Council passes motion to preserve York Memo

City Council passed a resolution last week to preserve the “use, heritage values, and attributes of York Memorial” after the fires that damaged the 90-year-old school.

Commenters here and elsewhere had wondered whether it made sense to continue running the school, given its low enrollment and ‘development’ potential.

City Council’s affirmation isn’t binding.

Weston school budgets face cuts

Weston’s schools are facing budget cuts under the new PC government. The French immersion and the IB program will both be trimmed if the budget goes ahead. The late-start French program also faces complete cancellation.

French immersion students in grades 4 through 6 who catch buses to Valleyfield in Etobicoke will no longer be able to. The draft budget says “the cost of delivering French Immersion (FI) and Extended French (EF) in its current form is so high, that a complete reduction in transportation services is needed to operate the programs with budget.”

The TDSB also says that they will be reevaluating the French programs. Our area is unusual, because we have late-start French immersion, and students start in grade 4 rather than in senior Kindergarten. The TDSB says that they will be looking at “existing entry points” to “provide a better experience for all students”.

Weston CI offers an International Baccalaureate Program, which gives advanced standing at university to high-achieving students. That program will continue to be offered, but “associated per-student fees will no longer be covered by the TDSB. [A] sliding scale will be created to support IB Diploma students who would benefit from financial support.”

In Peel Region, the IB fees are  $250 for grades 9 and 10 and $2700 for grades 11 and 12.

York Memo salvageable

While parts of York Memorial had to be demolished during the two fires at the school this week, the Globe and Mail reports that the school will stand. Hooray!

But despite the charred interiors, scarred walls and water damage in the basement – which was almost filled with water – early assessments by engineers are promising, a Toronto Fire Services platoon chief told reporters at the scene. It looks like the building can be saved.

Firefighters battling York Memorial fire
Photo from Muller Zergaber

York Memorial C.I. gutted in 6-alarm blaze.

Image result for york memorial c.i.
From Toronto District School Board.

A second, devastating fire has gutted the main, 90 year-old building of York Memorial C.I.. A huge plume of smoke was seen over the old City of York today, 24 hours after a smaller fire was discovered and extinguished.

Staff and students had been spending the day at George Harvey C.I. on Keele but were sent home after smoke from the fire hit dangerous levels. Fire Chief Matthew Pegg described the damage to the 90 year-old school as major but believes that the more recent additions containing the library and pool can be saved. Chief Pegg called today’s fire ‘separate and distinct’ and ordered the use of foam in order to suppress and starve the fire. He stated that a 6-alarm fire response is almost unprecedented in Toronto’s history.

High smoke levels were experienced south of Eglinton from Trethewey to Bicknell and firefighters went door to door advising residents to leave.

After yesterday’s fire, a security team was left behind to monitor the building but somehow, a different fire began today.

According to 12 Division’s Superintendent Ron Taverner the first fire was thought of as suspicious – he would not speculate on the probable cause of the second.

This month, the school was set to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its opening in 1929 as a memorial to soldiers who fought in the First World War. The building is currently home to 900 students (none of whom were in attendance today) and contains many artifacts and unique structures. These are feared to be lost as a result of the blaze.

Councillor Frances Nunziata was at the fire scene along with Mayor Tory. Nunziata said that she hopes that the school can be rebuilt inside while salvaging whatever is left. She said there will need to be a lot of healing in the next few months.

The only good result from today is that there were zero casualties.