Today’s immigration influx is not unlike what occurred at the turn of the 20th century.
The many new children arriving forced existing schools to quickly reach their capacity. To help alleviate this concern in the North End, McPhillips Street School was to be built.
According to a building committee report, a plot of land was purchased in 1910 for $15,000. There is some discrepancy as to the exact location of the land, but Winnipeg School Division archives show it to be on the east side of the corner of McPhillips Street and Aberdeen Avenue.
The school was needed quickly and was to be a stop-gap measure; a more permanent structure was to be built later on.
In 1911, the four-room building was erected at a cost of $11,300 with Miss I. I. Drummond being the first principal. By 1916, the community outgrew the school and plans for a new 20- to 24-room building were prepared for land across the street on the northwest corner of McPhillips and Aberdeen. Architect J. D. Atcheson was in charge. Six rooms were to be built at first, with future additions to be constructed as required.
In 1917, Sutherland Construction built the initial structure for $61,817. Due to Canada’s close ties to the British Empire at the time, it was decided that the new school would be named in honour of famed British Admiral and war hero Horatio Lord Nelson. Prominent lawyer and school board member Robert Jacob laid the cornerstone, and Miss E. Burch became the principal.
In 1922, a new two-room addition was built to accommodate the 550 students attending the school, which very adequately served the community until after the Second World War. Then the baby boomers arrived.
In 1949, seven new classrooms were built and another eight rooms were added as part of an annex in 1958.
Some notable Lord Nelson alumni include: two-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Fred Shero; television host and singer Juliette; Jim Mosienko (brother of NHLer Billy); and Marlene Peters, who was the first female Chief of the Long Plains First Nation.
Two interesting firsts occurred at Lord Nelson. In 1951 the installation of a two-way speaker intercom system for all rooms, and in 1956 the first portable classrooms built at a Winnipeg school.
Today, the school is home to almost 470 students from nursery to Grade 6, as well as 42 professional and support staff. All of these individuals are hoping people will attend the school’s upcoming 100th anniversary celebration on May 16 and 17. Events will include a drop-in coffee party, classroom demonstrations, tours, displays, silent auction, per-decade classroom artistic presentations and more. Due to space limitations, the artistic classroom presentations will be held at Sisler High School.
For more information and to register, visit or call the school at 820 McPhillips Street @ 586-9625 or go to http://blogs.wsd1.org/lordnelson (the link will be at the bottom).
Joe Dudar is a Tyndall Park-based writer.
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