Historic Sites of Manitoba: Glenwood School (51 Blenheim Avenue, Winnipeg)
The Glenwood School District No. 1537 was established in May 1910 and, two months later, a two-acre school site was purchased for $6,000 from the Monarch Realty Company. Initially estimated to cost around $20,000 (not including supplies and furnishings), a single-storey, four-classroom structure was designed by the architectural firm of Samuel Hooper and William T. Davis. In September, the contract was awarded to J. H. Tremblay and, by the time that construction was completed, an additional $10,000 was needed to cover cost overruns.
The school opened on 25 April 1911 with some 100 school-age children attending classes. Its capacity was expanded in 1913, at the cost of $30,000, with a second storey that brought the classroom total to eight, as well as an assembly hall that could be turned into two classrooms with the aid of a large, retractable divider. With the onset of the First World War, the school playground was plowed for the growing of vegetables. By 1915, the school population stood at 275 students, increasing to 300 by 1916. Fire safety systems were installed in the summer of 1916.
The school struggled to keep pace with local population growth. By 1921, some students had to be transferred to other schools. Conversion of the old Municipal Hall to classrooms, the holding of classes at night, and double-shifting teachers were all options that were considered. In June 1921, local ratepayers approved the expenditure of another $60,000 for improvements to the school. The Fort Garry Construction Company was hired to build more classrooms while the School District partnered with the neighbouring Woodlawn School District No. 1499 to create a joint High School Department (later known as Norberry Collegiate Department, eventually becoming the Glenlawn Collegiate) in 1925.
A joint High School / Collegiate Institute for grades 8 to 11 was established at Norberry School in the Woodlawn School District, and a cost-sharing structure was part of the agreement. Previously, students wanting to pursue collegiate education had to go to Kelvin Technical High School in Winnipeg or Provencher School in St. Boniface.
In 1928, a large expansion increased the school’s capacity by eight classrooms, bringing the total to 18. Designed by architect Alexander Melville and built at a cost of $61,000, an opening ceremony for the new facility on 11 January 1929 was attended by 500 people including Deputy Minster of Education Robert Fletcher, School Board Chair F. L. Nichols, Municipal Supervisor William Clarke McKinnell, St. Vital Reeve Leoni St. Clairze “Leo” Warde, Arthur Alexander Leach of Windsor School, former St. Vital Reeve Alexander Tod, and school board trustee T. T. Walker.
In November 1929, the Glenwood School District was amalgamated with the Woodlawn School District No. 1499. Despite the sizable boost in student capacity, the new district required additional, temporary classrooms within a year, and also used the basement and hallways to handle the increase in enrollment.
A new and separate five-classroom section was added to the school in 1954. Two years later, a further six classrooms and a gymnasium were erected. An underground tunnel was also constructed, connecting the old and new sections of the school. The grade range was also expanded from elementary to include junior high. In 1990, the school was renamed Ecole Glenwood, though it later reverted to the original name.
Some noteworthy persons who attended Glenwood School were Victor H. L. Wyatt, George Whicker, Ida Fenwick, Mrs. Dorothy Connery, and Mrs. Phyllis Savage.
Teachers (partial list)
Photos & Maps
Birth registration [Isla May Florence Ayre], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.
“Glenwood School building,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 October 1910, page 32.
“Money for schools,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 November 1911, page 8.
“Tenders for building,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 June 1913, page 2.
“Enlarging Glenwood School,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 July 1913, page 6.
“St. Vital Glenwood S.D. No. 1537,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 July 1914, page 13.
“School protected against fire,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 September 1916, page 5.
“St. Vital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 April 1921, page 3.
“Rural Municipality of St. Vital,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 May 1921, page 13.
“St. Vital passes school bylaws,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 June 1921, page 16.
“Glenwood and Woodlawn Districts choose new Boards; new buildings needed,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 July 1921, page 6.
“Home and school building forecasts active season in construction industry,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 April 1922, page 20.
“St. Vital makes record building homes this year,” Winnipeg Tribune, 31 October 1922, page 26.
“St. Vital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 February 1923, page 7.
“St. Vital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 Jan 1924, page 6.
“Statements on suburb schools are protested,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 February 1927, page 5.
“School District merger plan delayed month,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 June 1928, page 2.
“St. Vital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 September 1928, page 24.
“New St. Vital School to be opened Friday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 January 1929, page 3.
“Eight-room addition to school is opened,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 January 1929, page 3.
“Fletcher refuses sanction for new school in St. Vital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 March 1930, page 3.
“Society,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 1938, page 10.
“Double funeral set for crash victims,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 August 1949, page 17.
“New school, additions for St. Vital,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 June 1954, page 3.
“Golden teas at Glenwood,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 April 1961, page 18.
“Teachers to hold seminar at Souris,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 November 1962, page 49.
“History of St. Vital Schools,” St. Vital Lance, 10 September 1970, page 22. [St. Vital Museum, History of St. Vital Schools file]
Schools’ Centennial Reunion, by the Audio-Visual Centre of the St. Vital School Division No. 6, 1970. [St. Vital Museum, History of St. Vital Schools file]
“St. Vital School Division No. 6,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 June 1971, page 16.
Obituary [Edna Jean Beaman], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 November 1975, page 60.
Obituary [Gladys L. Coristine], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 1982, page 22.
“Principals named,” Winnipeg Free Press Weekly South Edition, 18 March 1990, page 4.
Glenlawn Collegiate Institute 75th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet, by the 75th GCI Reunion Committee, 1998. [St. Vital Museum, History of St. Vital Schools file]
“Past and present meet at Seniors School Day,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 March 2001 South Community Review, page 1.
“Kids well schooled in joy of giving,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 December 2003, page A8.
Obituary [Isla Florence Ayre], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 January 2013, page B9.
Obituary [Ellen Elizabeth Wherrett], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 October 2015.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
We thank Christopher Pate, Stephanie Benson, and Diane Walker for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 28 November 2017
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