Bienfait Town Schools- Page 1

Bienfait, Saskatchewan, Canada


  • The First School of the District (called Dungy School) was a tiny sod building on the site where Wickstroms farm is now located (1955).
  • Another early school in Bienfait area was situated on Archie Milligan's farm. The first Teacher of this little sod school was Annie Smith.
    • One of the students was Bob Hazzard.
  • The First Rural school was about one-half mile north from Alton Ellis's home.
    • The building was later purchased by the school district and moved to the present site of the little red brick school.
    • In Bienfait the First school was a little tar paper covered building near where Jenning's garage now stands (1955) or the vacant lot near there.
    • The First Teacher in this school was S. B. Lamonte.

When the “Little Brick School” got too crowded a part of the King Edward Hotel (The Beer Parlour Part) was rented and school was taught there.
A bungalow was constructed and used as a class room while the “Big Brick School” was being built. This bungalow was later sold to Art Graham.

  • Big Butte School, which was situated 4 1/2 miles from Bienfait on highway 39, was over fifty years old (in 1955).
    • Four years ago it was moved next to the “Little Red Brick School”
    • In 1951 a complete renovation of the big school took place.
      • Four new rooms were added to match the original building and the four old rooms were remodeled to match the new addition.

It was hoped that when the big school was completed, the little brick school, and the Big Butte School would not be used as class rooms anymore, but so far this has not been the case. The three schools have been constantly in operation and at the present are once more filled to capacity.

The problem will soon arise where the additional space is going to come from, as the pupil population is ever on the increase. While remodeling was being done in the school, the Ukrainian Library was rented to provide the extra needed space. At the same time the Big Butte School was moved in near the Little School. This provided extra class room space.

The Sports Equipment of the olden days was the same as today. They had bats, balls, and leather footballs the same as we have at the present date.
Pencils were given to each pupil once a month, and exercise books were given when they were needed.
The pupils paid for this at the end of the school term.

The Salaries of the first Teachers of Bienfait were not very high. After the first World War they were only paid about $450.00/yr.
Now they range from $2150.00 to $4250.00 per year and higher. According to the “old Timers” schools of fifty years ago have changed considerably.
Not so much in the nature of the building but the nature of the methods and general attitudes.
The first permanent school buildings were equipped with portable blackboards or a wall blackboard situated at the front of the room.
There were benches and then double seats which were screwed to the floor.
Slates were used at first, and when the pupil had progressed to the pencil stage, about grade 3, exercise books were handed out, also pencils about once a month.
These were paid for at the end of the school year by the parents.

For games the children played such games as tag, and pum-pum-pull-away, also marbles and skipping. For softball there were home made bats and solid rubber balls, later there was football for boys. About thirty years ago basketball was a prominent game for girls.
School holidays were about the same as today but attendance was not as regular as at present. During the harvest season or general busy season children stayed at home to help out. Sometimes a youngster attended only three or four months of school during the school year.
There were no regular promotions or report cards. A pupil was given a new reader when he was ready for it.
The students of the olden days envy the present day student in many ways. They feel that learning is so much easier and more interesting now. The appearance and atmosphere of the classroom is much more pleasant. There are more books to study from and they are better illustrated too. The visual aids such as the various charts and maps, slide projectors, films, and the different laboratory equipment for science were unheard of in the early days.
The inside washrooms are a luxury that former students did not enjoy. This should be most appreciated in the winter time!

GRADE 10, 1958 My Uncle Ed Gesell was the teacher
My Cousin Gerald Olson was one of the pupils
Taken in the Big White Brick School on Young st
(Picture below)

School Feb 1956

The Old White School on Young Street
(Original Picture courtesy Bienfait Museum)

Early 1950's Postcard of the Bienfait School
From Alex Wilson collection, sent by Margaret Cuddington

Bienfait School, built 1920
Photo shortly after it was built

Bienfait School Picture ca 1916-1920
2 Photos above from Miss Ellen Deason's Album, contributed by her Step-Grandson, Robert MacPherson, Aug 2015.

Ellen Deason
b- Jan 10, 1910 in SK
d- Oct 31, 2001 in Aurora, York, ON, age 91

she married James Arthur Russell Jan 8, 1972, his 2nd marriage

Father- Wilfred Deason
b- Sept 1883 in Ulverston Reg Dist, Lancashire, England
Ellen's father Wildred Deason was a Drayman in Bienfait.
Wilfred came to Canada Sept 3, 1888 on the SS Circassian To Quebec City from Liverpool, age 4
son of James Deason and Mary Ann Thompson

Mother- Elizabeth Deason, nee ?
b- June 1887 in MB

May 1935, Ellen belonged to the Winnipeg Canoe Club and was a long time member there.

sister- Selina Deason,
Selina married Lyall John James Clemmens,
June 10, 1946 at St. Luke’s Church in Winnipeg MB
Son of H. Clemmens of Kenora ON


  • Last modified: 2021/05/24 20:32
  • by dlgent