Early Schools

This is the story of the first schools in Port Moody from 1883-1908. As teachers came and left, and the location of the schools often shifted, Port Moody's students still managed to learn.


The second Canadian Pacific Railway station built in Port Moody, at its original location.
Port Moody, BC, Canada


Early Port Moody, with the forest cleared for future buildings.
Port Moody, BC, Canada


The Beginning: 1882

Port Moody had been named the Western Terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1882, and the population began to grow in anticipation of the town's prosperity. By the following year eleven houses were constructed in town, and by 1885 the population was estimated to be 250. However, along with building houses and stores came the responsibility of establishing an education system. There was no place for the children of Port Moody to recieve their education.


Railway tracks from Port Moody
Port Moody, BC, Canada


No Space at the Doctor's

In the earliest days children received private instruction in the town doctor's home, located at the south corner of Clarke St. This school, with Dr. Hyslop's wife as the instructor, began in October 1883. The doctor's home, however, could not accommodate the over thirty children who were attending. The growing need for space was compounded when the school was destroyed in a fire after only one year of operation.

A central location was needed for a new public school, and one year after the private school was destroyed, the citizens of Port Moody would get their wish.


The Port Moody School District
Port Moody, BC, Canada


Establishment of the School District

In April 26, 1884, public education was officially established in Port Moody. The Port Moody School District was formed to serve the area centred at the intersection of Clarke and Douglas Street to a distance of 3.5 miles into the surrounding countryside. Classes were to be held in Clarke's Hall, the room above Tays's Store. On May 1, 1884 the school was open for the first time with a class of 25 students. The first three trustees of the new school district were Mr. R. B. Kelly, Mr. G. Annand and Captain James A. Clarke.


Early Photo of Port Moody
Port Moody, BC, Canada


A Growing School District

The first teacher was Miss A. C. Dallas who taught with only a temporary teaching certificate and was paid $50 a month. She left her position on June 30, 1884. That summer Miss A. S. Howay, the sister of Judge F. W. Howay, was hired as the new permanent teacher of the school. Miss Howay was soon overwhelmed. By 1885 she had only received a $5 raise while the enrolment had gone up over 50% to 39 students in total--22 boys and 17 girls. As more and more students poured into the Port Moody School District, the need was apparent for a larger school that could meet the demands of the growing population.


First one room school
Port Moody, BC, Canada


A New One-Room Schoolhouse

The Port Moody Gazette announced on June 9, 1885 that a schoolhouse was to be built on four town lots donated by large landowner Captain James A. Clarke. A one-room schoolhouse was planned: 34 feet x 20 feet with a 12 foot high ceiling.

Captain Clarke's importance goes beyond his involvement with the first schools. He also piloted Governor Douglas' steamboat and today lends his name to several local landmarks.


Extra! Extra!

"The new Schoolhouse has been fully completed and Mr. Noon, one of the contractors for the building of the same, has formed a copartnership with Mr. E. Kilby for the erection of Mr. John Taylor's house on the corner of Hugh and Murray streets, the work of which has been going on this week.

"On Thursday last, Mr. R. B. Kelly, on behalf of the government, inspected the new school building erected by Messrs. Noon and Fales, and pronounced the job completed in a workmanlike manner, and fully up to the specifications."

This news story of the school's opening was printed on July 4, 1885 by the Port Moody Gazette.

The school's builder Mr. Allen Noon, is the namesake for Noon's Creek, where his homestead was located. Noon also built the St. John's Anglican church in 1899.


First one room school
Port Moody, BC, Canada