Jarvis Collegiate Institute was the first public high school in Toronto. It’s located at 495 Jarvis St (at Wellesley St E) in the Upper Jarvis neighbourhood of Toronto.
The Home District Grammar School
Founded as the Home District Grammar School in 1807, the school began as a one-storey building attached to the headmaster’s home. It once stood at the southeast corner of King St E and George St and had 5 students. In 1812, John Strachan (the future first Anglican Bishop of Toronto) became headmaster. Over the decade and under his supervision, the school gained recognition for its education standards and graduates. From 1813 to 1816, the school was moved to a barn at Yonge and King Sts. In 1816, the “Old Blue School” was built on the northeast corner of Adelaide St E and Church St. Classes were attended at this location until 1829.
The First Jarvis Street Collegiate Institute
After a few moves and names changes along with increasing enrolment, the Jarvis Street Collegiate Institute opened in 1871. It was located on Jarvis St, just south of Carlton St. In the late 1800’s, the name was changed to Jarvis Collegiate Institute. It closed in 1924 when the school we know today opened.
The Present-Day School
Completed in 1924, the school was designed by Charles E C Dyson, the Chief Architect for the Toronto Board of Education. Created in Collegiate Gothic style, the architectural gem is symmetrical and features arched entrances with a projecting tower and cut stone oriel window bays. When Dyson passed away in 1960, he designed almost half of the junior and high schools built between 1920 to 1950.
Did You Know?
- Throughout the years, the school has had additions and updates. Notable grads from Jarvis CI include Roy Thomson and Conn Smythe.
- The historic school received heritage status in 1991. While the sites have changed, the school was founded over two centuries ago.
- The school was originally named after Jarvis Street. The street itself was named after the Jarvis family who once resided on the land.
Jarvis Collegiate Institute Photos
- City of Toronto Report: 495 Jarvis St
- Heritage Toronto (plaques)
- Jarvis Collegiate Institute: History
- Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives & Toronto Public Library & Archives of Ontario