Dr. William W. Ogden served as member of the Toronto School Board for 43 years, and was the Chairman of the Board in 1876, 1877, and 1908. Ogden was born in 1866, one year before Confederation, and died in Toronto in 1910.
Dr. Ogden’s name remains alive today in the city of Toronto as the school at 33 Phoebe Street is named after him. Phoebe Street is located on the east side of Spadina Avenue, two blocks north of Queen Street, almost directly across from where the Ogden mansion was once located.
The first school built on Phoebe Street opened on 16 April in 1855, and was named Phoebe Street School. In that year, the Queen/Spadina area was heavily residential, and the school soon became one of the largest in the city. An addition was added to the structure in 1868, and another in 1890. In 1905, a fire damaged a section of the school, and it was decided to build a new school rather than repair the old. The new school opened in 1907 and was renamed Ogden Public School, in honour of Dr. Ogden.
The above photo of Ogden Public School was taken in 1907, the year the school opened. However, as the neighbourhood surrounding the school became less residential and increasingly commercial and industrial, enrolment declined. The impressive old building was eventually demolished, and a new 14-room school was opened on 12 December 1957. Today, the school maintains an excellent reputation and possesses a “naturalized playground” for its pupils. It is a delight to behold during the months when it displays its greenery, an oasis within the city’s mainly concrete environment.
The Ogden Public School of today, is tucked behind the busy intersection of Queen and Spadina.