The first school on the Toronto Islands, a one room school house, was built in 1888 near the Gibraltar Lighthouse. In 1909 the school burned to the ground and was replaced with a new building that opened for classes in September 1909. In 1956 the city decided to remove the residential areas at Centre Island and Hanlan's Point to make a park, and as a result there was a big drop in student enrollment. Since 1960 as a means of using the extra space at the school a residential program was begun where elementary students from elsewhere in the city would live at the school for a week and focus on a curriculum of natural sciences. The school buildings were rebuilt and a ground breaking for the current facilities was held in November 1997.
The School Today
The new school building is a state-of-the-art facility with an environmental focus. The building includes a general purpose room, library/resource centre, science labs, and greenhouse. The school is equipped with a grey water system, solar panels, and photovoltaic panels.
Four programs are presently offered at the Island Public/Natural Science School facilities.
1. Toronto Island Public School is a public JK-6 elementary school for children residing on the Islands and in the Harbourfront communities. For more information please check out the school's website.
2. The Island Natural Science School is a residential outdoor education centre owned and operated by the Toronto District School Board. Students attending the science program are from city schools and spend one week at the Island School, living in dorms studying natural science and outdoor education. For more information please check out the school's website. The Natural Science school also operates a summer camp program for Grade 5 and 6 students.
3. The Gibraltar Point Day Nursery also shares the same facilities as the Island School. A full daycare program from 8:30am until 4:30pm is offered in a unique natural setting. More information is available at their website.
4. A Parenting Centre for pre-school children and their parents.