Ecole St Francois is on Melrose Av and St Francis Street, behind the Hintonburg community centre and Elgise St Francois. Originally built as an intermediate school, it has been a grade school for many years now. An older style wing on the south side of the building was demolished this summer. It housed Le Carrefour, a francophone daycare and pre-and after-school programs. As parent of two kids who went to Carrefour, I am saddened to see it gone. The main school building underwent renovations during the past year, and looks much more modern with the old wing demolished.
Behind the school, running through to Fairmont Avenue, is a large schoolyard and walled park, a heritage feature inherited from the former religious properties. The walls were extensively rebuilt over the last 18 months, using stimulus money. The City removed larger wall portions and lowered others to improve sight lines into the park. It appears these stones were used to build the retaining walls that have been incorporated into the new playstructure. The playstructures were relocated south to be closer to the school and further from the infill townhouse project built on the former school site adjacent to St Francois. (The old school building was renovated into lofts. The one loft I have been in was stunningly gorgeous).
The single spray post water feature that used to be in the northeast corner of the park in a rather dank and low-lying spot has been replaced by a much fancier spray feature located closer to the play structures.
When I took these pictures last weekend, the sand hadn’t been installed around the playstructures yet, and there were many finishing touches to be done.
The completed park is a major asset to the Hintonburg neighborhood both for the recreational amenities and for the shear beauty of the park.