Sackville Street Public School – Today’s Inglenook Community School

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June 14, 1978 – Looking northwest towards Sackville Street Public School, today the Inglenook Community School, in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood. Built in 1887, it's Toronto’s oldest school building that has been in continuous use
June 14, 1978 – Looking northwest towards Sackville Street Public School, today the Inglenook Community School, in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 62, Item 81)

Originally known as Sackville Street Public School, today’s Inglenook Community School is located at 19 Sackville St and Eastern Ave (on the northeast corner) in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood.

Sackville Street Public School History

The school was built in 1887 and designed by William George Storm, a well-known Toronto architect. The building has a simple Victorian style and cost approximately $19,400 to construct. In addition, the south portion of the school’s property was purchased for $5,544 from Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, who had been living at the site since the mid-1830s.

The school was built to replace Enoch Turner School and the Palace Street School and quickly became popular, with enrolment increasing from 49 to 269 in just one year. Mrs Georgina Stanley Riches, who had previously been the principal of Palace Street School, became the first Head Mistress of Sackville Street Public School and stayed in that position until her retirement in 1912.

By September 1974, enrollment at Sackville Street Public School had dropped to less than 45 students. The decline in attendance is believed to have been due to the construction of the Adelaide St E and Richmond St E ramps to the Don Valley Parkway, which led to the demolition of many nearby homes. The resulting loss of community members and families led to a significant drop in the number of students attending the school.

In September 1975, the Toronto Board of Education opened a French-speaking school called Gabrielle-Roy Public School in the empty rooms of Sackville Street Public School due to the surplus of space available.

Sackville School is Dismissed

The last regular public school term for Sackville Public School was in June 1977, with only 11 students enrolled. Former students organized a reunion that same month, which around 400 people attended. During the reunion, a heritage plaque was unveiled to commemorate the school’s history. Later that year, in the fall of 1977, the school reopened as a French-language school with an enrolment of about 500 students. The building quickly became too small, and Gabrielle-Roy Public School moved to a larger location.

From the late 1970s to the 1980s, the old Sackville Public School building served as the Wandering Spirit Survivor School, which focused on preserving native culture.

Inglenook Community School

April 4, 2023 - Looking northwest from Eastern Ave and Sumach St towards Inglenook Community School, originally Sackville Street Public School, in the Corktown neighbourhood of Toronto. Also visible in the photo is the linear artwork called Site Specific created by Scott Eunson and Marianne Lovink in 2015 for Waterfront Toronto. It pays tribute to the area’s history, from the end of the last ice age to the present day
April 4, 2023 – Looking northwest from Eastern Ave and Sumach St towards Inglenook Community School, originally Sackville Street Public School, in the Corktown neighbourhood of Toronto

Since the late 1980s, the building has been home to Inglenook Community School. It’s a small alternative community high school that centres around the arts and offers Grade 10, 11 and 12 programs. The school has a strong sense of community, with teachers, parents, and students involved in decision-making.

The building has retained much of its original architectural style and is Toronto’s oldest continuously used school building.

Did You Know?

  • The building received heritage designation from the city in 1974.
  • It was known as Sackville Street Public School for nearly 90 years.
  • From 1834 until 1890, the south portion of the school’s property was home to Thornton and Lucie Blackburn. The couple escaped enslavement in Kentucky and made Toronto their home. The Blackburns operated Upper Canada’s first cab service, helped build Little Trinity Anglican Church, contributed to various initiatives to assist other freedom-seekers and in 1999, became National Historic Persons.
  • In 1985, the schoolyard was Canada’s first archaeological dig on an Underground Railroad site. It uncovered the foundations of the Blackburns’ barn, as well as other artifacts like buttons, bottles, and marbles.

