Islington Public School/Then and Now
Islington Junior Middle School is one of the oldest elementary schools in Toronto. It dates back to 1833 when the first schoolhouse was built in the future Islington community on the north side of today’s Dundas. Like many of its generation, it was a one room log cabin. Inside, one of the walls was painted black and used as a blackboard.
Fifty years later, a new school building was needed to service the growing community. The new school seen in this photo was designed in 1883 by William Tyrell on Canning Avenue, today’s Cordova Avenue. Tyrell was a local architect responsible for the 1844 design of St. George’s on-the-Hill Anglican Church also located in Islington. Tyrell also built a seven storey flour mill historically known as the “Old Mill.” Having suffered a fire in the 1860’s, remains of this mill can still be seen across from Etienne Brule Park.
Tyrell’s design for the new red brick schoolhouse then known as Islington Public School was simple, featuring Georgian windows. In those days, no artificial lighting was used, so students studied with natural sunlight alone. A wood stove heated the classroom. In those days, the boundaries for school attendance were much larger than they are today…from Lake Ontario to Eglinton Avenue (then known as Richview Sideroad). That school evolved into Islington Junior Middle School, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2008.