Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hometown Memories: My Elementary School

Some of my fondest memories revolve around my elementary school that I attended from kindergarten until sixth grade, and when I took a trip to Montreal in October to visit my family, I made it a point to walk over to see it and take photos.

And there it is, my elementary school. Oh, this is exciting!

My elementary school has a long tradition in Park Extension, a working class neighbourhood that I will write more about in the future. The rectangular, three-story, red brick building dates back to 1914, and up until 1928 it was named Greenshields Avenue School. It opened in autumn of 1931 as Barclay School.

This is a main student entrance, and the one I used on my first day of kindergarten, which I still remember.

When I attended Barclay, it was under the control of the Protestant School Board of Montreal (English speaking Protestant schools), which served all non-Catholics. Up until the late 1990s, school boards in Quebec had been organized along confessional lines, Catholic and Protestant. On July 1, 1998, a law was passed by the Quebec government that changed the school board system from denominational to linguistic: French and English.

The building hasn't changed all that much since I was there.

This is the administrative entrance.

Since 1998, Barclay has been part of Commission Scolaire de Montréal (a French-language school board), and now offers education in French. There are nearly 650 students attending, primarily of South Asian heritage, and representing almost 40 mother tongues.

Students did not enter through here unless they were being registered,
or they had to come in with a parent because they'd gotten into trouble!

Behind the school is a fenced-in grass field that I didn’t get a chance to photograph because there was a lot of construction going on. In addition to it being a play area, at the end of the school year it was where we had our ‘Field Day’; a highly anticipated end-of-the-year event that was held in June. Students were divided into groups, and they participated and competed (yes, we did that back then without worrying about self esteem) in sports and outdoor games.

This funky and modern addition did not exist back then.
This is on the opposite side of the administrative entrance.


The school was within walking distance of most, if not all, of the students’ homes, including my own, and we all went home for lunch.


Most of my school recesses were spent playing in this area.

With only 340 metres (371 yards) between my house and school, it took me four minutes to walk to and fro, which left me plenty of time to watch 'The Flinstones' during the break!

Once upon a time, there were separate entrances for boys and girls, but not when I attended.

There are so many warm memories inside this beautiful old building. Thank you for taking this heartwarming tour with me.

I can remember daydreaming through some of those windows. *sigh*

30 comments:

  1. Oh this was a wonderful tour Martha, full of memories. I sounds like your early school years were fun. This old building is still standing....can you imagine how well it was made. I too came home for lunch and was in walking distance to the school up to grade 9.
    Great shots.

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    1. It is a beautiful building, and it amazes me how old it is. I do hope they continue to care for it, and preserve it as a heritage building. It's fantastic when some of the past is retained.

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  2. Thanks for the visit back. I still remember my playground during those years as well. Funny, I can even see it and all. Even where the big rock was, the side field, that that stuff.

    Cheers and Happy Thursday.

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    1. I totally know what you're talking about. I can remember a lot of my elementary school days very clearly. It was a great time.

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  3. What a wonderful trip down memory lane. I haven't seen my old elementary school for at least 20 years...I wonder what kind of nostalgia it would bring back?

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    1. It's fun walking by your old school; certainly brings back a lot of memories.

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  4. Great tour Martha, now I'm sure there is more people want to know... how often did you do the walk of shame by the door where you had to come in with your parent because you had gotten into trouble?? ha ha ha

    I always love the beginning week, the week before the holidays and the last week of school... it is the weeks in between that was a little more dragging :)

    Closing my eyes, I can still smell the odor, or hear children spelling words...

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    1. Moi? I never got into trouble! I was the perfect student. I'd like to say I'm joking, but I'm not. I was very shy and quiet, and was well-behaved. So no walk of shame for me!

