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Lisgar Collegiate Institute
Ottawa, ON
Coaches Ruth Crabtree
State Championships 2010 NAQT 2011 NAQT 2012 NAQT 2013 NAQT 2016 NAQT
National Championships 2008 Reach, 2015 IHBB Canada (Varsity Bowl), 2015 Reach, 2016 IHBB Canada (Varsity Bowl), 2017 Reach
National Appearances HSNCT: 2006-2008, 2010, 2011, 2014-2015, 2018
PACE: 2011, 2013, 2017, 2019
Reach for the Top: 2008, 2011, 2015-2017
IHBB Canada: 2015, 2016-2019
Program Status Active
School Size Unknown
NAQT Page link

Lisgar Collegiate Institute is a public school in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Regularly placing highly in annual Ontario high school academic rankings, they are located several blocks south of the Parliament Buildings, and across the Rideau Canal from the University of Ottawa. A Reach for the Top team was established in the late 1990s under the guidance of Paul Paquet, and teams from Lisgar have been competitive at the city and provincial level nearly every year of existence. They won the 2008 Reach title by 5 points over UTS, and the 2015 title over Kennebecasis. The team has also been one of the most active Canadian participants in traditional tossup/bonus quizbowl in recent history, and is the first of a handful of Canadian teams to participate at either major American quizbowl championship.

Early History

Lisgar began playing Reach for the Top in the 1966-67 academic year. Lisgar occasionally appeared during the CBC years of Reach for the Top, including a team that featured future CBC personality Shelagh Rogers.

Though they had no established team at the time (and probably didn't pay membership fees to Reach in September), a team from Lisgar appeared in 1995 as part of the controversy surrounding Bell that year. Bell's school board was in a teacher's strike, and the team was considered illegal for most of the year. A team from Lisgar (part of a different Ottawa school board) was assembled for regional play and heralded by SchoolReach director Sandy Stewart as "the correct team" to go to provincials. A few court proceedings and lawyers later, Bell ended up competing at provincials.

Archived news article: "Quiz masters reach to court to stay on show" by Brenda Branswell of the Ottawa Citizen, April 27, 1995, page B2.

Reach for the Top


Lisgar has been among the top 3 teams in Ottawa at Reach for the Top since the late 1990s. Lisgar has won or shared the Richard Mageau Trophy, awarded to the Ottawa Schoolreach League champions, in 2001, 2004, 2006-2012, and 2015. In both 2008 and 2009, Lisgar shared the title with Merivale, after question problems created unresolvable disputes in two consecutive finals. Lisgar won the title in the following three years before their streak was ended with two second-place finishes (the 2014 final was notably lost by 10 points to Colonel By). They reclaimed the title in 2015 in dominant fashion, sweeping the field across both days of play.

Provincial, Pre 2008

Lisgar has had mixed success at the Ontario provincial level. Though having qualified for the top ten playoff round in nine consecutive years (2001-2009), and ten out of eleven appearances all time, prior to the 2008 finals the team had won just one game. As of 2009, the team has a playoff record of 5-12. The team has regularly blamed these disappointments on the change in format between classroom-based round-robin matches and the televised playoffs. In 2008, Lisgar swept their round-robin division to take first seed for the playoffs, and would go on to defeat South Secondary (twice) and Vincent Massey, before losing the final game to UTS. By advancing to the final game, Lisgar became the first school to qualify for both the NAQT HSNCT and the Reach for the Top National Finals.

Provincial, Post 2008

After Lisgar's Nationals run, most of the team had left and only freshmen and sophomores remained, giving way to a fresh group of new people. In 2009, the team lost in the first round of the playoffs to Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute. In 2010, the team failed to qualify for the provincial playoffs, the first time in team history. In 2011, Lisgar came fourth after the first day and won two playoff games and controversially lost in the semifinals to UTS. However, the controversy coupled with a third place finish meant a nationals berth after a team from Saskatchewan dropped out. The year after, a second place finish after the first day led to an acceptable 4th place result. In 2015, having failed to make the playoffs the year before, Lisgar took the second seed behind UTS and made it to the final (for the first time since 2008), where they were defeated by Martingrove.


