Baron Byng High School

4251 St. Urbain Street

Baron Byng High School was established in 1921 by the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal and unofficially serviced the Jewish community. The school has graduated some of the most widely-known Jewish Montrealers, including poet Irving Layton, writer Mordecai Richler, and actor William Shatner.

The high school saw the number of Jewish enrolment rise to 95% early on as a result of religious segregation by the local school boards and increased immigration. This segregation was not only due to officials separating different religious groups, but also because of cultural geography. Jewish Montrealers settled together in certain areas of the city in order to maintain a community identity, and this area was part of the district for Baron Byng High School in the first half of the 20th century. The high rate of Jewish enrolment strengthened the community and allowed for students to have more access to their own heritage than they would in other Protestant schools. The percentage of Jewish students declined through the 1930s, but the end of the Second World War saw an influx of Jewish immigrants and the enrolment rates again rose to reflect the increase. The school has helped to maintain the feeling of community among the people of Jewish Montreal.