Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Île Bizard's rural schools


Before the beginning of the 19th century, Île Bizard's official name was ''île Bonaventure''. But Montreal's residents used to refer to it as ''île du Major'', ''île Major'' or ''île Bizard'', because from 1678 the seigneur of the island was Jacques Bizard, town-major of Montreal. However, neither Jacques Bizard nor his descendants lived in the island. In fact, there was no settlement in the North-West section of Montreal, including Île Bizard, at that time. From 1735, Jacques' Bizard eldest daughter, Louise, began to grant lands to settlers. Gradually, the population grew, and by the beginning of the 19th century the island was entirely settled. However, there was still no town, no church and no school at Île Bizard at that time.

The first school was erected in 1850. It has been in use during several years, until 1920 when it became too small for the needs of the students and the teachers. Thus, a new school was designed by architect Joseph Sawyer and built in 1923-1924. It was located at the same site where the first school stood.
This rural school had two classrooms on the ground floor, each of them having enough space for about thirty students. The first floor was used as accommodation for the teachers: it included two rooms and a kitchen. In addition to serving as a school, the building was also used as a meeting place for the municipal council.
In the 1950s, the same thing happened than a few decades earlier: the school was too small for the community's needs, so a new one was built. In 1964, the municipality of L'Île-Bizard acquired the 1923's rural school and transformed it into a town hall, following the plans of architect Patrick Stoker.

In 2001, the building was designated a historic place by the municipality of LÎle-Bizard.

Société patrimoine et histoire de l'île Bizard et Sainte-Geneviève

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
The Past Whispers
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