BCHF News Sarah Wray Hall: One-room schoolhouse

Sarah Wray Hall: One-room schoolhouse

Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society. Compiled by Mark Forsythe

It is one of British Columbia’s last remaining single-room schoolhouses. Built by volunteers in 1931, Irvines Landing School replaced a school in a converted bunkhouse on the waterfront. After the schoolhouse closed in 1966 it sat empty and neglected for decades. Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society took it on as a restoration project in 2008 and renamed it Sarah Wray Heritage Hall, honouring a Pender Harbour pioneer whose descendants attended the school. The restored schoolhouse is pictured below.

Irvines Landing was the first settler community in the Pender Harbour area. There were no roads on this part of the Sunshine Coast, so students arrived at school by boat, or walked along trails that connected with places like Kleindale, Garden Bay and Whiskey Slough. A wood stove was the only source of heat, and each morning a neighbour lit a fire.

Students at Irvines Landing School, 1935 – 1936 (Pender Island Living Heritage Society)

Leonard Lee, a former student, led the schoolhouse restoration that saved the old structure from collapse:  “We just decided — seeing this was built for the community — we’d see if we could keep it in the community.” With the assistance of a federal grant of almost $50,000, several community grants and lots of volunteer time, the full restoration was completed in 2015. Owned by the local school district, Sarah Wray Hall is managed by Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society. It is home to a museum and is a popular community meeting place hosting art classes & shows, weddings, memorials, dinners, games nights and even boat building courses.

The 1931 schoolhouse, before restoration.

For more information: http://www.penderharbourheritage.ca