Building Excitement at Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School

The building site of Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School continues to be a beehive of activity as contractors are working to complete Thunder Bay’s newest elementary school – Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School. The JK to Grade 8 dual track school, being constructed on the site of the former Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, is on schedule to open for students from the closing Agnew H. Johnston Public School and Edgewater Park Public School in September 2020.

Members of the local media are invited for a tour of Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School on Friday, January 24 at 12 noon.

“We are extremely excited with the on-schedule progress that the general contractor has made in the construction of this beautiful new school,” Heather Harris, Principal of Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School. “Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School will be a state-of-the-art school that has been purposely designed to meet the needs of twenty-first century learners. It is a large building that gives us the opportunity to have a number of flexible spaces for exploration and collaboration that will help build a sense of community and family in the school.”

Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School Building Details:

  • 7,295 m2 (78,523 ft2) including second floor, day care, and 1 gymnasium;
  • Two story building;
  • Built to accommodate 745 students;
  • 30 classrooms which includes dedicated music room, art room, and science room;
  • Attached day care facility with infant, toddler, and preschool programs;
  • Multiple meeting and breakout rooms;
  • Large library and learning commons
  • Large gym with hardwood floors and stage; and
  • Fully accessible.

Site Details:

  • Total site area – 5.12 Hectares (15 acres);
  • Main school entrance off of Churchill Drive includes bus drop off, student drop off, and visitor parking;
  • Day Care access and staff parking from Parkway Drive;
  • Multiple natural gardens for storm water filtration;
  • Two play structures to accommodate various ages; and
  • Hard and soft surface play areas including a large soccer field and baseball diamond.

In addition to the progress being made with the construction of Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School, a significant amount of work has been done to ensure the successful transition of the students from Agnew H. Johnston Public School and Edgewater Park Public School. A transition committee comprised of parents and staff of both schools, Trustees and Board Administration has been meeting for the past two years with the goal of bringing the two school communities together as they prepare to be under one roof when Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School opens in September 2020.

In keeping with the theme of inclusion, students at both Agnew H. Johnston Public School and Edgewater Park Public School had the opportunity to choose the Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School logo and team name.

A team of student representatives from Agnew and Edgewater carefully considered several possible team names and logos that were associated with either the geographical area or with Elsie MacGill herself, the namesake of the school. Students voted overwhelmingly for the name “Hurricanes” with a fierce airplane logo.

“The students felt that the team name Hurricanes was a name they could be proud of and that would pay tribute to Elsie MacGill and her many achievements in STEM. And they are excited to wear the logo on the field or court,” says Harris.

In 1942 Elsie MacGill was hired as Chief Aeronautical Engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry (CanCar) in Fort William, becoming the first woman in the world to hold such a position and later designed and produced training aircraft Maple Leaf Trainer II. As the “Queen of the Hurricanes”, Elsie MacGill was responsible for streamlining production of The Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force during World War II.