Secondary Schools: G to M


Harbord Collegiate Institute (HRB-SS)

Corner of a room with 18 framed portraits, and a framed honour roll of names.
Harbord displays individual captioned photos of students who died in the World Wars in two separate galleries.

Location: 286 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6G 1G5
South of Bloor Street West; north of College Street; with Spadina Avenue on the west; Bathurst Street on the east

Opened: 1892

Alternate or former names:
Harbord Street Collegiate Institute (until 1912)
The Harbord Annex
Northwest High School (1907 only); temporary quarters for first form (Grade 9) students on the third floor of King Edward Public School
“The big old school” (informal)

Pre-1998 municipality: Toronto

Type of school: Secondary

“Almost everyone who matriculated from Harbord during this period went on to university.” Gregory Clark, journalist, World War I veteran, World War II war correspondent, Harbord graduate.

Well known from the start for academic excellence, contributions of its graduates to the arts, politics, medicine, and community service, a feature obvious to visitors to the school, is the attention Harbord pays to those who volunteered for military service. More than one thousand Harbordites served in the two World Wars; at least 125 gave their lives.

At the main entrance, there are two outdoor memorials; a bronze figure on a pedestal for WWI; an abstract H-shaped memorial to World War II. Both list the names of those who died. Both are described in detail below. See: Memorials transcribed.

The WWII “broken H” memorial has the special distinction of being created by Morton Katz— architect, sculptor, and Harbord alumnus.

Inside the main doors, the school has a Memorial Hall, with two galleries: one features veterans of the Great War; the other, veterans of the Second World War. Both galleries have individual captioned photos of those who died. In addition, there are three large A.J. Casson framed lists of all who served.

The Harbord Club (Museum and Archives) has among its many projects, an ongoing effort to detail the lives of those who died in the wars.

Two men dressed in winter coats stand side by side in front of a shiny metal memorial. a few inscribed names can be seen on the memorial.
Morton Katz (right) and Murray Rubin (left) in front of the memorial designed by Mr. Katz to honour Harbord students who died in World War II. Mr. Rubin helped to raise more than $150,000 for the memorial.

Harbord is seen as the second Toronto high school after Jarvis Collegiate, which was founded in 1807. (Parkdale Collegiate Institute had opened in 1888, but was then under the Town of Parkdale, which was cut off from Old Toronto by the railway tracks.) Harbord opened in 1892, in a part of the city that was almost rural. When development began in the 1870s, the neighbourhood was on the northwestern edge of Toronto. There were few houses. Sidewalks were planks. Cattle were often driven along Bathurst and Harbord streets to a slaughterhouse near the present Palmerston Boulevard.

The school took its name from the street, which may have been named after Edward Harbord, a British anti-slavery activist. Houses were close together —in some cases sharing a wall or walls with neighbours—mostly two-storey; often featuring “bay and gable” architecture.

Early residents were mainly Canadian born or from the British Isles, but from the 1920s to the 1950s, ninety percent of Harbord’s students were Jewish; mostly the children of immigrants from Eastern Europe.

In the 1960s, threatened by “clearance” to make way for apartment towers and the planned Spadina Expressway, residents organized themselves as the Sussex-Ulster Residents’ Association (SURA). They managed to limit changes proposed by the city.

In 2000, SURA renamed itself the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA) which now runs an online collection of photos and interviews. (See below under: Websites.) Many ethnic and economic groups moved in and out of the neighbourhood from the 1970s until the present day (2022) with some later generations of families returning to what had remained an affordable area with a strong community spirit that is close to the University of Toronto and downtown.

Harbord’s motto is Virtus et Doctrina. (virtue and learning).The school colours are orange and black. Sports teams: Harbord Tigers. The school song is“Onward Harbord.”

1890 Autumn: Jarvis Collegiate was crowded to the doors. Toronto Collegiate Institute Board purchased land between Manning Avenue and Euclid Avenue, facing Harbord Street. Construction began on a 15-room school with assembly hall and gymnasium. Architects: Knox & Elliot.

1892 Jan 7: School opened with six staff members; 170 students. By autumn, staff had increased to adjust to an enrolment of nearly 400. First principal: H.B. Spotton, a renowned Canadian botanist and author of a widely-used botany textbook, had been a scholarship student in the Grammar School in the late 1850s. He pledged to create a school whose academic standards and achievements would be peerless. Three of the strong teachers who helped him to keep this pledge were:

  • Gertrude Lawler: A pioneer for women in many fields—including public welfare and social justice for women and children—acquired specialist certificates in teaching English, German, French, and mathematics. During her twenty-six years at Harbord, she taught English “as a living thing,” directed Shakespearean plays, edited books, lectured, and examined methods in English (1908-1910). She was “proud of the fact that she always received the same salary as a man would have been paid.” (Dictionary of Canadian Biography) In 1910, she was one of three women appointed to the Senate of the University of Toronto.
  • Eliza May Balmer: (Modern Languages) was one of the outstanding teachers in this field in Ontario. She had agitated for the admission of women to Toronto’s University College, graduating in 1886, having won three scholarships in General Proficiency and Modern Languages.
  • Herbert W. Irwin: Head of modern languages at Harbord; sent many scholarship students on to university, and privately taught—without charge—many immigrants to the city.

1892 Autumn: To relieve overcrowding and equalize attendance, the Board of Education for the first time in its history set boundaries for its three collegiates: Jarvis, Parkdale, and Harbord. Harbord’s boundaries were: Avenue Road, Queen’s Park, and Simcoe Street on the east; Dufferin Street on the west.

1892 Nov 29: First issue of The Fortnightly Review (later The Harbord Review).

1893: Around this time, Harbord, Jarvis, and Jameson (Parkdale) Collegiates began intercollegiate debates on political or historical topics.

1898-1962: The Harbord Cadet Corps formed and flourished.

South African War (1899-1902): John T. Duguid who served in the Boer War, was Harbord’s first war veteran. The school gave him a large purse of money and a pocket knife before he set sail for South Africa. On a scouting expedition, his horse was shot from under him, and he lay undiscovered with a broken leg for some time. A contingent of staff and students met him at Union Station on his return. Duguid also served in the Great War, and was the first captain of the Harbord Cadet Corps.

1902: Colonel E.W. Hagarty, a Classics teacher, and later Harbord principal, organized the first Civilian Rifle Association. He took the boys to Long Branch on Saturdays to teach them marksmanship. He encouraged enlistment in WWI. His son was later a casualty of the war. (See: Memorials transcribed.)

Bronze wall plaque
Harbord principal E.W. Hagarty urged students—including his own son—to enlist in the Great War

1906: Attendance rose to more than seven hundred. The gymnasium and assembly hall were divided into classrooms.

1906 Nov 23: First use of the Harbord coat of arms on the Commencement program.

1907 Sept: Overcrowding forced the relocation of first form (Grade 9) students to the “Harbord Annex” on the third storey of King Edward Public School (originally Bathurst Street School; renamed after the accession of King Edward VI) just north of College Street. By the next year, the Harbord Annex became an independent school—temporarily named North West High School—soon to become Oakwood Collegiate.

1907 Apr 30: Boston Marathon winner Tom Longboat (of the Six Nations Reserve, Brantford) visited.

1911: Six central rooms added; old gymnasium demolished.1916: A violent storm blew down the flagstaff on the Elizabethan tower; later, the top of the tower was dismantled for safety reasons.

