A History of the Island Public School
In the 1880's, Katherine Lang Durnhan taught the Island children in her home. In 1888 the City of Toronto decided to open a school on the Island. The city gave the land at no cost to the school board to build a one room school house near the Gibraltar Lighthouse. The first teacher, Miss Clark, had sixteen students and earned $345.00 . Sometimes the school was closed because not many people lived on the island during the winter months. In 1896 the school was made permanent. The teacher had one teacher, Miss Helyer, and a caretaker, Mr Durnhan, who was also the lighthouse keeper.
In 1909, it was decided to move the school, but before they could move it, on May 24, it burned to the ground. It was suspected that someone had set fire to the school house on purpose. Fortunately, the fireboat' “Nelly Bly”, prevented the neighbouring houses from also being burned.
A new school was built and opened in September 1909. That year there were 52 children in attendance.
In 1921, the number of pupils had doubled and there was a space problem. The School Board wanted to build a new school closer to Ward Island but land was of a premium. Instead, the Board added another room to the existing building. The number of students attending steadily increased, so more rooms was added in 1932. After World War II, more people began to live on Ward’s and Algonquin Islands because of a house shortage in the city. Once again, more rooms were added in the 1940’s and in 1953. By 1954, there were 630 students attending Island Public School.
In 1956, Metropolitan Toronto Park’s Department decided to create a park system on the island resulting in the tear down of houses on Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point. The enrollment dropped dramatically and in 1960, as a means to utilize the extra space, the residential Natural Science School Program began.
Today the Island Public/Natural Science School operates a day program from Junior Kindergarten to grade 6, a residential natural science program for 68 visiting grade 5/6 students each week, and the Gibraltar Point Day Nursery for 16 children ages 2.5 - 4 .
The ground breaking for a brand new Island School was held on November 21, 1997. The new IPNSS was opened in April 1999.
Gibraltar Point Day Nursery is located inside the Island Public Natural Science School adjacent to the Kindergarten class. Our partnership with the Island School kindergarten teachers allow for shared learning experiences with the kindergarten class which provides our children with a unique opportunity to integrate with the kindergarten class and curriculum. This will greatly assist in preparing them for the upcoming kindergarten transition.
Because of our close relationship with the Island School, our team and Kindergarten team often plan shared learning experiences, such as gym time, community walks, tree planting events, play days and more.
Families residing within the Island School designated area are eligible to register into the Island Public/Natural Science School.
Out of district kindergarten registrations
Out-of-District Kindergarten Registrations
If your family lives outside the attendance area for the Island Public School and wish to place your child with us at Gibraltar Point Day Nursery, your child will not be eligible to enroll in the Island Public School Kindergarten program.
Although Gibraltar Point Day Nursery is affiliated with the school, we do not offer care to school-aged or kindergarten-age children, acceptance by the Island Public school is conditional on available space and program suitability.
Space availability is determined by the planning department at the TDSB, they update this information for the upcoming school year each January. Whether The Island Public School has space or not for any given year is designated on the TDSB website by the school’s optional attendance status.
In the event that space is available, out-of-district families may contact the school directly at (416) 393-1910 to enquire about registration.
In the event that space is not available, only students residing within the school's attendance area will be accepted. Out-of-district families are must register at their home school district.
In the event that limited space is available and demand is high, out-of-district spots in junior kindergarten are subject to a lottery. The procedures, conditions, and timelines relating to the lottery are described by the TDSB’s Optional Attendance Policy and the Optional Attendance Operational Procedure.