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Bertha Shaw and 100 years of Golden Avenue Public School

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre looks back on schools in the early days of the gold camp
Miss Bertha Shaw stands with her classroom at Golden Avenue Public School, which was opened 100 years ago. Timmins Museum photo

From the archives of the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre:

Bertha Shaw was drawn to northern Ontario by the wild and wonderful tales told by her father, who worked along the CPR rail line along Georgian Bay and the Lake Superior coast.

Before leaving for a teaching position in South Porcupine, her family questioned her decision, worried about the wild bush country, black flies, and rough miners, each of which Shaw brushed aside because she was ready for an adventure.

She arrived in January, 1916 and began teaching at the one-room Dome Mine School, earing $75 per month. The following year, she accepted the principalship of the two-roomed South Porcupine Public School. Sharing the school proved challenging at first because the partition wall, built of green lumber, was showing significant cracks.

In 1918, the brand new, eight-roomed, Golden Avenue Public School was opened and many of the teachers continued their employment there. This modern school, with its own central heating system and water supply, was seen as (frivolous) by the Inspector who figured the mining town was “dead and ready to be buried” after the lean years of the war.

But by 1922, all eight classrooms were filled with students, eager to learn composition, arithmetic and grammar.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.