Vaughan Willard Public School
1911 Dixie Road North
Pickering, Ontario, Canada

Vaughan Willard Public School is part of the Durham District School Board, located in southern Ontario, Canada. Durham is the district adjacent to Toronto, located east of the city.

The school offers Junior and Senior Kindergarten through to grade 8. Currently the school has 481 students and 25 staff members.

The school was built in 1956 and opened in 1957. At that time it consisted of a single hallway linking 6 class rooms, a small gymnasium with a stage, one girls bathroom, one boys bathroom, a miniscule administration office, maintenance room, and the boiler room. At this time there was not much of a suburban community built around the school - the surrounding area was predominately farmer's fields and forests.

In the 1970's a library was created. The library was contained in a "portable classroom" to the north of the gymnasium. The "portable" would remain as the library until 1982.

In 1982 the school was expanded to include what is called "the portapacks". This "temporary" structure (which still exists today) is basically a collection of portable school rooms connected by a hallway. The hallway was connected to the main school building through the east wall of the main hallway, next to the gymnasium. The addition included 6 new classrooms and a photocopier/storage room.

Early in the morning of June 25, 2006, a Sunday, a week before the school year ended, a fire occurred in the southwestern classroom of the portapacks. The fire seemed to be set in the southern wall or under the floor of the classroom, from the exterior. The damage was deemed to be irreparable and the entire portapacks section of the school was demolished. That section of the school was replaced over the next year with a permanent structure containing 6 class rooms, a resource room, two bathrooms and an additional entrance to the school.

Soon after the portapacks were added in 1982, construction began at the south end of the school. A new gymnasium with a stage and boys and girls change rooms was built. A new administration office that included a reception area, photocopy/supply room, principal's office, vice-principal’s office, and teacher's lounge was created.

The south wing also created 4 new class rooms, each designed for a specific purpose: One designed for music class, with storage for instruments, an area (separate from the usual desks and chairs) for the orchestra to be seated, and direct access to the back stage area of the gym. Another classroom designed for art class, which includes storage for art supplies and sinks for washing. A science room was created, with the typical science room bench that includes sinks and natural gas outlets. And a kindergarten classroom, with low shelving, a private cloak room and bathroom, and a separate entrance to the school. The new hallway also contains 48 lockers for use by grade 7-8 students.

The old gymnasium was converted to a library and the library "portable" converted into a classroom. The old administration office became the maintenance staff's lounge, the old maintenance room became the music teacher's office.

The school has only 1 floor, with no basement.

Over the years a number of "portable" classrooms have been added and removed from the school. Currently there are 3 portables in use - the old library portable was just removed in 2002, after more than 20 years of use.

Vaughan Willard's residential district is bounded by Dixie Road to the west, Finch Avenue to the north, Liverpool Road to the east and Kingston Road to the south. Only children living within these boundaries are allowed to attend the school. All residences served by the school are within walking distance.

The school is situated on approximately 4 acres of land, which includes a full football field, basketball court, a baseball diamond (with outfield), and 2 parking areas.

Facts of interest (or maybe not):
The namesake of the school, Vaughan Willard, was the first chairman of the board of education in the region.

In 1985 2 time capsules were buried in front of the school (on the south side). Students and faculty contributed to the contents of the capsules. The capsules were buried approximately 20 feet part, with a red maple tree planted over each of them. The capsules and the trees remain today.
31-May-2004 Update: The eastern maple tree was cut down. Don't know why. I'm not sure the current administration knows about the time capsules.
14-Dec-2004 Update: Over the summer, a new maple tree was planted to replace the one that was removed.

In 1987 I stuck a paper clip in the light switch outside the girls bathroom in the south wing of the school. The result was a shower of sparks, one blackened hand, and a switch in need of replacing. Ya, that was me. So was the stink bomb on the last day of grade 8.

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