On November 22, 1970, a provincial plaque was unveiled on the grounds of the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse to commemorate this one-room Gothic Revival-style brick schoolhouse. A bilingual replacement plaque was installed in June 2009, following the transfer of the ownership and operation of the schoolhouse to the Ontario Heritage Trust in March 2008.
ENOCH TURNER SCHOOLHOUSE
In 1849, this building opened as Ward Street School, Toronto’s first free school. Enoch Turner, a wealthy local brewer, financed the construction and operation of this school on land donated by Little Trinity Church. Its students were neighbourhood children of poor immigrant families, many of whom were Irish. The Toronto Board of Education assumed responsibility in 1851 when municipally funded education was adopted, and renamed it Trinity Street School. In 1859, the school moved to a new location and this structure and property were returned to Little Trinity Church. Following the addition of the west wing in 1869, the building served as a Sunday school and community hall. Threatened with demolition in the late 1960s, the Gothic Revival schoolhouse was saved and restored by concerned citizens including architect Eric Arthur. It re-opened as a museum in 1972 and remains the oldest school structure in Toronto.