World War I (1914-1918):
Close to 500 students and teachers enlisted. Seventy-three died on active service. In early 1916, Colonel E.W. Hagarty, then principal, raised the 101st Battalion and took a short leave of absence to engage in recruitment, returning in autumn. As early as 1914, some of Mr. Hagarty’s keenness to have all male students join the cadets, and his speeches at assemblies, sparked unease and confrontations with German students. A petition to the Board, meetings and discussions, worked to sort out the strong emotions of the time. Monsieur Paul Rochat, Head of Modern Languages, turned his French classes over to his wife Norma, and returned to his reserve regiment in France, with the rank of lieutenant. He was seriously wounded at Argonne. France awarded him the Croix de Guerre.

1920: Six new rooms added.

1921 Nov 11: Statue to former students who died in the Great War unveiled by Lieutenant Governor Cockshutt.

1926: Teacher Brian McCool—the school’s gym instructor— started Harbord’s orchestra, the first orchestra in a Toronto collegiate. Many graduates became members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

1930: West wing of the front building demolished to make room for a new building. Architect: Charles Edmond Cyril Dyson, chief architect of the Toronto Board of Education from 1920 to 1930.

1931 March: Cornerstone of new addition laid.

1931 Sept: School completed and occupied; building valued at $105,000. Rotary system started about this time. (Previously, teachers had travelled from room to room.)

1931 Nov 12: General Sir Arthur William Currie unveiled the photographs of the seventy-three students who died in the Great War.

1932: Music teacher Allister Park Haig began staging full-scale productions of Gilbert and Sullivan held annually until his 1949 retirement. The first production was “The Pirates of Penzance.”

1933: The 1933 Harbord Annex existed for one year only, located in the unoccupied building of the old William Houston P.S. on Nassau Street (south of College Street; west of Spadina Avenue).

1936 Sept: New building completed; valued at $567,000.

World War II (1939-1945): Harbord contributed 714 students to the war effort, recorded in 1992 as follows: Royal Canadian Air Force, 342; Canadian Army, 224; Royal Canadian Navy, 30; United States armed forces, 8. About 110 had not yet been recorded when For King and Country indexed the names. (The school archives continues to acquire information on war service.) Fifty died; the highest casualties—33—were in the R.C.A.F

1942: An article in the Harbord Review entitled “Fifty Glorious Years” summed up the school’s story to date. Enrolment had climbed to more than four hundred. The school now had two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, and a large auditorium.

1950 Jan 30: Night school classes had 44 teachers; 1,420 pupils. English and citizenship for “New Canadians” were among subjects offered.

1974 June: Harbord Homecoming. (Described in blog post.)

1979: The Harbord Club founded to preserve and share information and the school’s history. (Donor sponsored.)

1980 Nov 14: New building (Harbord’s third) opened after “intense renovation and construction.”

1985 May: Decision to designate a conference room as a Harbord Museum and Archives. The school had already accumulated artifacts and memorabilia.

1989: W. Garfield Weston Foundation and other corporate sponsors granted funds to start the museum. (Mr. Weston had attended Harbord.)

1991 Oct 31: Official opening of museum and archives.

1992 May 8 to May 9: Centennial weekend celebrated with decades rooms; theme rooms; souvenirs for sale. Closing and sealing of a time capsule took place at two o’clock on Saturday afternoon, followed by a 7 p.m. dinner and reception at the Convention Centre.

Toronto Mayor June Rowlands declared May 9, 1992 in the City of Toronto as Harbord Collegiate Centennial Day.

2018 April: more than 1,000 students and a staff of more than 70.

Published history:
Dictionary of Canadian Biography
The Happy Ghosts of Harbord: A History of Harbord Collegiate Institute 1892-1992, edited by Julius Molinaro. Toronto: Harbord Collegiate Institute. Harbordite Issue No. 30, Centennial Number, Spring 1992.
Gee, Marcus. “Harbord Collegiate celebrates 125 years as Toronto’s famous immigrant launching pad.” The Globe and Mail, April 7, 2017.
The Harbord Club has issues of Harbordite (newsletter); access to lists of war veterans, alumni, etc.

Websites: (Detailed history of current and former residents.)

Sepia toned head and shoulders photo of a soldier in a Scottish style uniform
One of the many photos in Harbord’s galleries: Lt. James Alexander Garvie, M.C., of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, who served at Vimy, Paschendaele, the Piave and who was killed in action at Gommecourt, France on 20 August 1918.

Memorials transcribed:
NOTE: Researchers should contact the school for questions about those who served in the wars. For King and Country has followed our standard practice, with a few exceptions, of indexing just the names that are visible on memorials—additions and corrections only if they can be seen on the memorials.

HRB-SS-a: (WWI): Cenotaph and statue outside the school’s main entrance. A seven-foot bronze sculpture by G.W. Hill of Montreal depicts a hatless male soldier in a fighting pose, on a granite pedestal. Inscribed on the pedestal: (School crest) These former pupils / Died for humanity / In / The Great War / Of / 1914 – 1919 / We are the dead. Short days ago / We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow / Loved and were loved, and now we lie / In Flanders Fields. The bronze figure was cast in Belgium. Bronze panels and inscriptions listing the names of those who died were prepared by the Wm. A. Rogers Silver Company. Panel i: Adams, C. Fred to Langstaff, Major J. Miles. A smaller bronze plaque below has added names: Cohen, Lt. Myer Tutzer M.C.; Curry, Lt. Walter Howard; Irving, Lt. Col. Thomas Craik, D.S.O. Panel ii: Langstone, Lt. F. M. to Connery, Major Frank. A smaller bronze plaque below has added names: Baines, Lt. Egerton B.; Thorold, Lt. G.; Mitchell, Sgt. Douglas G., M.M.; Morrison, Lt. Charles L. M.

HRB-SS-b: (WWI): Brass plaque: In Loving Memory of / Lieutenant Daniel Galer Hagarty. / Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. / Killed in Action. June 2, 1916. / near Zillebeke, Flanders, in the Third Battle of Ypres. / Aged 21 Years. / A life full of promise and joy / willingly sacrificed in the cause of humanity. / A Graduate and former Cadet Captain of the Harbord Collegiate Institute. / The First Cadet chosen to represent Canada in the “Boys’ Bisley” Shooting / in London, England, on Empire Day, 1909. / A Representative of Canada at the Coronation of King George V. 1911. / Erected by his sorrowing parents and brother.

HRB-SS-c: (WWI): A “gallery” of individual captioned photos of those who died in the Great War. Most captions include name in full; rank; age; date of death; battle or incident; place of death. Some memorials include details of wounding, burial etc. NOTE: There are some minor discrepancies between the official spelling of place names and the spelling used in the captions. We have copied the inscriptions exactly as they appear on the photographs, but have used the standard spelling for place names when indexing.

HRB-SS-d: (WWI): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / Harbord Collegiate / Institute / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Eight columns. Surnames followed by given names or initials. Key: a red-ink asterisk indicates “wounded”; a red-ink cross indicates “killed.” It is unusual for an A. J. Casson memorial to be used for WWI, as Casson designed these for the Second World War, but other sources tell us this is a Great War Memorial.

HRB-SS-e: (WWII): Outdoor memorial in the southeast corner of the school grounds. To commemorate the 62nd anniversary of VE Day, the Harbord Club and Harbord Collegiate Institute commissioned a sculpture by Morton Katz, a Harbord graduate of 1953. The stainless steel abstract H with a severed gap symbolizing lives cut short by war. It stands close to five metres (19 feet) high; inside the H the inscription reads: In the sculpture’s embrace, may you feel the spirit of the names and see the faces of the fallen. Heading: Honour Roll of the Fallen / WWII 1939-1945 / Harbord Coll /egiate Institute. Also, the names of 52 students who died.

