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Elementary Schools: G to J

GENERAL MERCER / GEORGE R. GAULDGEORGE SYME / GLEDHILL / GRACE STREET / H.J. ALEXANDER / HODGSON / HOWARDHUGHES / HUMBER HEIGHTS / HUMBERCREST /HUMEWOOD / INDIAN ROAD CRESCENTJESSE KETCHUM / JOHN ENGLISH / JOHN WANLESS

General Mercer Public School (GEN-PS)

Location: 30 Turnberry Avenue, Toronto, Ontario  M6N 1P8

General Mercer Public School between 1927 and 1930 (City of Toronto Archives Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 217)

Opened: 1924

Alternate or former names: Silverthorne School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of York

Ward during WWII: Ward 7

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1924 May 15: Board renamed the school “General Mercer”.
1924 May: Two classes of students marched from Hughes Public School and unofficially became the first pupils.
1924 June: 313 pupils transferred from Carleton School.
Building erected 1923, with additions in 1926 and 1930. Dedicated to Major-General Malcolm Smith Mercer, born 1859, in Etobicoke, York County. He died June 1916, near Mount Sorrel, Belgium, while inspecting the trenches.

Published history: General Mercer P.S. History of the School. (1975) p.1

Web site: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/SchoolWeb/_site/viewitem.asp?siteid=10050&pageid=7460&menuid=8529

Memorials transcribed:
GEN-PS-a: (WWII) “For King and Country” (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). Six columns. Surnames followed by given names. Red cross symbol is footnoted “Died on Active Service”. List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

George Syme School (GSY-PS)

Bearded middle-aged man, wearing a bow tie.

George Syme, Sr.

Location: 69 Pritchard Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6N 1T6 (east of Jane Street; north of St. Clair Avenue West)

Opened: 1909

Alternate or former names:
Runnymede School Section No. 9 (King George School—also in School Section No. 9—opened in 1912).

Pre-1998 municipality: City of York

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1909: Four-room school “for the northern students” opened on French Avenue, north of St. Clair Avenue West.

The area called “Syme”—which is part of the Junction and Mount Dennis neighbourhoods—is named after George Syme, a Scot who emigrated to Canada with his family in 1862, and settled in the district in the 1870s. He bought 25 acres of gardening land in the Black Creek Valley (on the west side Jane Street; east side of Symes Road; north of St. Clair Avenue West; south of Black Creek River). A successful market gardener, Syme became wealthy.

front page of printed report card with explanation of letter grades. Student's name is blocked out.

Township of York Board of Education report card c1940, from George Syme School, Toronto. photo ©Toronto Branch OGS

When he sold his property, he donated some of his land to York Township. The school bearing his name was built on part of this land. Syme was for many years a member of York Township Council, and one of the longest serving school trustees in Ontario. North Runnymede Methodist church and Sunday school services were held in the school until 1913, when the church’s basement was completed.

1917: Mount Dennis, School Section No. 28, overcrowded. Pupils of Harwood district, adjoining Weston Road South attended George Syme.
1970: Old school replaced.
2009 May 2: Celebration of the 100th anniversary.

Memorials transcribed:
GSY-PS-a: (WWII): A.J. Casson “For King and Country / Members / of George Syme School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Six columns. Surnames followed by given names. No key, but a stick-on blue star appears to indicate death. List does not specify which war, but presence of women’s names and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II.

George R. Gauld Public School (GRG-PS)

WW2 Memorial at George R. Gauld Public School, © Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch

Location: 200 Melrose Street, Toronto, Ontario  M8Y 1B7 (south of the Queensway; east of Royal York Road)

Opened: 1923

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Etobicoke

Ward during WWII: Mimico

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1923: A six-room school opened in Mimico, a “railway town,” in the southeast corner of the former Township (later City) of Etobicoke. School was to serve students who lived north of the railroad tracks. Some pupils transferred from John English School, a few blocks to the south, which was becoming crowded. Named for Mimico’s town solicitor (1924-1964) who was also a former trustee, and superintendent of the nearby Victoria Industrial School (a boarding school for truant and delinquent boys) which later moved to Guelph. West entrance still (2008) shows “Girls” above doorway.
1932: Two-room addition.
1959: Addition

Published history:
Currell, Harvey. The Mimico Story. 2nd ed., rev. [Mimico, Ont.] Town of Mimico and Library Board, 1967. 170 pp.: ill., ports. Includes the honour rolls for both World Wars for the Town of Mimico, pp. 95-100.

Memorials transcribed:
GRG-PS-a: (WWII) Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / George R. Gauld School (letters fading) / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Four columns. Given names followed by surnames. Names in random order. Column iv has one name only. No key. No deaths indicated. List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

Gledhill Public School  (GLE-PS)

Location: 2 Gledhill Avenue, Toronto, Ontario  M4C 5K6 (near Danforth Avenue east of Woodbine Avenue)

Gledhill Public School in the 1920s (City of Toronto Archives Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 218)

Opened: c1916

Alternate or former names: Gledhill Avenue School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Ward during WWI: Ward 1

Ward during WWII: Ward 8

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1916 February: Classes first taught on site in portable classroom under principal of Norway School; 37 “mixed” pupils enrolled.
1916 June: Second portable classroom opened. Classes organized as Junior Third and Senior First.
1917 July 10: W.J. Farmery appointed as first principal.
1917 Sept: Classes moved into new schoolhouse with 179 public school and 116 kindergarten pupils enrolled.
NOTE: Bronze plaque in memory of William J. Farmery, principal 1917-1934.

