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The electronic translation service on the Toronto District School Board website is hosted by Google Translate, a third party service. The TDSB does not guarantee or warrant the reliability, accuracy or completeness of any translated information.

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Radical Reform: Education and Society 1845-1945


The Toronto District School Board, with the support of the Virtual Museum of Canada's Investment Programs, has created an online exhibit that features photos and historical information from our archives and illustrates education in Canada over the past 100 years. 

Introducing Radical Reform: Education and Society 1845-1945

Here’s a “radical” idea: universal, state-provided, compulsory education. 

This may not seem like a lofty ideal today, but in 1845 it was nothing short of radical. In an increasingly industrial economy, employers and government required a higher level of education than was needed in a rural and agrarian one. 

In addition, social issues, including poverty, crime and abuse, were on the rise as people sought out opportunities for life in urban Toronto. 

Compulsory education, available to all, seemed to some like a good solution to the pressing needs of the time. However, not all agreed – and not all benefited. 

Learn more about the 100 years between 1845 and 1945 and how education in Ontario came to be

The Virtual Museum of Canada Investment Programs, administered by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada, support the efforts of institutions to create engaging online content through strategic funding. The Virtual Museum of Canada is the largest digital source of stories and experiences shared by Canada’s museums and heritage organizations.



Virtual Museum image link


Radical Reform image link

Our Mission
To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and well-being
and to acquire the knowledge, skills
and values they need to become responsible, contributing members of
a democratic and sustainable society.
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