Panel i, left side: Axler, L.A.C. David RCAF to Klatman, P.O. Officer Joseph RCAF. Panel ii, right side: Kramer, P.O. Julius RCAF to Orok, LT. Robert J. Royal Navy. NOTE: Orok is added after “W” names.

HRB-SS-f: (WWII): A “gallery” of individual black and white captioned photos of those who died in WWII. Most include name in full; date of death; battle or incident; place of death. We have copied the inscriptions exactly as they appear on the photographs.

HRB-SS-g: (WWII): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / Harbord Collegiate Institute / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Six columns. Surnames followed by given names: Acker, Murray to Lean, Norman. Key: red-ink cross indicates “Killed in Action.” List does not specify which war, but the presence of an A.J. Casson for WWI indicates this is for World War II.

HRB-SS-h: (WWII): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / Harbord Collegiate Institute / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces” 6 columns. Surnames followed by given names: Leder, Manuel to Zweig, Sidney M. Key: red cross indicates “Killed in Action.” List does not specify which war, but the presence of an A.J. Casson for WWI indicates this is for World War II.

Humberside Collegiate Institute (HCI-SS)

Large brick school with a square tower at the end of a long driveway. Students walk towards it from unpaved roads. Leaves are on the trees so it is likely early fall or late spring.
Humberside Collegiate Institute in about 1915 (Postcard from Baldwin Collection, Toronto Public Library X 64-338)

Location: 280 Quebec Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 2V3 (north of High Park; north of Bloor Street West; west of Keele Street)

Opened: 1892

Alternate or former names:
West Toronto High School (informal )
West Toronto Collegiate Institute
Toronto Junction High School
Toronto Junction Collegiate

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Toronto

Type of school: Secondary

Motto: Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas (Fortunate is the person who has been able to learn the reason for things.) Team Name: Huskies. Colours: garnet, grey, and white. Humberside serves the High Park, Bloor West Village, Junction, and Baby Point neighbourhoods.

West Toronto Junction began as the Canadian Pacific Railway stop for the Toronto Grey and Bruce, the Credit Valley, and the Ontario and Quebec lines. (In early times, two First Nations trails had joined here.) In 1863, D.W. Clendenan, a lawyer, bought 240 acres nearby, laid out streets and sold building lots. In 1889, after absorbing neighbouring Carlton and Davenport, West Toronto was incorporated as a village. The CPR built repair shops and freight yards. In 1909, “The Junction” was annexed to the City of Toronto. By then a booming industrial area, it contained the Union Stock Yards Company Limited (later the Ontario Stock Yards), Heintzman & Company Pianos, Wilkinson Ploughs, and a federal customs house. Before the First World War (1914-1918) students from as far away as Islington Village—which is west of the Humber River—commuted daily by train.

Humberside Collegiate Institute has had a long-standing reputation for music and the arts. From at least the mid 1920s, when Stanley Clarke formed a school orchestra, music was a vital part of school life. Choirs, instrumental groups, a glee club (which grew to more than one hundred members), a dance band, a “double trio,” and much more, were well known far beyond the school’s neighbourhood. The annual Music Night performances became more and more ambitious. In 1969, a production of “Oklahoma” began a long tradition of Broadway musicals. Music scheduled in the timetable during the regular school day began in the 1940s. Theatre productions won awards in local festivals, and featured slick set productions, make-up, props, and costumes.

1891 Nov 26: At their first meeting, the Toronto Junction High School Board instructed the secretary to rent the “old Presbyterian Church” (Victoria Presbyterian Church) on the southeast corner of Annette Street and Pacific Avenue as a temporary schoolhouse. The structure was stucco clad, with Gothic arched windows. St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church later occupied the property.

1892 Aug 30: Toronto Junction High School opened in the rented quarters, with an enrolment of 60: Form I (Grade 9) had 19 students; Form II (Grade 10) 36 students; Form III (Grade 11) 5 students. The three founding staff were: J.C. Robertson, principal ($1,200. per year); Mr. Goidge, first assistant ($1,000.); Ida Gertrude Eastwood, second assistant ($800.). Mr. Gourlay replaced Mr. Doidge in 1893. J.C. Robertson left in 1894 to become a classics professor at the University of Toronto. His successor, F.C. Colbeck, was also a classics scholar. When the street rail system was extended to reach High Park, the Junction and Bloor West Village became suburbs of Toronto. The increased population of the Town of Toronto Junction soon showed the need for more staff and a permanent building. After controversy, the present site on a hill overlooking a ravine at the head of Humberside Avenue was approved.

1892 Dec. 22: School land bought for $7,000.

1894: Noted west end architect John Ellis designed the grand, Romanesque-style school. A distinctive tower, arches, basket-weave red brickwork, and detailed glass and oak doors, were features shared with the recently built Victoria College at the University of Toronto, and would soon appear in the city hall planned for downtown Toronto. Before housing developed in the area, the school—with open land all around it—was sometimes called “the castle on the hill.” The roof was slate. A circular drive ran from Humberside Avenue to the main entrance, which featured marble steps and brass railings. From the distinctive tower, High Park and Lake Ontario were visible. Three storeys housed five classrooms, a science room, library, staff room, and an assembly hall later used for commercial work. In the days before there was a public address system, students lined up in front of their classrooms for opening exercises. On every floor, a piano was rolled out from a niche for the playing of “God Save the King” (later “the Queen”) and the whole school recited the Lord’s Prayer. A senior teacher called out the announcements.

1903: School obtained collegiate status.

1908 May 11: Basketball introduced.

1908 July: Part-time physical culture teacher, Linda Charlton was paid by the hour.

1909: Toronto annexed the City of West Toronto. Name changed to Humberside Collegiate Institute. (Humberside Avenue runs from Dundas Street West, west past Keele Street, directly to the school’s main entrance.)

1911: Nine instructional rooms and a gymnasium added on west side.

1919 Nov 25: At a memorial service for Humberside students and staff at Victoria Presbyterian Church, Venerable Archdeacon Cody addressed the congregation. After the singing of “Abide With Me,” the roll of those who had died in the Great War was read. The evening ended with a benediction and the playing of the Dead March in Saul, as the audience stood in silence.

1923 Dec 12: Before a large gathering, Principal F.C. Colbeck unveiled a bronze memorial to the 45 former students who had died in the Great War. The ceremony featured an address by Prof. M.W. Wallace, a prayer offered by Major Rev. R. MacNamara, the sounding of “The Last Post,” and the singing of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” “For All the Saints Who From Their Labour Rest,” and “The Maple Leaf Forever.” The school orchestra played Tchaikovsky’s “Chanson Trieste.”

1923 to 1925: Twelve classrooms added on north side; an auditorium and girls’gymnasium also completed.

1925: Yearbook, Hermes, established. (Named for the messenger of the Greek gods.) The Literary Society commissioned Arthur Lismer—a founding member of the Group of Seven—to begin the first of five panels for a mural to decorate the west wall of the auditorium. The work would be done over three of four years. The society gave four hundred dollars to launch the project. Graduating classes would raise funds for the subsequent panels. Subjects would be largely allegorical or historical.

1925 Nov 12: Betty Coutts, sister of a former student Flight Lieutenant Gordon Coutts who died in the Great War, unveiled a memorial window in the auditorium to honour former students who died in the Great War. More than twenty feet high, the design featured Sir Galahad standing beside his steed. The unveiling ceremony was part of annual commencement exercises.

