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History

Prepared July, 1992 - Updated 2010 - Elmwood High School opened in September, 1958 as a school for Grades 10 - 12. At that time a school named Elmwood was already in existence on Riverton Avenue. The Riverton Avenue school’s name was changed to River Elm School, and the new school became Elmwood High. Elmwood was built next to David Thompson Junior High, which opened in 1955. Prior to the construction of Elmwood, students had attended Lord Selkirk School which accommodated students from Grade 1 - 12. 

Elmwood was created to satisfy the educational needs of high school students who required more modern facilities and equipment than provided at Lord Selkirk. In 1964 the Elmwood and David Thompson schools were connected by a “linkway”. Elmwood housed the Grades 10 - 12, while David Thompson contained the Grades 7 - 9 students. Vice- Principal Murray wrote about the relationship between the junior and senior high students in Elmwood’s 25th anniversary newsletter. “It was really a case of ‘never the twain shall meet’. The sevens, eights and nines learned together, played together, got in trouble together and ventured over to the senior high side in a tentative fashion only for music, home economics and lunch.” In 1969 - 1970, David Thompson and Elmwood schools were amalgamated, thus making Elmwood a senior and junior high school. Elmwood was the first school to adopt a credit system which ended the unfairness of forcing students to repeat a whole grade in order to achieve standing in part of it. The credit system made it possible for students to receive credit for subjects in which they had failed.

Elmwood is also well-known for its excellent band program. The program began when David Thompson opened with Lewis Walker as its principal and Arthur Buss on its staff. They were pioneers in the development of school bands in Winnipeg and set a standard for bands yet to be equaled. Elmwood Band History The Band program, in existence since 1955, was established as one of the first school programs in the Winnipeg area. The program continues to grow with the support of the school and a strong Band Parent Association. Today (1987) nearly 250 students participate in the program which consists of four concert bands, two stage bands, various woodwind and brass ensembles and a marching band. The Bands perform at numerous functions in the school and around the Winnipeg area as well as travelling to points in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northern States. An annual Christmas Concert and Final Award Concert are also traditions in the school. In 1984 the Senior Band performed at the official opening of Ronald McDonald House. In 1985 they performed at the Tournament of Hearts Ladies’ Canadian Curling Championships and the Dakota Days Band Festival held in South Dakota. The senior band travelled to Expo ’86 in Vancouver to participate in the Canadian National Band Festival, receiving a bronze award. The Junior Band has also travelled to Minneapolis, becoming the first Canadian band to play at the Metrodome. Annually, all the Bands participate in the Assiniboine Optimist Band Festival. In 1987 they were awarded the Chairman’s Award for their participation in the Festival. 1995 marked the 40th anniversary of Elmwood High School’s band program.

A Gala Concert was held at the Centennial Concert Hall on June 8, with outstanding performances by all involved. Throughout the 90’s and into the early 21st century Elmwood High School experienced a decline in student population. This freed space in the school, allowing community groups access to the building. Munroe Day Care, a community based child care agency has been operating in the western wing of the school for a number of years, servicing over 100 youngsters and their families. Winnipeg School Division houses an Adult English as an Additional Language program on the second floor for new Canadians. A Lapidary group, comprised of seniors, polishes rocks and makes jewelry in a room adjacent to the computer labs on the main floor. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority runs a full medical clinic out of the school’s converted nurses room one evening a week, targeting local area teens. These groups, along with the regular Grade 7-12 student population, form a true community school. Each group in the school benefits and is enriched by the presence of the other. From the babies in the infant lab through to the senior lapidarians, Elmwood High School is characterized by a large and varied group of people learning together in a comfortable environment. A number of new programs have been developed to service various aspects of the student population. Advance placement programs offer university credit. Bridges, off campus and community access programs offer alternative academic presentations. Facility upgrades, both completed and planned, help service students with physical challenges. The dramatic arts program has expanded, including two major productions a year plus a modern dance program. The Canadian Academy of Tourism and Travel (CATT) partners with the school to deliver a credited program. This program, taught by EHS instructional staff, exposes students to all aspects of the travel industry. Opportunities for travel and volunteerism are built into the program. The school celebrated its 50th anniversary on October 24 and 25, 2008. Rt. Honourable Sir John Sparrow David Thompson - A physically and intellectually powerful man, frugal and painfully honest, dedicated to public service and especially to the judiciary, Sir John S.D. Thompson died in the prime of life when his abilities and influence were needed to mend the political fences of the Conservative party.

Born in Halifax, 1844 of Irish descent. He was called to the bar in 1865. He went to the Nova Scotia legislature for Antigonish from 1877 to 1882, in which time he was successively Attorney General and Premier. Later he became a Justice of the provincial Supreme Court. Sir John A. Macdonald called him to Ottawa as Justice Minister in 1885 and he won the federal seat in Antigonish. After Macdonald’s death the government was led briefly by Sir John Abbott from his place in the Senate. Thompson ran proceedings in the House of Commons and when Sir John Abbott resigned, Thompson became Prime Minister in fact and gave promise of being a good one, admired by his associates and respected by his political foes. He took part on behalf of Britain in the international tribune which, at Paris, laid the foundations for settlement of fisheries rights in the Bering Sea, and he was prominent in negotiations over copyright and merchant shipping laws at an Inter-Colonial conference in London.

In 1894, just as the party was getting back into good shape, strengthened and stimulated by his leadership, word came from London that Sir John had suffered a fatal seizure in Windsor Castle, where he had gone to be honored with membership in the Imperial Privy Council. He was brought home for burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Halifax.

Construction

Elmwood High School • Opened: September, 1958 • Official Opening: November 12, 1958 • Contractors: L. Ducharme & Associates Ltd. • Contract: $613,096 (actual cost $641,547) • No. of rooms: 14 classrooms, physics lab, chemistry lab, biology lab, home economics lab, typing room, music room, library and study room, an auditorium and gymnasium • Conversion to gas: 1961 • September 1963: soft drink vending machine installed David Thompson Junior High School • Opened: September, 1955 • Official Opening: November 30, 1955 • Cornerstone: June 23, 1955 by W.L. Hatcher • Contractors: Couture & Toupin Ltd. • Contract: $321,213 (actual cost $332,526) • Cost per room.: $20,075 • No. of rooms: 15 plus library Addition: 1961 • Contractors: Surety Construction Co. Ltd. • Contract: $206,830 (actual cost $208,248) • No. of rooms: 7 and 2 home economics, 2 industrial arts, staff room and showers, and washrooms Elmwood - David Thompson Addition • Addition: 1964 • Completed: August 14, 1964 • Opening: September 1964 • Contractor: S.D. Burton Ltd. • Contract: $388,434 (actual cost $431,140) • No. of rooms: 13 classrooms, language lab (40 stations), 2 typing rooms, science lab, lunch room, music room, woodworking shop, plus alterations to the existing building Addition: 1979 • Food and cloting labs, library, guidance area, multipurpose room, staff room and ancillary space added.​

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