Memorials transcribed:
GLE-PS-a: (WWII) “For King and Country” (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). Six columns. Given names followed by surnames. Names are listed under branch of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names and some specific women’s divisions, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

GLE-PS-b: (WWII) “For King and Country” (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). Four columns. Given names followed by surnames. Names are listed under branch of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names and some specific women’s divisions, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II. This is the shorter list.

Grace Street Public School (GRA-PS)

Location: 65 Grace Street at Mansfield Avenue, Toronto, Ontario  M6J 2S4

Opened: September 5, 1889

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Ward during WWI: Ward 5

Ward during WWII: Ward 5

Type of school: Elementary

History:
Original building of eight rooms designed by Charles Hartnoll Bishop; 241 pupils registered. Additions in 1898 and 1908 made it a 17-room school. Old building demolished in the summer of 1962. New building occupied by September 4, 1962. School closed on or about June 30, 2000.

Published history: Quinn, W.J. A Short history of Grace Street Public School, May, 1962. 3p.

Memorials transcribed:
Note: Memorials are now at Charles G. Fraser, 79 Manning Avenue, M6J 2K6.
GRA-PS-a: (WWI) “Grace Street School Honour Roll of those who served their country in the Great War, 1914–1918”.  Illuminated list, bordered with maple leaves “Designed by Leslie Victor Smith”. Four columns of names. Staff members and nursing sister’s names are first name followed by surname. All others are surnames followed by given names. Crown symbol appears to indicate death. Frederick Wortley’s name is on a separate card at the bottom of the list, inside the glass (presumably added after list was finished).

GRA-PS-b: (WWII) A.J. Casson “For King and Country Members of Grace Street Public School who have volunteered for active service with Canada’s fighting forces.” Four columns of names. Red cross indicates “Killed in Action”. Surnames followed by given names. List does not specify which war, but presence of a World War I memorial, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicates World War II.

GRA-PS-c: (WWI) Bronze plaque: 1914 – 1918, In loving memory of the boys of Grace St. School who gave their lives for humanity in the Great War. They died that honour and justice might live. (No names are listed).

H.J. Alexander Public School (HJA-PS)

Location: 30 King Street, York, Ontario  M9N 1K9 (corner of King Street and George Street, Weston; north of Lawrence Avenue and east of Weston Road)

WW1 and WW2 Memorial at H.J. Alexander Public School, Weston © Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch

Opened: 1892

Alternate or former names: King Street Public School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of York

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1892: School built (replacing an earlier frame, then brick school, which was sold for use as a pump factory). Public subscription and a $50.00 gift from the architect, J.A. Ellis, paid for a Keys and Bull bell which acted as school bell, village bell calling populace to work at seven in the morning, fire alarm, and 9 p.m. curfew
1903 Jan and Feb: School closed for several weeks during severe diphtheria epidemic. Seven pupils died.
1903 Mar 25: H.J. Alexander of Vittoria appointed principal at salary of $550.  H.E. Irwin, K.C., donated an organ in his honour. Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Band of Hope, who met in the school, also used the organ.
1909: Severe measles epidemic closed school for several weeks; lost time regained during Easter holidays.
1912 Jan 3: Addition opened. During the building period, classes conducted in the Town Hall, the Methodist church, and the schoolroom of the Presbyterian church.
1958: New building opened.
1995 Sept: Third school on original site opened.
NOTE: no reference yet found when the name changed from King Street Public School to H.J. Alexander Public School.

Published history: Cruickshank, F.D. and Nason, J. History of Weston. Weston, Ontario: The Times and Guide, 1937. Includes sketch of King Street School 1892; Honour Roll / Weston High and Public Schools / Great War: 1914–1918 (pp. 74–78) list includes all who served and deaths are noted.

Web sites: http://www.heritageweston.com/jeangove.aspx

Memorials transcribed:
HJA-PS-a: (WWI & WII) Metal (satin-nickel coloured) plaque on wood backing: H.J. / Alexander / Junior Public School / Honour Roll / In proud and grateful remembrance / this plaque is dedicated to the memory / of those former students of this school / who gave their lives in defence of / freedom, democracy and justice / World War I – 1914 – 1918. Two columns (11 names, surnames followed by given names) with the last name centred below the two columns. World Ward II – 1939 – 1945. Two columns (12 names, surnames followed by given names).  “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning / we will remember them.”
NOTE: The reference to “Junior Public School” indicates that the memorial is relatively modern.

Hodgson Public School (HOD-PS)

War memorial at Hodgson Public School, Toronto © Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Location: 282 Davisville Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4S 1H2 (East of Mount Pleasant Road; north of Davisville Avenue)

Opened: 1915

Alternate or former names: Davisville East Public School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Ward during WWI: North Toronto

Type of school: Elementary

History:
ca.1845: English immigrant John Davis arrived and soon opened Davis Pottery. He served as first postmaster (later established at what is now the corner of Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue) and funded the first public school in the area—Davisville Public School.
1860s: Property in this area (mostly owned by Davis family and their friends) was split.
1890: The Town of North Toronto was formed from the unincorporated villages of Davisville and Eglinton.
1912:  The City of Toronto annexed the Town of North Toronto.
1914 Sept 3: Board awarded contracts “for new school, Davisville Avenue East.”
1915 Sept: Opened as Davisville East Public School with eight classrooms; 177 pupils. Principal: Miss Adda Burger. In late fall, school named Hodgson after W.W. Hodgson, chairman of the Board of Education that year.
1925: Addition.
1927: Addition.
1961: Senior school wing erected when the existing building was renovated.
1962: Senior wing formally opened.
2010–2012: School begins organizing materials for upcoming 100th anniversary. Among its documents is a “Record of Corporal Punishment” telling how many slaps were administered each time; only one girl’s name appears. Former students who died in WWII were listed on the school’s website, with links to other websites.