1931: Fourteen instructional rooms, a boys’ gymnasium, swimming pool, committee rooms and a sky-lighted cafeteria added on south side. Student council established.

1961: First formal dance.

1966 June 6: Construction began on a new north wing—18 instructional rooms and an arboretum. Most of the 1894 wing was demolished and a new auditorium, cafeteria, and two music rooms erected in its place. Significant conversions and extensive renovations to the existing building also completed. The cafeteria became a girls’ modern gymnasium; the girls’ old gymnasium was converted to new classrooms; several old classrooms to new administrative offices; a large group instruction room was incorporated into the old building.

1967: Extensive additions and renovations put the Arthur Lismer memorial mural—begun in 1925—at risk. The panels were rolled up and put into storage. Although preserved, parts of the original were trimmed because of the smaller space it would occupy on its return. (The school later began efforts to trace the missing parts.)

1972: Computers introduced as part of the curriculum.

1980: Extended French introduced.

1983: French Immersion introduced.

1992: Humberside’s centennial celebrated.

2002: A Video Hermes DVD now accompanied yearbooks.

2017 Nov 20-21: Reunion and celebration of 125 years.

Published history:
Humberside: The First Century 1892-1992. 175 pages. Includes detailed descriptions of many architectural features and the various additions to the building. Also contains highlights from the minutes of the West Toronto Board of Education 1892-1909, and a full description of the Arthur Lismer mural. NOTE: Full cataloguing information for this book is not listed. Two copies are available at Annette Street Public Library/

Humberside Collegiate Institute 125: 1892-2017. Prior, Tom and Karen Maguire, editors. 96 p. (Prepared for the 125th anniversary of 2017)

Humberside Heritage District: a proposal by the Humberside Residents Association in conjunction with the Quebec-Gothic Residents and Tenants Association. Bound copy; 23 pages. Presented to the Toronto Historical Board, 1975. Available at Annette Street Public Library; local history department.

Memorial to the forty-seven who died in The Great War (HCI-SS-a)

Memorials transcribed:
HCI-SS-a (WW I): Bronze memorial; first names followed by surnames: 1914—1918 / Humberside Collegiate Institute /in grateful memory of the students and former students / of this school who gave their lives in the Great War / that truth and liberty might prevail / Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori (There’s no greater honour than to die for one’s country.)

HCI-SS-b (WW II): Bronze memorial; first names followed by surnames: 1939—1945/Humberside Collegiate Institute / holds in grateful memory these students / who gave their lives in the World War 1939—1945 / Sleep in peace, slain in your country’s war.

HCI-SS-c (WWII): Large framed, illuminated-style poster. “Greetings from Humberside.” Eleven columns of signatures of students and staff of Humberside. Beneath the main body of signatures: Former Humberside Teachers; And Humber Sailors. The story of this poster is featured in a blog post “A “Rescued” Memorial: Humberside Sailors of WWII.”

HCI-SS-d: (WWI): Stained glass war memorial window. (21 feet by 9 feet). Nine panels, “This window is erected in honour of those who enlisted from Humberside Collegiate Institute in the Great War to defend justice and liberty.” Above: A mari usque ad marem 1914-1918. Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causa. (Humberside’s motto.) Fortunate is he who was able to know the cause of things. Left side: Ypres; St. Eloi; Somme; Vimy Ridge; Passchendaele; Right side: Amiens; Arras; Canal du Nord; Drocourt Queant; Cambrai. Symbols include: a knight beside a white horse; angels; Humberside crest; lamp of learning.

HCI-SS-e: (WWI): Three-part framed letter and explanation of letter written by Principal Colbeck to former students serving in The Great War.

HCI-SS-e (i) Humberside Collegiate Inst /Toronto / To our brave boys overseas: We send this little / box, with hearty Christmas greetings from teachers / and scholars. While we gather around the / Christmas hearth, you will sit by the camp- / fires; while we enjoy home comforts, you / will endure hardness as good soldiers; but / we hope that though far apart we shall share the Christmas spirit and good cheer. / You are doing much, we believe, even by / stern war, to bring the time when “Peace / on Earth, goodwill to man” will be more than / a pious wish. / We envy your manly part. Au revoir. / (signed) F. Colbeck


HCI-SS-e (iii) Flight Lieutenant Walter Gordon Coutts
The enclosed letter was sent to my brother Walter in England sometime before Christmas 1917. Walter was killed in England on Dec. 3, 1917, age 19. His body was returned to Canada and he was buried in Park Lawn Cemetery Jan. 11, 1918, with full military honours. This letter was returned to us along with Walter’s personal effects. I thought you might be interested in it. Jean Coutts McGonegal. NOTE: Jean Coutts unveiled bronze memorial (HCI-SS-a) on November 13, 1925.

Christmas 1917 letter found in the effects of WWI casualty Walter J. Coutts

Long Branch Continuation School (LBC-CS)

Location: 90 Thirty-First Street, Toronto (Etobicoke) Ontario, M8W 3E9 (3495 Lakeshore Boulevard West at Thirty-First Street)

Opened: 1914

Alternate or former names: School Section No. 12 Etobicoke (Note: S.S. No. 12 originally included the areas later designated S.S. No. 16, and part of S.S. No. 13); Lakeshore Public School; Lakeshore Public and Continuation School; Long Branch Public and Continuation School; Long Branch Public School; James S. Bell School

Pre-1998 municipality: City of Etobicoke

Type of school: Continuation

War memorial at James S. Bell (Long Branch Continuation) School, Toronto. ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

1871: James Eastwood purchased 500 acres of the Colonel Samuel Smith estate. The Colonel Samuel Smith Tract in Etobicoke stretched from Lake Ontario to Bloor Street, between what is now Kipling Avenue and Etobicoke Creek. The land was largely undeveloped and used for lumbering.

1883: James Eastwood sold the eastern part of the property to be developed as a summer resort, called in early years “Sea Breeze Park.” During the 1880s, as many as 50,000 vacationers visited. As transportation improved, cottages were converted to permanent residences. Soon, schools were needed.

1886 Oct 11: Plan M9 (with the new name of Long Branch Park) registered at the Land Titles Office. The name Long Branch possibly came from the well-known New Jersey resort of Long Branch. Today’s Long Branch is usually considered as stretching from 23rd Street, west to 43rd Street and Etobicoke Creek. The earlier Long Branch extended from just east of 33rd Street to west of 35th Street.

1889: First meeting to establish a school (School Section #12) for Long Branch and area. Horner school eventually built.

1914: Horner school (built 1889) over crowded. A new school built on Lakeshore Road at Thirty-First Street. While the school was being built, classes were held in Long Branch Baptist Church.

1915: A two-storey school built on the site which is now 3495 Lakeshore Boulevard West. It became known as Long Branch Public School, but was apparently also referred to as Lakeshore Public School. Two classrooms on the main floor. The second floor, not yet partitioned, was used as an auditorium for many community activities. Two playrooms in the basement — one for boys; one for girls. Children took their lunches and had hot chocolate prepared in the boiler room by Mrs. Ludlow, a parent. The large front lawn was flooded in winter to make a skating rink. In time, the second floor became two classrooms. Principal: Mr. McGrath; Teacher: Miss Murchison; Caretaker: Mr. Chavener.

1920: Six rooms added to the rear of the building.

1922: Board granted the request of a deputation of adults for evening classes up to the fifth form.

1923: Four rooms added to the front of the building.

