Over many decades the TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD (TDSB) has been assembling a vast archive on the history of schools and schooling, and of the city itself.

Free of charge, the public can peruse parts of the collection at the TDSB Museum in Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute, 16 Phin Avenue, near Danforth and Donlands.

The 10,000 square-foot space has been given the honourary Ojibway name Debwemowin, meaning House Where The Truth Resides. On display is “a tiny snapshot of our collection”, says Superintendent of Education John Chasty. “This gives us a permanent space we can work on and be proud of.”

And there is much to be proud of – a unique tear drop boardroom table from the 1870’s, School Board meeting minutes from 1847, a massive calculating machine that dates back to the 1890’s, a dentist’s chair, large gramophone, science class specimens, sports equipment, textbooks, the “strap”, slides, inkwells, desks, a 1920‘s table top piano from the Metropolitan School for the Deaf, a restored chandelier, seats of honour from the original Board, taxidermy, record albums on venereal disease, sex education and marijuana smoking. Etc.

Visitors are most welcome. To book an appointment call 416-397-3680; group tours can be arranged; free, but donations are accepted.

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