Despite their overwhelming success at the provincial and regional level, Lisgar has only appeared at the national finals four times. Lisgar won the 2008 Reach championship, defeating UTS in the final by 5 points. See 2008 Lisgar.

In 2011, Lisgar was invited to Nationals as the 3rd Ontario team after the Saskatchewan Provincial Champion dropped out. Lisgar finished 3rd after losing to Centennial CVI in the semi-finals.

In 2015, Lisgar qualified for Nationals after placing 2nd in Provincials. After suffering several close losses, Lisgar went into the playoffs as the 6th seed with a 9-5 record. They narrowly beat Eric Hamber in a quarter-final game that went down to a tiebreaker, and then defeated UTS in the semis and Kennebecasis in the final to win their school's second Reach Nationals title.

In 2019, Lisgar qualified for Nationals after defeating Glebe CI at provincials to take third place. At Nationals, they made it to the playoffs and upset the favoured UTS team in the semi-finals, opening the way for a shot at the national title. They came second after a close game against Westmount Secondary School who took the 2019 title.



Lisgar was one of the first Canadian teams to begin participating in tossup/bonus quizbowl. A team from Lisgar won the first three high school quizbowl events in Canada, though that streak was broken in 2008 when Merivale won that year's Ottawa Quizbowl Tournament. They often submit multiple teams, forming 5 teams of the 11-team field for the 2008 OQT. Lisgar won the Ottawa Quizbowl tournament from 2009-2012, the latter two years saw the first and second place being won by Lisgar. After a period of two years where Colonel By prevented them from winning any local tournaments, Lisgar returned to the top of the Ottawa Quizbowl Tournament in 2015, with Lisgar B tying for 2nd.


Lisgar has attended the NAQT Ontario Provincial Championship every year since it was first held in 2010. They won the first four editions of the tournament, only losing one game in that time. They were defeated by Colonel By in 2014 and suffered an upset to Bell, thereby ending their streak with a 3rd place overall. In 2015 Lisgar once again lost to Colonel By, this time in the first game of a disadvantaged final.


They have qualified for the HSNCT every year since 2005. Lisgar reached the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, with captain Jamie Cooper earning All-Star honours each time. They did not attend the 2008 HSNCT after qualifying for Reach for the Top Nationals. In 2009, the team finished 5-5. In 2010, Lisgar sent two teams to the 2010 HSNCT, with their A team finishing 6-4 and their B team finished 4-6. In 2011 the sent a team to PACE NSC which finished 2-3 4-1 2-3 for 28th out of 60 teams. They also sent a team of HSNCT which finished 5-5 after losing their last game by 5 points, just missing the playoffs. In 2012, the team did not attend any nationals event due to financial issues.

Other American Tournaments

In November 2014, Lisgar participated in the Brainbusters Fall tournament in Ithaca, New York. They defeated the highly-rated A team from Bethlehem Central HS on their way to the final, where they defeated Delaware Valley to become the first Canadian team to win the tournament. The following year, an entirely new team of grade 11s (and one grade 10) placed 4th, nearly defeating the returning Delaware Valley team that had almost won the tournament one year prior.

HSNCT Results

  • 2006: 7-6
  • 2007: 8-5
  • 2008: 5-5
  • 2010: Lisgar A: 7-5, Lisgar B: 4-6
  • 2011: 5-5
  • 2014: 8-5
  • 2015: Lisgar A: 5-5, Lisgar B: 3-7
  • 2018: 5-7

PACE Results

  • 2011: Lisgar A: 28th, Lisgar B: 55th
  • 2013: Lisgar A: 61st
  • 2017: Lisgar A: 22nd, Lisgar B: 78th
  • 2019: Lisgar A: 42nd

Open events

The team has also competed open-level tournaments, competing in the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 incarnations of the Ottawa Hybrid Tournament. In 2008, the team had the top two individual scorers, Nevin Hotson and Jeff Gao, respectively. The team formed an alumni team for 2008 VETO, and did so again in 2009, along with a team of current students. VETO 2009 was thought to be a simple Guerrilla style tournament with write-in questions, as exemplified in past tournaments, however because of the editing of Jerry Vinokurov, the tournament was made to reflect an mACF format. Some of the teams in attendance felt that this change disadvantaged the Lisgar high school because of a perceived increase in difficulty.