Web sites: The school’s website: http://schools.tdsb.on.ca/hodgson/ includes links to details of the lives of the former students who were killed during WWII, and whose names appear on their A.J. Casson memorial.

Memorials transcribed:
HOD-PS-a: (WWII) (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). “For King and Country / Members of / Hodgson Public School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces. Four columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. Bottom of col. iv: eight names added after “W.” No explanation given for this placement. No key, but silver or gold stick-on stars appear to indicate death. Lower right-hand corner: Printed in Canada. List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

NOTE: Among those who have a “symbol indicating death” is former Toronto Maple Leaf player, 20-year-old Dudley “Red” Garrett, one of 13 Toronto and district men who died November 1944 when a German U-boat torpedoed the H.M.C.S. Shawinigan near Newfoundland. All hands were lost.  In 1947, the American Hockey League initiated the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award—later renamed the Dudley (Red) Garrett Award—which annually honours the top AHL rookie as voted by the media and players. Dudley Garret had played the 1942–43 season between the AHL’s Providence Reds and the NHL’s New York Rangers. Hodgson school is researching all students who died during the war.

Howard Public School (HOW-PS)

Location: 30 Marmaduke Street, Toronto, Ontario  M6R 1T2 (south of Bloor Street West; west of Roncesvalles Avenue)

The original schoolhouse, SS#22 York Township in the community of Brockton (Landmarks of Toronto, vol 6, p 544)

Opened: 1875

Alternate or former names: School Section No. 22 (Brockton) York Township

Pre-1998 municipality: Toronto

Ward during WWI: Ward 6

Ward during WWII: Ward 6

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1873 Feb. 19: John George Howard conveyed the school site to the trustees of School Section No. 22 (Brockton) York Township.
1874: Howard Public School began as a small country school in the district of Brockton on what is now Boustead Avenue
1875: School opened under Principal T.C. Lane.
1884: Brockton annexed to Toronto.
1884 May: Board records 32 pupils.
1889: Howard Street renamed Boustead Avenue; High Park became Howard Park Avenue.
1908: New four-room school was opened on Howard Park Avenue (one block north of the current Marmaduke Street address).
1908–1913: Three additions. At the time of replacement, the old school had 16 classrooms, three kindergartens, an exercise room, library, staff rooms, office and a health room.
1969 Sept 9: Construction began on new “open concept” school.
1970 May 22: Cornerstone laid.
1970 Sept. 8: School first occupied by students.
1971 Jan 20: Formally opened.

Memorials transcribed:
HOW-PS-a: (WWI) Bronze plaque: 1914 – 1919 / Dedicated to the / Boys of Howard School / who gladly served / in the Great War / Pro rege et patria. (No names are listed).

HOW-PS-b: (WWII) Bronze plaque: In honour / of the former members of / Howard Public School / who served the cause of liberty in / the Second Great War. / “to have served faithfully, is to have lived well.” (No names are listed).

HOW-PS-c: (WWII) (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). “For King and Country / Members of / Howard Public School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Seven columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. No key, but an inked cross in the left margin (beside some names) probably indicates death. Rough alphabetical order. Part of column vi and all of column vii is a separate list. There is no explanation for this placement; presumably these names were added later. List does not specify which war, but presence of women’s names and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II.

Hughes Public School (HUG-PS)

Location: 177 Caledonia Road, Toronto, Ontario (south of Rogers Road; east side of Caledonia Road)

Hughes Public School Choir between 1920 and 1939 (City of Toronto Archives Fonds 1568, Item 473)

Opened: 1912

Alternate or former names: See also: General Mercer Public School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Ward during WWI: Ward 6

Ward during WWII: Ward 6

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1912 Sept: Seventeen-room school opened with 286 pupils. Named for James Laughlin Hughes, LL.D., Chief Inspector of Schools for Toronto, 1874 – 1913.
1924 May: Two classes of students marched from Hughes Public School and unofficially became the first pupils at General Mercer Public School.
2000 June: School closed.

Published history: (Toronto Millennium Stars contest winners: Heritage Category: Hughes Public School for “Hughes Public School 1912 – 2000, Celebrating Our History”)

Memorials transcribed:
HUG-PS-a: (WWII) (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). “For King and Country / Members of / Hughes Public School, Toronto / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces. Four columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. List does not specify which war, but presence of women’s names and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II. Columns i-iv: Abbott, Donald to Price, F. No key.

HUG-PS-b: (WWII) (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). “For King and Country / Members of / Hughes Public School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces. Four columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. List does not specify which war, but presence of women’s names and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II. No key. Columns i-ii: Price, Wm. to Yule, J.H. One out-of-order name (Stenhouse, A.H.) appears after Yule. Column iii has the heading: Staff (7 names).  Surnames followed by given names or initials. Column iv has a main heading: Supreme Sacrifice; sub-headings: Navy (2 names); Army (4 names) Air Force (8 names). Surnames followed by given names.