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  5. Martha, your trip down memory lane brought my own memories flooding back! The main entrance photo of your school reminds me so much of the school I went to. Ours was built in 1912 and my grandfather and father also attended the school. Big difference though, yours was an elementary school and ours held K-12! It was a small town school and we were all there together! Our school was torn down years ago and it's just a vacant lot now. Thanks for sharing your photos, I am so glad you have fond memories of your school! Nice to see they are preserving it too!

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    1. Your school was build around the same time, so maybe that's one reason it's similar in style. I love that this building is still there, and I hope they preserve it!

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  6. Your elementary school looks almost exactly like the one my daughter went to when we lived in Cleveland. It was built in 1928. I bet you have a lot of great memories from that place!

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    1. Oh yes, I have an abundance of wonderful memories from that place!

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  7. aw, nice tour, Martha … interesting to learn about your school system. I do remember reading about certain areas in Canada wanting nothing but French spoken or taught? is that correct? this was some time back… and I do suffer from CRS …

    My elementary school is no longer there and hasn't been in years. A huge church across the street took it over for a parking lot! But, I do remember it looking a lot like yours except smaller. Just the older part… banged my head good and proper on the flip bars… !

    We walked also and went home for lunch. Sadly, that's no more with all the busing issues and school no longer being in neighborhoods… I walked to school from third grade through high school… in four different locations ~ all within walking distance.

    Stopping at a corner sweet shop … of course, high school ~ was too cool to do such … my my has it been 62 years since I was in third grade??? holy … freaking holy moly

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    1. Quebec is the area in Canada where French is the dominant language, and there are laws that enforce. The rest of the country offers studies in French, but it's predominantly English-speaking.

      Things have changed so much since I was in elementary school, and not that many kids walk home anymore. A lot of them are bused to and fro. I walked to school until I finished high school. It was actually great being able to do that!

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  8. Oh, I remember Field Day at school too. GAH! The happiest time of my life was when I started menstruating and could claim to have my period on Field Day to get out of it. I never attended again, LOL!

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    1. I think just about every girl did that, and it was especially easy to use that trick with a male gym teacher. The minute you hinted at that, they dismissed you....they were so uncomfortable about it. LOL!

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  9. It's a beautiful old school and what wonderful memories!

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    1. It really is a beautiful building, and I truly hope the city preserves it.

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  10. Mine is still around (though it was brand new in 1st grade), it's even been renovated at least once

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    1. Well, considering you're quite young, that school you went to is fairly new!

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  11. These were very well built beautiful buildings. Because it's still there you can have many memories. I hope some wise guy doesn't get the idea that it's too expensive to modernize this building.

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    1. You are so right; they were very well built. Now everything goes up so quickly that you wonder about the quality, and just how long they'll last!

      I also hope that no one decides to tear this building down to make way for something new and modern. What a shame that would be!

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  12. What a beautiful school. I went to many different ones, and don't remember much of them. I am glad you have fond memories and are able to share them with us. I am also glad to see that the school is still operating. The one school I do remember the most is now an apartment building.

    Will there be a Reunion at the school for the students? Seems like 2014 would be the perfect year, being that the building will be 100.

    See you soon!
    Alice

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    1. I haven't hear of a reunion, but what a wonderful thing that would be. I would definitely attend!

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  13. So enjoyed this tour, Martha.
    Great memories!

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  14. How fondly I remember going home for lunch (usually homemade soup) :) I loved being able to take a break away from the socializing (recess was just the right amount). Though I attended four schools in four different provinces from Kindergarten to Grade 6 (military family), we lived at walking distance at each one. And we didn't need a "coach" to divide into teams for 15 minute of sports LOL.

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    1. I loved going home for lunch. It truly was nice to be able to take a break like you say.

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  15. Wow i wish I remembered my school when I lived in Montreal but we lived mostly in a French and I lived in the Northern part of Montreal where English had never bee heard...how funny when we moved near Ottawa, but in Quebec I use to walk home because my mom made my favourite meal for lunch Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every lunch....

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    1. Ah, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! Definitely a favourite of many kids!

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