At the opening party

Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School students celebrate the school’s grand opening on Monday.

Although Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School has been operating since fall 2020, the south-side school was finally able to celebrate its grand opening on Monday now that pandemic restrictions are no longer in place.

The event featured guest speakers, musical presentations and tours of the new elementary school, which was built on the site of the former Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

“The input that students and staff had in the design of our learning spaces is evident throughout, and we are so proud of the vibrant school community that we have become,” said Heather Harris, principal at Ecole Elsie MacGill, in a news release. “Every student and staff member at École Elsie MacGill Public School has a favourite feature or space in the school that allows them to see themselves in the environment and know that they belong.”

The school was created after Lakehead Public Schools made the decisions to close Agnew H. Johnston and Edgewater Park public schools.

Ecole Elsie MacGill is home to about 800 students and features a large gymnasium, natural light and was designed with energy-efficient technologies.

The school’s namesake, Elsie MacGill, was the chief aeronautical engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry and oversaw the production of more than 1,400 Hawker Hurricane fighter planes during the Second World War. MacGill was honoured during the grand opening of the school with a display of her contributions to the country from the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre.

Director of education, Ian MacRae, said the school reflects Lakehead Public School’s vision of offering students an exceptional learning experience in a space that is accessible and safe.

The school also houses two on-site child care centres.