R.H. McGregor is a dual track school offering English (JK-5) and French Immersion (SK-5) programs, a Special Education Resources Program with withdrawal and in-class support and four self-contained Special Education classes for identified students. The motto of the school is “Learning and Growing Together, Apprendre et Grandir Ensemble!” The school has approximately 700 students from JK to Grade 5, representing over 30 different language groups.
R.H. McGregor has been certified a Gold level ecoschool by the TDSB. It has also been recognized as a “Healthy School” by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
The school was named after Robert Henry McGregor, who was a horticulturalist. He entered the political arena in 1912 when he was appointed school trustee for York Township. He later served as a council member (1924-1926) and became Reeve for East York in 1926. He entered federal politics that same year, serving as a federal Member of Parliament (MP) for York South from 1926 to 1935 and then York East from 1935 to 1962. He was a member of the Conservative Party and was given the nickname “silent Bob,” since he only gave one speech during his 36 year career in Parliament.
In 1921, Billy McKay, an eccentric East York Irish pig farmer, gave up a portion of his farmland, situated at the southwest corner of Coxwell and Mortimer, to the Public School Board. He also provided the city with the land it required to build the Township of East York’s municipal offices, and three years later, five more acres to construct East York General Hospital. There is some controversy as to whether he donated the land or was forced to give it up to the city due to huge tax debts. Regardless, this gift ultimately lead to the development of the area north of Sammon and west of Coxwell.
First Staff - R.H. McGregor School (1920)
R.H. McGregor School was completed in September of 1922. The first principal was Gordon Shewfelt. Due to the extraordinary population growth within this area, the school was taxed to the limit within the first two years. In 1929, an addition was completed which included 12 more classrooms and a large gymnasium.
R.H. McGregor Public School (1944)
Throughout its history, R.H. McGregor has had a very strong sports program. In 1925 its football club won the championship. The honourary president of the team was R.H. McGregor and the president was R.J. Thompson. In 1934 one of its most outstanding athletes, Hugh Tunnicliffe, led the school to the York County baseball championships. He struck out 21 batters in a row and won the game for his team.
R. H. McGregor Football Club (1925)
One of the early school highlights during the first decade after it opened, was a celebration to mark the coronation of King George VI in 1937. The event was held on the school lawn and included hundreds of family members, students and local residents turned up to mark the occasion. Two years later the school introduced a new Home Economics program.
King's Silver Jubilee 1935 (centre)
The end of the Second World War marked a more somber period in the history of the school. Many of the young men who graduated from R.H. McGregor enlisted after Canada entered the War in 1939. Tragically, 41 former students were killed in battle. A special monument was created to mark their contribution to the country and bravery. The students collected papers and baskets, held concerts and sold Christmas cards to raise money to support the memorial. It was unveiled on Empire Day in 1948. Mrs. P. McColl, one of the mothers of the fallen men, unveiled the monument. It now stands outside of the main entrance to the school so that all who pass by will remember the ultimate sacrifice they made.
War Memorial Dedication
R. H. McGregor Memorial
After the war, many of the veterans purchased the new bungalows that were constructed during that period north of Sammon. The majority of the students who attended the school were of British and Irish descent. However, by the 1950s and 1960s there were more new immigrants moving into the Danforth area that came from Eastern and Southern Europe. Many other groups have moved into the area since that time.
In 1972 a new building was constructed for the school which included the area occupied by the administrative offices for the former East York Board of Education. During the 1980s the school had a thriving musical theatre program under the leadership of Mrs. Whitehead. A number of productions were launched at this time including Alice in Wonderland, The Canada Goose and Cinderella. That same decade, in 1985, the school introduced French Immersion. Since that time it has grown and become one of the leading early immersion programs in the city.
R. H. McGregor School - Exterior (1985)
Current Exterior - R. H. McGregor (Main Entrance on the north side)
Current Exterior - R. H. McGregor (north side)