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Shaw St. School
Given's/Shaw Jr. Public School

Standing on Shaw St, just north of Queen, is an imposing Victorian structure, built of sandstone. This building, part of Given's/Shaw Jr. Public School, has sat unused for over a decade after it was closed and its students shifted over to the newer portion of the school.

Location attributes for Shaw St. School
Queen West
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Built :: Closed   Status   Difficulty
1914 :: 2000   Formerly Abandoned   ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   Security Risk   AUE Rating
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazard Observations   Security Observations
None Specified   None Specified

The school was built in 1914, replacing an older school that stood on the site. For decades the school was a sports powerhouse in Toronto; supposedly it had a room dedicated to the myriad of sports trophies. However, at the turn of the century, the school was closed amid dwindling enrollment numbers, as part of the Harris-era closures.

The school is now owned by Artscape, the organization that transformed the former TTC Wychwood Carhouse into a multi-purpose community center. They plan to do a similar thing with the school, renovating it into arts community centre with studios, space for theatre and dance, and youth programs, among other uses. Where one function ceases, another waits for the building. Artscape plans to open its doors in 2012.

I have tried several times to explore the school over the years, only to be rebuffed every time I tried. This changed on a recent visit; with renovations occurring in the school, the group I was with were able to find a way in.

Most of the furniture has been removed from the school as part of the renovation, but it is still distinctly a school. The blackboards remain in place, along with the water fountains, PA speakers, and analog clocks. The clocks were an interesting feature, all showing the exact same time on their faces... 8:31. I guess that was when their control source was removed, as the building still had power.

While the upper floors had the standard school look, the main lobby did not. With a grand, ornate stairwell that once led somewhere but has now been walled off at the top, it is an anomaly compared to the schools of recent; a throwback to the era in which the school was built.

Not much else stands out about the school, which is a shame, but at least it provided an opportunity to let an afternoon slide away.

Illegal Entry - November 2011
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