One hundred schools and counting

As students and teachers settle into their classes for another year, our project volunteers are celebrating a back-to-school accomplishment—we now have a full 100 schools in For King and Country database!

Just added are war memorials and school histories from: The Bishop Strachan School; Davisville Public School; Eastern High School of Commerce; George Syme School; Humbercrest Public School; Keele Street School (which marks its own centenary on September 27); Maurice Cody School; Roselands Public School; Victoria College, and York Memorial Collegiate Institute.

The 10 new schools add 3,378 names to our database—for a grand total of 38,428 names of students, former students, and teachers who volunteered for active service, mainly in the two World Wars, but also in some other conflicts. And an added bonus for researchers… two of the new schools—The Bishop Strachan School and Victoria College— include the names of some students from outside Toronto.

Thanks to current technology, we’ve been able to index some memorials that might otherwise have been indecipherable due to the passage of time. Here’s just one example—this is a section of a World War II memorial designed by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson, found at Maurice Cody School, near Davisville and Bayview. It was hand-lettered in ornate copperplate script with many flourishes. Faded ink made it extremely challenging to read the names listed, but, with the help of digital photography and a large-screen computer, we were able to transcribe them all for our database (although some characters remain unclear). There’s often more information in these memorials than the names alone. A legend accompanying this one tells us that the black ink crosses just before two entries in the left-hand column indicate “Died”, while the straight black line that appears before one of the entries in the right-hand column means “Discharged”. Other symbols were used to indicate “Missing” and “Prisoner of War”.

List of names with elaborate capital letters that sometimes extend down through the following line of writing.
Detail of WWII memorial at Maurice Cody School, Toronto. ©Toronto Branch OGS

Special acknowledgments are due this time around to volunteers Margaret Hurst, of Etobicoke, and Susan Murphy, of Parry Sound, who took on extra indexing over the past few months, allowing project coordinator Martha Jackson to do extra work on photos, memorial descriptions and school histories.

There’s nothing “magic” about the number 100, but we modestly suggest that this is a project milestone!

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