Bruce Township Central Public School

By 1949, the Township was dotted with sixteen fine brick schools. The great wars and the depression had disrupted the old order, and attendance had declined to the point that some schools were closed.
On January 1, 1950, fourteen of the sections ceased operations; their boards united as the Bruce Township School Area Board. U.S.S. No. 16, Glamis, continued under its own local board. U.S.S. No. 2 (Tiverton) had severed its connection with Bruce when the village of Tiverton was established in 1878.
The first members of the new Board were: Allan Evans, Chairman, Harold Cassidy, James Inkster, John A. Pace, and John W Waring, with Carson Snowdon as Secretary. This group, and their successors were to guide the Township's school system during its most significant years since the 1800s.
In the interests of economy, the new Board closed more schools, taking pupils by bus to others. By June 1963, only No. 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 remained open. At this time, the Board began to lay the ground work for a central school, a somewhat pioneering action, for there were few such schools in Ontario then.
A public meeting was held to ascertain the wishes of the ratepayers. In July 1963, the Board requested the Council of the Township to raise the required money. Land was purchased from Elwood Howe (part of Lot 5, Concession 7), and architects drew up plans for a building with seven classrooms and a playroom. The Department of Education agreed to requests of the Board (with direction from Inspector T.K. Waldie) and approved the building of eight classrooms and a large gymnasium-auditorium.
The new school was not ready for occupancy in September, so a modified form of centralized schooling was set up. Oldtimers shook their heads as students rode a bus to Underwood, then hopped aboard another bus with their classmates for the school of their grade, reversing the process in the afternoon. School buildings used for the graded classrooms were:

Grade School Grade School
One SS # 7 Five SS #12
Two SS # 9 Six SS #11
Three SS #10 Seven SS # 3
Four SS #13 Eight SS # 8


Fortunately, this arrangement was temporary, but it did have the advantage of easing the students' transition from a small school to a large one. On January 11, 1965, all classes moved into the new school. By late spring, the gym was also in use. Enrolment stood at 247.
The official opening ceremony was held Friday, June 25, 1965 with many local dignitaries and visiting educationalists present. The school area board, under Chairman, John N. MacLean, Vice-Chairman Clifford Roppel, Harold Cassidy, Allan Smith and Keith Surridge had put in many hours to see the project completed.
In September 1965, students from S.S. No. 16 began attending Bruce Township Central School.
The greater school population broadened the scope of opportunity available to the students. Douglas Wrightson, a Bruce Township native, who was the first Principal, took full advantage of this. He vigorously promoted the study of music, and largely through his efforts, an accordion band was formed under the leadership of John Nellison.
In 1973, a brass instrumental band was introduced with Rick Murray in charge All pupils from Grade 5 have received instruction in instrumental music, and many have participated in the band, wearing colourful Bruce County tartan vests as part of their uniforms. Bruce Township Central School has also had successful junior and senior choirs.

> Banners displayed in the gym give evidence of the success of the school's athletic programme The 'Falcons' have won numerous championships in interschool and county competitions. Several outstanding individual athletes have also kept Bruce's name in the record-books.
In 1967, the Kindergarten was begun. For fourteen years, five-year-olds went off to "their" school at the former S.S. No. 8 building. In 1981, following a family supper, this was officially closed. Now, Kindergarten classes are held at the main school.
September 1967 brought a major upset, when fire caused extensive smoke damage. Classes were cancelled for only a few days, but the renovating and repainting took some time to complete. A Special Education class was established that year, providing a part-time setting for remedial teaching in a smaller group, while students were still members of a regular class.

Provincial legislation in 1969 placed all schools under County Boards of Education. In Bruce Township, a transitional Board composed of Allan Smith, Harold Cassidy and James Hutton completed the era of local administration, passing control of schooling in the Township to the Bruce County Board of Education. Under the new Board, Bruce Township was represented jointly with Tiverton and the Township of Kincardine, by one trustee. By 1978, the increased population entitled the election of two trustees as representatives.

> With climbing enrolment (the 300 mark was passed in 1970), portable classrooms were needed; the first one arrived in May 1971, and two more in September, 1973. A double portable was put in place in 1977 for an expanded Grade One. In 1975, the school reached its peak enrolment, with 375 students. Since then, it has gradually declined to the present 300.
Students from Bruce Central have been active participants in various programmes organized on a county-wide level. They have won awards in public speaking, science fairs, and French contests. Classes have made extensive use of the Outdoor Education Centre, a property of the County Board. French was introduced in 1970.

> The facilities of Bruce Township Central School have been used by many and varied community groups, for the school is still a very central part of social and recreational life Adult volleyball and baseball teams, Cub Scouts, Women's Institutes, church organizations and others have met at the school. A very active Home and School Association is described in detail elsewhere  The students have also taken their talents into the community performing for Senior Citizens and in parades.

