Project Information
After 1907
1901 Snapshot
Air Photo Study
Image Library
Early Ottawa East Schools
The index listed here is linked to specific pages with the detail for each school.

Below that is a brief history of the education facilities built in Ottawa East from the very beginning of the community. It is suggested reading before going to the specific schools as it will provide an historical context for each institution.
St. Joseph's Scholasticate De Mazenod Separate School
School Section 17/Lady Evelyn Public School St. Patrick's College
The White House St. Paul University
Holy Family School/Canadian Martyrs School Immaculata High School
A Brief Historical Overview
The history of schools in Ottawa East directly reflected the changing ethnic and linguistic composition of the community over the years. As the numbers and resources of each community group rose so did the needs for new or better educational facilities. In the Nineteenth Century the ratepayers in Nepean Township funded mainly public schools and there were few Separate Schools. In general Protestants and Catholics, English and French studied together. This began to change toward the end of the century as the number of French-Canadian and Catholic families grew, particularly in the Ottawa East area.

In 1850 the Province of Ontario passed legislation that sectioned Nepean Township into school areas whereby ratepayers would be taxed in support of their local schools. Initially Ottawa East was part of School Section #1 that covered a large part of the northeast section of the township. By the 1870's, with significant population growth in Archville (originally called the 'Deep Cut' in reference to that part of the Rideau Canal) and Spenceville, a new section was requested by the population. The community wanted more direct control of their children's education and the convenience of a local school. As well ratepayers objected to funding the education of children from the squatters settlement along the canal who paid no taxes.

First Public School in Ottawa East

On April 22, 1875 Nepean Township Bylaw No. 243 was passed and this provided for the borrowing of $800 for a new school house. On April 30, 1875, Bylaw No. 245 established School Section #17, which included all of Ottawa East from Ann St. (Mann Ave.) to Elliot St. between the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal. The responsibility for the organization of a school committee and construction was given to Thomas and James Ballantyne and Archibald Stewart donated land - familiar names in the history of community.

The school was built on the northeast corner of Centre St. (Concord North) and Fifth St. (Harvey St.) and opened for students in September of 1875. According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen (January 26, 1876), by the end of the year there were 74 students on the register with an average attendance of over 50. The article described the school as a "neat wooden structure, 24 x 20 with 11 feet of ceilings".

This building served as the only school house in the village until 1890 when, under threat from the Provincial Education Department, a more adequate building was constructed. With incorporation in 1888 as a village, the Ottawa Public School Board came into existence. The records of this organization indicate that $2,497 was spent to build the new brick school on the lot adjacent to the wooden structure. This building, somewhat modified, still stands at 95/97 Concord St. North.

By 1904 the average attendance was 113 students daily and the building was no longer adequate even though the primary grades were still housed in the old wooden structure. Finally in 1905, after years of opposition from the village council, a $10,000 debenture was allocated for a new school on Ella St. (Evelyn Ave.). The sod turning took place on June 1, 1905 and by September the building was open for students. Still standing, the school was later named Lady Evelyn School.

First Separate Schools in the Ottawa East Area

Towards the end of the 1890's pressure from the French-Canadian and Catholic groups in the village for a new church and school had increased dramatically. Suffering under oppressive provincial legislation that precluded funding of separate schools from the public purse, these communities turned to the Oblates for relief.

In 1900, Monsignor Duhamel, the Archbishop of Ottawa, had the Oblate Fathers of St. Joseph Scholasticate establish the Holy Family Parish and a school to serve the community. The Grey Sisters of Ottawa took charge of the school and classes for children in French and English were started in 1901. Originally classes were held in the famous 'White House' (Maison Blanche), a beautiful rustic wooden structure built in the 1880's just a few feet from the main Scholasticate building. The White House also served as the church until Ste. Famille was built in 1902.

Later a two storey, red brick school was built on the Oblate property fronting on Main St. at Hazel St. and named Holy Family School. A bilingual institution, it served the need of all Catholics until 1923 when De Mazenod School was created. Up to that point separate instruction in French for many children in substandard, temporary facilities including the church basement. In 1923 classes were being held in the Graham house on the west side of Main St. With the death of Alexander Graham, the property was purchased and in 1933 a modern school was built with the same name.

In 1930 the new parish of Canadian Martyrs was created following the formation of the English Oblate Province. French-speaking parishioners remained at Ste. Famille. That year the name of Holy Family School (Main at Hazel) was changed to Canadian Martyrs School. In 1943 the building was destroyed by fire. Due to wartime shortages of steel there was a delay in building the new school. Finally in 1947, the new 9-classroom school with the same name was built on Graham Ave.

Both the De Mazenod and Canadian Martyrs School buildings still stand although not used as facilities for education of children in the parishes.

Colleges and Universities

Ottawa East of course has been fortunate to have several other institutions of high learning over the years. These include St. Joseph College (Scholasticate); St. Patrick's College, St. Paul University, Algonquin College and the present-day Immaculata High School. The detail of these various institutions is best described in other sections that can be found using the links at the top of the page.

Each of the schools described above have, in their time, contributed significantly to the life of Ottawa East. While some records still exist in various archives, very little has been found to date on the day-to-day life of each school. The material that has been located, preserved mainly by the churches, has been included on each schools individual pages. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, more research will uncover this rich past.

Return to the Main Index