1924: Long Branch Public School had grown to 14 rooms.

1926: Evident that Long Branch needed high school facilities. A front section was added for this — six classrooms; a board and staff room; a nurse’s office; a principal’s office.

1927: Continuation grades added. (Although Mimico High School was not too far away, residents wanted their own high school.) Upper School and Commercial subjects could be taught in both day and evening classes. School became Long Branch Public and Continuation School. James S. Bell hired to develop school into a strong educational institution.

1930: Long Branch incorporated as a village. “During the Depression Years, a number of youngsters went part way through public school and then just had to get out to help support their families. Grade six was not an uncommon leaving age. By the time kids like myself got to grade 13, there might be 15, 16 boys. And if they were organizing a football team and you were warm and breathing, you made the football team.” — Jack Davy, former student. (Quoted in: A Celebration of Excellence-Sauro.

1931: Long Branch secedes from Township of Etobicoke.

1946 Sept: Principal of Public School: Harvey H. Gibbs; Principal of Continuation School: O. Barkley.

1948: Kindergarten introduced.

1949: Remedial Reading, Art, Home Economics, and Industrial Arts added.

1950: Senior Boys Academic Vocational class began.

1950: Roll of Honour annual award for general proficiency sponsored by the Dr. Forbes Godfrey chapter I.O.D.E. established. (Framed list of names 1950-1961 hangs in front hall.)

1951: Long Branch becomes a part of the Lakeshore District Board. Continuation School moved to the new Collegiate in New Toronto. The Public School, which had been holding classes in basement rooms, the gymnasium, and three churches, moved into the vacated spaces. Rod Jack became principal; a secretary hired.

1951: Renamed for James S. Bell, who served the school from 1926 to 1946. (A photograph of Mr. Bell hangs near the war memorials.)

1954: Six kindergarten and five grade one classes moved into a new and final wing of the school.

1959: Elmer Yeandle became vice principal.

1962 Dec 31: Harvey Gibbs received 25-year service certificate.
1962: Violin lessons introduced.

1963: Physical Education introduced.

1967: Village of Long Branch joined the Etobicoke Board of Education.

Published history:
The Branch: [yearbook]. Toronto: Long Branch Continuation School, 1936. 1 volume, ill., ports.

Berry, Susan. A History of Education in the Lakeshore Area: Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch. Toronto: Wylie Press, [1966?] Unpaged.

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.

Memorials transcribed:
LBC-PS-a: (WWII): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / Long Branch Continuation School / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Six columns. Surnames followed by given names. Columns iii and iv are headed: Supreme Sacrifice (12 names in each column). Names from A – Stoll. 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.

LBC-CS-b: (WWII): Illuminated list designed by A.J. Casson. “For King and Country / Members of / [blank] / who have volunteered for active service / with / Canada’s fighting forces.” Four columns. Surnames followed by given names. Columns iii and iv are headed: Supreme Sacrifice (1 name in each column). Names from Storms – Yearsley; three names (not in order) added below Yearsley. 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.

Malvern Collegiate Institute (MCI-SS)

Over the main door of Malvern Collegiate Institute, sculptor Emmanuel Hahn’s “Fetters Sundered” honours Malvernites who died in the Great War ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Location: 55 Malvern Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4E 3E4 (North of Kingston Road; south of Gerrard Street East; between Main Street on the west and Victoria Park Avenue on the east)

Opened: 1903

Alternate or former names: East Toronto High School; Malvern Avenue High School; Malvern Avenue Collegiate

Pre-1998 municipality: Toronto (Town of East Toronto until 1908 annexation)

Type of school: Secondary

Malvern Collegiate Institute is Toronto’s third oldest school, after Jarvis and Parkdale collegiates. (Humberside Collegiate Institute was, at that time of its 1892 opening, in West Toronto Junction. West Toronto Junction did not amalgamate with Toronto until 1909.)
NOTE: The Archives Room (Room 202A) has specially-designed shelving units used to preserve and display the school’s artifacts, memorabilia, and publications. Until 2003, many records had been stored in a disused elevator shaft. The Malvern Red & Black Society (MRBS) has an active group of alumni volunteers who keep the school’s websites (listed below) up to date. Anyone interested in Malvern’s history and current or “decades” news should check the website regularly. David Fuller and Donna Halliday are doing extensive research on the war service of Malvernites. Much information is already posted and more will eventually be incorporated into an online archive. The school’s Onward Malvern Foundation—a charitable organization—funds “critical needs… which government funding cannot meet.” Band uniforms, musical instruments, fitness and sports equipment, and new auditorium seats are just a few of the items in this category.
Note on the name: The school is on Malvern Avenue, in the Toronto district known as “The Beach.” The neighbourhood of Malvern is approximately 16 km (9.9 miles) northeast of the collegiate, but the two have no connection.

East Toronto first developed as a railway centre for the Grand Trunk Railway (now the Canadian National Railway). A large roundhouse at Main and Danforth housed the steam engines for repairs and cleaning. The many neighbourhood men who worked as engineers, firemen, brakemen, conductors, and mechanics were notified about their runs by a “call boy,” who knocked on doors at any time of day or night. (There were no telephones.) A whistle at the roundhouse summoned the volunteer fire brigade, who pulled the hose wagon onto the street and hitched it to a horse. The first person to arrive with a horse was paid. Dr. Walters, at Main and Danforth, travelled by horse and buggy as far as Agincourt, Stouffville, Markham, West Hill, and Pickering to visit patients, recalled a Beach resident of the early 1900s. Malvern was the first high school in East Toronto. Before Malvern opened in 1903, in what is now called the “Upper Beach” area, students who attended high school had to travel to Jarvis Collegiate in Toronto, or to Markham High School.

1903 Sept 1: East Toronto High School opened in two rooms of the original Mary Street School (now Kimberley Public School) when that school moved to a new building on the same site. Two teachers; 42 students. School motto (chosen by first principal, F.W. French): Victrix Sapientia Fortunae (Knowledge is the Conqueror of Luck—more freely translated by Mr. French as: It is wisdom that wins success.) The first students and principal chose school colours of red, black, red. Team name: Black Knights.

1905: East Toronto Board purchased a site on Charles Street—renamed Malvern Avenue after the 1908 annexation by Toronto, which already had a Charles Street.

1906 Jan. 3: Three-storey school with four classrooms (two facing north; two facing south) opened. The third floor, lighted by dormer windows, was the assembly hall. There was an ornate entrance, and a tower with battlements (removed about 1925). Four staff; 128 students. First rugby team formed.

1908 Dec. 5: Town of East Toronto annexed to Toronto. Miss Lydia Barr (Modern Languages 1908-1930), Miss Harriet Ingram (English 1920-1952) and Miss Jessie Muirhead (Mathematics 1921-1953) were among the earliest female teachers and heads of departments at Malvern.

1909: School now under Toronto Board of Education.

1910 Jan 5: School renamed: Malvern Avenue High School.

1912: New south wing construction began. Included gymnasium; up-to-date science rooms; two new staff rooms with views of Lake Ontario.

1913: Construction completed; Malvern now classed as a collegiate.

1914 Jan: School formally renamed Malvern Collegiate Institute. Activities at Malvern turned to supporting the war effort shortly after World War I broke out in Europe. The girls knitted and took lessons in first aid. Approximately 154 students, including one female, enlisted, along with one teacher, Mr. Wood. Of these, 129 returned; 25 did not.

1914: South wing added.

