Brent McLaren – Town Crier for the Town of Perth Photo credit: Myriam Landreville

On the beautiful sunny afternoon of Sept. 15, donors and staff gathered in the Innovation Research Lab building at the Perth campus to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the campus.

The Ontario Vocational Centre (OVC) opened in 1965 on what is now the college’s Woodroffe campus in Ottawa. The Perth campus started operating in 1967 when the OVC and Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology (EOIT) merged to create the new Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology.

By 1969, construction was underway on a permanent building for the Perth campus. Opening in 1970, the new campus featured a 22,500 square-foot facility that held 22 classrooms and three shops.

When the Perth campus opened, it served primarily as a retraining site with academic upgrading and skill programs such as stenography, electronics, welding, carpentry and various programs relating to employment needs in Lanark County.

By the early 2000s, the college had grown and it was clear a new building was needed. In 2011, a new 42,000 square-foot facility opened for students.

The building has LEED Gold certification and features a specialized health lab, a carpentry and joinery Shop, a masonry shop, a library (which also houses a local archive), a Students’ Association office, a fitness centre and student services.

Throughout the years, the Perth campus has been through a lot of changes and it has lost and gained programs.

“We have lots of room for optimism,” said Christopher Hahn, the Perth campus dean. “We recently put in an application for a Bachelor of Applied Science in building conservation. The program focuses on preserving and restoring old buildings.”

Due to COVID-19, the campus was not able to celebrate its true anniversary, which would have been in 2021.

Nevertheless, everyone was excited to finally celebrate.

The festivities started at 3 p.m. to honor the staff and donors that have made the Perth campus possible.

The event highlighted how much the Perth campus is tied with the community. Perth Mayor John Fenik talked about how integral the Perth campus is to the community, and vice versa.

“The donors really are an integral part of the college,” said Ian Lewer, the director of philanthropy for Algonquin. “For students, a donor offering bursaries could be the difference between a student deciding to go to school or not.”

Former students and current students of the campus spoke about what the Perth campus means to them.

“The people make it what it is,” said Dylan Wallace, a student in the business-agriculture program. “I absolutely love the program.”

Festivities continued into the night with a concert hosted by the Students’ Association. Country music stars Jason Blaine, who graduated from Algonquin College, and The River Town Saints, who are from the Ottawa Valley, played for students, staff and community members.