In October 2009, Lisgar sent a team to THUNDER and went 4-4 against a university playing field.

Current team

  • Sheena Li '17
  • Colin Veevers '18
  • Gareth Adamson '17
  • Joshua Lane '17


A few former Lisgar players have continued playing, or plan to continue playing quizbowl at the university level:




  • UTS (Reach for the Top)
  • Woburn (Quizbowl, Reach for the Top)
  • Centennial CVI (Quizbowl, Reach for the Top)
  • Martingrove (Reach for the Top)
  • Abbey Park (Reach for the Top)


See Also

Title Succession

Reach for the Top Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
London Central
London Central
NAQT Ontario Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Colonel By
IHBB Canada: Varsity Bowl Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
2015, 2016
Reach for the Top Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
NAQT Ontario Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Colonel By
Reach for the Top Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by

Hosted Tournaments

Date # of Teams Name Format/Set Champion Runner Up Results Director(s)
December 2007 ? Lisgar Open Reach for the Top UTS Unknown N/A Chris Greenwood
October 2009 11 Lisgar Open Reach/Quizbowl hybrid Lisgar Unknown N/A JJ Li, Jennifer Hurd
February 2010 11 Lisgar Winter Invitational NAQT IS-91A Gloucester Merivale [1] Patrick Liao, JJ Li
October 2010 8 Lisgar Fall Novice Mirror [2] Lisgar Lisgar [3] Patrick Liao, JJ Li
February 2011 14 PV=nRT I Reach for the Top Kennebecasis Lisgar N/A Patrick Liao, JJ Li, Joe Su
April 2012 9 BLASTOISE [4] Jordan Palmer et al. Ottawa [5] Patrick Liao, JJ Li
October 2012 12 Lisgar Fall Novice Mirror [6] Lisgar Lisgar [7] Joe Su
December 2012 10 Lisgar Early Autumn Collegiate Novice Mirror [8] Lisgar Woburn [9] Joe Su
February 2012 14 PV=nRT II Reach for the Top Lisgar Kennebecasis N/A Joe Su
April 2012 9 Lisgar GSAC Mirror [10] Lisgar Earl of March [11] Joe Su
October 2012 8 Lisgar SCOP Novice Mirror SCOP Novice III Colonel By Colonel By [12] Ben Smith
February 2013 10 Lisgar GSAC Mirror GSAC XX Lisgar Colonel By [13] Joe Su, Ben Smith
May 2013 8 Lisgar's LIST III Mirror LIST III Lisgar Colonel By [14] Joe Su
October 2013 9 Ottawa SCOP Novice 4 Mirror SCOP Novice 4 Bell Colonel By [15] Ted Gan
November 2013 8 Lisgar's JAMES Mirror 2013 JAMES Colonel By Lisgar [16] Joe Su
October 2014 14 Ottawa SCOP Novice 5 Mirror SCOP Novice 5 Bell Merivale [17] Aidan Ryan
December 2014 11 Lisgar December Tournament 2014 BELLOCO Colonel By Colonel By [18] Joe Su, Ben Smith
January 2015 16 2015 Lisgar Invitational NAQT MN-14-A (Reach-style) Colonel By Lisgar [19] Joe Su, Ben Smith
March 2015 11 2015 Ontario Provincial Championship NAQT IS-146 Colonel By Lisgar [20] Ben Smith
October 2015 9 Ottawa SCOP Novice 6 Mirror SCOP Novice 6 Lisgar Colonel By [21] Aidan Ryan
December 2015 8 Stegosaurus Bowl 2015 BASK Lisgar Lisgar [22] Brendan McKendy
January 2016 16 Winterlude 1 LIGHT-35/SC-48 UTS Kennebecasis [23] Ruth Crabtree
October 2016 4 Ottawa SCOP Novice 7 Mirror SCOP Novice 7 Lisgar Lisgar [24] Colin Veevers