"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.

Solar Eclipse Excitement

For weeks the media has been full of articles and information about a total solar eclipse that will be observed in parts of Southern Ontario. Niagara Falls is expected to be the best place to experience totality, but Toronto and other areas along the north shore of Lake Ontario can expect at least close to a total eclipse as the moon passes in front of the sun. This will occur around 3 pm on April 8, 2024.

Would any of the children attending the Britannia Schoolhouse have experienced a total eclipse? It turns out that indeed they probably did. The last total eclipse prior to this one in the Britannia area was on January 24, 1925, almost a hundred years ago. What might have been happening that day at school? It is likely that the schoolmaster or schoolmistress would have taught a lesson about eclipses in the days prior to the event. Predicting when eclipses would occur had been possible for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Ancient civilizations in many parts of the world were fascinated by the spectacle even though they didn't fully understand it. Children would be told what to expect. The sun's light would be blocked out by the moon, it would get dark and cooler, the animals and birds would become quiet. Hopefully they were also warned not to look at the sun. Perhaps they were taught how to make a pinhole camera. This would allow them to "see" the eclipse without looking at it directly.

No doubt there was great excitement the day of the eclipse. The children would be outside in the schoolyard where they could sit with their backs to the sun and one part of their pinhole camera on the ground. They would practice holding the sheet of cardstock with the pinhole toward the sun, carefully not looking at the sun, and directing the light onto the piece of cardstock on the ground. As the moon began to cover the sun, they could watch the speck of sunlight projected by their camera gradually disappear, then reappear as the moon moved away.

Those children would be 99 years old today. Perhaps there is someone from that class still alive to see the total eclipse on April 8, 2024, almost 100 years later.

Make Your Own Pinhole Camera

Instructions provided by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


• 2 pieces of white card stock

• Aluminum foil

• Tape

• Pin or paper clip

• Scissors

How to make it

Cut a 1 to 2 inch square in the middle of one piece of card stock.
Tape a piece of aluminum foil over the hole.
Flip your paper foil side down and poke a tiny hole with the pin in the centre of the aluminum.
Place your second piece of card stock on the ground and hold the piece with aluminum foil above it (foil facing up). Stand with the Sun behind you and view the projected image on the card stock below! The farther away you hold your camera, the bigger your projected image will be.

Coming Events

No events are planned during the COVID 19 pandemic.

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 Daryl Cook dlcook@rogers.com for further information.

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.

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