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About McKay Public School

The History of McKay School

McKay School was erected in 1924 at the corner of Fielden Avenue and Killaly Street East in Port Colborne. The school was dedicated to the memory of Donald William McKay, principal of Port Colborne schools for thirty-seven years, born April 3, 1851 and died June 1, 1907. It was named by his pupils as a token of esteem and affection.

Consisting of eight rooms, the building faced Fielden Avenue and sat on a lot approximately 4.5 acres in size.

Mr. A.R. Benner was appointed as McKay’s first principal. His tenure in office lasted from 1924 until 1962, when he became vice-principal of the newly established McKay Senior School.

In September of 1962, after two public plebiscites, McKay was established as the city’s Senior Public School which housed all of Port Colborne’s grade seven and eight students. An addition of a main office, staff room, gymnasium-auditorium, and six classrooms helped to establish this new concept. Increased enrolment caused a further addition in 1964. This included a library, five classrooms and an Industrial Arts facility. The enrolment grew to over 600 students.

Due to declining student population in the City of Port Colborne throughout the late seventies, it was decided to convert McKay back to the grade one through grade eight format in 1981. Junior and senior Kindergarten classes were added to the mix in 1991. Subsequently, the extended French program was added to the class offerings at McKay which serves Port Colborne and surrounding areas (Ridgeway, Crystal Beach, Fort Erie, Wainfleet). This included selected students from grades five through eight.

An interesting fact in the school’s history is that McKay had its own television studio and provided audio-visual services to all the city schools.

Over the course of McKay’s history, it has provided thousands of young people with excellent educational experiences and opportunities for personal development. This has been made possible through the dedication of hundreds of teachers supported by caring secretaries, caretakers, home and school representatives, School Advisory Council members and parents/guardians. Thank-you to all who have had a part to play in the diverse and highly successful history of McKay School.

Note: Special thanks to Mr. Ted Clarke, former Superintentent of Schools and McKay Teacher of the former Niagara South Board of Education