The Enoch Turner School was built in 1848 and located at 106 Trinity Street between King St. E. and Eastern Avenue in Toronto, Ontario. The building is now owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust.
Enoch Turner (1792-1866) was a native of Staffordshire, UK, who arrived in Toronto in the early 19th century. He established a brewery on Taddle Creek at Front and Parliament Streets. After a disastrous fire in 1832 he had to rebuild and was assisted by the York Circus with a benefit performance. A successful businessman, Turner contributed to an endowment fund to establish the University of Toronto as a non-denominational institutional. In 1848 he built the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse to provide basic education to the children of the poor Irish immigrants (from Cork, Ireland) in the neighbourhood surrounding his brewery, known as “Corktown”. This was the first free school in Toronto and is the oldest schoolhouse still standing in the city.
In 1849, the school opened with space for 240 pupils and Turner paid for its operation for three years.
An 1854 plan by John George Howard shows a brewery with a stone cellar, a malt kiln, a granary, ice house, stable, kitchen garden, "grapery," and paddock. The house measured 56' by 46' and had its own garden. The property included twelve separate lots.
By 1854 Enoch Turner is listed as a gentleman, and the brewer was Samuel Platt. In 1855, he sold his property to Consumers Gas, which used the property for gas storage tanks.
The design of the one-story Gothic Revival style brick schoolhouse is attributed to architect Henry Bowyer Lane (1817-1878). In 1869, the building was expanded to the west with an addition designed by noted Toronto architectural firm Gundry and Langley. The addition is a particularly early work by Henry Langley, who opened his own practice that same year, following the death of Thomas Gundry.
Turner resided near his brewery until 1856, when he moved to 241 Sherbourne Street (just north of Dundas Street). He named this house "Allandale" after local land owner William Allan. "Allandale" is now part of the Sherbourne Lanes housing complex at 241-285 Sherbourne. The property is identified on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties.
[3-Little Trinity Church]
Turner remained active in the Corktown community, serving as a warden at Little Trinity Church. Although he married twice, Turner remained childless. According to historical descriptions, "in a period of grinding poverty he was regarded as a generous and compassionate man who loved children and animals. At the end of a hard day it is said that he would feed his horses beer".
The school is open to the public for booked tours by calling 416-863-0010.