L.G. Lorriman / Central School 1914
The building officially opened in September 1914 as Central School Built by Wilson & Summers, the total cost for the 8 room building, including furnishings, was $39,000. By 1925, pupil enrollment was 262. It was later renamed L.G. Lorriman School in honour of the principal who was an educator in Thorold for 43 years, and who for many years supervised both Central and Prince of Wales schools.
Thorold has always been a leader in the field of education, beginning with Dr. Egerton Ryerson who was the Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada and for whom Ryerson University is named. Through his efforts the foundations of the present school system were laid with the opening of “free” schools. It is believed that the first “free” school to open in Canada was in Beaverdams, School Section #2. Central and Prince of Wales schools were built following the opening of “free” schools in Thorold.
Awards were made at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876 and at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 when the Ontario system of education was declared to be the best in the world!
Declining enrollment at L.G. Lorriman School led to Its Closure in 1981. A new Town Hall was needed in Thorold, and in 1982 Mayor Don McMillan and Council decided to convert this building rather than constructing a new one, thereby saving the citizens of Thorold thousands of tax dollars. The adaptive re-use of this outstanding former school as a Town Hall is an important story in the heritage field. In 2006 City Hall relocated.
Old school records show that thousands of students have passed through the doors of Central and L.G. Lorriman School in its 68 years of operation.
W.W. MacDonald was principal for 20 years. Frank Williams also served as principal for many years. Miss C. Justice had an outstanding teaching record of 40 years; Miss L. McBride taught here for 38 years and in 1937 was presented with the King George VI Coronation Medal.
Photo courtesy of the John Burtniak Collection.