Historic Sites of Manitoba: Portage Collegiate Institute (Saskatchewan Avenue West, Portage la Prairie)
The cornerstone for the Portage Collegiate was laid in 1904 but the construction of the building was not completed until the next year. The eight-classroom brick structure was built by contractors F. G. Humber and W. J. Simmons at a cost of $21,400. Its five teachers, under the principalship of George Young, then assumed responsibility for the education of older children, formerly done at the Central School across the street. Over the years, eight more classrooms were added.
The building and all its contents were destroyed by fire in May 1954 and a replacement school was erected on the same site. A four-classroom addition, designed by the architectural firm of Smith Carter and Katelnikoff, was constructed in 1957.
Notable students of the Portage Collegiate included artist and writer Jackson Beardy, community activist Joseph Irvine Keeper, hockey player John Sherratt “Black Jack” Stewart, and four Premiers of Manitoba: Douglas Lloyd Campbell, Sterling Rufus Lyon, Walter Cox-Smith Weir, and Brian William Pallister.
Photos & Coordinates
“Portage la Prairie,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 21 December 1882, page 8.
“Educational [Protestant Public Schools],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 30 December 1882, page 5.
“Portage la Prairie [Successor to Mr. Phillips],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 11 April 1883, page 1.
“Reportorial round [Mr. W. S. Argue],” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 3 August 1895, page 8.
“Reportorial round [William P. Argue],” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 26 December 1895, page 8.
“Portage lists teaching staff as school opens,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 September 1951, page 34.
“$355,000 blaze destroys collegiate at Portage,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 May 1954, page 1.
“School addition tender notice [Portage la Prairie Collegiate],” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 January 1957, page 17.
A History of Portage la Prairie and Surrounding District by Anne M. Collier, 1970, pages 146-7.
We thank Nathan Kramer, James Kostuchuk, Rose Kuzina, and Liliana Lopez for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 December 2022