Historic Sites of Manitoba: Brandon Fire Hall No. 2 / McTavish School / Brandon Technical School (603 Eleventh Street, Brandon)

Link to:
Principals | Vice-Principals | Teachers | Photos & Coordinates | Sources

Located on the southeast corner of Eleventh Street and McTavish Avenue, planning for this Brandon structure began as early as 1906 but was deferred into 1908. By September 1908, three finalized architectural plans were drawn up by architect Walter Henderson Shillinglaw for the Brandon City Council, including a 26 foot by 44 foot building for $3,000 (in keeping with early design preferences) along with two designs based upon a 30 foot by 54 foot structure, the first of which was built of wood for $4,250 and a second of brick for $5,150. A call for tenders was issued and the winning bid of John Forbes was selected in October 1908. Construction began late that year and continued into into February 1909. Also known as the South Ward Fire Hall or South End Fire Hall, the Brandon Fire Hall No. 2 remained in operation until 31 July 1916 when firefighting operations were re-consolidated at the Brandon Central Fire Hall.

In May 1917, the Brandon School District called for tenders to expand the facility but, when the tendered costs were found to be too high, these plans were abandoned. Late 1919 saw the Salvation Army given approval to use it as a gymnasium while the School Board contemplated future use of it as overflow classroom space. Need of its conversion to classrooms came earlier than anticipated and, by spring 1921, the process was completed.

The informal name of McTavish School was made official in September 1921, and the building was used as a school for the next year. Additional classroom space added to the Central School and further re-alignment of grades resulted in the school not reopening in September 1922. The School Board subsequently used the building for storage and, from 1929 to 1940, as the Brandon Technical School. An expansion was formally opened on 11 March 1940. A blacksmithy was housed in the basement and automotive classes were held on the main floor.

In spring 1940, with the onset of the Second World War, the building was converted to a 40-bed hospital and headquarters for medical personnel working at the adjacent Manning Depot No. 2 of the Air Training Command No. 2. Post-war, it was used by the School Board as office space along with a musuem for the natural history collection of Benjamin Jones Hales, replacing the exhibit’s former quarters in Fleming School. The museum opened in 1948 and the School Board officially unified their quarters at this site in April 1951, after moving out from office space at Park School and other local premises.

The Brandon School Division operated the site into 1976 when they vacated in favour of the newly redeveloped quarters in the former McLaren School. In the early 1980s, the building was purchased and converted for residential usage.









Brandon Technical

H. C. Austin


Brandon Technical

James Elliott


School Year





Spring 1921 only: (grades 2-3, no staff names)



Miss Alice Gardiner (grades 1-2), Miss Belle Rose (grades 2-3)

See also: Brandon Ultimatum (1 May 1922)


Brandon Technical


Photos & Coordinates

Brandon Fire Hall No. 2 / McTavish School / Brandon Technical School

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.84040, W99.95235
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Brandon Central Fire Hall (637 Princess Avenue, Brandon)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Brandon Winter Fair Building / Brandon Arena / Manning Depot No. 2 (Eleventh Street, Brandon)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Brandon Fire and Emergency Services Museum (120 Nineteenth Street North, Brandon)


Brandon, Manitoba, May 1910, Fire Insurance Plans of Canada, Charles E. Goad Company fonds, Library and Archives Canada.

Insurance Plan of the City of Brandon Man. April 1957 - Sheet 71, Underwriters’ Survey Bureau Limited, University of Winnipeg Map Library [via Manitoba Historical Maps].

“By-law is suspended [Motions],” Brandon Weekly Sun, 12 July 1906, page 2.

“Fire brigade improvement,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 18 October 1906, page 18.

“Council handed many unimportant matters,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 18 September 1908, page 4.

“Recommend a larger fire-hall,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 24 September 1908, page 13.

“Fire hall tenders awarded,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 29 October 1908, page 2.

“Driving club must pay rate,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 24 December 1908, page 7.

“Compares favourably with 1907,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 7 January 1909, page 2.

“May reduce the rates,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 11 February 1909, page 10.

“Council may withdraw objectionable clause,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 20 May 1909, page 8.

“New fire hall team,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 29 April 1909, page 8.

