Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bernier School No. 718 (St. Ambroise, RM of Portage la Prairie)

Bernier School opened in August 1892, named for Catholic school superintendent Thomas A. Bernier, and a building was erected in the northwest quarter of 1-15-5 west of the Principal Meridian, in the community of St. Ambroise in the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie. In 1915, a new one-classroom structure was constructed, with a second room added in 1944 due to increasing student enrollment. In 1955, it was moved about 3/4 of a mile north near the church and cemetery, and a third classroom was added. Between 1958 and 1959, the old church rectory was used as a fourth classroom. In 1969, the school became part of the White Horse Plain School Division. Starting in 1971, students in grades 9 to 12 were bused to St. Laurent School. Later, those in grades 5 to 8 joined them. By 1989, enrollment stood at eight students. After closing in June 1990, the building became a community centre.

Some of the teachers who worked at Bernier School included Irene Peloquin, Mary Ruskka, Julliet Delorme, Lorraine Morin, Steve Lavallee, Stella Zeck Hiebert, Roberta Ducharme Graham, May Lambert McKinnon, Lucille Lepine, Linda Ducharme, Phillip Klyne, Betty Anne Ducharme Lavallee, and Anita Ducharme Lavallee.

The remodelled Bernier School

The remodelled Bernier School (no date) by A. B. Fallis
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 114.

The former Bernier School building

The former Bernier School building (April 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

The former Bernier School building

The former Bernier School building (November 2023)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.25625, W98.04105
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Alfred Bernier (1844-1908)


One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.

A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 1994, 230 pages.

Rural Schools of Portage la Prairie School Division #24 by Muriel Wright, 1996.

We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 January 2024

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