A page from Malvern Collegiate’s Book of Remembrance. ©Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

1919: The “Maids of Malvern” adopted and for some years provided for French war orphan, Roger Barrère, whose father had been killed in the war.

1920: Graduates, students, teachers, and the community raised $3,400 (equivalent to $40,000 today) to erect the Boys of Malvern monument to those who died in the Great War.

1921 Sept: School-leaving age raised from fourteen to sixteen years.

1922: New north wing completed. First cafeteria opened. Newly-organized rowing crews won major championships for five successive years. Out-of-area students left Malvern when Scarborough Collegiate Institute opened.

1922 May 19: Dedication of the WWI memorial in front of the school. See: “Memorials transcribed” below.

1923: North wing added. Malvern rugby teams flourished under coach Ted Reeve. Glee club organized; school orchestra founded.

1924: Malvern’s yearbook, Muse, launched. A larger assembly hall and gymnasium not quite ready for use. Maids of Malvern amalgamated with the Y.W.C.A.

1925: Malvern Home and School Association founded. The Muse reported that the tower at the front of the school would be torn down.
1925-1929: West wing added. Rotary system (students changing classrooms) introduced.

1930: Introduction of vice-principal position. (Heads of department only until this time.)

1938: School added commercial courses to its previous strictly academic program.

1939: East wing with girls’ gymnasium, workshop, and economics room completed.
World War II (1939 to 1945): More than 1,100 graduates and students (male and female) and 13 teachers enlisted to serve in WWII. The students at home supported the war effort by buying war stamps and savings bonds, and sending boxes overseas at Christmas time. They raised enough funds to pay for a jeep which was a mobile canteen. After the war, the school raised $4,000. for memorials.

1940: Attendance: 1,490 Students.

1941: Guidance department started.

1942: Public Health nurse on site daily. Malvern now had more social activities than any other collegiate in Toronto—perhaps in Ontario.

1943-1945: No Muse published because of World War II.
1945: Student Council established.

1946: School now had 52 teachers and 3 secretaries. There were fifteen active student organizations. Muse discontinued after 1946 issue because of cost. (Revived in 1954.)
1946 Nov 29: Annual commencement program listed (on the front page) all Malvernites who had died on active service during the Second World War.

1948 Nov. 11: These Served, a book of remembrance for both World Wars) dedicated during special service; electric organ installed in the assembly hall. (See: “Memorials transcribed” below.)

1949: Malvern choir chosen to send program by transatlantic radio to France. Tennis championships won in 1949 and 1950.

1950: Girls’ Precision Drill Squad performed at the C.N.E. Grandstand. Choir featured on CBC Christmas broadcast. Student population decreased to about 900 students. Staff had 42 teachers and three secretaries.

1953 Oct 24: Fiftieth anniversary reunion drew 3,000 graduates. The school’s first principal, F.W. French, greeted the graduates of 1903 to 1909.

1953: New wing included a gymnasium and swimming pool. Between 1923 and 1953, Malvern teams won a total of 34 championships: Boys’ rugby (three levels)-16; Rowing-8; Boys’ hockey-4; Girls’ basketball-2; Boys’ tennis-2; Boys’ basketball-1; Track and Field-1

1954: Muse revived.

1955: Drama reintroduced. Hockey team won City Championship.

1964/66: Building modernized and renovated. Site increased to occupy a full block bounded by Malvern, Swanwick, Hannaford, and Lyall. A playing field and running track added.

1974: Malvern used three rooms in Adam Beck Public School for commercial classes.

1987 Mar: New two-storey addition of a library and cafeteria was added to the 1929 west “front” of the school. The World War I memorial statue was relocated above the central west entrance.

1998-2003: Malvern CI Centennial Committee active in planning Reunion and events.

2003 May 24: Malvern Centennial Reunion. Approximately 4,000 Malvernites attended.

2003 Sept: Formation of an Archives Committee discussed.

2004 Fall: Malvern Red and Black Society (MRBS) formed. Aim: “Keeping Malvernites in Touch.” Malvern Archives Committee established as a standing committee of the MRBS. A newsletter, Musings, established.

2005: Trip organized for students to visit war cemeteries in France where fallen Malvernites are buried. The students told about their trip at the Nov 11 Remembrance Day assembly, reestablished after several years of dormancy.

2010: Campaign to raise money for restoration of the WWI statue. Windows throughout the school replaced.

2011 Nov 4: Rededication of restored WWI statue. Relatives of the sculptor and of some of the veterans named on the statue attended. Two relatives of veterans read the names of the fallen. A 14-page booklet was prepared for the occasion.

2013: Celebration of 110th anniversary with a school-wide reunion.

Published history: (Copies still available by contacting the school.)
Malvern Centennial 2003. Edited by Vandra Masemann (Ward), Donna Halliday (Robb) and Paula Warder. Published by Malvern Collegiate Institute, 2003. 80 pp. ill. Includes names and dates of service of principals, vice principals, and teachers. Also sports championships; reminiscences of former students.

Malvern C.I. at 110: 1903-2013. Edited by Vandra Masemann, Donna Halliday; with the assistance of David Fuller, Sonya (Thomas) Munro and Paula Warder. Toronto: Red and Black Society, 2013. 78 pp. ill.

Malvern CI: 1914-1918 Memorial Rededication, November 4, 2011. Toronto: Malvern Collegiate Institute, 2011. 14 p. : ill. Includes centre spread photo of the 1922 dedication; biographies (and some photos) of those named on the memorial.

Malvern Collegiate Institute, 1903-1953. [Ingham, Harriet] c1953; 15 pp.
Muse. Yearbook begun in 1923-24 (discontinued from 1943-1945 because of World War II, and again between 1947-1953 because of lack of funds); revived in 1954 and continues to the present.

Musings. Bi-annual newsletter of the Malvern Red & Black Society.

Includes links to a Power Point presentation detailing the Great War memorial and students who died.

A page from Malvern Collegiate Institute’s “Big Book” of photos—those who served in the Second World War ©Toronto Branch OGS

Memorials transcribed:
MCI-SS-a: (WWI) “Fetters Sundered,” a 1922 sculpture by Emmanuel Hahn (1881-1957). A slightly larger than life-sized, male figure (in marble, on a limestone base) burying his sword in the ground to symbolize the end of the conflict, and holding up broken chains to signify freedom won by the names below. The statue sits outside the school’s second-floor library, on its own balcony, thrust well out from the wall of the school. The inscription on the face of the monument reads: To the Memory of / Those from This School / Who Laid Down Their Lives / In The Great War / 1914 – 1918 / Malvern Avenue / Collegiate Institute. Carved on the base are the names of 23 Malvern students killed in the war. The original hand-carved lead letters deteriorated over the years, and were restored with white cast letters. Originally dedicated May 19, 1922 by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, Colonel Henry Cockshutt. Prayers by The Rev. Canon William L. Baynes-Reed, DSO, priest at St. John the Baptist Norway Anglican Church. Rededicated November 2011 after restoration. The monument was frequently vandalized. Fund raising by Malvernites has restored it several times. Some of those who contributed to the 2011 restoration were: Toronto District School Board; Veteran Affairs Canada; PACE Credit Union; Maintenance and Skilled Trades Council, and the community.

NOTE: “These at the call of King and Country left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty,” reportedly appears on the back of the monument, but was not visible to our camera because of the current location of the statue.

