Teacher Margaret McGrath and pupils at S.S. No. 10 (Jockvale), circa 1889. Source: Bruce Elliott, The City Beyond: A History of Nepean, Birthplace of Canada’s Capital, 1792-1990 (Nepean: Corporation of the City of Nepean, 1991).
Since the Jockvale schoolhouse first opened in 1841, it has functioned as a community gathering space in Barrhaven. It began life as a rural one-room schoolhouse, serving the needs of children and families in a newly settled and primarily Irish Catholic area.
Class photograph at S.S. No. 10 Jockvale, c. 1906. Source: http://www.oneroomschoolhouses.ca/nepean-township.html
By 1906 Jockvale Public School had been rebuilt in brick. For many decades to follow community life revolved around the school, hosting Christmas concerts, fund-raising activities, and coming together to build an outdoor skating rink.
Although the school closed in 1965, it continued to act as a space for community-building. In the 1970s and 1980s, The New Horizon Social Club held twice weekly euchre nights for seniors at the school.
Newspaper notice for Ration Book 4, which was distributed at the Jockvale School. Source: Ottawa Journal, 23 March 1944.
During the Second World War the school became a distribution centre for ration coupon books.
Lion’s Club Monument in front of Jockvale Schoolhouse. Photo: Stephanie Lett
From the late 1990s until 2010, the Barrhaven Lions Club held meetings at the Jockvale Schoolhouse, planning a variety of special events that brought the Barrhaven community together. 30 to 40 Lions Club members met at the school three times each month to plan neighbourhood events such as the Barrhaven Santa Claus Parade, Canada Day celebrations, pancake breakfasts, and mother-daughter dances. They also hosted dinners, celebrations, and euchre nights for the club’s members at the school.
The South Nepean Muslim Community hosts a Bazaar and Food Festival at the Jockvale schoolhouse, 2014. Photo: Wahed Mohammed.
By 1999, the Jockvale schoolhouse became a place for a new community to grow. Until they were able to open a mosque in Barrhaven in 2014, the South Nepean Muslim Community used the schoolhouse as a prayer space and school, reflecting Barrhaven’s evolution from a fairly small and homogenous community to the diverse and vibrant suburb that it is today.
This story was researched and developed by Stephanie Lett as a contribution to the Workers’ History Museum’s Capital History Kiosk’s project for Ottawa 2017. It formed part of her course work for Professor David Dean’s graduate seminar on museums, national identity, and public memory (Department of History, Carleton University). She would like to thank Claire Sutton of the City of Ottawa Archives, George Kennedy, Wahed Mohammed, Joy Forbes, Gerry Clarke, Charles Brophy and Professor Bruce Elliott for their help.
Thanks also to Megan Michie of the City of Ottawa and Marie-Soleil Bergeron of Ottawa 2017 for their assistance, and to councillor Jan Harder and the Barrhaven BIA for their support.
This entry for capitalhistory.ca and its related installation at Bank and Exhibition was made possible by Ottawa 2017, CIBC and the three Arts, Culture and Heritage Program Stewarding Partners AOE Arts Council, Ottawa Arts Council and Council of Heritage Organizations of Ottawa.
It was funded by a City of Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Programme Grant.