Pine Street School
Pine Street School was a two-storey, three-level elementary school on Pine Street in Thunder Bay, Ontario that opened in 1920. It was expanded in 1945. It closed after the school year ended in June, 1994, and demolished in December 2002. It had about 15 classrooms, a library, a gym, and a cafeteria. It was located on a very large 2.8-hectare plot of land.
About 400 children attended at any given time, for about 25 children per class, and a staff of about 15 teachers, a principal, psychologist (Mrs. Marion Paularinne), secretary, crossing guard at Red River Road, and custodian, plus about two lunch-time volunteer supervisors, for a total of 22 staff. Over its 74 years, it educated about 25,000 person-years worth of students. Assuming the average student stayed for eight years, that means it educated about 3,200 distinct students. Assuming the average teacher tenure was 20 years, it had a total of 80 distinct staff work there over the years.
Until about 1990 the school also hosted mentally disabled children in one special classroom in the basement.
Before Christmas, the children would gather on the slopes of "The Clown", to sing Christmas carols. "The Clown" was painted in approximately 1990 on some of the unused stairs in the centre of the first floor.
Pine Street School was built in 1920 as an elementary school, part of the Lakehead Board of Education (known as "English-language Public District School Board No. 6A" until 1999 according to Wikipedia).
It was expanded in 1945.
As of 2019 the Lakehead Board runs 23 elementary schools, of which three offer French Immersion:
- Ecole Gron Morgan (Pine Street's successor school)
- Agnew H. Johnson School
- Claude E. Garton Public School
It was set on a huge plot of land bounded by:
- Red River Road to the south
- Martha Street to the west
- Carrie Street to the north (although the school's property did not extend all way to the street)
- Pine Street to the east
On the north side of the lot, facing Carrie Street, there are ten private houses bisected in the middle by a small cul-de-sac from Madeline Street.
The lot measured 191 metres East-West by 146 metres North-South: a total of 27,886 square metres, or 2.8 hectares, or about 6.8 acres.
It was shut down in June 1994 for some reason, after 74 years. According to Matt Canning in 2019, Mrs Reid said it "had a lot of problems."
In 1996 it was sold for redevelopment . "School sold for residential development. Publication: Thunder Bay Post, 24 Dec 1996, p. 2"
There was a controversy about rezoning the land for a seniors' home in 1997 and 1998 and the land was put in the market again in 1999. It was finally approved for redevelopment in early 2002.
After sitting vacant and boarded up for many years, it was torn down in December 2002. Soon afterwards, the following was built on the site:
- Additional parking lot for the Heritage
- The Walford (20 Pine Street), opened in 2004
- Pine Crest Condominiums (620 Red River Road) (two buildings), which is two buildings, each of which is a 32-unit 4-storey condominum.
Benny Birch's Birthday Party
Benny Birch, the mascot of St. Joseph's Foundation, would have his "birthday" on around 8 June each year, on the grounds of Pine Street School. It was a fundraiser run by St. Joseph's Foundation of Thunder Bay. 
"During the entire 32 years it ran we raised $1,175,454 for Bethammi Nursing Home." Benny Birch's first birthday celebration was held in June 1982. . This was in fact the same birthday as Michael Currie. But since this was counted as Benny's "first" birthday, he was always billed as a year older than Michael.
Benny Birch was discontinued by St. Joseph's care group, with the last celebration, the 33rd, in June 2014 at Chippewa Park. The celebrations spanned 32 years, for 33 distinct events.
"Who didn't see that coming worst thing they did was move it to Chippewa." - Mike Boyechko
"It kept getting smaller and smaller. And more expensive. Then the long drive out to Chippewa. Too bad. It was fun, once upon a time." - Tasha Bee
Anyone have pictures of Benny Birch's Birthday? Or remember the year where we collected all the pellets from the air guns and put them in our desks? The teachers were probably stunned and confused as to why our desks were filled with little, dirty, metal balls... I'm not really sure why we collected them either... I'm sure it all started with Zan Lod.— Tyler K. Rauman, in 2012, commenting on the events of circa June 1993 
Pine Street School / Ecole Gron Morgan French Immersion Class of 1996
A group of 38 children went through the school program together, with the following locations and teachers.
