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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.

June at the Schoolhouse

The weather was getting warmer and the schoolhouse was often hot even with all the windows open. In the winter the children sitting near the stove were overheated while those in the far corners of the room were chilly. In June, everyone sweltered. It was hard to concentrate on the lessons. Children daydreamed of being outside and thought of all the summer activities they would soon enjoy. The schoolmistress, aware of the inattention to lessons and also suffering from the heat, would sometimes extend recess and lunch time. What the children liked most was when she took them outside for a lesson. Sitting under one of the large maple trees was far better than sitting in a desk in a hot schoolroom.

Young minds were also distracted by the thought of exciting events that always happened in June. The school's baseball team competed with other schools. There was sometimes an end of year picnic that involved the whole community. A Field Day involved a full day of events and activities. There were races for all agea, games and skill testing events. Who could jump the farthest? Fly a kite the highest and longest? Children in Senior Fourth (Grade 8) would be leaving for the last time. A few would go on to the high school. Others would stay home and work on the farm. There might be a graduation ceremony for those who were leaving. It was certainly an exciting month.

However, in the late 1800s it was not the end of a school year for everyone. The youngest children had not attended school in the coldest, snowiest winter months. They went to school in the summer instead. The older students often attended after the harvest was over and until the spring planting work began. Extra hands were needed at home on the farm. The teacher, of course, worked year round.

Children today still experience the excitement of the end of the school year. Although some schools have air conditioning, many do not. So the discomfort of hot weather is still felt as students sit in hot classrooms just as they did a hundred and twenty years ago and dream of long summer days ahead.

Some Activities for June Fun at the Schoolhouse

Kite Flying
Running a Race
Schoolwork Under a Tree
Playing Baseball
Skipping

The Gardner House

This old farmhouse now stands just south of the Old Britannia Schoolhouse. It is the farmhouse of Joseph Gardner which was originally at the corner of Hurontario Street and Britannia Road. When this area was redeveloped, the farmhouse was moved to the two-hundred-acre property now held in trust by the Peel District School Board. Parts of it are now used as office space.

The Peel Atlas of 1877 has a drawing of the Gardner property showing the farmhouse, outbuildings, gardens and fields..

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.

WANTED

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 Group

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