NOTE: By 2008, the two memorials for Hughes Public School (closed June 2000) were displayed at F.H. Miller Public School.

Humber Heights Consolidated School (HHC-PS)

Location: 2245 Lawrence Avenue West, Etobicoke, Ontario  M9P 3W3 (south side of Lawrence Avenue; west of Scarlett Road)

Cornerstone at Humber Heights Consolidated School. © Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch

Opened: January 1922

Alternate or former names: S.S. #5 Etobicoke

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Etobicoke

Ward during WWI: Township of Etobicoke

Ward during WWII: Township of Etobicoke

Type of school: Elementary

History:
There were eight school sections in Etobicoke (population 3,000) in 1850. School Section #5 Etobicoke was in the community known as Humbervale, between Royal York Road and the Humber River, south of Leggett Avenue. (Humbervale was never specifically identified on an Etobicoke map). The school was a consolidation of three earlier Etobicoke Township schools. Opened in January 1922, Humber Heights Consolidated School was designed in the Georgian Revival style. The first principal was William (Billy) Burke. The one-storey brick structure was built on three acres purchased from the Fraser Farm, at the top of a hill, on the south side of Dufferin Street (now Lawrence Avenue), west of Scarlett Road. It had an entrance hall and auditorium flanked by six classrooms. In 1924, a two-room addition was added to the south. Students from Humbervale travelled to school by horse and wagon or sleigh, because they lived more than one mile away. In the early 1930s, trips to school were on the West York Bus Lines bus. The school served as a temporary morgue, health unit and emergency fire station following Hurricane Hazel in October 16, 1954. One Humber Heights student died. When the school closed in June 1982, the Etobicoke Board of Education used it for continuing education and archives storage, etc. It was replaced by a retirement home, Village of Humber Heights, which preserves some features of the original building. On June 7, 2008, there was a joint school reunion and official opening of phase II and III of the retirement home.

Published history:
Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture. Toronto, Ont.: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1990.
Cruickshank, F. D., and J. Nason. History of Weston. Weston, Ont.: The Times and Guide, 1937.
Harrison, Michael. “Historical Schools in Etobicoke: Pre 1930”. Typescript prepared for the Etobicoke Historical Board/LACAC. August 1985.
Given, Robert A., Etobicoke Remembered. Toronto, Ont.: Pro Familia Publishing, 2007.
Hayes, Esther. Etobicoke. From Furrow to Borough. Etobicoke, Ont.: Borough of Etobicoke, 1974.
“Humber Heights Says Goodbye”. Etobicoke Guardian (11 Nov 1981) 7.
“Humber Heights School 60th Anniversary 1921-1981”. Typescript, 1981.
Sauro, Silvio. A Celebration of Excellence. To commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Amalgamation of the Etobicoke and Lakeshore District Board of Education 1967-1992. Etobicoke, Ont.: Etobicoke Board of Education, 1992.
Sythes, Diana Clark. Humbervale: a Story of an Early Community in Etobicoke. Etobicoke, Ont.: Etobicoke Historical Board, 1995.
NOTE: City of Toronto By-law No. 269-2002 (enacted April 18, 2002) contains a detailed description of the school and reasons for its designation as a heritage property.

Memorials transcribed:
HHC-PS-a: (WWII) “For King and Country” (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson) Wording at top of memorial reads: Residents of S.S. 5 Etobicoke. Surnames  followed by given names. List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II. The memorial was dedicated at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, 1944, in the school auditorium. The wooden frame, featuring a decorative carved “English rose,” was made by Albert Clark (father of Diana Clark Sythes who published a history of Humbervale in 1995). List compilers were (Mr.) E.O. Cathcart and (Mr.) H. Weller. Lettering was by Dorothy Fice. W.P. Graham provided the floral decorations for the ceremony. The memorial hung in the auditorium. After the school closed, it was kept for a time at the Army and Navy Club. In 2008, the memorial was held by the TDSB Archives, which lent it out for the combined school reunion and opening of the retirement home.

Humbercrest Public School (HMB-PS)

Carved stone with the inscription: S.S. 32 York, 1915

Cornerstone from 1915 at Humbercrest Public School, Toronto, recalls York Township origins. ©Toronto Branch OGS

Location: 14 St Marks Road, Toronto (York) Ontario M6S 2H7 (West of Jane Street; one block north of Annette Street; south of Dundas Street West)

Opened: 1915

Alternate or former names:
S.S. No. 32 York Township
“Baby Point School”

