In 1910, the children of the scattered but growing Bedford Park community were walking to what is now John Fisher School on Erskine Ave. A group of parents, feeling that the distance was too great for the younger children to walk, established a school in a church on Bowood Avenue. The ratepayers of the district soon began to demand a public school, and in September 1911, Bedford Park was opened on Ranleigh Avenue. At the time, Yonge Street was a dirt road and much of the area was farmland.
Bedford Park was originally a four-room, two-storey school. It opened in September 1911 with 70 pupils registered in grades 1 to 4. There were four teachers, including the principal, Mr. Lamon, and one caretaker. Two of the first teachers were Miss Grant and Miss Dayfoot and the caretaker was Mr. Darly. The caretaker’s salary was $40 per month.
The original attendance boundaries were as follows: Students from the west side of Yonge Street from Glengrove Ave. north to the town limits and students on the east side of Yonge Street students from the south line of the Lawrence Park Estate north to the town limits were to attend Bedford Park.
On December 15, 1912, North Toronto was annexed to the City of Toronto. As a result of this annexation, in 1912 the school became part of the Toronto school system under the auspices of the Toronto Board of Education.
Learn more about the history of the Bedford Park area. Read more here…
The Building of the School
Bedford Park Public School was built by the North Toronto School Board. The Minutes of the North Toronto School Board contain a number of interesting facts about the building of our school.
April 26, 1910: The site was approved. The property was 500 feet by 191 feet. On April 26, the estimated cost of the property plus the cost to build the school was $17,000.
July 14, 1910: Mr. Forsey Page was appointed architect.
August 18, 1910: Mr. Forsey Page’s plans and specifications were approved and tenders were called for.
September 1, 1910: Tenders were awarded for a number of contracts including:
- Masonry – $8,172
- Carpentry – $4,300
- Plastering – $1,175
- Plumbing – $343
- Heating – $1,433
- Painting – $315
- Heating – $1,600.00
December 20, 1910: A Builders Risk Policy of Insurance was placed on Bedford Park School Property in the amount of $16,000. Half of this amount was paid to the London Mutual Insurance Company and the other half to the Queen City Insurance Company.
May 11, 1911: Tenders were received for the grading of the school grounds and for the erection of a five foot board fence.
September 1911: The school was ready for occupancy in September 1911.
Mr. Thomas Lamon was principal from 1911 until his retirement in 1941, giving him a unique record in Toronto public schools of being principal of one school for 30 years. Under his leadership many additions were made to the school. Between 1914 and 1920, 24 new rooms were added on to the original building, so that by the 1920’s it looked much as it does today. The main exception was that where the library is today, there once was a big staircase to the second floor, where balconies looked down onto the main hall. The Christmas concert was held in the main hall, with the classes gathered around on both floors.
In 1973, the School Board recommendation to tear down and replace the old building, which was deemed outdated, was overturned as a result of the outcry from the Parent-Teacher Association and the ratepayers. Instead the building was renovated and the construction of a new addition with a gymnasium and swimming pool was added, at a considerable cost saving.
In 1913, kindergarten began at Bedford Park. In 1932, Fifth Classes (Grades 9-10) were opened at Bedford Park to alleviate overcrowding at North Toronto Collegiate Institute and were offered for four years until Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute was opened in 1936. In 1966, Bedford Park became a junior public school.
A music program existed from the time the school opened. Medical Services began when the school was taken over by the Toronto Board. Household Science and Manual training was introduced in 1921 and a dental clinic opened in 1925.
In 1963, special program language classes were established with their own classrooms and dining room. In 1969 the children in these language classes were integrated into the rest of the school programs, as much as possible.