Bloor West Villager
It’s not every day that an elementary school turns 100 let alone 125 years old.
Yet, Brock Public School has stood the test of time in more ways than one. It was in 1887 that the kindergarten to Grade 8 school opened in the Dufferin and College streets area. Comprised of just four classrooms, it had four teachers and a student population of 202.
Graduate Leo Darmitz, who attended Brock from 1945 to 1952 and still has a soft spot for his old alma mater, says the school was one of the first in Toronto to have an intercom system and a library. Its principal W.T. Martin, at the helm from 1936 to ’47, was instrumental in creating the Toronto school board’s library system, said Darmitz, who has been researching the school’s history in recent years. His efforts have been key in organizing 125th anniversary celebrations, which includes a day of festivities on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the school.
The goal of the anniversary committee, according to principal Victor Tran, is to celebrate not only the past and how far the school has come, but also the present while looking toward the future.
“What makes Brock special is our focus on environmental literacy. For us, we’re very environmentally focused. We’ve got the only rooftop garden in the city. My students, they’re social justice advocates,” said Tran, citing Halloween for Hunger and its annual Terry Fox Run.
Tran credits the school’s partnerships with its parents and the local community, with organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Bloor/Gladstone Library and New Horizons Tower seniors’ residence.
“This has been such a journey,” Tran said of anniversary preparations. “We’ve been counting it down.”
On Friday, Nov. 23, the school hosts a cake-cutting reception to celebrate the opening of a 25-year old time capsule and will bring in new items to bury a new one to be opened in 2037.
Chair of the anniversary committee, Marie MacCormack, whose son is in Grade 1 at the school, said preparations began with reaching out to alumni.
“We cast a net as wide as we could to build a diverse committee,” said MacCormack. “For me, my passion for the project is the future of the school. It’s a beautiful, community-based school – you don’t have to look for an elementary school elsewhere. This is a fantastic school with wonderful teachers and fantastic community partners.”
In honour of Brock’s 125th, the public is invited on Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to participate in history, games, art, music and food. The event boasts a ‘room of memories,’ a guided neighbourhood tour, a food sampling, period games and guided school tours among a long list of activities.
For more information, call 416-393-9245 or visit www.facebook.com/groups/125BROCKPS/