An organization of family historians, some with Toronto roots, others who live in Toronto, we have ancestors around the world.

For King and Country—new names!

The number of Toronto schools in our For King and Country project has grown to 121, with the addition of one of the city’s oldest secondary schools, Harbord Collegiate Institute. Some 1,400 names from Harbord are now in our war memorials database, which has almost reached the 50,000 mark!

Affectionately known as “the big old school”, Harbord bears the name of the street it’s on, south of Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst. It opened its doors in January 1892, with six staff members and 170 students. The student population grew to nearly 400 by the fall of that year, and is now over 900 with a staff of more than 50. In the early years, neighbourhood residents were mainly Canadian born or from the British Isles, but from the 1920s to the 1950s, 90 percent of Harbord’s students were Jewish, mostly the children of immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Harbord has become well known over the years for academic excellence and the contributions of its graduates to the arts, politics, medicine, and community service. Another feature obvious to visitors to the school is the attention Harbord pays to those who volunteered for military service. More than 1,000 Harbordites served in the two World Wars, and at least 125 gave their lives. Its memorials include a cenotaph and statue outside the school’s main entrance, an outdoor memorial sculpture, galleries of individual captioned photos of those who died in both World Wars, and several illuminated lists designed by A.J. Casson.

Read more about the history of Harbord and search our For King and Country database.

And find out about Harbord’s homecoming and anniversary celebrations in “School for an Immigrant Neighbourhood: Harbord Collegiate’s happy ghosts“, by project coordinator Martha Jackson.

Postcard of Harbord Collegiate Institute, c 1910 (Toronto Public Library PC_3539)