Ranked #17 of 83 Cultural in Toronto
Category: Historic Sites
Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is an historic site and museum owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust. The school was built in 1848,...
Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is an historic site and museum owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust. The school was built in 1848, when it was known as the Ward School. The original one-room school was established in 1848 by Enoch Turner, a wealthy brewer and philanthropist, to educate the children in the poor neighbourhood surrounding his brewery. Because many of the area's immigrant families were from County Cork in Ireland, the neighbourhood became known as Corktown – a nickname it still carries today.Turner supplied the funds to construct the Schoolhouse and the land was donated by the adjacent Little Trinity Church. In 1849, the school opened with space for 240 pupils and Turner paid for its operation for three years. It was the first free school in Toronto.In 1859, classes were relocated to the nearby Palace Street School at Palace Street (now Front Street East) and Cherry Street. The Trinity Street School and property were returned to Little Trinity parish, and from the 1860s to the 1960s the school served as a parish hall and Sunday school for the church. In addition, the School and hall served as a recruiting station during the Second Boer War and the World War I, and a soup kitchen during the Great Depression. Due to a severe fire at Little Trinity Anglican Church in 1961, the parish could no longer afford to care for the school building, and it fell into disrepair. By the late 1960s, the building was slated for demolition.To protect the building and raise funds for its restoration, a group of citizens together with members of the Little Trinity Church congregation set up the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse Foundation on October 8, 1970. The former Trinity Street School was renamed Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. After extensive interior and exterior renovations, the Schoolhouse opened as a living history site and conference and reception centre. In March 2008, the ownership and operation of the Schoolhouse were transferred to the Ontario Heritage Trust from the Foundation. The Enoch Turner Schoolhouse Foundation continues as an independent charitable organization, working with the Trust to support the programming and operation of the Schoolhouse. The museum is open for education programs by appointment and open to walk-in visitors during regular business hours.