Category Archives: Schools

Public and Separate Schools in 1967

A new six-room addition will be built on St. Christopher School. There will be room for 200 students when it is completed. The new rooms will include a library classroom, utility room, storage room, washroom, a staff room and six classrooms.

To accommodate its increased enrollment, the separate school board is building a new elementary school, John XIII, on Athabasca Street. It will be the first to feature the new team teaching technique. It will have operable walls in one of the three quadrants that will open a three-classroom unit where groups of pupils can be taught by a team of teachers.

This circular school is 136 feet in diameter and will have a 64 foot inner court. It will have eight classrooms and a kindergarten area. It will accommodate more than 300 students. It is expected to be ready for classes in December 1967.

The principal is not yet appointed. The total enrolment of elementary students is 4,700. The total enrolment of secondary students is  222.

I am concluding this history by listing all of the schools in this city in our centennial year 1967 and the Principals who are in charge of each one. The Roman Catholic schools are as follows:

St. Joseph High School – Sister Mary Sheils

Corpus Christi – Sister Beatrice

St. Frances – Soeur Gilles du Sacre Coeur

St. Gertrude – Sister Rose of Lima

St. Gregory – Sister Mary Petronilla

St. Hedwig – Sister Mary Columbine

Holy Cross – Sister St. Thomas Aquinas

John F. Kennedy – Sister Carmela

John XIII – Mr. M. Breaugh

St. Joseph – Sister Rosalia

St. Michael – Mr. M. Ward

St. Philips – Mr. Michael Lisks

Sir Albert Love – Sister Mary Richard

St. Thomas Aquinas – Mr. Frank Hefferty

The Oshawa Public schools are continuing their expansion during this year.  A large addition will be erected on Grandview school, which will double its capacity. The project is costing $200 000. It will include nine rooms to accommodate 250 more students and a library. This addition will be the first to be constructed with a full-sized library.

The total attendance in the public schools is 12 330 for this Centennial year.

The Oshawa Public schools are continuing their expansion during this year.

A new senior public school has been built on Cedar Street to accommodate its new students. The school has 10 regular classrooms, a home economics room, an industrial arts room and a combination auditorium and gymnasium. When the school opens it should have a capacity attendance of 350 students. This is called the Lake Vista School. It was later found necessary to build a large 10 room addition. There will be a new library and a music room. The school will then accommodate 500 students.

There are plans being laid for an addition to be erected on Centre Street. It will be on the north side, the short end of Queen Street running into Centre Street will be closed to make way for it.

A new school is being erected on Waverly Street, just behind the stadium (Waverly Public School). It will have 10 rooms plus a kindergarten staff room, library and a combination auditorium/gymnasium. Operable walls will be constructed in four classrooms for team teaching. This new method is being tried. There will be a seminar room for extra student help and also for showing pictures. It will be used as well for a guidance room and discussions.

After its years of service, since 1877, Albert Street School is being closed. It is in need of repairs and the cost would be prohibitive. For the most part, through the years, it has had a normal existence. Teachers have come and gone and many students have passed through its doors. Miss fanny Hislop ruled with an “iron fist”, when she was principal. The building will be used by the Board of Education for offices for the music and sports departments. Musical instruments and sports equipment will also be stored there as well as school books.The pupils will be accommodated in Simcoe Street South and Ritson Road. King Street School will take care of some of the Grade VII and VIII students. E.A. Lovell will take care of many of the pupils. A portable has been moved on the school ground to provide extra space. Miss M. Patterson was the principal in Albert Street from September to June of this year (1967). During World War II, Albert Street School was closed, for about two years owing to the shortage of fuel electricity. The pupils from there were accommodated in King Street, Centre Street, and South Simcoe Street.

The last teachers in Albert Street School in 1967 were:

Miss Margaret Patterson – Principal

Mr. Russell – Principal’s Assistant and part-time grade three teacher

Mrs. Lois Adams

Mrs. Gertrude Penman

Mrs. Carole Ranieri

Mrs. Elsie Simmons

Mr. Timothy Slocombe

Mrs. Wilma Wigg


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Arts and Crafts and Opportunity Classes

Arts and Crafts


Art was taught by Miss Maude Squires, first in 1919. She was an itinerant teacher until she retired in 1925. No teacher has replaced her. Interest is kept alive through an annual prize which she left in her will on her death in 1936. The arts and crafts supervisor in the year 1947 was Miss F. Hart. She conducted classes in the different schools.


