Jarvis Collegiate Institute is Toronto’s oldest school and was the first to receive public funding. The school now known as “Jarvis Collegiate” opened on June 1, 1807, as the “Home District Grammar School for York.” The first classes were held in the home of the Rev. George Okill Stuart, then-Rector of St James Church. In 1825 it was renamed the “Royal Grammar School” and in 1829 it was joined with the newly created “Upper Canada College” in the “Blue School” at Jarvis and Lombard Streets. This marriage lasted only a few years, until UCC moved to a nine acre parcel at King and Simcoe Streets.
By the early 1860s, the school was bursting at the seams with 150 students crammed into three rooms. Larger accommodations were a must. A new school was built in 1864, on Dalhousie Street, just north of Gould Street, close to where Ryerson University is today.
By 1870, this was again too small. With a building under construction, the school moved for a couple of years into the insane asylum at Queen’s Park, then vacant. In 1871 a new building was constructed at 361 Jarvis Street, just south of College Street, in front of the Allan Gardens greenhouse. When it opened the school was still known as the “Toronto High School.” However, two years later, in 1873, the school was renamed “Toronto Collegiate Institute.” In 1890, Toronto got its second collegiate, “Parkdale C.I.”, so it was renamed “Jarvis Street Collegiate Institute.” This building was expanded several times until the present school at 495 Jarvis Street was built in 1924.
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