Jesse Ketchum Junior and Senior Public School is located at 61 Davenport Rd (at Bay St, on the west side) in the Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto.
The Jesse Ketchum Schools
The first school was established in 1832 on land donated by Mr Ketchum. It was located at McMurrich St and Davenport Rd.
In 1856, Jesse Ketchum made a further land donation to the Village of Yorkville for a park and school. It was to be for a “free and common school.” The second structure and its various additions were replaced with the present-day school. The building was completed in the mid-1910s however due to WWI, it was converted into barracks for Royal Flying Corps recruits. It returned to the originally intended school use in 1920. By 1958, Jesse Ketchum School had 1,000 pupils in 31 rooms. That same year, a renovation and addition were completed and included a gym, science room, music room, art room, drama room, cafeteria and new lighting.
In 2002, the school was designated a heritage property by the City.
A Gentle and Benevolent Person
Born in New York state in 1782, Jesse Ketchum came to Canada in 1799. A tanner by trade, he owned and later donated what is today some of the country’s most expensive blocks bordered by Yonge, Adelaide, Bay and Queen Sts. Mr Ketchum’s home and tannery were on the northwest corner of Yonge and Adelaide Sts.
Along with gifting the land that the previous school, current school and park are built on, Mr Ketchum also helped establish churches and libraries in Toronto. The philanthropist set up trusts for school children that exhibited good behaviour and were diligent in their studies. In the 1840s, Jesse moved his tannery business to Buffalo, NY. He passed away in the Queen City (Buffalo) in 1867. Jesse Ketchum has schools and a street named after him in Buffalo too.
Jesse Ketchum School Photos
- City of Toronto Heritage Register: 61 Davenport Rd
- Heritage Toronto (plaques)
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Jesse Ketchum
- TDSB: Jesse Ketchum’s History
- Toronto Board of Education: Formal opening–Jesse Ketchum Public School, Monday, September 29th, 1958, 8 o’clock p.m.
- Landmarks of Toronto: Volume 5 by J Ross Robertson
- Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives, Toronto Public Library & Library and Archives Canada