About The Schoolhouse
The Old Britannia Schoolhouse is a fine example of the hundreds of one-room schoolhouses that dotted the rural landscape of Ontario until the 1950's and 1960's. According to the Treasurer's Account Book dated 1850-1905, the present brick building built in 1852 consisted of one room and two unheated cloakrooms, one for boys and one for girls. It had only one outside entrance. A small frame building behind the school stored firewood. Two outside toilets, one for boys and one for girls, also known as outhouses, were located behind the school by the back fence. These two outbuildings lacked heat and were kept well apart. Until the early 1900's the majority of Ontario's population was rural. Therefore even in the first quarter of the 20th century most of the children in Ontario attended this type of school.
The Old Britannia Schoolhouse on the west side of Hurontario Street, south of Britannia Road, has been designated by the City of Mississauga under the Heritage Act (1974).
Statement of Significance
"The Britannia Schoolhouse is recommended for designation on the architectural grounds that, in design, it represents a typical nineteenth-century Ontario schoolhouse and, in its attention to details such as the blind rose window, the imbrication and the decorative brickwork around the windows and door, it is a fine example of the 19th century building skills. Historically, it was used as a school for more than half a century and it has long been a landmark on Hurontario Street."
School Sections in Upper Canada (Ontario)
In the second quarter of the 1800's little schoolhouses were beginning to spring up here and there in Upper Canada. To bring order to this development, the Schools' Act of 1843 required the townships to be divided into a convenient number of school sections. Three trustees, always men living in the section, were responsible for the operation of each school. Trustees did not receive remuneration or compensation. It was considered an honour to be a trustee.
Five townships made up Peel County - Toronto, Chinguacousy, Caledon, Albion and Toronto Gore. In 1843 at the time the Schools Act was established Toronto Township was divided into 20 school sections. Later some of these original sections were changed.
In 1855 statistics related to the Common Schools of Ontario listed 76 school sections in Peel with 74 schools plus 2 either not open or not reported. Of the 74 schools 11 were brick, 1 stone, 33 frame, 26 log. Four were not reported. In Toronto Township where S. S.#12 was located 22 school sections were listed in 1855 with 21 common schools open plus 1 either not open or not reported. Of the 22 schools there were 6 brick, 1 stone, 11 frame and 3 log.
In the 1920's there were 23 school sections and 23 public schools in Toronto Township.