"We encourage you to check this site often. New information will be added monthly"

Current News

Welcome to our website!

news The Friends of the Schoolhouse web site will keep you informed about The Old Britannia Schoolhouse and the activities and events planned by the Friends' organization. We encourage you to check this site often. New information will be added monthly.

Open Sunday January 14
1 to 4 pm
Early Lighting

The winter nights in Canada are long and dark. Before the invention of electricity, the families of Britannia had a number of ways to light their homes. Candles and kerosene lanterns were the most common. What would it have been like to have only candles for lighting? Find out more about this at our Open Sunday and make a beeswax candle to take home.

Rural Schools in Winter

Although large towns and cities had electricity early in the twentieth century, power transmission lines often didn't reach rural areas until the 1940's or later. Rural schools had no artificial lighting, depending instead on the daylight from the large windows on both sides of the classroom. When electric power did arrive in the community it was often expensive to install. When faced with the decision to have electric lights or indoor washrooms many schools chose washrooms. The Britannia Schoolhouse was wired for electricity in 1927.

With only a wood stove to heat the schoolhouse, it was often cold and drafty except for the lucky children sitting near the stove. Older boys were assigned the task of bringing in the wood which was supplied by parents. Providing wood was a requirement for families who had children attending the school. An advantage of a wood stove in winter was that soup for lunch was often heated on the stove.

Winters in Britannia were cold and snowy. There were always farm chores to be done and animals to be tended, but life did slow down for the winter months. This was the time of year that older children attended school. Very young children found getting to school through the snow drifts and along icy roads difficult so they often stayed home and attended in the spring, summer and fall. This is why we sometimes have as many as 60 students registered for a school that could only accommodate 25 or 30.

Rural children were not afraid of the cold. At lunch time there were lots of activities to keep them busy - skating, snow ball fights, snow fort building and sledding if a hill was handy. At one rural school in Peel a daring lad lost control of his sled and ended up sailing right into the open door of the schoolhouse.

It's interesting to wonder how many of our 21st century children could survive in a 19th century schoolhouse.

Time to Renew Your Membership

Our membership year runs from January to December. Membership forms for renewal or new membership are on this website. Click here to get the form.

Echoes of the Past

This book, written and published by Friends of the Schoolhouse, documents the history of all of the rural one room schools that existed in Peel County.
Full colour, 208 pages, $30
It is available at all our events or from any member of the Friends of the Schoolhouse Executive.
There is a $10 charge for mailing.

Book Talks

Since the book, Echoes of The Past, was published in May 2016, the writers have been giving illustrated talks to historical societies and other interested groups. We talk about the book and tailor each presentation to suit the audience and the one room schools that were in their local area.
If your group would be interested in having a presentation, please contact Jean (905 826 3475) jkrob@rogers.com for further information.

Membership Drive

If you haven't already renewed your membership in the Friends of the Schoolhouse, it's time to do so. Our membership year runs from January to December. We welcome new members. Membership forms can be downloaded and printed using this link. Members play a vital part in preserving the schoolhouse and maintaining and expanding the programs for children who spend a day experiencing school life of long ago. Members receive four newsletters a year, additional notices of events, and are invited to an appreciation "Lemonade on the Lawn" event in July. In addition there are opportunities to volunteer on committees and at events.

Come and Join Us

If you have a couple of hours a month or only a few hours once or twice a year you could help us support the schoolhouse and its programs. The executive committee meets on the second Tuesday of the month from September to June to conduct the business of the Friends of the Schoolhouse and to plan programs and events. Our meetings are from 4 to 6 in the afternoon at the schoolhouse. Volunteers help on an occasional basis with our events and in the gardens. Not only do we support a worthwhile cause, we have a lot of fun doing it. Email our Executive Director Shirley Hoad at shoad@bell.net, if you have a few hours to spare and an interest in helping preserve a community treasure for future generations of children.

Open Sundays 2017-2018
1 to 4 pm - Something new every month from September to June with light refreshments.

For more information about our Open Sunday programs go to the Events page.

Mark Your Calendar

To see a list of our year's events go to the Events page.

Researching our Roots

There is still much more to discover about the Old Britannia Schoolhouse and other early one room schools. Read below for a wish list of "Wanted" items that will help us learn more about our historic schoolhouse.


For use in a book on one-room schools in Peel County:
  • Minute Books
  • Cash Books
  • Class Photos
  • Report Cards
  • Prize Ribbons
  • Medals
  • Certificates
  • Shields
  • Contracts
  • Trustee Memorabilia
  • Teacher Memorabilia
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • School Registers

Your contribution will be acknowledged. Materials supplied will either be returned to you or donated to the Peel County Archives on your behalf.


SLATE stands for So Let's All Talk Education (in a one room school), or as one witty person suggested, being truly Canadian, So Let's All Talk Eh! Each year for a day in the spring people involved in working or volunteering in living history one room schoolhouses get together to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We meet at a different schoolhouse location each year which gives everyone the opportunity to experience how living history is presented in a setting different from their own.

If you are a staff member or volunteer in a living history one room schoolhouse and would like more information about SLATE, contact:

Christine Chapel
The Old Britannia Schoolhouse
5576 Hurontario Street
Mississauga, ON
L5R 1B3
905-890-1010 ext 2911