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History

Prepared January, 1989 - Updated 2010 


Argyle has been called “The Key to North Ward History.” The original building was known as Louise Street School. (Note: Information from An Apple For The Teacher states: “The first school of any size in the EAST ward was the old house called the Louise Street School.”) That small school played a notable part in our early educational history: it served as the first Winnipeg home of Manitoba College, as first home of the Winnipeg Normal School, and as the place where eight high school students gathered to found our secondary system in this city. For several years, until 1875, the School Board maintained their office there.

The first Argyle School (Louise Street School) was a two-room brick veneer structure built in 1881 at the corner of Louise Street and Market Avenue, and named for the Duke of Argyle, Canada’s Governor General at the time, under the title, Marquis of Lorne (his wife was a daughter of Queen Victoria). Increased enrolment led to two more rooms being added to the school the following year. In 1895, a wrecking crew tore down the brick-veneer building and a new brick 10 room structure costing $30,000 was erected on a spacious site at the corner of Argyle and Henry. This new school incorporated many very up-to-date features, especially slate blackboards, cloakrooms running the width of the classrooms, and a “new fangled” electric bell.

The slate blackboards, tried as an experiment, proved so successful that they became standard equipment. The electric bell proved very useful in handling assembly and dismissal. The Board secured a special rate for water, since it had contributed to the expense of laying the mains. In the late 1940s the school building was condemned as being obsolete and finally had to be abandoned. Construction of a new Argyle school commenced in the spring of 1951 and classes started in January, 1952.

The new building was a one-storey cottage-type building, using more glass and less steel than schools built previously. The school was built in such a manner that all the interior walls could be torn down and the structure converted into an industrial plant.

In the meantime, in 1950, Argyle celebrated its 55th Anniversary. (Note: In An Apple For The Teacher this anniversary is referred to as the 50th). Over the years since 1952 the school population decreased to a point where only six of the 10 classrooms were needed and on June 30, 1966, Argyle was closed as an elementary school. The school then

offered the opportunity to adults wishing to take courses in Grades 11 and 12. Some 120 adults were expected; 174 applied and were somehow accommodated. In December of 1969, in conjunction with Adult Education, 15 students formed the basis for an experimental class for “dropouts.” The school was located in a house in Point Douglas. Two months later the school population expanded to 30, with another teacher being added. The name of this experimental class was the Youth Re-entry Program. The school soon moved to the basement of the Immaculate Conception Church complex at 191 Austin Street. In November 1970, due to expanding population, two more houses were added. With the present 30 students and two teachers, and the referral of some 120 “unmanageable” students, the expansion proved necessary.

The 1971-1972 school year saw the school at three different locations: the church on Austin Street, the second floor of a paint store at 95 Isabel Street, and more classrooms at a brick warehouse on McDermot Avenue.

In 1972-1973 the Youth Re-Entry program was relocated to an empty elementary school under the Disraeli Freeway. the Argyle No. 3 building (built in 1951). The school once again adops the Argyle name. The school remained at this location for approximately eight years, and it was then relocated to the old Aberdeen building at 444 Flora Avenue. In 1985 it was decided that the space at old Aberdeen was no longer sufficient for the population and resources needed.

A new Argyle high school was built in 1987 at the corner of Stella and Salter. This building contains many of the resources now needed by the students and staff. It has 12 classrooms, a computer room and a fully functioning science laboratory. It also has a library, crafts room, art room, students lounge, multi-purpose area, weight training facilities, child development lab and home economics room.

Classes commenced in the new school on April 6, 1988 and the school was officially opened April 20, 1988. However, just a few years later the Board made the decision to open a high school for Aboriginal students one that would incorporate Aboriginal beliefs and customs, as well as give them the necessary skills to further their education. The Board designated the new Argyle School as the school for Aboriginal students, now called Children of the Earth High School which opened officially in 1991.

