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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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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.

Remembering in 2014

The year 2014 began with the promise of much remembering.

One hundred years since the outbreak of the Great War; 70 years since D-day in the Second World War. Princess Anne would re-dedicate Canada’s national war memorial in Ottawa, 75 years after her grandfather, King George VI, first unveiled it in 1939.

There were countless observances, hours of historic newsreels on television; families and individuals taking a closer look at personal connections to those who struggled through wars both at the front, and on the home front.

Toronto District School Board buildings lowered flags to half mast to honour Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo killed on their home ground short weeks before Remembrance Day. Losses—fresh and old—brought sadness.

A local Royal Canadian Legion buzzed with activity as boxes of poppies were stacked and labelled for pickup by veterans, cadets, Silver Cross mothers, and others who work to keep memories alive.

“For King and Country” pledges to help the remembering.

Canadian flag at half mast in front of red brick school

Flag flies at half mast at Birch Cliff Heights School, November 2014. ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Paving stone shaped like a poppy and painted red beside a concrete bench decorated with poppies

Poppies for year-round remembrance—Royal Canadian Legion, Eighth Street, New Toronto. ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society