In the early 1900s, Dundas had only a single high school, which was severely overcrowded. As the population continued to increase, an additional school was founded in 1908. In 1927, it was decided the problem was still too pronounced, and a third school was needed. Dundas District High School was officially opened January 3, 1930.
The land that the school sits on at King Street West was donated by Robert and Frank Fisher, the owners of the famous Fisher Mill (previously called Gore Mills). Their plan was to build the parking lot and play area on one side of the street, and the school building itself on the other. When this school was erected, it was second to none, and maintained a great reputation for quality education and strong school spirit through the course of its existence. In 1948, the administration made plans for expansion, including classrooms for home economics and shop classes, along with a principal’s office, new washrooms, and a coal storage.
In the 1960s, two additional schools were opened, Parkside High School (1960) and Highland Secondary School (1966) (in 2014, these two were amalgamated into Dundas Valley Secondary School). These schools would ultimately lead to the closing of District in 1982 when falling enrollment had become a serious issue in the school board. It was determined that one school had to be closed, and District was the obvious choice due to its age. It did indeed close despite public outcry.
However, this was not quite the end for Dundas District High school. Another grade school was needed for grades six to eight, and in May of 1991, Dundas District High school became known as Dundas District Public School. It has since been permanently closed with the opening of the Sir William Osler Elementary School, and the building has been turned into condominiums known as the Dundas District Lofts – Valvasori Properties. The owners advertise their property in part as a way of preserving the history of the institution.
Thanks to the students of McMaster University Department of History for their assistance with this project.