A little more than 150 years ago, Canyon served as a lumbering center and its thousand year old redwoods were shamefully used to build towns and cities throughout the Bay Area and outer regions.
In 1850, Canyon was occupied by dairy ranches. By 1900, the ranches disappeared, the redwoods returned, and Canyon began attracting many campers, hunters, fishermen, and hikers. To accommodate the frequency of these visitors, a number of saloons, hotels, and a general store opened up, and in the early 1900’s, Canyon became a summer resort area.
In 1913, the Oakland and Antioch Railway was established bringing many visitors through Canyon. The lumbering had stopped and the redwoods attracted many visitors.
In 1918, the school and post office were built as the Canyon community began to flourish. Home to more than 150 residences, the community was built in and around a redwood grove filled with many picnic tables and a general store (formerly the Redwood Inn).
The 1920’s brought many summer home subdivisions to Canyon and the Great Depression increased the year-round population. There were no streetlights, sidewalks, sewers, and natural gas in Canyon.
After World War II, much of Canyon was bought up by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District EBMUD as a watershed, and the number of residences steadily declined.
In the 60’s and 70’s, Canyon served as a community hotspot for hippies who regularly met in the redwood grove on weekends.
Today, Canyon still retains its quality of life, marked by the abundance of redwood trees, creeks, clean air, its community, school, and post office.
Canyon School is supported by dedicated faculty and staff members, some of whom are school alumni. Four full-time and one part-time instructors teach in three classrooms which are divided up into K12, 345, and 678 grade levels. The age difference in classrooms encourages the students to help and learn from each other, fostering a strong student community.
Canyon promotes creativity through inspiring art and music programs. Each Wednesday, the school features a comprehensive visual arts program and students participate in Capoiera activites and learn to play and appreciate music, dance, and song. In addition, teachers and volunteers facilitate a program to enrich students in a variety of other dynamic art and music projects. Canyon School encourages and supports a lively community by means of annual student performances. The long tradition of annual performances began in the 1920′s. One of those traditions is the annual Winter Performance which features a performance by each class, written by the faculty and students themselves.
In addition to performances, the school’s fundraising organization CATSS hosts several community building fundraisers, including an annual Spring dinner and live auction, the popular Halloween Carnival, the Art Faire, and a pancake breakfast.
The Canyon School lunch program features a healthy, natural, and mostly organic food menu that includes vegetables from the local organic gardens. After lunch, students participate in a daily routine of cleaning up messes and washing dishes.