MCI-SS-b: (WWI) and MCI-SS-c (WWII): These Served. This is one physical volume, but it is divided into two parts—one part for each World War. Hand-tooled red Morocco leather cover; approximately fifty-page book designed and bound by Madeleine Glenn Bennett. Inscribed and illuminated by Doris McCarthy. Both women were artists and graduates of Malvern. Dedicated Nov 11, 1948. Alphabetical order; surnames followed by given names. Those who died are listed in red; those who survived are in black. The missing also appear in red. Professional restoration of the book’s binding awaits funding (2015).

MCI-SS-d: (WWII) Malvern Students / Members of the Armed Forces / World War II. Known as “The Big Book.” Album of 504 photographs; alphabetical order; surnames followed by initials. On the back of each page is hand-written information about the person. Professional restoration of the book—which in some cases has taped-in information—awaits funding (2015).

MCI-SS-e: (WWII) Booklet “These Served 1939-45.” Lists all Malvernites who served during World War II. NOTE: These names are not entered into the For King and Country database. We will submit the names to TONI, a database of names from published sources. We did, however, add one name to our database: F. Harvey Farr, who notified Malvern on Mar 18, 2003, that his name had been omitted from this publication. He was the first Malvern student to enlist, and attended Malvern for three weeks only, because of his enlistment.

MCI-SS-f: (WWII) Staff, students, and parents of Malvern raised money to buy a memorial organ in honour of the Malvernites who served in World War II. Glenn Gould (Malvernite 1945-1951) played the electric organ at the dedication of the war memorial book on Nov 11, 1948. The fate of the organ is now unknown (2015).

MCI-SS-g: Maple Leaf flag sent to troops in Afghanistan, 2007; students signed their names in magic markers; flag returned to Malvern for Remembrance Day, 2008.

MCI-SS-h: Johnny Johnson Memorial Scholarship ($5,000. to a student with financial need) established by Sonya Munro, to honour her fiancé, who was shot down in the Burma Campaign, in November 1944. This scholarship was awarded until 2014. At the school’s November 11, 2005 Remembrance Day assembly, the war time romance of Sonya and Johnny—both had been Malvern students—was dramatized by students. Ms Monroe provided letters and a photo for a Power Point presentation.

Mimico High School (MHS-SS)

Mimico—place of the wild pigeons—remembered in a mosaic mural on the front of the old building

Location: 95 Mimico Avenue, Toronto (Etobicoke) Ontario, M8V 1R4 (east side of Royal York Road at Mimico Avenue)

Opened: 1924; closed 1988

Pre-1998 municipality: Etobicoke

Type of school: Secondary

Although Mimico High School closed in 1988, the original building and its five additions still stand. In 1993, John English (Elementary) School moved into the former high school. The former John English building became Mimico Adult Centre.

NOTE: Much Mimico High School history is now available online. Karen Jones manages an active (2018) website that features a complete collection of scanned year books—The Peptimist—1929 to 1988. The local newspaper published details of residents who enlisted during World War II. A Mimico High School Alumni Facebook account founded in May 2010 includes a Don Shebib documentary about activities surrounding a 1967 championship basketball game; and a 2005 interior/exterior walking tour of the MHS building—currently the site of John English Community School—by Sharon (Stewart) Kettlewell, who attended MHS from 1971 to 1975. High school entrance exam results of successful students were published in The Globe starting July 9, 1925. (Details below under: Published history; Website)

There were three distinct and independent “Lakeshore Municipalities” running east to west from Toronto: Mimico; New Toronto; Long Branch. (Mimico was the oldest.) All three municipalities—at different times—seceded from Etobicoke Township. In 1951, the three formed the Lakeshore District Board of Education. In 1967, the Lakeshore board amalgamated with the Etobicoke Board of Education, which in turn became part of the Toronto District School Board when Toronto evolved into a “megacity” of six amalgamated boards of education in 1998.

John English School moves into the former Mimico High School building, 1993. (Photo by Sharon Stewart Kettlewell)

Before European settlement, the land where the town of Mimico developed was the territory of the Mississauga, a sub-group of the Anishinaabe-speaking First Nations people. Mimico is situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in the south-west area of Toronto; the south-east corner of Etobicoke. Mimico is a Mississauga word meaning “place of the wild pigeons.” Huge flocks of the pigeons flourished in the area’s marshes and trees, until unrestricted hunting by pioneers—the birds were considered a cheap food source—led to their extinction. The last “passenger” pigeon died in the Cincinnati zoo in September 1914. Mimico’s boundaries are roughly—north: Queen Elizabeth Way; south: Lake Ontario; east: a line between Fleeceline Road and Louisa Street; west: a line through Dwight Avenue and St. George Street.

In 1823, John William Gamble opened a saw mill on the west side of Mimico Creek—which runs thirty-three kilometres (21 miles)—from Brampton to west of the Humber River’s mouth. Gamble was born in 1798 in the garrison at York, where his father, John Gamble, was the surgeon of the Queen’s Rangers. He married Mary Macaulay, whose father was also a doctor. The couple’s home was on the east side of Mimico Creek. The saw mill workers’ reputation for carousing on Sundays, led to the establishment of a local church as a stabilizing force. Gamble donated land for Christ Church Mimico (Anglican) which began in 1827, though services were held perhaps as early as 1823-24 in the Gamble home. Gamble conducted services until a priest became available. After the third church building—built in 1956—was badly damaged by two fires in 2006, the congregation worshipped with St. James Humber Bay, eventually forming a new parish, Christ Church St. James. The war memorials moved to the new church. The old cemetery is now a memorial garden near the Mimico GO station. The preserved church bell sits inside the grounds.

John Gamble later had a long career in municipal and provincial politics. Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Baptists formed congregations within Mimico’s growing population; businesses developed and the community flourished. Other founding families—mostly farmers—were the Van Everys (Loyalists); the Hendrys; the Stocks.

Lakeshore Road (sometimes Lake Shore Road) connected Mimico to the rest of the province, and by 1826 stagecoaches travelled along it from York (Toronto) to Niagara. Hotels built along the water drew business from Toronto day trippers as well as long distance travelers.

1855: The first Mimico train station was established on the northwest side of the tracks kitty-corner to Christ Church on Royal York Road (formerly Church Street). Mimico was advertised as being “eight minutes” from Toronto by train.

1856: Town of Mimico established by subdivision (though not sub-divided until 1911).

1858: First Mimico postal station opened.

1890s: Wealthy families such as Loblaw and McGuinness had built large summer estates along the sandy beaches by this time.

1905: Mimico became a police village.

1910 June 10: York County council granted the request of the police village of Mimico to become a village. Population in 1909 was 1,100.

1911: Mimico became a village. Mimico Public School Board formed.

1923/4: Mimico High School Board formed.

1924 Sept: Mimico High School opened on the north east corner of Royal York Road and Mimico Avenue. The eight-roomed, two-storey brick building was the first secondary school in Etobicoke. Before this, students planning to attend high school travelled into Toronto to Parkdale Collegiate Institute. The ceilings were ornamented plaster with square patterns. The original cost was $160,000. Over the years there were five additions to the school. The first principal, E.H. Glenn, remained until 1946. Motto: Signum Fidei (Sign of Faith). School team: Marauders. School colours: red, white, and black. George Mallen (class of 1969) designed a school crest/logo.

1924 Dec 19: Mimico High School formally opened by Hon. Dr. Forbes Godfrey. Mayor John Doughty presided over an evening of entertainment, scholarship prizes and awards, and a dedication by Rev. H.O. Tremayne. Students and hundreds of Mimico ratepayers attended. The mayor announced that a commercial course would be added to the curriculum the next year, with provision already made for the purchase of typewriters.

