School merger recommended

The TDSB is recommending that George Harvey and York Memorial be merged into one school and that the school be named “York Memorial CI”.

York Memorial Collegiate Institute suffered a catastrophic fire in 2019. The nearby George Harvey CI has long been underused, so the TDSB floated the idea of merging the schools. Housing both schools at George Harvey, however, wasn’t popular. 93% of York Memorial students and 53% of George Harvey students were opposed to consolidating again, according to the report.

The TDSB studied several possibilities, and this week recommended that both schools be:

  • Consolidated at George Harvey starting in September, 2022
  • Renamed York Memorial CI, “to honour the sacred pledge of remembrance”
  • Moved to the newly-built school when it is complete (projected to be in 2026).

The report says that this will have several advantages over the status quo:

  • More course offerings
  • More specialty programs
  • A modern building with “state-of-the-art instructional spaces”
  • Easier commutes for students
  • Efficiencies in operations

TDSB sues over fire at York Memo

The TDSB is suing the city, the province, and the police over the fires that gutted York Memorial two years ago. The suit alleges that the Fire Department “did not post a fire watch at the building. The TFS assumed that the fire was out and that a fire watch was not required”. It also alleges that the police improperly delegated supervision to TDSB security.

These actions allegedly led to a second fire that completely destroyed the building after the first fire was not properly extinguished.

The suit also says that the Ontario Fire Marshall report was written to “downplay, mislead, conceal and suppress evidence of negligence and gross negligence”.  

York Memorial’s future being debated

The future of York Memorial, which was destroyed in a fire in May of last year, was debated tonight by education trustees. The board is “going to start a process to look at enrollment and utilization”  Chris Tonks, the trustee, told  CityTV. CityTV says there are three possibilities:

  • Keeping things as they are, with York Memorial independent and the nearby George Harvey  continuing to operate well under capacity
  • Merging the two schools into George Harvey’s building
  • Constructing an all-new school

Yafet Tewelde, who ran to be York South–Weston’s MP, has created a petition to have the school rebuilt, among other requests.

 

 

PCs promise Memo to be restored

The PC government has promised that York Memorial Collegiate will be restored.

Faisal Hassan, our MPP, asked the PCs whether they would commit to rebuilding York Memorial. Lisa Thompson replied

Absolutely, we’re committed to working with the school board to make sure that that community hub, if you will, is absolutely restored.

Coming back from Skills Ontario last Tuesday or Wednesday morning, when it was on fire again, we actually drove by and it’s a heartbreak, what has happened to that community. I understand it’s under investigation. We certainly will be working with the school board, and I look forward to working with you to make sure we get it right.

Last week, City Council also committed to rebuilding the school after the fire.

There had been rumblings, here and elsewhere, that the fire would be a good reason to consolidate schools and develop the land.

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