Taken from "Bruce Township- Tales and Trails from early days to 1983" written by the Bruce Township Historical Society  (with permission)

Pictures  (note that split grades are listed under the higher grade)

Year Kind 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Grad+misc
1964-65               Gr7+N   Grads+N
Staff+N Jan 1 1965  Stone
1965-66                   building
1966-67                    
1967-68                    
1968-69                    
1969-70                    
1970-71 Pic+N Pic+N Pic+N Rm3+N Pic+N Rm 5  N Pic   Pic Staff+N
1971-72                    
1972-73 Pic+N Pic PicN Pic  N Pic  N 4/5     Gr5 Gr5/6 N   Gr6 N Gr7  Gr 7/8 Gr 7+8 Staff  N  Sports 1  2  3  4
1973-74 Pic  N Pic+N 1/2+N Pic  N 3/4  N 4/5  N Gr6  N 6/7+N Gr8+N Staff  N
1974-75 AM   N    PM Gr1  N Pic+N  2/3  N Gr4  N   Pic 5/6F   N  5/6G  N Gr7  N Gr8  N Staff  N  Speaking   G- Basketb 
1975-76 Pic(AM)  PM+N Pic+N RoomC  N  RoomB+N Pic + N names?   Pic  N  Room I   RoomH  N Staff  N   Grad_Nam  Newspaper   B Volleyb   building
1976-77 AM+N Pic Pic   Pic + N     Rm_I+N  RmG  N RoomJRoomH Staff  N Grads
1977-78   Pic+N Pic  N  RmB  N     Pic + N     RmG+N Sig  RoomH Staff  N 
1978-79 AM   Gr1/2  Gr2+N   3/4   Pic + N   RoomG N RoomH Staff  N 
1979-80   Pic  N Gr1/2  Gr2   3/4+N 4/5  N Pic + N   RoomH Staff  N 
Year Kind 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Grad+misc
1980-81   Pic  N Pic 2/3  Gr3   Pic  4/5+N          
1981-82 AM  PM     Pic Gr3/4 Pic+N Pic   Pic + N Staff  N  Sp Ed
1982-83     Gr1/2 Pic Pic Gr4/5  Rm F Pic+N Pic Pic  
1983-84     RmD   Pic  N Pic  N Rm I Pic Pic Staff  N 
1984-85       2/3 +N 3/4  N Pic  N 5/6+N 6/7 Pic Soccer Grads  Party  Staff
1985-86       Gr2+N Gr3 N  
Gr3/4
  Maybe Maybe Pic   Staff+N  Grads
1986-87 AM  PM         4/5 Pic  N     Grad Party  Staff
1987-88             5/6 Pic  N Pic Grad Party
1988-89     Gr 1/2         6/7 Pic  N  Grads+N Grad Party  N  Staff  Sports1 2 3
1889-90       Gr3         7/8 Grad Party Grads+N  Staff 
1990-91                   Grad Party Grads+N  Staff
1991-92                   Grad Party Grads+N  Staff
1992-93 Pic   N    1/2       5/6     Grad Party Grads+N
1993-94 AM  PM   1/2  N 2/3  3 Pic 4/5 5/6 6/7 7/8  8 Grad Party Grads+N  Staff
1994-95 Pic Gr 1a  Gr 1c   2/3  N Gr3/4 Gr 4/5  Gr5 Gr6 Gr7 Gr8 Grad Party Grads+N Staff 
1995-96     Gr2 2/3+N         Gr8 Grad Party
1996-97         3/4         Grad Party  Staff
1997-98 Pic   Gr2     4/5       Grad Party 
1998-99             5/6+N Gr7+N   Grad Party+N Staff+N
1999-00   Gr1     Gr4     6/7+N Gr8+N Grads  Staff
Year Kind 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Grad+misc
2000-01 A+N  B+N   1/2+N 2/3+N 3/4+N 4/5+N 5/6+N 6/7+N 7/8+N Grads Party  Staff  Staff2 
2001-02               Time Capsule story Gr8 Staff


Pictures & names courtesy of Velma & Ken Hendry, Lois Bradley,  Allan Thompson, Mark Lemont, Sheri Greig, Shelley Vance, Tracey Henkenhaf, Cheryl (Irwin) Tambling, Dave Munshaw, Michael Henkenhaf, Mona MacLean, Eileen Morris, Lois Schnittker, Jill Mandigo, Iona Paoletti, Debra Gaudet, Joan Ferris, Bonnie Collins, June Yeaman, Mona MacLean, Leanne Henkenhaf, Lisa (Howe) Wardrop, Mary (Bruce) Galliger, Sue (Moore) Hyde, Nancy (Thompson) Alexander, Ken Howe, Patsy Bigleow and others.

Many thanks to Brittany Hutt for scanning in many dozens of the pictures on this page.

Teachers list, 1964-75 courtesy of Doug Wrightson                               Many Fun pictures and snapshots

BTCPS was closed by the Bluewater school board at the end of the 2001/2002 school year. In the weeks before it closed, the time capsule created in about 1993 was opened. See the short story here.

Tennysons in 2006 Tennysons are the new owners of the BTCPS building

If anyone has more information or pictures or missing names for the pictures, please e-mail  schoolsatbrucetownship.ca