Historic Sites of Manitoba: Nordale School (99 Birchdale Avenue, Winnipeg)
Nordale School, named with a combination of Norwood School District and Birchdale Avenue, opened in 1949. Its cornerstone, with enclosed time capsule, was laid on 23 June 1949 by the Norwood School Board Chairman W. C. Leitke, along with St. Boniface Mayor George Campbell MacLean, Minister of Education Charles Rhodes Smith, Norwood School District Vice-Chairman L.E. Ostlander and Reverend D. Warren Campbell of the Norwood Presbyterian Church and Reverend T. M. Badger of the Nordale United Church. The capsule contained a copy of the 1924 Incorporation Bill of the Norwood School District No. 2113, along with lists of provincial, municipal, and school board officials.
The single-storey school was designed by the architectural firm of Green Blankstein Russell and Associates, and built at a cost of $275,000 by contractor Gerard Alphonsus “Gerry” Baert. The school was built of reinforced concrete and grey brick walls and rushed to completion for the fall school term, opening on 12 September 1949. Though classes were in session, finishing touches were still ongoing, with students in grades K-6 using temporary desks and chairs, and making do without blackboards. Originally opened with eight classrooms, a ninth classrooms was open by the time of official opening ceremonies on 5 April 1950 attended by G. C. MacLean and Norwood School Board Chairman H. R. Parker. The completed school had room for 350 students and featured a 500-seat auditorium, library, health room, kitchen, and principal and school board offices. In 1953, four classrooms were added at the cost of $80,000 and two more were added in 1962. A library addition designed by the architectural firm of Pratt Lindgren Snider Tomcej and Associates was built in 1971.
Among the teachers who worked at Nordale School through the years were Miss E. Francis (1949-?), Mike Spack (1949-?), Winifred “Chips” Smallbone (1949-1962), Stanley James Kazina (c1965-c1983), and Roger V. Dubois.
Photos & Coordinates
“W. C. Leitke lays cornerstone of $285,000 Nordale School,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 June 1949, page 3.
“St. Boniface faces poser; growth outstrips services,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 July 1949, page 3.
“New Nordale School opens classes Monday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 1949, page 3.
“Mushrooming homes produce school problems for suburbs,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1949, page 10.
“Minister terms opening of new school gala event,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 April 1950, page 3.
“Nordale plans school east of Seine,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 September 1952, page 3.
“Building of new schools expected to route bogeys of crowded classes,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 July 1953, page 3.
“Heavy construction program is planned,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 March 1953, page 3.
“Tender notice,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 February 1962, page 48.
“Goodbye, Miss Chips,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 May 1962, page 3.
“Items of social interest,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 June 1962, page 15.
“Tenders,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 June 1971, page 44.
“Students give elderly lady a helping hand,” Winnipeg Free Press Weekly South Edition, 19 May 1991 South Edition, page 3.
“Too hot for jury, students to think,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 June 1995, page 2.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
We thank Jack Fraser for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 11 March 2023