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Father John Redmond C.S.S.
Alderwood C.I.

Much like churches, schools often have a lot of character to them, having served as a hub for generations of people passing through their doors in pursuit of knowledge. And like churches, the closure of a school hits close to the community that was built around it; the history and stories that were passed down are suddenly drawn to an end, even when the scholl itself lives on at another location. Unlike most places I visit, though, with Father John Redmond C.S.S. I got to hear the stories first hand; my significant other was among the last of those whom graduated from the school while it was located in Alderwood.

Location attributes for Father John Redmond C.S.S.
Location   Toronto, Ontario
Built :: Closed   1955 :: 2006
Status   Demolished
Difficulty   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Originally built as the Alderwood C.I. in 1955, the school served the community as a whole for a number of years until the early 1980's, when a decision by the Ontario government to extend full funding to a separate catholic school program, running in conjunction with the public system. As a result of community demographics (predominantly catholic), enrollment at Alderwood plummeted, and in a review in 1981 it was decided to close the school; a move that took place during closing ceremonies on June 25, 1983. It marked the end of a chapter in the building's life.

However, with the ballooning enrollment in the new catholic system, the school was reopened after the transfer of the property from the Etobicoke Board of Education to Metropolitan Separate School Board. The new South Campus of Michael Power/St. Joseph High School in 1985, and rechristened as Father John Redmond C.S.S. in September 1986; it's namesake being a teacher, athletic director, and principal at Michael Power until his death in 1981. Under his watch, Michael Power became an athletics powerhouse, winning multiple awards.

However, this final chapter of the building came to an end in June 2006. The building itself was in a poor state of repair (part of which had been inherited from the Alderwood C.I. days), a fact confirmed by my SO who described the building as a maintenance nightmare and commenting that "constant maintenance was needed when we were there." She also shared a few stories with me, such as the fact there was a courtyard in the middle of the school which housed a squirrel with no tail, the unofficial mascot. She also described a glass corner in the library, which was the bird sanctuary. I never did make it to the library during my visit, unable to find a way in to it.

So what does the future hold for this old school? A wrecking ball, ultimately; the property was purchased by Urbancorp, to be redeveloped as a townhome complex. And while they're using parts of the school for their sales office, word is that demolition is slated to begin sometime this year, bringing to an end the story of this school.

Fragile Lives, Shattered Dreams - January 2014
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