William Attridge, Secretary of the East Flamborough Township School Board, upon receipt of the letter containing Inspector Levan’s report, wrote to the Department of Education in hopes of obtaining a more favourable report and informing the officials of the efforts put forth several years earlier to build a new school that had met with no success. He added that the present members of the School Board would be happy to comply with the wishes of the Department and build a new school, if the electorate would supply the funds.
Mr. Attridge also informed the provincial officials that a new, $75,000 public school was being constructed on Mill Street North and that the present would appear to be an inopportune time to secure the consent of the people to underwrite the costs for a new high school building. The Secretary’s letter did little to improve the situation, for within a few days another letter arrived from the Department of Education. Written by Mr. Colquhoun, Deputy Minister of Education, it said that the situation at the school could not continue, a reality that had to be faced by both the School Board and the residents.
The letter was brief and to the point:
… conditions are reported to be so bad in the Waterdown High School that the Department cannot countenance them in any way. It would be better that the school be closed than that the health of the people should be impaired by their attendance under existing conditions…
The School Board members met and realized they had no option but to consider the construction of a new building. The Department of Education agreed to allow the students attending the public school housed on the ground floor to remain until their new school on Mill Street North was ready to be occupied.
The high school students spent the next seven years being educated in a variety of locations within the village core, including Grace Anglican Church, on the top floor of the East Flamborough Township Hall and on the top floor of the new public school. Once the public school opened in January 1921, the Sealey Park building was closed.
Early in January 1928, high school students walked over to their newly constructed school on the southwest corner of Hamilton and Dundas. On February 27, 1928, the largest gathering in the history of Waterdown, over 800 people, assembled to watch the opening ceremonies of the Art Deco style building that had cost a total of $70,000.
Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at email@example.com.
This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 4 August 2011.