Pre-1998 municipality: York

Type of school: Elementary

History:
Humbercrest Public School is in the northern end of the Baby Point area of the old Township (later Borough; then City) of York. Baby Point, a large promontory overlooking an oxbow in the Humber River, had been a Seneca village known as Teiaiagon, built in the 1660s or 1670s. The western boundary is the Humber River from south of Baby Point Crescent, north to St. Marks Road. The eastern boundary is Jane Street, south to Raymond Avenue. The area was named for the Hon. James (Jacques) Baby (1763-1833) a Quebec-educated Upper Canada judge and politician. (Residents pronounce their neighbourhood “Bobby” Point, reflecting the name’s French origins.) Baby family members lived at Baby Point until 1910, when the federal government acquired the land for a military barracks. When government plans changed, developer Robert Home Smith began a subdivision in 1913. Stone and mortar gates had been built to mark the entrance to the subdivision in 1911. The gates (corner of Jane and Annette Streets) were restored in 2011. In 2014, a cornerstone reading “S.S. 32 York 1915,” and entrances marked “Boys” (on the west side of the school) and “Girls” (on the east side) were still visible at Humbercrest school.
1915: Building began.
1916 Feb 26: Formal opening of eight-room school—the only school in School Section No. 32, York Township. Humbercrest was built to accommodate children living south of the railway tracks down to Bloor Street West, and from the Fifth Line (Jane Street) to the Humber River. Previously, many students had gone to Elizabeth Street School (Runnymede School Section No. 29).
1922: Two rooms added.
1924: Four rooms and “a gymnasium for boys” added.
1924 Dec: Humbercrest (originally Baby Point) Methodist Church opened. For some years the congregation had held services in the school.
1927: Six rooms and an auditorium added. Charles Wellington Smith, an architect who had been born on Jane Street, designed two wings added about 1930. (Toronto Star, 17 Oct. 1930, 37)
1933: A township public school board replaced the old “School Section” system.
1936: The Public School Board and Collegiate Institute Board united to form an 11-member York Township Board of Education.
1998 Jan 1: The City of York was one of six municipalities that merged to form the City of Toronto.
2013 Sept: A new addition, started in April, opened.
2015 Sept 25 and Sept 26: Celebration of 100th anniversary. Some activities planned for a traditional “fall fair” theme: a parade of Humbercrest alumni; children’s concert; decades rooms; dance at historic Lambton House (on the east side of the Humber River; opened 1848).

Simple plaque listing eight names.

Bronze plaque at S.S. #32 York Township (now Humbercrest Public School, Toronto) remembering the fallen of the Great War. @Toronto Branch OGS

Published history:
Boylen, J.C. York Township, An historical summary. Municipal Corporation of the Township of York. York Township, 1954.
Thomas, Wilbert G. The Legacy of York: (a survey of the early development of the communities of York). York, Ontario: Historical Committee of the City of York, c1992. 96 p. See: The District of Baby Point pp. 5-13.

Web sites:
http://www.babypointheritage.ca
http://www.torontoplaques.com

Memorials transcribed:
HMB-PS-a: (WWI) Bronze plaque: In proud and honored memory of the men of / this school section who died for their country / 1914-1918. Two columns; four names in each column. Below the names: This tablet was erected by the trustees / of School Section 32, York Township.

HMB-PS-b: (WWII) Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / Humbercrest Public School / who have volunteered for active service / with Canada’s fighting forces.” Six columns. Surnames followed by given names. No key. List does not specify which war, but the presence of a separate WWI memorial, women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II.

Humewood Public School (HUM-PS)

Location: 15 Cherrywood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6C 2X4 (north of St. Clair Avenue West; west of Christie Street)

Opened: 1914

War memorial at Humewood Public School, Toronto

War memorial at Humewood Public School, Toronto. ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Alternate or former names: School Section No. 25 York Township

Pre-1998 municipality: City of York

Type of school: Elementary

History:
Humewood neighbourhood takes its name from Humewood House, a 25-acre estate built about 1858 by influential Irish immigrants William Hume Blake (1809-1870) and Catherine Honoria (Hume) Blake (1804/5-1886). The ancestral home of both—they were first cousins—was Humewood Castle in County Wicklow. Toronto architects Cumberland and Storm included a conservatory and bowling alley in the design. A six-foot high fence surrounded the house, which was approached through impressive gates opposite today’s Christie Street. Realizing they were not suited to pioneer life in Middlesex County, the couple had moved from near Strathroy to Toronto, where William studied law. Catherine operated a private girls’ school to supplement their income. Called to the bar in 1838, Blake was politically active and a highly successful lawyer. He was crown attorney in the murder trial of Grace Marks—the story told in Margaret Atwood’s novel, Alias Grace. One son, Edward Blake, became Premier of Ontario.

Humewood was sold in the 1870s. In the 1880s, fire damage led to rebuilding. The estate property shrank as lots were sold, but in 1912, when St. Thomas’s Anglican Church bought the house as a home for unwed mothers, more than two acres supported an orchard, vegetable garden, and space for 100 chickens. Humewood House observed its 100th anniversary in 2012, erecting a sign that reads: Resource Centre for Young Pregnant Parenting Women. The lane leading to the original house (now rebuilt) is today’s Humewood Drive.

The neighbourhood is often “twinned” as Humewood-Cedarvale. The boundaries are: on the south, St. Clair Avenue West; on the north, Eglinton Avenue West; on the east, Bathurst Street; on the west Oakwood Avenue (formerly Lake View Avenue). Cedarvale is in the northeast portion above Vaughan Road, which runs diagonally—dropping down from west to east to avoid crossing Cedarvale Ravine. Humewood is in the southwest portion below Vaughan Road. Humewood is sometimes referred to as “the woods,” as many street names end in “wood.” The two areas are also partly separated by Cedarvale Ravine.

Early Humewood and Cedarvale both developed slowly, but in 1911, when Sir Henry Pellatt started building Casa Loma below St. Clair Avenue, interest increased. In 1912, landowners, helped by Sir Henry, raised $400,000 for a 385-foot long, 64-foot high bridge across the ravine. An extension of Glen Cedar Road, it connected the two sides of the ravine, making travel much easier. Settlement in the area expanded. Another natural obstacle, Garrison Creek was fed by a source near Humewood school and St. Clair Avenue West. In 1880, the city began to divert small waterways to a sewer system; thus, Humewood School is “one of many schools built over former streams.” See: www.lostrivers.ca/humewdrch, especially the segment “Humewood Reach.” (A “reach” is a section of stream between two defined points.)

