Historic Sites of Manitoba: Fort Churchill School / Fort Churchill School District No. 2317 / Duke of Edinburgh School (Hearne Avenue, Churchill)
The Fort Churchill School was announced in the May 1947 by the federal governments Department of National Defence, for the purpose of providing education to children of married Canadian and American servicemen posted to the military training and experimental station at Fort Churchill. It was provincially classified as a Special Revenue School and opened around October 1947 with an enrollment of 15 students. The Fort Churchill School District was formally established in August 1949, after which it maintained independent operation until it joined the Pine Creek School Division in January 1968.
Prior to the school’s construction, classes were held in Hearne Hall, and elsewhere at the Fort Churchill military base. Newly built in 1952 at a cost of $600,000, the two-storey building had ten classrooms and a gymnasium. It was constructed to allow the option of a third storey expansion. At the time of unveiling, it was Manitoba’s most northerly school and opened its doors to students for the fall school term of that year. Teacher quarters were provided in the Officers’ Barracks.
The official unveiling ceremony was held on 1 December 1952, with Premier Douglas L. Campbell cutting the ribbon. Also in attendance were W. C. Miller, Dean Scarfe, Northern Manitoba School Inspector Harold Preston Moffat, and Fort Churchill’s Commanding Officer Colonel H. A. Millen. The school hosted grades 1-10, and later expanded to include kindergarten and grade 12. Initial enrollment was 275 students.
The facility was renamed Duke of Edinburgh School around the time of a 1968-1969 expansion. It became unnecessary to maintain the high school at Fort Churchill at the time of the redevelopment of Churchill, which included the transfer of all former Fort Churchill residents into new quarters in the Churchill town site, and also included the construction of new schools. Administration of the Fort Churchill school building was later transferred from the Department of National Defense to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In its final year of operation (Fall 1974 to Spring 1975), it was reorganized under the banner of the Churchill School District No. 2264. The school was closed at end of June 1975, with the building converted into an Canadian Armed Forces instructional facility. It was later demolished, along with most of the other buildings at the site, in 1981.
Photos & Coordinates
“New regular Army set-up is announced,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 February 1927, page 1.
“Army,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 February 1927, page 9.
“Manitoba military camps to get new children’s schools,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 May 1947, page 8.
“Dauphin unit to train at Churchill,” Dauphin Herald and Press, 29 May 1947, page 8.
“Miscellaneous [The new public school for children ...],” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 October 1947, page 2.
“Adventure-bent teachers take off for Churchill to staff new army school,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 August 1952, page 14.
“Premier officially opens most northerly school,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 December 1952, page 27.
“Eager Eskimo children prove to be teacher’s dream pupils,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 November 1955, page 18.
“Fort Churchill School District No. 2317,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1965, page 27.
“Teach in Manitoba’s seaport town,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 March 1967, page 15.
“Department of Public Works tenders,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 August 1968, page 51.
“Fort Churchill School District No. 2317,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 March 1969, page 38.
“4 to teach abroad,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 1969, page 59.
“Duke of Edinburgh Collegiate,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 May 1970, page 47.
“Duke of Edinburgh School,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 1972, page 37.
“Principal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1973, page 35.
“New northern training centre opens next week,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 March 1975, page 26.
One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.
School division half-yearly attendance reports (E 0757), Archives of Manitoba.
Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.
We thank Tim Worth for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 27 October 2019