|Grade||Start||End||Age||School||Main Teacher||Auxiliary Teacher||English Teacher|
|Junior Kindergarden (JK)||Sep 1986||June 1987||4||Pine Street School||Mrs. Samis||n/a||n/a|
|Senior Kindergarden (SK)||Sep 1987||June 1988||5||Pine Street School||?||n/a||n/a|
|Grade 1||Sep 1988||June 1989||6||Pine Street School||Mme. Stafford||n/a||n/a|
|Grade 2||Sep 1989||June 1990||7||Pine Street School||Mme. Celine||n/a||n/a|
|Grade 3||Sep 1990||June 1991||8||Pine Street School||Mme. Georgette Bray||n/a||n/a|
|Grade 4||Sep 1991||June 1992||9||Pine Street School||Mme. Celine||Mr. Olibris||Mrs. Chivers-Wilson (1947 - 2012) |
|Grade 5||Sep 1992||June 1993||10||Pine Street School||Mme. James||n/a||n/a|
|Grade 6||Sep 1993||June 1994||11||Pine Street School||Mme. Parent||n/a||n/a|
|Grade 7||Sep 1994||June 1995||12||Ecole Gron Morgan||Mme. Ruberto||n/a||Mrs. Carolyn Carlson|
|Grade 8||Sep 1995||June 1996||13||Ecole Gron Morgan||Mme. Scotia, Jack Masters' daughter||n/a||Mrs. Carolyn Carlson|
A cohort of 39 children went through the French Immersion program together from 1986 to 1994, and then on to Gron Morgan and High School. Here are those children.
Note that Michael Currie missed SK because he and his family were in France. Derek Noyes missed Grade 4 because he and his parents were in France.
Grade 1 was split into two classes: Madame Stafford's and a male teacher.
For grade 3 to grade 6, because the size of the class was larger than one class but smaller than two, an arrangement was made for a random group of about ten students each year to sit in class with the younger year before. This rotation started in about grade 3 and lasted until grade 6 was over. The only student not to be in the smaller special group was Michael Currie, for reasons that were never explained to him, and might just have been coincidence.
|Name||Married Name||Birthday||Gender||JK||SK||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||High School||Occupation||Residence in 2019||Link|
|Reese Little||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||PACI||Lawyer||Thunder Bay|
|Matt Steele||2 Feb 1982||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||PACI||Teacher||Thunder Bay|||
|Tyler Meadows||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||PACI||Heavy Equipment Operator||Leamington, ON|||
|Charles "Charlie" Saddington||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||PACI||Data Solutions Manager||Ottawa|||
|Michael Venn||11 Jan 1982||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||PACI||Banker||Thunder Bay|||
|Matt Wilson||Male||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||Security||Thunder Bay|
|Derek Noyes||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||Lawyer||Thunder Bay|
|Adam Middleton||Male||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||PhD Biology Researcher||New Zealand|||
|Michael Currie||8 Jun 1982||Male||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||Programmer||Bangkok|||
|Matt Canning||21 Dec 1981||Male||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||Blogger||Thunder Bay|||
|Adam Moreau||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario|||
|Andrew Murtomaki||15 Oct 1982||Male||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Sailor|||
|Krys Mychasiw||Male||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Sports Agent||Montreal|||
|Richard Graham Poster||Male||N||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N|||
|Katherine Clouthier||Female||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Teacher||South Korea|||
|Amber Peterson||Spero||Female||Y||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||PACI||Athlete||Grand Prairie, AB|||
|Caitlin Dacey||Female||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||High School Teacher, Musician||Toronto|||
|Heather Wilson||Wdowiak||8 Jun 1982||Female||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|||
|Leanne Ruberry||Female||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm||Asset Management Specialist, Bell Canada||Montréal|| |
|Claire Powell||Female||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Photographer||London, UK|||
|Erin Paske||Madon||Female||N||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||N||St. Ignatius|||
|Nicole Martin||11 Jan 1982||Female||N||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Hamm|||
|Leah Viklen||Female||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||St. Ignatius, Hamm||Barista|||
Teachers and Staff
JK Mrs Samis
1 Mme Stafford
2 Mme Celine
5 Mme James
4 Mme Celine
3 Mme Gorgette Bray
6 Mme Parent
7 Mrs Carlson and Mme Ruberto
8 Mrs Carlson and Mme Jack Masters
Mr Clouthier taught grade 8 English
Principals: Mr. R. Turner, Mme. James, Mme Lise Haman (1994) 
Custodian: Gary Moneau
Irma crossing guard
- Ron Currie and his children, Michael Currie and Carolyn Currie, attended Pine Street School.
- Ron's brothers Bill Currie and Doug Currie also attended.
Man, I miss that school. Remember the awesome basement with the cool space under the stairs? And climbing the pipes in the boys' washroom? We used to make a game of sneaking inside during recess when the teachers weren't watching so we could play down there.— Tyler K. Rauman, who attended circa 1988 - 1994. Comment made in 2012