Historic Sites of Manitoba: Repair Depot No. 8 School / Jameswood Place School (Winnipeg)
Established in 1946, Jameswood Place in St. James (now a suburb of Winnipeg) was one of several emergency housing projects that existed in the Greater Winnipeg area after the Second World War. The site of the former Repair Depot (RD) No. 8 was purchased by the city from the War Assets Corporation for 10% of its assessed value and the buildings were converted into short-term housing. The nearby Jameswood Place South was erected on the grounds of the Release Centre (RC) No. 5. Alderman H. B. Scott, Chairmen of the City Housing Committee, esetimated that these former military sites would provide housing for up to 1,600 people.
By late February 1946, the city had taken ownership of nine buildings (including H-huts and the former officers quarters) on the RC site, with the remaining structures (including an NCO’s mess hall, administration building, headquarters, garage, and guard shack) to follow after military use of them had ended. The residential units were old barracks and other military structures that had been converted. Consequently, many of them had shared washroom facilities, lacked sufficient heating, and several had structural problems and poor sanitation. Many of the ”suites” were simply large rooms partitioned into three smaller room. Other buildings were converted into a community hall and a skating rink was built.
Priority for the housing was given to veterans and their families. As of April 1947, 134 families were residing at the former RD and a further 63 families lived at the RC. Tenants were responsible for their own furniture and electrical equipment. During its operational lifespan, over 1,000 families took advantage of the project for temporary lodging, with up to 230 family units at its peak.
To meet the educational needs of school-age children (numbering around 67 in 1946) living in the Jameswood Place and Jamewood Place South communities, a school was provided by the Winnipeg School Division. Originally known as the Repair Depot No. 8 School, it initially consisted of two classrooms. One was used for kindergarten and the other was for primary grades. Older children were transported to other schools in the Division. As the number of eligible children increased, the building was enlarged and, in late April 1949, the school was renamed Jameswood Place School.
By 1953, the Special Committee on Housing came under pressure from the MacDonald Brothers Aircraft Limited, which owned the property, to clear the site for plant expansion. Municipal eviction notices were served in June 1954. Forty families remained on the site at the final closure on 30 June 1954. The school ceased operation and the building was closed and demolished. The Jameswood name was later re-used for the Jameswood School in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division. The site was fully evacuated by 10 October 1954, with the remaining residents relocated to the outskirts of St. James, and the buildings were salvaged for construction materials prior to demolition.
Photos & Coordinates
School division half-yearly attendance reports (E 0757), Archives of Manitoba.
Western Canada Fire Underwriters Association, St. James/Assiniboia Series 3 - Folder 1 - Stevenson Airport, Archives of Manitoba.
Death registrations [Vera Elsie Harriet DeVoin], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“Proper medical care for shelters planned,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 November 1945, page 8.
“Veterans shelter crisis,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 1946, page 6.
“Six Manitobans in staff posted abroad,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 1946, page 4.
“Scott says R.C.A.F. sites can house 1,600 people,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 February 1946, page 1.
“Release Centre houses veterans,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 April 1946, page 6.
“Schools and playgrounds to be hub of recreation,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 1946, page 3.
“Finance Committee moves to provide more homes,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 September 1946, page 3.
“Former Air School housing 31 families,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 October 1946, page 3.
“Building permit total still soaring,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 December 1946, page 5.
“1,419 families housed by Registr [sic] in 1946,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 January 1947, page 3.
“Emergency housing need still urgent,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 April 1947, page 3.
“Briefs and sidelights [Civvy Street],” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 January 1948, page 13.
“Ald H.B. Scott [...],” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 February 1948, page 3.
“Emergency shelter residents protest,” Winnipeg Tribune, 27 February 1948, page 17.
“Emergency shelter,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 March 1948, page 7.
“Construction to start on 2 schools,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 April 1949, page 15.
“Dogs can stay, says House Board,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 October 1949, page 17.
“327 applications monthly in 1948 Courage Report,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 March 1949, page 7.
“Regnier lauds housing scheme,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 June 1949, page 8.
“City Inspectors deny risk of fire at shelter,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 January 1952, page 12.
“Judge won’t permit ouster of 2 families,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 June 1953, page 3.
“Minister’s advice stirs fiery retort,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 1953, page 1.
“94 families still remain at shelter,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 December 1953, page 10.
“Low-pay housing problem called worst in 20 years,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 January 1954, page 3.
“City to close its shelter at Tuxedo,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 April 1954, page 3.
“65 families face order to vacate,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 May 1954, page 3.
“City closing Jameswood Place shelter,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 July 1954, page 8.
“21 families still living in city shelter,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 July 1954, page 4.
“Writs granted for more homes,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 August 1954, page 3.
“Family refuses to quit emergency housing lot,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 October 1954, page 7.
“Jameswood Place family moved off demolition area,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 October 1954, page 3.
“Last family out of Jameswood Place shelter,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 October 1954, page 3.
“Used building material,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1954, page 38.
“Sale of used building material,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 November 1954, page 2.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
[Map of] Greater Winnipeg Governmental Housing Construction (1948), Metropolitan Planning Committee; Winnipeg Town Planning Commission. Governmental Housing Construction, 1948, [University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections]
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 21 October 2019