"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.

Back to School

Late August was always an exciting time for the children of Britannia. There were so many things to look forward to: harvesting the crops, preparing for the Fall Fair and getting ready to go back to school. Some of the younger children had been in school during the summer months and would continue until winter storms and deep snow made it too difficult for the little ones to get to school. The older ones might miss a few days during harvest time helping on the farm, but the school doors opened at the beginning of September and the schoolmistress or schoolmaster 0whicever it happened to be that year) would ring the bell and classes would begin.

Children in Missisauga are hoping they will be going back to a normal school year this year after COVID has disrupted in school learning several times in the past two years. Unfortunately, they will not have the experience of visiting the schoolhouse for a day to learn what a school day was like a hundred years ago. Once again the school doors will remain closed at least until January. This will give time to work on updating and revising the school program, complete needed repairs to the building and, hopefully, give time for the work on the LRT in front of the school to be completed. The noise and dirt make for an unpleasant visit.

Meanwhile this Current News page on the website will keep you up to date on the progress and give you some interesting items to read.

Preparing for School, Then and Now

One hundred years ago children collected things they would need when school began. Todays children do this too, but the items they collect are very different.



Late 19th and early 20th century

A pencil case
A basket to carry lunch
A pail to carry lunch
A Slate to write on
Straps to wrap around books


21st Century

Computer
Cotton lunch bag
Paper food bags
Fabric lunch cooler
Back pack


Some differences are obvious. The computer has replaced the slate. Both are expensive items. One of the slates displayed in the schoolhouse is very small because the child kept breaking it and since the family couldn’t afford to buy another, the father kept trimming the largest broken piece into a rectangle. Each time the slate got broken it got smaller and smaller. Backpacks have replaced the straps and are more convenient for carrying any books and the laptop. One change has been to return to the early years of reusing lunch containers rather than throwing everything away. Baskets and pails for carrying lunch have been replaced by cotton bags, reusable containers and paper bags.

What hasn't changed is the excitement of anticipating the first day of school.

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. Please note that because of the COVID19 pandemic, we are suspending the payment of membership fees for 2021. Our newsletters and website will continue to be available to members. Donations to support the schoolhouse and its programs are always welcome and appreciated.

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.

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