1914: Humewood, an eleven-room school designed by architect Charles Hartnoll Bishop, opened on Maplewood Avenue, below Vaughan Road, just north of St. Clair Avenue West. Although then in the Township of York, it was built by the Toronto Board of Education, expecting annexation of the area north of St. Clair Avenue West. (That annexation did not happen.) Humewood was the first school in the area. Cedarvale did not get a school until J.R. Wilcox was built in 1920. Before Humewood was built, students went outside the area for education.

1924: The Township of York bought Humewood School from the Toronto Board of Education for their School Section No. 25. Price: $145,000.

1925: Six rooms added to Humewood, which still appeared in York Township records as S.S. No. 25.

1928: Six more rooms added to Humewood (S.S. No. 25).

1930: Six more rooms and a gymnasium added to Humewood.

1933: School sections replaced by a township public school board—an action strengthened by the difficulties of the Depression. Regular meetings of the new board to be held at York Memorial Collegiate Institute.

1936: Collegiate Institute Board and Public School Board united to form the township Board of Education. Legislative grants to continue on the same basis as with the school sections.

1972: New Humewood school built at 15 Cherrywood Avenue. (The old school had been on Maplewood, on the hill.) Some stained glass depictions of scenes of childhood—a boy fishing; a boy flying a kite, etc.—were transferred to the new school.

Published history:
Boylen, J.C. York Township: an Historical Summary 1850—1954. [Toronto] : The Municipal Corporation of the Township of York and The Board of Education of the Township of York, 1954. 131 p. : ill. Appendix B: Collegiate Institute Boards; Public School Boards. Appendix C: School Construction in York Township.

Thomas, Wilbert G. The Legacy of York: a Survey of the Early Development of the Communities of York. (York, Ont. : Historical Committee of the City of York, c1992] 96 p. : ill.

Memorials transcribed:
HUM-PS-a: (WWII) (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). “For King and Country / Members of / Humewood Public School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces. Eight columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. List does not specify which war, but the school’s founding date, the presence of women’s names and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II. Key: a red ink cross indicates “casualty.”

Indian Road Crescent Public School (IND-PS)

Location: 285 Indian Road Crescent, Toronto, Ontario  M6P 2G8 (north of Bloor Street West; south of Annette Street; east of Keele Street)

Opened: 1902

Alternate or former names: Western Avenue School, see also: Annette Street School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Ward during WWI: Ward 7

Ward during WWII: Ward 7

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1902: Began under Public School Board of West Toronto, in “Toronto Junction,” a suburb of Toronto. Opened as Western Avenue School, a branch of Annette School, under Principal Wilson. Two classes, with assistant teachers, Miss M.E. Cherry and Miss Rachel Barnes. Two-storey; four rooms, with basement.
1903: School got its own principal.
1905: Four-room addition.
1909: West Toronto annexed to Toronto. By May, school had 410 pupils; additional accommodation found in nearby churches and stores.
1913: South wing added, including provision for a kindergarten.
1914: North wing (four rooms) added.
1937 April: Name changed to Indian Road Crescent. (School was built on a transportation route used by native peoples.)
1965 Jan 4: New school first occupied by students. Old building (demolished 1965) had contained 11 classrooms, one special education room, a library and a kindergarten.

Memorials transcribed:
IND-PS-a: (WWII) (illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson). “For King and Country / Members of / Indian Road Crescent School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces. Four columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. Sub-headings: Army; Air Force; Navy. Key: Silver stick-on star indicates “Killed.” Red stick-on star indicates “Wounded.” Green stick-on star indicates “Prisoner of war.” Grey stick-on star indicates “Missing.” List does not specify which war, but presence of an air force list, women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document indicate World War II. No World War I memorial found.

Jesse Ketchum School (JES-PS)

Location:61 Davenport Road, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1H4

Opened:ca. 1832

War memorial at Jesse Ketchum School. ©Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch

Alternate or former names: Yorkville Central School. See also: Davenport High School; Bloor Collegiate Institute

Pre-1998 municipality: Toronto

Ward during WWI: 3

Type of school: Elementary

History:
ca. 1832: No Board records found as to the exact founding date. Tradition says the school originally opened at the corner of McMurrich and Davenport between 1832 and 1845.
1858: Jesse Ketchum (1782-1867) tanner, politician and philanthropist, who came to York (Toronto) in 1799, from the U.S.A., donated land to the Village of Yorkville for a public park and a “Free and Common School.” The four-room Yorkville Central School was built on the present site. (The Jesse Ketchum foundation annually awarded Bibles, New Testaments, and other books to Sunday Schools of all denominations and to public schools. He set up trust funds to provide prizes for school children as “incentives to diligent studies, correct deportment, and good behavior.”)
1858 Sept. 29: Formal opening. School eventually grew to at least 12 rooms.
1883: Town of Yorkville annexed to the City of Toronto.

