Explore the history of the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse! The Ontario Heritage Trust has created a series of videos showcasing the student experience in Mrs. Henderson’s Victorian classroom. Learn more about the evolution of public education in Ontario.

Featured video

Welcome to the schoolhouse! Take a tour of the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse with Mrs. Henderson, the schoolmarm, as she walks you through the history of the school, the neighbourhood and the state of education in Victorian Toronto.

Mrs. Henderson’s classroom

If you were a student in Victorian Corktown, you might have gone to the Ward School. Today, we know it as the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. But from 1848 to the late 1850s, this school served working-class children as the first free school in Toronto, providing important education that children might not otherwise have received. Here, you can join Mrs. Henderson – who taught at the schoolhouse in the 1850s – as she goes about the lessons and rules that students had to follow in her classroom.

Mrs. Henderson's classroom: Washing up video
Mrs. Henderson's classroom: The stove video
Mrs. Henderson's classroom: Writing implements video
Washing up. Learn about the important morning ritual that all students had to follow at the schoolhouse – washing their hands!
The stove. Learn about another important part of a schoolhouse – the stove! In the days before central heating, getting a good spot close to the stove was essential.
Writing implements. Enjoy Mrs. Henderson’s elegant handwriting while she explains the tools that students wrote with during a school day.
Mrs. Henderson's classroom: Abacus video
Mrs. Henderson's classroom: Roman numerals video
Abacus. You might have seen one of these before, but how do they work? Mrs. Henderson explains the rules of working the abacus – the calculator’s ancestor.
Roman numerals. It’s not something you’ll learn today, but in the 1850s, Roman numerals were everywhere and all students needed to know how to read and write them.

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