It’s a seemingly innocent scene – but it’s tainted by something sinister. In the playground of a Montreal private elementary school, young pupils are gathered round, petting a woman’s dog. The children’s parents mill about, oblivious to the dark secret hidden in their midst. What can it be? Somehow, one of the country’s most notorious convicted criminals has found her way into the daily lives of their offspring.
Greaves Adventist Academy can trace its history back to 1899, when the English Church School was founded in the Montreal neighborhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grace. Now, more than a century later, the area remains an important center of culture and commerce for the English-speaking residents of Canada’s second-largest city.
The institution grew to become a leading educational facility with strong connections to the church. And having changed its name to Greaves Adventist Academy – in honor of Sylvia Greaves, its longest-serving principal – the school nowadays teaches between 250 and 275 students. It also welcomes pupils of both all faiths and none.
Until March 2017, life at Greaves was just like that of countless other schools across the world. Parents or carers would arrive to drop off or collect their children and often mingle with one another in the schoolyard. Some of them would also volunteer or be invited to take more active roles in the running of the school and its activities.