1883 May 2: Board motion that “the school on Davenport Road (formerly Yorkville) be named the Jesse Ketchum School.”

War memorials at Jesse Ketchum School. ©Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch

1917: By this year, the Royal Flying Corps recruits depot had moved to Jesse Ketchum, where the high-ceilinged rooms were converted into barracks. A recruits band regularly led units headed for the United States or Texas down to the train station. The band also played for dances and hockey games. The park next to the school, used for parades and sports, was flooded in winter to make a hockey rink. (Ref. Dancing in the Sky: the Royal Flying Corps in Canada. C.W. Hunt. Toronto: Dundurn Press, c2009. 358 p. ill.)
1918 May 2: Photo shows school being used for recruitment and barracks for Royal Flying Corps. Referred to elsewhere as “Jesse Ketchum Aviation School.”
1920: Old school replaced.
1944: A childcare centre, Jesse Ketchum War Time Day School opened (renovated in the 1990s.)
1950: By this time, Jesse Ketchum school had 10 “Sight Saving” classes; also, six teachers to handle 424 pupils in night classes.

Published history: Jesse Ketchum School, 150 years. Toronto: Toronto Board of Education, c1982. 8 p. illus.

Web sites:
http://schools.tdsb.on.ca/jesseketchum/history.asp
http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?id_nbr=4519

Memorials transcribed:
JES-PS-a: (WWI) Bronze oval plaque: In glorious memory / of those members / of the 124th Pals Bat- / talion C.E.F. who / gave their lives in / the Great War / 1914-1918 / Erected by their comrades / This school while still unfinished / was the first barracks of / the Battalion / March to May / 1916. (Insignia of the 124th  at the top.) Around the rim: Arras.1917. Vimy. 1917. Hill 70. France. and. Flanders. 1917-18. Ypres. 1917. Passchendale. (See explanation of Pals battalions below.)

JES-PS-b: (WWI) Bronze plaque (maple leaf in each corner): The Great / War / 1914-1918 / This school building / was the Canadian home / of the / 124th 170th and 216th Battalions / of the / Canadian Expeditionary Force / and of the / Royal Air Force. / From within these walls six thousand / men went to battle overseas, that / freedom and justice might prevail. / Erected by the Board of Education of / the City of Toronto. / God Save the King.

JES-PS-c: (WWI) Bronze plaque with crossed flags (Union Jack and Red Ensign) and beaver: 1914 1918 / In honour and loving memory / of the ex-pupils of this school / who died in service in the Great War: / and in grateful tribute to those / who, daring to die, survived. / Our honoured dead. After the list of names (three columns; first names followed by surnames): “To you, from falling hands, we throw / the torch: be yours to hold it high.” Included on this list is Norman Bethune (1889-1939). Although most biographies do not mention his attendance at Jesse Ketchum, John Robert Colombo reports that Bethune “graduated from Jesse Ketchum Public School in Toronto and from Owen Sound Collegiate Institute.”  (Ref. Canadian Literary Landmarks, v.20; 335. p.120 (under “Gravenhurst”).  John Robert Colombo. Willowdale, Ont.: Hounslow Press, c1984.) Norman Bethune, “medical student,” gave his own and his father’s address on his First World War attestation papers as 19 Harbord Street, Toronto.

[At the top of JES-PS-d (WW II) are five names that may be deaths carried forward from JES-PS-c (WWI). Searching online attestation papers, etc., has not yet confirmed nor disproved this.]

JES-PS-d: (WWII) Bronze plaque: 1939 Second Great War 1945 / Fear not that we have died for naught / the torch ye threw to use we caught / Our Honoured Dead. After the list of names (three columns; first names followed by surnames): “Greater love hath no man than this.”

NOTE: Under an arched alcove are: two bronze plaques (JES-PS-c, JES-PS-d) one for each world war. Above the alcove is a large wooden crown (with “Canada” at the base) superimposed on a maple leaf. Above the two plaques, a wooden banner “For God King and Country”; a wooden torch on each side of the alcove.

NOTE: Pals Battalions arose through special local recruiting drives. The volunteers would join, train, travel, and serve as soldiers with friends; neighbours; relatives; workmates; and colleagues (their “pals”) rather than be mixed in with the regular soldiers.  The idea was to give a feeling of comradeship that would increase enlistment. When dramatic death tolls occurred in these close-knit groups, officials realized the drawbacks and discontinued the practice.

John English School (JNE-PS)

Location: 95 Mimico Avenue, Toronto (Etobicoke) Ontario  M8V1R4 (east of Royal York Road; south of the Queensway and north of Lakeshore Boulevard West)

The old John English Public School (The Mimico Story, by Harvey Currell, 1917)

The old John English Public School (The Mimico Story, by Harvey Currell, 1917)

Opened: 1838 or earlier

Alternate or former names: S.S. No. 1 Mimico, Mimico Public School, John English Public School

