Glenholme School

* Please remember that this article was written by Olive French in 1967 and in no way a reflection of current terminology used at the Oshawa Community Museum. *

Of all the crippled of children, retardation exacts the heaviest toll. In the average community 30 out of 1000 children are estimated to be retarded in some degree, an incidence about ten times that of crippling polio at its height.

The Oshawa and District Association for Retarded Children was formed in November 1953, by a group of parents and interested friends, to provide schooling and training for mentally handicapped children who will never be admitted to the regular schools.

The Association, an incorporated charitable association, is comprised of parents of mentally retarded children and citizens interested in their problem and is dedicated to a program of public understanding and to provide the proper schooling and training of the mentally retarded of this district.

Previous to the forming of the Association here, preliminary meetings were held during July and August in 1953. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Holdsworth were instrumental in getting this started. Before the first meeting Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Dean put a notice in the paper and all the interested parents who were contacted answered. There were about seven in number.

The first officers were as follows:

                        Mrs. George Wilson – president

                        Mr. Arthur Holdsworth – treasurer

                        Mrs. Courtice – recording secretary

                        Mr. Don Minns – corresponding secretary

These officers and paid members applied for a charter with the Ontario Association for Retarded Children. This took two years to be granted to them from the government June 22nd, 1954.

In May 1954, the first classes were held in the Salvation Army Citadel. The rooms were small and not adequate for their needs. In September 1954, the classes were moved to Grace Lutheran Church on Albert Street. In September 1955, a second class was formed and the school moved to two rooms in Simcoe Hall, provided by the Women’s Welfare League. In January 1957, a third class was organized and they moved to 99 Mill Street, the first building that was entirely devoted to work among the retarded. It was about this time that the name “Glenholme” was given to the school. Mrs. Thomas Fairbrother, formerly of Montrave Avenue, Oshawa, was instrumental in choosing the name. She is at present residing in Newcastle[1].

In February 1957, the association was incorporated by the Letters Patent. This gave the organization stability.  In November 1958, a campaign was started to raise funds to build a new school, on the property donated by the city of Oshawa at 1356 Simcoe St. South. Those on the committees were kept busy with what seemed very discouraging work at times.

In March 1960, the new school was ready for occupation; his Worship Mayor Lyman Gifford had laid the corner stone.

On June 18th, 1960 on its tenth anniversary, the official opening of this large new school took place. It is the first such building on the north shore of Lake Ontario and the first in the country erected solely for the teaching and training of retarded children.

In January 1962, a sheltered work shop or training centre for the adult retarded over the age of 18 was opened at 729 Station Street[2]. This building was a store. This last named project was started by Mr. Arthur Holdsworth and also the formation of the pre-school classes for retarded children. The Sheltered Work Shop was complete in 1960. Mr. Lyman Gifford cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

Words cannot express the thanks that are due to the first officers and other workers who have started these schools and have guided them through their first years. The one who steered the project in the right direction was Miss Maggie Hancock. These officers had to manage in many ways to raise money to pay the necessary expenditures to get the classes started. It was done by raffles, tag days etc. and even taking the money out of their own pockets. Lectures were given to stimulate interest among people and different organizations in the work among retarded children.

When the school first opened there were seven pupils and Mrs. Sarah Adair was the first teacher. The second teacher was Mrs. H.G. Willis and she is the principal at the present time (1967)[3].

The name of the people who were instrumental in getting the school started is as follows:

            Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Holdsworth

            Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Dean

            Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Swinson

            Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Wilson

            Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Carson

            Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Lavender

            Mrs. Robert Shorten

            Mrs. B. Schuerman

[1] It is unknown what has happened to Mrs. Fairbrother.

[2] Unsure where this was located.

[3] Marlene Pike is the current Principal.



Filed under Schools

4 responses to “Glenholme School

  1. PMD

    I love your blog, you should add instructions for the RSS feed feature so I can get automatic notifications of new blogs. If you can help me set it up please email me! Ii will bookmark you for now. Again Excellent Blog!

  2. I enjoyed your blog. It’s easy to read, the content is good, and your an educated writer unlike most of the blogs I come across when searching on this topic. I will check back in the future and see if you have anymore articles. Thanks for posting this, I appreciate the infomration and the effort you put into your site.

  3. Nancy J Chambers

    Do you have a photo of Glenholme School? I am volunteering at the YWCA and assisting a student who attended there, to make a book about her life.

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