King George Public School

Site 18:
King George Public School
Location:
550 Harvey Street
Date Originally Built:
1912
Present Use:
As above
Evaluation Score:
Priority One

This elementary school opened in 1912 and still serves an area of heritage and historical prominence within the city of North Bay. The original portion of the school consisted of a two story masonry structure with a full basement. The building was regularly shaped in plan, and it was arranged symmetrically along a central corridor with a formal entrance located at the midpoint of the front façade. In 1954, an addition to the original structure was built, which included a small gymnasium and additional classrooms.

The original building formerly had significant architectural features such as a continuous concrete cornice, a varied parapet, and a curved pediment canopy suspended above the front entrance. In 1965, the entire exterior was resurfaced with new masonry veneer in order to “upgrade” the appearance of the school to a more modern looking facility. The classical arrangement and the design of the masonry and concrete details of the façade were ornate in comparison to its current appearance.

The interior of the school remains in good condition with respect given to the older portion of the building by retaining much of the historical design, organization and craftsmanship. Hardwood flooring is found throughout many of the classrooms and hallways. Other details of heritage quality found throughout the older portion of the school include high pressed tin ceilings, raised panel doors with wide wood trim and transom windows, high wood baseboards, slate chalkboards with wooden chalk ledges, some wainscoting, and older ventilation grates.

The property was purchased from Thomas Murray in 1911 and construction of the school began shortly thereafter. The school was designed by Harry Angus and the general contractors were Hughes & Henderson. The school is the oldest one within the Near North District School Board, and it is widely believed to be the oldest active school in Northern Ontario.

The historical importance of the school is recognized by their past and current staffs, which has actively preserved many artifacts that are a part of the school’s heritage. These artifacts remain accessible to guests and students, as they are openly displayed inside the school’s front entrance. This historical display includes items such as original desks, old books, and many attendance registers listing former students.

The school’s position within the history of North Bay is an important one. For example, many North Bay residents are alumni of King George Public School. The continued operation of this elementary school throughout the past century has ensured its recognition as a permanent fixture within a local neighbourhood rich in history and heritage.