Pre-1998 municipality: Etobicoke

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1838: List of teachers stated that Patrick Rock was teaching 32 pupils on Lot 9, Concession 2 (possibly Royal York Road at the Queensway). A school was shown here on William Hawkins’ 1834 plan of the King’s Mill Reserve.
1850: Township of Etobicoke divided into eight school sections.  Mimico was included in school section No. 1 (the area between the Humber River and Etobicoke Creek; almost as far north as Dundas Street).  Log building (probably rented) stood on the west side of Church Street (now Royal York Road) possibly at the Queensway. Second school was a frame building on the west side of Church Street, opposite what is now Mimico Avenue. William and Helen Arthurs had donated this site to the Home District in 1846.
1884: Third school was a one room-brick building on the northeast corner of Mimico Avenue and Royal York Road; the site of the present John English school. Walter Burgess, school trustee, presented a clock to the school.
1888: The one large room was divided into two classrooms because of increased enrolment. (Humber Bay School built to accommodate pupils east of Mimico.)
1893: Third school demolished; replaced with three-room brick building on the same site.
1905: Mimico became a police village.
1911: Village of Mimico incorporated; withdrew from Etobicoke Township. First Mimico Public School Board formed.
1912: Three classrooms added.
1915: Four rooms added; school grounds enlarged.
1917: Mimico became a town.
1921: Until this time, Mimico depended upon Toronto’s Parkdale Collegiate for secondary education. Mimico trustees established Mimico Continuation School for the first grades of high school, using part of the public school building. E. H. Glenn, a WWI veteran, was principal of the combined public and continuation school.
1922: Ten classrooms added. (George R. Gauld built on Melrose Avenue, for north Mimico students.)
1923: Mimico High School Board formed.
1924: Eight-room Mimico High School built.
1925: Mimico Public School renamed John English after a former principal.
1932: Four rooms added to John English.
1940: Mimico Board of Education established.
1951: Mimico joins Lakeshore District Board.
1954: John English School replaced. The new two-storey brick building reached to Elizabeth Street.  It had oak paneling, ornate moulding, and a grand central staircase (with oak banister) where at Christmas, classes lined up to sing carols with song sheets. The ceilings were ornamental plaster set in a square pattern. Separate playgrounds for boys and girls had a wood fence between them. Charles King, caretaker for 44 years, lived in a small house on the Elizabeth Street end of the property.
1956: Old John English School torn down.
1961: (David Hornell School built for students in east Mimico.)
1967: Mimico joined Etobicoke Board.
NOTE: Details of the school’s early history vary according to sources used. Researchers should consult the publications listed below.

Published histories:
Berry, Susan. A history of Education in the Lakeshore Area: Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch. Toronto: Wylie Press, [1966?] “A souvenir publication from the Lakeshore Board of Education.” Unpaged.
Currell, Harvey. The Mimico Story. 2nd ed., rev. [Mimico, Ont.] Town of Mimico and Library Board, 1967. 170 pp.: ill., ports. Includes the honour rolls for both World Wars for the Town of Mimico, pp. 95-100.
Given, Robert A., Etobicoke Remembered. Toronto, Ont.: Pro Familia Publishing, 2007.
Heyes, Esther. Etobicoke: from furrow to borough. Etobicoke, Ont.: Borough of Etobicoke Civic Centre, c1974. 200 p.: ill.
Sauro, Silvio. A Celebration of Excellence: to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Etobicoke and Lakeshore District Boards of Education 1967-1992: and the Dissolution of the Etobicoke Board of Education May, 1947-December, 1997. Etobicoke, Ont.: The Board of Education for the City of Etobicoke. rev. 2nd ed. 1997. 135 p. ill. Appendices. Appendix E: Chronology of Educational Developments in the School Sections. Appendix F: Important Dates in the Governance of Etobicoke Public Education.

War memorial at John English School, Mimico, Toronto, ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

WWII memorial (JNE-PS-a) at John English School, Mimico,  ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Memorials transcribed:
JNE-PS-a: (WWII): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / John English School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Six columns. Surnames (A-P) followed by given names or initials. List does not specify which war, but presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II. NOTE: Flight-Lieutenant David Hornell, Victoria Cross recipient, who died in 1944, is on this list.  In 1961, an Etobicoke elementary school was named after him.

JNE-PS-b: (WWII): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / John English Public School, Mimico / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Two columns of names. Surnames (R-W) followed by given names or initials. List does not specify which war, but presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

NOTE: The (A-P) memorial is headed “John English School.” The (R-W) memorial is headed “John English Public School, Mimico.” Also, both memorials have decorative calligrapher’s space markers.

John Wanless Public School (JNW-PS)

Location: 245 Fairlawn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5M 1T2 (north of Lawrence Avenue; between Yonge Street and Avenue Road)

Opened: 1927

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Ward during WWII: Ward 9

Type of school: Elementary

History:
1926 Feb 11: Township of York Board decided “the new school to be erected on the Fairlawn Avenue site be named the John Wanless School.” Wanless was a Township of York council member 1903 – 1905; a Toronto alderman 1912 – 14; a member of the Board of Education 1921 – 22. His wholesale jewellery business was the largest of its kind in Canada.
1926 Sept.: Classes first taught on site in two portables, supervised by the principal of Bedford Park Public School
1927 Sept.: New building occupied; consisted of “eight grade rooms and an all-day kindergarten”.

Published history:
50th Anniversary, John Wanless, ’26 – ’76: [Toronto: The Committee, 1976]
Ritchie, Don. North Toronto. Boston Mills Press: Erin, ON, 1992. pp 130-133.

Memorials transcribed:
JNW-PS-a: (WWII) Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / John Wanless School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Four columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. Key: red cross indicates “Killed.” List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of one woman’s name, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

JNW-PS-b: (WWII) Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / John Wanless School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Four columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. Key: red cross indicates “Killed in Action.” List does not specify which war, but date of school opening, presence of women’s names, and the use of an A.J. Casson document, indicate World War II.

NOTE: Both lists are alphabetical. There is no explanation why there are two separate memorials for World War II.