1925 May 11: The school advertised for French, girls’ physical training, and commercial teachers.

1925 July 9: The school began the tradition of publishing high school entrance examination results of successful students in The Globe.

1925 Oct 17: Second annual field day held at Memorial Park.

1927 Feb 26: At commencement exercises, Principal Glenn reported that the school now had 312 students (an increase over the previous year’s two hundred). Attendance was 94 to 97 per cent. The percentage of students passing was the second highest in the province.

1927 Mar 17: The contract for an eight-room addition and enlarged auditorium awarded to Mimico contractor George L. Sayce. Cost $72,000. The work began that day. Work to be done by local labour and finished by August 27.

1940: Mimico Board of Education formed.

1939–1945 (World War II): Throughout the war years, much information about the local contribution to the war effort—and the efforts to keep track of all students and staff who enlisted— appeared in The Advertiser, Mimico & New Toronto. Below are a few examples of war news and the village’s efforts to keep track of all who had enlisted:

1943 March 25: Daily the Mimico High School Honour Roll adds new names of students and teachers in uniform; daily the energy and talents of the students further Canada’s war effort. The names of four hundred and fifteen teachers and students in service appear on the Honour Roll listed below. The school is anxious to get a complete list and asks anyone to send the name and address of any Mimico High School student not recorded. The school number is Zone 6-844.

1943 April 1: The Advertiser: The War Service Club of Mimico High School thanks the Advertiser for help in keeping up-to-date their Honour Roll list.

1943 April 22 and 29: Headline in The Advertiser: These Boys Are Fighting for Us. War bond ads featured small photos with names and addresses below of enlisted service people that lived within the newspaper’s circulation area. Several hundred listed.

1945 Nov 2: The Advertiser had a ‘Welcome Lakeshore Warriors’ weekly column listing names, rank, and municipal addresses of returning service people. “Parents are asked to advise the Advertiser of any service man’s return. Story and picture will be printed on request.”

Bell from H.M.C.S. “Mimico” displayed at a local Royal Canadian Legion

1951: Three separate neighbouring boards of education: Mimico, New Toronto, and Lakeshore joined to form a new Lakeshore District School Board.

1957: An addition included separate boys’ gym; girls’ gym.

1967 Jan 1: The Towns of Mimico and New Toronto, the Village of Long Branch, and the Township of Etobicoke amalgamated to form the Borough of Etobicoke. A new Board of Education for the Borough of Etobicoke was elected.

1983: Etobicoke became a city. The board of education became the Board of Education for the City of Etobicoke.

1988 June: Mimico High School officially closed because of declining enrolment. Students moved to neighbouring secondary schools: New Toronto Secondary School (later Lakeshore Collegiate Institute); Etobicoke Collegiate Institute; Etobicoke School of the Arts.

1993 Apr 9: John English Junior/Middle School moved into the Mimico High School building. The former John English building became Mimico Adult Centre for skills upgrading and English classes.

1997 Dec 31: The Board of Education for the City of Etobicoke ceased to exist, and became part of the Toronto District School Board.

Published history:
Currell, Harvey. The Mimico Story. Mimico, Ontario: Town of Mimico and Library Board, 1967.

Given, Robert A. Etobicoke Remembered. Toronto, Ont.: Pro Familia Publishing, 2007.
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.

(The Lakeshore/Mimico) Advertiser (A weekly paper begun in 1917 under publisher Edwin Ealand. Featured news from Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch, and nearby small communities. Shipped to Parkdale for press runs of about 100 the first year, as there were was no area printer. Price: three cents a copy.)

Web sites: This website includes: The Peptimist (yearbook) 1929-1988, by kind permission of Karen Jones; The Magpie, a play performed in 1927.

Mimico High’s yearbook project—organized by Karen Jones—research and reminiscence treasures

Memorials transcribed:
MHS-SS-a (WWII): Book of Remembrance: Bound book; black cover with gold lettering; gold outline around the perimeter: Mimico / High School / Roll of / Honour / 1939-1945. Title page has a gold sword (blade facing down) and the words: Mimico / High School / Roll of Honour / 1939-1945. (Separate page): This book / commemorates with / pride the contributions of / over nine hundred members / of the Alumni of / Mimico High School / who served in the Armed / Forces of their Country / during / The Second World War, / 1939-1945. The frontispiece has a quotation: Here dead lie we / because we did not choose / to live, and shame the land / from which we sprung. / Life, to be sure / is nothing much to lose / but young men think it so / and we were young / A.E. Houseman. The following pages / record the names of Sixty-three Mimico men and women who / made the Supreme / Sacrifice. (Last page) This book / was Designed and Lettered / by E.G. Tomkinson / and bound / by / Robert Muma / Toronto / 1975. Fifty-three (numbered) pages. Only the pages listing the survivors are numbered. The pages listing those who died are not numbered. Alphabetical by surnames, followed by given names or initials.

WWII memorial book includes the branch of service for most Mimico students

NOTE: The Book of Remembrance is displayed in a lift-top desk under a glass lid. Assuming that the book was originally kept in the school, it is now in its third position. It was in Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3 (Sir Winston Churchill) on 150 Eighth Street, Etobicoke until that branch amalgamated with Branch 210 (Col. J.E.L. Streight) on Jutland Road, Etobicoke to form the new Branch 643 (Flight Lieutenant David Hornell VC) 110 Jutland Road address.

MHS-SS-b-i (WWII): Ship’s Bell: H.M.C.S “Mimico” 1944. Framed description: Mimico. Named after a town now part of Toronto, Mimico was laid down as HMCS Bulrush but was transferred to the RCN and commissioned on February 8, 1944 at Sunderland, U.K. On April 18, after working at Stornoway, she arrived at Oban, Scotland, where she was assigned to Western Approaches Command for escort duty in connection with the invasion. She arrived off the Norman beaches with a convoy on the day after D-Day. She remained on escort duty in the Channel, assigned briefly in September to Portsmouth Command and in October, to Nore Command, based at Sheerness. In February and March, 1945, she refitted at Chatham, then returned to Sheerness and resumed her previous role until late in May, when she left the U.K. for the last time. She was paid off on July 19, 1945 and laid up at Sorel. Sold for use as a whale-killer, she entered service in 1950 as Olympic Victory but passed into Japanese hands in 1956 and was renamed Otori Maru No. 12. She was last listed in Lloyd’s Register for 1962-63.

MHS-SS-b-ii: Large framed black and white photo. Small metal plaque: H.M.C.S. Mimico / Flower Class / Corvette.

MHS-SS-b-iii (WWII): Small brass plaque on wood: Feb. 21st, 1988 / This ship’s bell is dedicated to / the officers and ship’s company / who served aboard the / H.M.C.S. Mimico, during W.W. II, / in the service of King and Country.

MHS-SS-iv (WWII): Small wooden plaque with etching on black metal: H.M.C.S. Mimico (outline of ship encircled by a knotted rope) Reunion 88 / presented to / Branch 217 / Royal Canadian Union / for / Their hospitality and generosity / from / The officers and ship’s company / H.M.C.S. Mimico / September 1st, 1988.

NOTE: The ship’s bell has had at least two locations: The first was at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3 (Sir Winston Churchill) on 150 Eighth Street, Etobicoke. When that branch amalgamated on March 11, 2017 with Branch 210 (Col. J.E.L. Streight) at 110 Jutland Road, Etobicoke to form the new Branch 643 (Flight Lieutenant David Hornell VC) at the Jutland Road address, the bell display was moved there. We do not know if the bell was ever displayed at Mimico High School.