Opportunity Classes


These classes were started first in Centre Street School in 1930 with Mr. Robertson as teacher, followed by Miss Rose Capel. In September 1944 a second class was conducted in Simcoe Street South School with Miss F. McLeod as teacher. It was transferred to Albert Street in 1949.

In September 1949, Miss Madeline Kelly was appointed speech correction teacher, to be followed in 1950 as Primary Supervisor in charge of primary reading as well as the speech training.

In September 1966, the first class for the neurologically impaired [was established] in a total of fourteen Opportunity classes in the city which included Primary, Junior, Senior and intermediate.

Miss Rose Capel’s class was moved to Albert Street School in 1942 to make room for Home Economics in Centre Street School. She remained in Albert Street until the time of her retirement. With the closing of Albert Street School in 1967, that class was sent back to Centre Street.

These classes are entirely financed by the Board of Education.

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Holy Cross Separate School

The building of separate schools was at a standstill during the depression as was the case in the Protestant schools. In the spring of 1937, it was realized that there were many Catholic pupils in the south end of the city, and possibly a school should be built there.

Father Morrow explored the possibilities of a site for such a school and finally the property of Frederick Cowan on Simcoe Street South was purchased. This is now Holy Cross School which was officially opened in 1954.

The Cowan home was altered at the time to accommodate the students. The property has undergone many changes since then, owing to increases in attendance. The following alterations have been made: eight rooms were built on the back of the residence, next the residence itself was taken down and eight rooms were built on the same site.

Recently several classrooms have been added to bring the school to its present proportions. One major factor in the growth of Holy Cross School is the settling of immigrants from Poland and the Ukraine in the south end of the city.

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Music in the Schools

In 1927/1928, Mrs. R.S. McLaughlin president of the Home and School Council with the help of Mrs. Gertrude Colpus,[1] asked the school trustees to appoint a musical supervisor, with the result that Mr. Leslie Unitt was the first one appointed here. He was here until 1929 and it could be said that he laid the ground work for the others who followed.

In 1929, Mr. Leonard Richer was the next supervisor to be appointed and he was here until his death in January 1945. He did much to organize the new project here. In spite of his lameness, Mr. Richer was able to get around to the different schools and conduct the lessons in the classes, himself. It was stated that the children’s ability to read music was excellent. Part singing was also developed.

Concerts were given in the schools where there was a large auditorium and all of the schools in the town took part. The same songs were taught in the different schools and the children did not sing together until the night of the concert. These festivals were very good.

Mr. Richer, an excellent violinist himself also did much to promote the establishment of orchestras in the schools. He conducted the first violin classes in the public schools for children who wished to take it up.

At first Mr. Richer’s work was in the public schools, but later in 1928 and 1929, he organized a Glee Club in the Collegiate on Simcoe Street North. Also about this time an orchestra was started.

Just before this, the two sons of Rev. Maxwell, pastor of St. Andrew’s church, wrote a song for the Collegiate. One of the boys wrote the words for the song and the other composed the music.

After Mr. Richer passed away in 1945, Mr. E. Wallace who was the supervisor at present was appointed. In 1954, the first assistant to the music supervisor was hired.

Under the guidance of Mr. Winkler in the Central Collegiate, music was put on the curriculum in 1955. This comprised the Glee Club and Orchestra. The C.C.J. was the first secondary school to do this. Eastdale Collegiate held the banner for having the best orchestra of any of the Oshawa schools in this year 1967. They played at “Expo.” The McLaughlin Collegiate also had the honour of playing there, as well.

…Those recitals were comprised of piano solos, ducts trios, quartets and quintets – I hope the pianos were all tuned to the same pitch for the last named. The numbers consisted of few by the composers Bach B, etc. but most of the selections were variations on old song tunes and descriptive pieces such as ‘Falling Water.”

There were many locale and passages pieces also chores and Oct. They were showy when being excused played but were wonderful.

[1] Executive of the Centre Street Home and School Association and first woman to be elected Chairman of the Oshawa Board of Education. Public school named after her – officially opened February 1959. (Ross. P. 179)

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Since It’s Midterm Season: Sample Exam Questions

Here is an item printed in the Vindicator, August 22nd, 1877:

“To those persons who think that High school is a useless luxury, used solely to teach such impractical things as Greek and Latin and a snatch of poor French, we beg to submit the following as some of the questions submitted to the male and female candidates at the recent Intermediate exams.”

