"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.

Changes and Challenges

One hundred years ago, when Ben Madill attended S. S. # 12, the schoolhouse was sitting on its one acre of land on Hurontario Street. It was a quiet setting except for the shouts of children at recess and the occasional automobile on the two lane road. How different things have been in the past half century. Gradually over the years the road was widened to four lanes and there was less schoolyard in front of the school. Noise increased as more and more traffic used Hurontario as a major corridor between new highways, 401 and 403. Overhead airplane traffic gradually increased until today, depending on the runway being used at Pearson International Airport, a plane can fly over ever two minutes. The quiet rural village school setting was gone forever.

Today the old schoolhouse is facing new challenges. The city of Mississauga is building a light rail transit system along Hurontario Street. The work has now reached the area in front of the schoolhouse. Again, the road will be widened. This has meant cutting down many of the trees along the schoolyard frontage, including a beautiful old maple that was planted by students years ago. Access to the school from Hurontario Street is no longer possible. The teacher will be coping with increased noise from big machinery working in front of the school.

The good news is that since the beginning of May children have been coming to spend a day at the schoolhouse. COVID restrictions have eased, and the program has resumed. Their experience will be nothing like Ben's in the 1920s or even that of the children who attended until the school closed in the 1950s. It's amazing that with all the changes over the past 100 years, this heritage one room school has survived and thrived. With loving care it could withstand the changes of the 21th century as well.

Clematis on the Teachers' Arbour

Clematis: Etoile Violette
1885

Etoile Violette is a clematis of the viticella group, a native wild clematis that was introduced in England in the 16th century when it was known as Virgin's Bower in honour of Queen Elizabeth I. Viticellas are noted for their prolific nodding flowers. The Etoille Violette cultivar was raised by Morel in France 1885. It blooms from late June to September, has good resistance to clematis wilt and needs only light pruning in Spring.

Clematis: Etoile Rose
1903

Etoile Rose is a hybrid of the texentis species. As its name implies the texensis is a wild clematis found in Texas. Typical of texensis varieties Etoile Rose has nodding soft red tulip-shaped flowers. It blooms from July through September, then dies back to the ground in winter. Pruning is done in Spring.

COVID 19 Information

All Friends of the Schoolhouse activities are cancelled until further notice. There will be no Open Sundays until September. Watch the Current News page for information in the coming months. The Friends wish everyone good health in these difficult days and weeks We look forward to seeing you at the schoolhouse in the future.

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.

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 2020-2021
Something new every month from September to June.

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.

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