Historic Sites of Manitoba: Columbus School (26 Columbus Crescent, Winnipeg)
The short 13-year lifespan of Columbus School can be seen as an ambitious educational experiment that was ultimately doomed by declining student enrollment. Built in late 1969 and opened for classes in January 1970, the single-storey building was designed around the “open air concept” that was popular at that time. A large, open space accommodated thirteen classes, an enclosed academic centre, and an open library centre. Separate enclosed spaces were provided for a kindergarten class, multi-purpose room, preparation room, resource room, staff room, and gymnasium with changing rooms and washrooms. Offices for the principal, secretary, nurse, and physical education teacher rounded out the facility. Designed by the architectural firm of Ward and Macdonald, and built by the B. F. Klassen Construction Company, the building’s exterior was covered liberally with wooden shakes that gave it a warm, cottage-like appearance.
An official opening ceremony occurred at the school on 25 March 1970 and a cornerstone ceremony was held on 23 September 1970. At the time it opened, the student body numbered 270 from kindergarten to grade six. By 1974, it accommodated 317 students of the designed maximum capacity of 350. However, by the early 1980s, enrollment had dwindled to about 150 and the school closed permanently in 1982. The building sat vacant for several years and was eventually sold by the St. James - Assiniboia School Division to a land development company, which demolished it in early 1994. Private residences were built on the site.
The teachers of Columbus School included: Phyllis Adam (1972-1974), Robert Bastable (1975-1977), Barbara Anning Bateman (1969-1972), Sharon Benjaminson (1969-1972), Philip Bleeks (1981-1982), Loraine Boisjoli (1969-1971), Ruth Breckman (1975-1982), Cecile Brown (1972-1982), Robert Burch (1973-1980), Annie Cairns (1979-1981), Ruth Carruthers (1981-1982), Linda Daniels (1972-1977), Bonnie Triggs Davies (1973-1982), Bruce Dearlove (1980-1982), Diane Desilets (1974-1978), Suzanne Dowdall (1970-1975), Marcia Elias (1973-1976), Donald B. Falk (1971-1973), Noreen Enns Gabic (1970-1973), Carolyn Gardiner (1971-1973), Lorraine Hebert (1975-1980), Liisa Ikonen (1971-1972), Linda Irwin (1976-1982), Deborah Loader Johnson (1971-1972), Sharon Kempa (1974-1975), Nancy Kolafa (1974-1976), James Komenda (1969-1971), Mylah Kroeker (1976-1977), Brenda Mason Lawson (1979-1980), Barbara Lee (1981-1982), Shirley Lynch (1973-1978), Gail MacDonald (1969-1974), Lynn Maciejko (1969-1972), William Marshall (1976-1977), Dorothy Minaker (1969-1970), Donna Morgan (1978-1981), Donna Batters Nentwig (1971-1975), Ethel Perchaluk (1972-1979), Marie Pilek (1969-1970), Glynis Poroznuk (1981-1982), Tanis Waters Rebettoy (1969-1971), Carol McCaughan Regnier (1969-1973), Nancy Wright Reimer (1974-1979), Inez E. Roberts (1969-1970), Marsha Blumenthal Schwartzman (1969-1971), Diane Snider (1977-1978), Elizabeth Bradley Trevenen (1972-1977), Linda Warkentin (1972-1974), Robert Watson (1971-1975), Sharon Weselowski (1970-1974), Debbie White (1980-1981), Anne Williams (1980-1981), and Jean Ann Woods (1973-1975), Marlene Wreggit (1977-1979).
Photos & Coordinates
“Former schools’ buyers face rezoning hurdles,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 March 1994, page 25.
We thank the St. James - Assiniboia School Division for providing information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 July 2023