To the female students –

12) How would you proceed in order to?

i) Cook a beefsteak

ii) Poach eggs

iii) To make good toast

iv) Prepare a nice dinner in the month of July, at a farm house where the only meat available is salt pork. N.B. Nothing expensive is to be used and nothing that cannot be, usually, or at least easily, had in a farm house.

Note: There ladies is an opportunity to apply your culinary art. There would be no running water; the pump might be quite a distance from the house. They would only have a wood stove on which to prepare the dinner and the cooking utensils would have been black iron pots, perhaps a few grey granite ones. The cook would likely have to see that the supply of wood was found for the fire. She might even have to cut it herself. That kitchen would be the hottest place this side of the “Infernal regions.” Did I hear someone say, oh but there would be a summer kitchen! Don’t be deceived; summer kitchens were as hot as any others. The only thing in their favour was they kept the main part of the house cooler. One redeeming feature, there would be plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on a farm in July.

A Suggested Menu

Soak the salt pork in fresh water for several hours, change the water often, this would eliminate some of the salt. The meat could then be boiled and served hot or cold with mustard, pickles or could be sliced and fried with eggs.

New potatoes, boiled and flavoured with parsley

Green peas, possibly new carrots (these would be small)

Lettuce, radishes and green onions

Homemade bread or rolls, and homemade butter, plain cookies

Usually plenty of pickles were available.


Desert – deep cherry pie, or steamed rolly poly cherry or black currant pudding with a custard sauce or cream. Or backed Rice pudding made with pump raisins.

Dried apple pie with cheese

Tea or coffee with cream, and sugar.

Whole milk


13) Why should a house be ventilated and beds aired?

14) Point out the advantages of having many windows in the house.

To male students the following were submitted for the intermediate exam.

8 ) Explain how you would feed cattle in order:

i.          to fatten them

ii.          to obtain the largest possible quantity of milk

iii.         to obtain milk of the best quality

iv.         to obtain the largest possible return in cheese

9) State where it is advisable

  1. not to plough deep
  2. to use sub-soil plough
  3. to drain

10) Explain the value of lime as manure, and state on what soils it is advantageous. Give the chemical composition of quick lime, slaked lime, mild lime, limestone and chalk.

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The Home and School Club

The Home and School Club is an institution that has been functioning for close to half a century. Since the time it was first organized it would be impossible to estimate the benefit these clubs have been to the parents and schools in the various communities.

Mention was made of the fact that Home and School Clubs were in existence in the Maritimes in 1907/1908.

Its aim is to awaken public interest in all educational matters, by means of organization and discussion and by providing literature and speakers. We believe that in the schools of tomorrow, and through the sympathetic and intelligent of parents, with inspiring and public spirited teachers, lies Ontario’s and Canada’s best hope of establishing a Great Democracy.

Miss Maude Squires, a resident of Oshawa and an itinerant[1] art teacher (1919 – 1925) in the city, became interested in the work of Home and School Clubs. It was a new idea to most of the residents at the time. She went to Toronto to gain more information about the work. She felt that these clubs would be of much benefit to Oshawa. After that visit she was asked to give a talk in to the teachers, explaining the function of these clubs. An appeal was made to Mrs. R. S. McLaughlin[2], on the evening of November the 16th, 1920, to discuss the possibilities of forming a Home and School organization in the town of Oshawa.

Mrs. McLaughlin, on motion made by Miss M.P. Squires, seconded by Miss J.W. Garrow, took the chair and conducted the business of the evening.

A long list of the splendid activities, twenty-six in all, which should be of interest to Home and School Clubs was then read. Among them were:

To assist in beautifying school grounds

To encourage play and the installation of playground equipment

To use school as a social centre and establish night classes and courses of lecture

To establish a library

To support school orchestras and choruses

To help Canadian foreign born residents

To encourage [viewing] good motion pictures and to discourage demoralizing ones.

