek to study the world to change it into a better place for all.


Katrina Helen Hounam

My journey to becoming a conscious global citizen began with the Canadian and World Studies department of Holy Cross. The material was engaging, but more than that, I was able to acquire my own critical thinking and analysis skills. Through writing exercises and presentations over those four years, I was able to develop a proper research method and a confidence in my academic abilities, which has become crucial in my success as an honours undergraduate student. In addition to classroom work, the department organized exciting opportunities, one of which allowed me to travel across Canada, to Quebec and Halifax; an experience which allowed me to see the diversity in Canadian culture and contextualize subjects covered in the classroom, like Canadian law and history. The Canadian and World Studies department helped me to understand the value of education and set me on my path to becoming a future teacher."


 Noah Gordon

My name is Noah Gordon and I am a former student of Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School. After graduating from Holy Cross, I enrolled at Queen’s University where I am now a fourth-year Political Studies student focusing on political economy and international relations. Much of my post-secondary educational path in politics and legal studies can be accredited to the skills, attitudes and experiences that I was blessed to have and obtain at Holy Cross, especially in the Canadian and World Studies Department. During my time at HC, I was fortunate enough to take a 10th grade Canadian history course as well as Canadian Law at the 11th and 12th grade levels. I would go as far as to say that these courses helped form the cornerstone for my academic success in university.

Social science courses, especially at the secondary level, are crucial for developing well-rounded, active and engaged citizens out of students. These courses are challenging; they provide exposure to material and information that, gone untaught, would be a huge disservice to the generations of Canadian youth as they move throughout the education system. The importance of familiarizing students with Canada’s past and its legal and political framework are omnipresent as we move further into 2017. Such knowledge helps identify our strengths and weaknesses as a nation so that we can use this information to better ourselves in the future. 

I must admit that prior to taking my first course in the Canadian and World Studies Department, I had every intention of becoming a Dermatologist. However, it was my participation and exposure to the social sciences that triggered my passion for reading, writing and the law. I was not much of a writer in grade 10 but, by the time I left Holy Cross, forming coherent and well-structured arguments was my strongest skill and it is something that has proven to be an indispensable necessity for my education. My hope is that students entering or already enrolled at Holy Cross will take advantage of the courses that the Canadian and World Studies Department has to offer and find a similar passion to mine. It is specifically this department that has helped get me to where I am today and love every moment of it.