Grenfell School was named after Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a legend in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Grenfell, a physician, came from England in 1892 to investigate the lives of the people who fished off their coasts. He found poverty and a lack of services. Moved by the plight of the local fishermen and their families, Dr. Grenfell committed the rest of his life to fundraising to provide facilities and services. A man clearly ahead of his time, he organized a group of volunteers similar to today's Peace Corps who offered the first health care to rural communities. Through his tireless efforts, hospitals, nursing stations, schools, and orphanages were built, and cooperative stores and industrial work projects established for local fishermen. A true Canadian hero and humanitarian, the Grenfell legacy continues to inspire people around the world.
Dr. Grenfell received many awards for his tireless work. In St. Anthony, Newfoundland, his former home has been converted into a museum and a statue has been erected in his honour. The hospital he built in St. Anthony in 1924, the first in the area, is still in use today. Among the many awards and honours Grenfell received for his work, perhaps the most prestigious was bestowed in 1928 when he was chosen as the fifth Honorary Knight for Life of the Loyal Knights of the Round Table, a rank given only to men who have done a great service to humanity.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell Elementary accommodates an ethnically-diverse, growing population of approximately 400 students, with the majority speaking English as a second language. The school was officially opened on March 2, 1956, a subsequent addition completed in 1958, and because of an ongoing demand for more space, a new four classroom wing was completed in the 1990s. As well as the main building, Grenfell also includes a separate wood frame building circa the 1920s.