100 Years of Educating: The History of ICS Canada
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100 Years of Educating The History of ICS Canada

Posted by ICS Canada

ICS Canada old building

100 Years of Service

As a world leader in affordable, at-home distance education, ICS Canada has maintained a tradition of excellence for almost 100 years. With a winding history that all began in the United States, the school has been making strides throughout the years to bring education and opportunity to students from different economic and social backgrounds, without discrimination. So how does our story begin?

In the United States, a newspaper editor had an idea.

Thomas J. Foster saw the problems undereducated miners faced each day at work and wanted to offer a solution. With long work hours, little or no opportunity to leave their town, and wages that needed to go directly toward taking care of their families, many miners were unaware of proper safety in the mines. They also had almost no opportunity to work their way up in the company. A promotion required a diploma, and they couldn’t just quit their jobs, lose their income, and make time for that.

Wanting to help, Foster started a column in his paper, The Mining Herald, that would provide education and information to readers about mine safety, engineering, and more. That column would eventually become International Correspondence Schools in 1891.  

From the United States to Canada.

student writing on paper

International Correspondence Schools (ICS) grew far past its Pennsylvania roots, offering convenient correspondence courses through mail to students around the globe. More than coal miners could benefit from an opportunity to study and learn around a busy schedule and ICS expanded its reach. In 1920, ICS Canada was established on St. Antoine Street in Montreal to offer dedicated distance instruction to Canadians across the country. The school would change buildings several times, moving to a downtown Montreal office on Mountain Street in the late 1930s, and finally relocating to its own building on Sherbrooke Street West in 1954. In 1991, ICS Canada moved from the building on Sherbrooke to a larger facility on Avon Road in Montreal West. In 2002, ICS Canada made its final move to Victoria Street in Westmount, just west of downtown Montreal, where it remains today, staffed by dedicated instructors.

Correspondence school to innovative online education.

ICS Canada office

ICS Canada began as a correspondence school. Students would receive lessons and exams through the mail and were required to return the material for grading. While more convenient and less expensive than traditional education, learning through the mail could take awhile. With a history of instructional innovation, ICS knew it had to find ways to make distance education even more convenient for students.

In the past 25 years, the school started to realize that online services were the way of the future and began offering more and more ways to access course content through the internet. Today, almost all study material, from study guides to exams, are delivered online through your student portal, allowing you to finish your program as quickly as possible.

With an interest in providing innovative, convenient education that allows students and graduates to reach their career goals, ICS Canada works closely with our sister school, Penn Foster. We’re proud to provide our unique method of guided independent study across Canada. There are many individuals across the country that don’t have the opportunity or means to attend traditional brick and mortar schools. Instead of trying to attend schooling that doesn’t fit their needs, students can learn independently, on their schedule, from anywhere you are in your own life story.

ICS and you.

We're proud of our history and excited about our future. At ICS Canada, we are thrilled to say we continuously work toward optimizing our career-focused programs to stay up to date with the needs of the modern workplace. We look forward to helping you become a successful part of our next century of learning and accomplishment!

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