The students of Argyle school were transferred to the No. 3 building at 30 Argyle Street, taking the Argyle name with them. Additional information (excerpts) on Argyle School from material dated March 6, 1952 and sent to Mr. Hansen for the new school’s official opening February 4, 1952: “The first Argyle School built in 1881 was a two room brick veneer structure. In 1895 this school was torn down and replaced by a new brick building. “At one time the school’s district was residential with a school population of 400. It gradually became an industrial district and the school population decreased greatly, in fact by almost one-half. In recent years (early 1950s), however, the school population has become more stabilized, and it is expected that the enrolment will remain steady for many years. “Construction of the new Argyle School commenced in the spring of 1951, the cornerstone was laid by Mrs. H. Murphy on August 30, 1951 and classes have beenheld in the school since January, 1952.”

The Duke of Argyll

Lorne, Sir John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Marquis of, afterwards ninth Duke of Argyll (1845 - 1914), governor-general of Canada (1878 - 83), was born at Stafford House, London, England, on August 6, 1845, the eldest son of George, eighth Duke of Argyll, and Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the second Duke of Sutherland. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, at Eton, at St. Andrew’s University, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1868 to 1871 he was private secretary to his father, then secretary of state for India; and from 1868 to 1878 he sat in the House of Commons at Westminster as Liberal member for Argyllshire. He also sat in the House of Commons, as Unionist member for South Manchester, from 1895 to 1900. Then he succeeded to the dukedom of Argyll, and took his seat in the House of Lords. In 1871 he married Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria; and in 1878 he was appointed governor-general of Canada.

His period of office was marked at one stage by strained relations between himself and Sir John Macdonald (q.v.), who had been returned to power in 1878; but the difficulties between them were later smoothed over, and Lord Lorne proved one of the most popular governors Canada has had. He died on May 2, 1914. Books he wrote which have reference to Canada are Memories of Canada and Scotland (Montreal, 1884); Imperial Federation (London, 1885); Canadian Pictures (London, 1885); Passages from the Past (2 vols., London, 1907); and Yesterday and Today in Canada (London, 1910).

Construction

  • Built:1881 (known as the Louise Street School)
  • Addition: 1882 - 2 rooms added
  • Demolished: 1895
  • Replaced: 1895 (erected at corner of Argyle and Henry)
  • Contractors: J. Shaw & Co.
  • Contract: $30,000 (actual cost $28,000)
  • No. of rooms:10 and Assembly Hall
  • Opened: February 3, 1896
  • Demolished: 1952 by Billinkoff’s Ltd. ($2,791 paid to Board)
  • Replaced: 1951 (erected adjacent to old school building)
  • Contractors: Wallace & Akins Ltd.
  • Cost: $139,635
  • No. of rooms: 6 plus general purpose room, office space and nurse’s room
  • Cornerstone: August 30, 1951 by Mrs. H. Murphy
  • Official opening: February 4, 1952
  • Conversion to gas: 1961
  • Closed: June 30, 1966
  • New School built: 1987 (Erected at corner of Stella and Salter.)
  • Architects:GRB Associates
  • Contractors: Pace-Greentree Buildings Inc.
  • No. of rooms:12 classrooms plus a computer room, fully functioning science lab, library, crafts rooms, art room, students lounge, multi-purpose area, weight training facilities, child development lab and home economics room.
  • Opened: April 6, 1988
  • Official Opening: April 20, 1988
  • Renamed: Children of the Earth School, 1991 * Argyle students were transferred to 30 Argyle Street, called Argyle School. (this was the No. 3 building, erected in 1951)
  • Addition: 2003
  • Argyle Alternative High School, 30 Argyle St.
  • Renovations: 10,000 sq. ft. addition, including two science labs, an art room, multi-purpose room, kitchen and child development lab. Extensive renovations include a new heating system, a new roof, upgraded electrical service and a new library.
  • Architect: Gerald A. Korzeniowski
  • Contractors: Gardon Construction Ltd.
  • Cost: $2,223,500
  • Official opening of addition: Nov. 18, 2003
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