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Number of schools: 120
Other organizations: 3
Names on memorials: 47,679
Latest additions:
St. Michael’s College
Newman Club of the University of Toronto

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Lest We Forget

Thank you Veterans of Canada
-sidewalk message in front of Old City Hall cenotaph

Toronto District School Board joined the many groups laying wreaths at Old City Hall’s cenotaph ceremony this November 11th. Hours after the crowd had gone, people lingered to “plant” their poppies, take photographs, and read the banners on the colourful wreaths.

For King and Country welcomes Malvern Collegiate Institute, Parkdale Collegiate Institute, and Birch Cliff Heights Public School to our project. All three schools remember their “old boys” and “old girls” who marched away to war. They honour a total of 2,870 former students with a variety of memorials.

Old students remembered; new students reminded. Lest we forget. Thank you veterans of Canada.

And so say all of us.

A message of gratitude chalked on the sidewalk in front of Toronto's Old City Hall.

A message of gratitude on the sidewalk in front of Toronto’s Old City Hall. ©Toronto Branch OGS

 

Vimy Cross fragment brought home for a Parkdale boy

Mark a stone, but let me lie
With my fellows who fought and died
With me on Vimy Ridge

Roy Jones, remembered on memorials at Parkdale Public School and Parkdale CI.

Roy Jones, remembered on memorials at Parkdale Public School & Parkdale CI.

Parkdale’s Roy Victor Jones was one of some 3,600 Canadians who died at Vimy Ridge. A wooden cross marked the spot where he fell on April 9, 1917.

Roy’s parents had their son’s cross brought home when the Great War’s “crosses row on row” were replaced with stone markers. (Temporary markers not claimed by families were burned—the ashes scattered at the ceremony during the 1936 pilgrimage to Vimy attended by more than 6,000 Canadians.)

Thus, a fragment of a Vimy cross still stands in Park Lawn Cemetery, Etobicoke.

John Wesley Jones and Helen Elizabeth (Moreland) Jones were later buried near their son’s Vimy cross. The verse on their shared grave stone speaks for their son.

Lieutenant Roy Victor Jones, 22 years old, remains with his comrades in Canadian Cemetery No. 2, Pas de Calais, France, about one kilometre south of the Vimy memorial. Back home, his parents marked a stone and treasured his original cross as a reminder to all who walk by of his sacrifice—and theirs.

Detail of cross fragment.

The date Apr 9, 1917 still visible on the cross fragment.

Jones family stone with the Vimy cross fragment in front. (The parents are recorded on the reverse.)

Jones family stone with the Vimy cross fragment in front. (The parents are recorded on the reverse.)

A Fresh Look at Four Old Schools

We start 2015 with three “vanished” schools. The bricks and mortar of Grand Avenue, Humber Bay, and Silverthorn schools have gone, but their war memorials survive to remind us of students who volunteered for king and country.

Humber Bay's memorial proudly displayed in its fourth location. ©2015 Toronto Branch OGS

Humber Bay’s memorial proudly displayed in its fourth location. ©2015 Toronto Branch OGS

A fourth school, Fairbank Memorial, rounds out our group. In April 2014, an archaeological dig unearthed a sister school of Fairbank. A foundation dating from 1863, two window panes, and traces of pencils were among items found.

This year, the Toronto District School Board is reviewing 60 “under-used” schools. Fairbank is on the list. We don’t know Fairbank’s fate, but as many as nine of the listed schools may close.

Photographs and reminiscences of vanished schools are valuable records of Toronto neighbourhoods. Please contact us if you have any to share.