History

Niagara Street Public School was built in 1874. (In 1999 we celebrated our 125th anniversary!). This is the oldest picture we have of the original school building. The woman in the top left corner is the Principal at that time. This picture was taken just as the school was being rebuilt into its current form. Interestingly, the builders knocked off the exterior, but left quite a bit of the original interior of the building intact.

Then...

When they were done rebuilding it looked like this. Not that different from the way it looks today.

And now...

Historically the school has been a receiving island for the multitude of ethnic groups that settled in the city core. The Niagara area was an industrial centre for the growing city. School records give evidence of early Irish, Jewish and other Eastern European influences.

Our daycare is called Garrison Creek Daycare. Garrison Creek was a stream that ran from its source near Vaughn Road, all the way south through Trinity Bellwoods and Stanley parks, along part of Niagara Street and had its mouth at Lake Ontario –just east of Fort York, where the military garrison was stationed. It is said that at that time, the mouth of the creek was suitable for mooring a few small boats.

In the 1880 the City of Toronto decided that it wanted to build straight city streets and work was started sending the Garrison Creek into an underground sewer system. There’s no longer much evidence of Garrison Creek above ground, but the Discovery Walk Trail traces its path through the city. Garrison Creek was home to lots of wildlife and this is commemorated along the eastern sidewalk of Stanley Park and the stretch of Crawford Street in the northern part of Trinity Bellwoods park.

Calling All Historians!

If you’re reading this history section then perhaps you’d like to help us with the school history archive. We have a lot of interesting historical material about Niagara but it needs compiling and we’d like to produce a computer database. Interested in lending a hand? Please e-mail  : niagara.parentcouncil@gmail.com.