One Hundred Years of Education in Campbell River

First school house at Cedar and 9th Ave

One hundred years ago, in 1910, there was no school in Campbell River, but there was a classroom.  Pupils came to the Willows Hotel Annex to be taught by Harold Campbell, who later became Deputy Minister of Education in BC.  As seven students were required before a school could be opened, a four year old (Arnold McDonald) was included to artificially inflate the numbers.  Since only five children attended regularly though, instruction was given for just two months before the ‘school’ was closed and Campbell was sent to teach elsewhere.  However, shortly afterwards, the classroom reopened and the number of students rose to 16, prompting the building of the first school house, the Campbell River School, situated at the corner of Cedar and 9th Avenue.  The photo at right is of a class from 1921-22.   The Campbell River School  accommodated students for the next 10 years, until the Elm Street School was built.

Elm Street School circa 1945

In 1945, School District 72 was created as a result of consolidations recommended by a report of the Royal Commission.To celebrate 100 years since schooling first began in Campbell River, a reunion is being planned for September 9 and 10 to include students attending from 1939 to 1959.

For a complete history of early education in Campbell River, visit the archives where the Museum has a copy of ‘The Schoolhouse on the Hill – The Story of a Coastal Community’s First School’ by Dr. Thomas Fleming (written in 1987).


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The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit

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