The story of North Transcona School

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North Transcona School was one of three one-room schoolhouses that were once located in North Kildonan, the others being McIvor School, at the southwest corner of McIvor Avenue and De Vries Avenue, and Rosewell School, located at northwest corner of McLeod Avenue and Molson Street.

North Transcona School was located one kilometre east of Lagimodiere Boulevard, on the north side of Springfield Road, where Kilcona Park is now situated. Despite the name it was not located in Transcona but several kilometres north. It opened in 1905 and closed after the 1948-49 school year.

The area called North Transcona had been created in 1914 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a new railway yard to allow railway traffic not bound for Winnipeg to bypass the crowded Central Winnipeg yards and the school was located in what was planned as the residential area for the workers at this railway yard. The yards opened in 1914, just before the beginning of the First World War and the expected growth did not occur. Some optimistic projections predicted a residential population of 50,000 but no more than 200 people actually lived in the area at its peak. The C.P.R. even built a small hotel in the area, but it closed in 1918. Many streets are shown on maps of the era, but the vast majority were never built and those that did exist were never anything but mud roads.

North Transcona School was built to serve an area that was expected to become populated by workers at C.P.R.’s North Transcona Yards but the expected population boom did not happen. The yards themselves, pictured here, fell out of use by the 1980s.

When North Transcona School opened, at a cost of $3,000, it was expected to exist until the population justified a much larger school. The railway yards, which were expected to have 5,000 workers, never had more than 300 and were closed in 1932. They remained as a storage area for railway cars with just a few employees remaining until the 1980s.

North Transcona School housed grades 1 through 8 and, at its peak enrolment came in 1921-22, when 56 students were registered. When it closed in 1949, students from the area moved to the New Rosewell School. In most years, the school’s one teacher, who also served as principal was usually a woman. Salaries began in the $600 per year range in the early years rising to $1,300 in 1920 but then dropped to $600 in the 1930s until rising to $1,500 in 1948-49.

Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net

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