“McKenzies warehouse destroyed,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 9 October 1909, page 2.

“Council cuts out grants from the civic estimates,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 18 February 1915, page 12.

“Tenders,” Brandon Daily Sun, 5 May 1917, page 12.

“The School Board,” Brandon Daily Sun, 15 December 1917, page 27.

“Council Deeer consideration pay increases: much business,” Brandon Weekly Sun, 10 August 1918, page 3.

“Ex-chief of police,” Brandon Daily Sun, 4 November 1919, page 2.

“Public schools can’t take in more pupils,” Brandon Daily Sun, 14 December 1920, page 1.

“Many changes in teaching staff public schools,” Brandon Daily Sun, 31 August 1921, page 7.

“David Livingstone is name of new public school,” Brandon Daily Sun, 13 September 1921, page 7.

“McTavish School,” Brandon Daily Sun, 17 July 1922, page 8.

“Will not use old fire hall building as school this season,” Brandon Daily Sun, 12 September 1922, page 2.

“Would submit city’s bills to house at once,” Brandon Daily Sun, 14 January 1924, page 1.

“Extensive program for radio station opening here is being arranged by committee now,” Brandon Daily Sun, 29 November 1928, page 1.

“Need only one extra teacher on city staff,” Brandon Daily Sun, 8 August 1929, page 1.

“Technical school for south end is suggested now,” Brandon Daily Sun, 14 May 1929, page 1.

“Expect good enrollment for opening technical schoolo classes Tuesday,” Brandon Daily Sun, 28 September 1929, page 1.

“Holiday request to be approved by new bylaw,” Brandon Daily Sun, 20 June 1930, page 2.

“Two tenders only for erection of elevated tower,” Brandon Daily Sun, 22 July 1930, page 1.

“School may get added support from department,” Brandon Daily Sun, 24 September 1930, page 1.

“Will not build addition now to technical school,” Brandon Daily Sun, 15 October 1930, page 1.

“First class to graduate from technical school,” Brandon Daily Sun, 18 March 1932, page 1.

“School Board to accept half Alberta interest,” Brandon Daily Sun, 18 August 1937, page 1.

“Difficulty in fitting of courses to facilities for vocational training here,” Brandon Daily Sun, 9 October 1937, page 1.

“Fourty-four mills is tax rate for year as Council passes bylaw,” Brandon Daily Sun, 19 April 1938, page 1.

“School children back to classes after holidays,” Brandon Daily Sun, 1 September 1938, page 1.

“Government cancels plans for youth training classes,” Brandon Daily Sun, 12 September 1939, page 1.

“New addition to technical school formally opened,” Brandon Daily Sun, 12 March 1940, page 6.

“Advance guard of airmen arrive in city as training starts,” Brandon Daily Sun, 29 April 1940, page 15.

“Technical school building becomes hospital centre,” Brandon Daily Sun, 20 May 1940, page 1.

“Calling recruits for Air Force in Brandon now,” Brandon Daily Sun, 30 May 1940, page 8.

“Air Force Manning Depot great credit; almost completed,” Brandon Daily Sun, 15 June 1940, page 8.

“Technical school unit will be opened in official way Monday,” Brandon Daily Sun, 6 March 1940, page 5.

“Permanent home may be found for Hales collections,” Brandon Daily Sun, 11 May 1948, pages 1 & 8.

“City will assist school board with museum project,” Brandon Daily Sun, 18 May 1948, page 1.

“To house wild life exhibit in former technical school building on Eleventh Street,” Brandon Daily Sun, 15 June 1948, page 1.

“School Board has first meeting in brand new offices,” Brandon Daily Sun, 10 April 1951, page 1.

“Brandon School Division No. 40 [Tenders wanted],” Brandon Sun, 6 October 1967, page 17.

“The Brandon School Division No. 40 [Tenders wanted],” Brandon Sun, 30 March 1976, page 13.

“City of Brandon - Notice of Public Hearing,” Brandon Sun, 2 March 1982, page 13.

Taxation & Assessment Records, City of Brandon.

History - Brandon Fire & Emergency Services, City of Brandon.

We thank Sheri Bailey (Brandon Teachers' Association) for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 2 May 2022

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