Sackville Street Public School/Inglenook Community School Photos

June 14, 1978 – Looking northwest towards Sackville Street Public School, today the Inglenook Community School, in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood. Built in 1887, it's Toronto’s oldest school building that has been in continuous use
June 14, 1978 – Looking northwest towards Sackville Street Public School, today the Inglenook Community School, in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood. Built in 1887, it’s Toronto’s oldest school building that has been in continuous use (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 62, Item 81)
April 4, 2023 - Looking northwest from Eastern Ave and Sumach St towards Inglenook Community School, originally Sackville Street Public School, in the Corktown neighbourhood of Toronto. Also visible in the photo is the linear artwork called Site Specific created by Scott Eunson and Marianne Lovink in 2015 for Waterfront Toronto. It pays tribute to the area’s history, from the end of the last ice age to the present day
April 4, 2023 – Looking northwest from Eastern Ave and Sumach St towards Inglenook Community School, originally Sackville Street Public School, in the Corktown neighbourhood of Toronto. Also visible in the photo is the linear artwork called Site Specific created by Scott Eunson and Marianne Lovink in 2015 for Waterfront Toronto. It pays tribute to the area’s history, from the end of the last ice age to the present day
February 10, 2024 - The south side of Inglenook Community School at 19 Sackville St in Toronto. From 1887 until the late 1970s, it was called Sackville Street Public School
February 10, 2024 – The south side of Inglenook Community School at 19 Sackville St in Toronto. From 1887 until the late 1970s, it was called Sackville Street Public School
February 25, 2024 - Looking northeast towards Inglenook Community School in the Corktown neighbourhood. The memorial in the foreground is dedicated to Lucie and Thornton Blackburn. From 1834 until 1890, the site had been home to the couple who escaped enslavement in Kentucky. The Blackburns established Upper Canada's first cab service. Thornton stored the cab in a barn that once stood marked by brick pavers
February 25, 2024 – Looking northeast towards Inglenook Community School in the Corktown neighbourhood. The memorial in the foreground is dedicated to Lucie and Thornton Blackburn. From 1834 until 1890, the site had been home to the couple who escaped enslavement in Kentucky. The Blackburns established Upper Canada’s first cab service. Thornton stored the cab in a barn that once stood marked by brick pavers
March 3, 2021 – A stone relief carving "PUBLIC SCHOOL A. D. 1887." on the west side of Inglenook Community School, originally Sackville Street Public School
March 3, 2021 – A stone relief carving “PUBLIC SCHOOL A. D. 1887.” on the west side of Inglenook Community School, originally Sackville Street Public School
March 3, 2021 – The girls entrance of what was originally the Sackville Street Public School, built in 1887. Since the late 1980s, the building has been home to Inglenook Community School
March 3, 2021 – The girls entrance of what was originally the Sackville Street Public School, built in 1887. Since the late 1980s, the building has been home to Inglenook Community School
March 3, 2021 – Looking northwest toward what's known today as Inglenook Community School. Built in 1887 and originally the Sackville Street Public School, it was designed by architect William George Storm in a simple Victorian style
March 3, 2021 – Looking northwest toward what’s known today as Inglenook Community School. Built in 1887 and originally the Sackville Street Public School, it was designed by architect William George Storm in a simple Victorian style
February 25, 2024 - Looking northwest towards Inglenook Community School and grounds. Originally known as Sackville Street Public School, it fronts Eastern Ave, between Sackville St and Sumach St in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood. From 1834 to 1890, the south portion of the school's property site had been the home of Lucie and Thornton Blackburn
February 25, 2024 – Looking northwest towards Inglenook Community School and grounds. Originally known as Sackville Street Public School, it fronts Eastern Ave, between Sackville St and Sumach St in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood. From 1834 to 1890, the south portion of the school’s property site had been the home of Lucie and Thornton Blackburn
February 10, 2024 - The east and north sides of Inglenook Community School, formerly Sackville Street Public School. The school was built in 1887 to replace Enoch Turner School and the Palace Street School
February 10, 2024 – The east and north sides of Inglenook Community School, formerly Sackville Street Public School. The school was built in 1887 to replace Enoch Turner School and the Palace Street School
February 10, 2024 - The boys entrance of what was originally the Sackville Street Public School, built in 1887. Since the late 1980s, the building has been home to Inglenook Community School
February 10, 2024 – The boys entrance of what was originally the Sackville Street Public School, built in 1887. Since the late 1980s, the building has been home to Inglenook Community School
March 3, 2021 –  Looking east from Sackville St, just north of Eastern Ave towards the former Sackville Street Public School, today's Inglenook Community School
March 3, 2021 – Looking east from Sackville St, just north of Eastern Ave towards the former Sackville Street Public School, today’s Inglenook Community School
1972 – Looking northwest towards Sackville Street Public School, from Eastern Ave and Sumach St in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood. By the mid-1970s, enrolment at the school had dropped to less than 45 students. This was believed to have been due to the construction of the Adelaide St E and Richmond St E ramps to the Don Valley Parkway, which led to the demolition of many nearby homes resulting in a loss of community members
1972 – Looking northwest towards Sackville Street Public School, from Eastern Ave and Sumach St in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood. By the mid-1970s, enrolment at the school had dropped to less than 45 students. This was believed to have been due to the construction of the Adelaide St E and Richmond St E ramps to the Don Valley Parkway, which led to the demolition of many nearby homes resulting in a loss of community members (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 11, Item 4)
February 25, 2024 - Looking northwest from Eastern Ave and Sumach St towards the former Sackville Street Public School, today Inglenook Community School, in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood. The building was added to the city's heritage register in 1974
February 25, 2024 – Looking northwest from Eastern Ave and Sumach St towards the former Sackville Street Public School, today Inglenook Community School, in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood. The building was added to the city’s heritage register in 1974
1972 – Looking north towards Sackville Street Public School, from Eastern Ave and Sackville St in Toronto. It was known as Sackville Street Public School for nearly 90 years and is today called Inglenook Community School
1972 – Looking north towards Sackville Street Public School, from Eastern Ave and Sackville St in Toronto. It was known as Sackville Street Public School for nearly 90 years and is today called Inglenook Community School (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 19, Item 31)
February 25, 2024 - Looking north towards Inglenook Community School, formerly Sackville Street Public School, from Eastern Ave and Sackville St in the Corktown neighbourhood
February 25, 2024 – Looking north towards Inglenook Community School, formerly Sackville Street Public School, from Eastern Ave and Sackville St in the Corktown neighbourhood
February 25, 2024 - Looking northwest towards Inglenook Community School at 19 Sackville St. Inglenook is an alternative community high school that focuses on the arts and offers Grade 10, 11 and 12 programs. The heritage-designated building was originally Sackville Street Public School
February 25, 2024 – Looking northwest towards Inglenook Community School at 19 Sackville St. Inglenook is an alternative community high school that focuses on the arts and offers Grade 10, 11 and 12 programs. The heritage-designated building was originally Sackville Street Public School
March 13, 2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Sackville Street Public School 