It was moved by Mrs. D.J. Brown, seconded by Miss Annand, and unanimously passed, that we form a branch of the Ontario Federation of Home and School associations to be known as the Oshawa Home and School Association, with a President, First and Second Vice-Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer. These officers, with five other active members, one to represent each school shall constitute the executive, this committee to have power to add to its members. Carried.

The following officers and committee were elected:

Honourary President – A.E. Garbutt, supervisor of Oshawa Public Schools

President – Mrs. R.S. McLaughlin

First Vice-president – Miss M.P. Squires

Second Vice-president – Miss Sieling, school nurse.

Treasurer – Miss Algrer

Secretary – Miss J.W. Garrow

Committee –

1. Mrs. O.C. Reid – Simcoe St. School

2. Miss G. Argall – Mary St. School

3. Miss E. Holmes – Centre St. School

4. Miss Lowe – Albert St. School

5. Miss L. Moffatt – King St. School

After deciding the time and place for future meetings and a speaker for the following one, the first meeting of the Home and School Club in Oshawa came to a close.

Following the formation of that Central Club each of the schools then proceeded to form its own Home and School Club.

King Street School organized their club on November 26th, 1920. The first officers were:

President – Mrs. Edith Conant Myers. (She was spoken of as having been the grandmother of all the clubs, having been the first president of one of the first clubs formed in a school. She held the banner by a small margin, indeed.)

Secretary – Miss Leta Moffat

Treasurer – Mrs. W.A. Dewland

Mary Street – Home and School Club was organized December 1st, 1920

President – Miss Helen M. Keddie

Secretary – Mrs Flath

Treasurer – Miss Gertrude Argall

Centre Street school organized their club December 9th, 1920

President – Mrs. C.A. Kinnear

Vice-president – Miss E. Holmes

Secretary – Mrs. B.C. Colpus

Treasurer – Mrs. T.B. Crothers

[1] Traveling from place to place, especially on a circuit, as a minister, judge, or sales representative; itinerating; journeying.

[2] Married for 60 years to R. Samuel McLaughlin, whose family company, the McLaughlin Car Company, eventually became General Motors of Canada Ltd., Adelaide worked hard finding ways to benefit society through her local charitable work. She continued to pursue these activities and interests until her death at the age of 83.

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When Centre Street (E.A. Lovell) School was erected in 1923 a room was especially equipped for a kindergarten. It was a new thing then and was branded by some as “nonsense” and a “waste of money.”

Some of the doctors in the 1860s and 1870s were noticed to have said that small children, even up to the age of seven or eight, should not attend school. They should be home and allowed the freedom of play in the fresh air and sun. This would build up stronger constitutions and also relieve the overcrowding in the schools.

However these ideas have changed with the modern times, children enter kindergarten at the age of five[1]. The attendance is not compulsory but is strongly recommended to the parents.

Kindergarten supplements home training and aids the transition period from home to school life. It teaches the child to work and play with those of his own age, to respect the rights of others and to wait his turn in selecting materials or when playing games.

The late Miss Maude Power was the first teacher who introduced kindergarten. It did not receive a very warm reception at the time.

Miss Greta Ellis, residing at present on the corner of Centre Street and Athol Street West, had been conducting kindergarten classes in her own home in the years 1918 – 1920. She had a room especially equipped for the purpose. Children entered at the age of [five] and the classes were of two hour duration. They were quite popular and were well attended.

When the kindergarten room was ready for the work, the Board of Education hired Miss Greta Ellis as teacher in 1924. At first the classes were small and Miss Ellis taught and played the piano, as well. The first helper, who was hired when the attendance increased, played the piano while Miss Ellis taught. Later the assistants who were engaged as helpers held teacher’s certificates and were required also to be able to play the piano. Miss Ellis was strict and had the work well in hand.

The kindergarten in Centre Street School was the only one for twenty-four years. Children were brought there from all over the city in taxis.

As time went on the attendance became so large other classes had to be started. They were as follows:

            September 1948 – Ritson School, a second kindergarten class

            September 1950 – South Simcoe School – a third kindergarten class

            September 1952 – a fourth kindergarten class was started in Simcoe Street North (now Dr. S.J. Phillips)

In September 1953 – College Hill, Coronation, Duke of Edinburgh and Woodcrest schools opened, each having a kindergarten class. With the passing of years, practically all opposition to kindergarten, for small children, has disappeared.

[1] Today children as young as three years old are enrolled in Junior Kindgerten.

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