Photo© Ontario Heritage Trust
Welcome to the website of the Foundation whose mission it is to foster the memory of the oldest free school in Toronto and the man who was responsible for its existence, Enoch Turner.
Our mission is also to help the Ontario Heritage Trust to preserve the Schoolhouse in its original condition, so that it will continue to inspire thousands of visitors every year.
Did you know that the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse has operated nearly continuously since it was first built in 1848? And not just as a schoolhouse!
After closing as a schoolhouse in 1859, the space was continuously used as a Parish Hall for Little Trinity Church.
In 1899 it became a Boer War recruitment centre.
In the 1930s it operated as a soup kitchen, serving nearly 1500 people a week.
In the 1960s it became a notable location for performance events and youth programs.
And finally, thanks to architect Eric Arthur and local citizens, it was restored into a museum in 1972.
We hope you come and visit our space soon!
We are very excited to announce that our Special Lecture delivered by James Thompson will be available VIA ZOOM! On September 15th at 6PM simply click the link below to join us.
Join Zoom Meeting:
*Presentation will run approximately one hour with a Q&A included.
Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is located in an area of Toronto named Corktown, but why is it called that?
Located North of the Gardiner and in between Parliament and Don Lands, Corktown became home to many Irish immigrants fleeing to Toronto during the potato famine in the 1840s. Many of the Irish residents came from a country in the South of Ireland called Cork (now Eire).
Corktown is also home to Little Trinity Anglican Church, which is Toronto’s oldest surviving church building, from 1843.
Did you know that the same architect who designed the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse also contributed to many other notable buildings in Toronto?
Henry Bowyer Lane was an English architect who came to Toronto in 1843 and began to design some of the city’s most recognizable buildings. You don’t have to go too far from the schoolhouse before you encounter St. Lawrence Market and Osgoode Hall.
Next time you are at St. Lawrence Market, don’t forget to visit the Market Gallery. This space was designed by Henry and was home of the first City Hall!
Did you know that August 7th is International Beer Day!?
No only was our beloved Enoch Turner a generous gentleman and advocate for education, he also owned a brewery.
Located at Parliament Street and what is now Front Street, Enoch’s brewery had a stone cellar, a malt kiln, a granary, ice house, stable, kitchen garden, “grapery,” and paddock. At the time, a city plan valued the property at 6,651 pounds (approx. 1.2 million dollars now).
Enoch was regarded as a very giving and compassionate man, which included sharing his beer with his horses at the end of a long day!
We know you can’t visit us right now, but we hope you don’t forget about us!
Tune in every Friday in August for our favourite fun facts about Enoch Turner and Toronto’s first public schoolhouse. We hope these will entice you to come and visit us soon.
For now, meet Enoch Turner, a successful business man from Staffordshire, England. Turner moved to Toronto in 1830 and made a lasting impression on our city. He is known for opening a schoolhouse for all, but what many don’t know is that in 1849, he contributed generously to an endowment fund establishing, as a non-denominational institution, what later became the University of Toronto.
We can thank Enoch Turner for his generous contributions to public school in Toronto.
Stay happy and healthy!
Almost everyone attends school in Canada, but struggles around educational access and equity continue to the present day.
A new four-part, Enoch Turner Schoolhouse series, Opening the Schoolhouse to All, explores the historical foundation of current policies linked to race, gender and disability in the classroom. A final session on higher education probes the purpose and value of liberal education. Scheduled speakers include Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education at York University; Margaret Spoelstra, President, Autism Ontario; Lorna Marsden, President Emerita, York University; and Kathleen Wynne, former premier of Ontario.
The series begins in November 2020 and concludes in January 2021.
Check back for more details soon!
We are very excited to share a look into our project refurbishing the desks in our Schoolroom!
Did you know that our current desks are made out of 150 year old growth Ontario Pine? The wood will be reclaimed and restored for a fresh look.
We are very thankful to the group of volunteer carpenters at Westfield Pioneer Village for their dedicated work on this project.
We hope to see these desks used for generations of school visitors to come! Come back soon for more updates.
We are very excited to share the topic of our 2020 Annual General Meeting and Special Lecture.
More details will follow once a date has been confirmed and public gatherings are permitted by the City of Toronto.
We wish everyone well in these unprecedented times.
The Enoch Turner Schoolhouse has suspended all public-facing activities until April 5, 2020 to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, partners and staff, we will continue to protect and conserve Ontario’s heritage and share our stories here.
Our goal remains to provide the best service possible throughout this challenging time. Please continue to check our website for the most up-to-date information. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.
To view the latest information from the Government of Ontario on COVID-19, please see ontario.ca/coronavirus.