"This school was designed in 1887 in a plain Victorian style by the eminent Toronto architect, W.G. Storm. It was the third school in the area, replacing the Enoch Turner School, 1848, and the nearby Palace Street School, 1859. By 1888 Sackville's initial enrolment of 49 pupils increased to 269. Mrs. Georgina Stanley Riches, formerly principal of Palace Street School, was first Head Mistress and served until 1912, when she ended a 37-year teaching career. This structure, Toronto's oldest school building having continuous use, has substantially retained its original architectural character."

Toronto Historical Board - 1977
March 13, 2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Sackville Street Public School

“This school was designed in 1887 in a plain Victorian style by the eminent Toronto architect, W.G. Storm. It was the third school in the area, replacing the Enoch Turner School, 1848, and the nearby Palace Street School, 1859. By 1888 Sackville’s initial enrolment of 49 pupils increased to 269. Mrs. Georgina Stanley Riches, formerly principal of Palace Street School, was first Head Mistress and served until 1912, when she ended a 37-year teaching career. This structure, Toronto’s oldest school building having continuous use, has substantially retained its original architectural character.”

Toronto Historical Board – 1977
1890 - Goads Map showing the location of Sackville Street Public School, today the Inglenook Community School on Sackville St, just north of Eastern Ave in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood
1890 – Goads Map showing the location of Sackville Street Public School, today the Inglenook Community School on Sackville St, just north of Eastern Ave in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood (Toronto Public Library)
1900 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address and principal of the Sackville Street Public School
1900 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address and principal of the Sackville Street Public School (Toronto Public Library)
SOURCE
  • City of Toronto Heritage Register: 19 Sackville St
  • Heritage Toronto: Sackville Street Public School plaque
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Sep 7, 1974, pg A10
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Oct 4, 1975, pg A6
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Jun 21, 1977, pg B2
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Feb 17, 1978, pg 3
  • Annual Report of the Inspector of the Public Schools of the City of Toronto, 1887, pg 107
  • Annual Report of the Inspector of the Public Schools of the City of Toronto, 1888, pg 7
  • TDSB: Inglenook Community School
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives & Toronto Public Library
  • Vintage Map: Atlas of the City of Toronto 1890 by Chas E Goad courtesy of Toronto Public Library
  • Toronto City Directory by Might Directories Ltd 1900 courtesy of Toronto Public Library

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