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Second Street J.M. School

May 21, 2020 (0) comment

As early 1947, shortly after Fifth Street Public School burned down, the New Toronto School Board was under pressure to build a new school on the Dwight Avenue site.  The site had been reserved for 20 years for a new vocational school, and in April 1947 ratepayers had voted down the spending of $1.2 million dollars for a high school when the need for a public school was so overwhelming.  With Fifth Street gone, the elementary students were cramped in the gymnasium of Seventh Street and in the church hall of St. Margaret’s.  There were even discussions of re-roofing the main floor of the Fifth Street building (rejected because there would not be enough space for the growing population).  On April 2nd, the reeve of the town was quoted as saying:

“Make up your minds in 30 days to build a new public school or lose the [Dwight Ave] site,” was the edict issued by members of council to the public school board at a joint meeting of public and high school boards last night.  “Every day the town is besieged with offers to buy the Dwight Ave. site reserved for school purposes,” said Reeve W.E. MacDonald.  “We have given the board 30 days to make up its mind, and if they don’t reach a decision, I’m going to move that the property be sold to returned men.”  (Toronto Star, 2004/04/02)

Within a week, plans for the new public school for Dwight Avenue were received by the Board of Education.  The plans included nine classrooms, a home economics room, kindergarten, a large playroom which could be used as an assembly or concert room, principal’s office, teachers’ rooms, nurse’s room, storage and washroom facilities at an estimated cost of $286,000.00.  By April 25th, council had accepted a proposal to trade the Fifth Street site for the Dwight Avenue site to erect the new public school, with the provision that a new site would be selected for the vocational school.  The town originally proposed that the Fifth Street site be used for a playground, but it soon became the town hall.

This type written letter from the Town of New Toronto to Doreen Baycroft is rather interesting. Maple Boulevard is the new street in 1950 that was developed from the land set aside for the new Second Street School. It runs between 2nd Street and Dwight Avenue, immediately south of the school grounds. The funds from the sale of these properties and income from new taxes would help supplement the costs of the new school. There were 2 apartment buildings and 9 houses planned there. The Baycroft’s were purchasing one property where they would build their own home at 9 Maple Boulevard. The purpose of the letter was to solicit $20.00 from each property owner for payment to conceal power wiring underground. It’s interesting historically also because the letterhead shows the notice of address change for Town Hall where 5th Street school once stood. Maple Boulevard was a street name recommended by Gordon Baycroft and accepted by vote of council.

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